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Arkansas Fishing Report

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Lake Norfork Sponsored by
Date 20-Sep-18
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : Lake Norfork: Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake's summer fishing pattern is winding down, but still trying to hang on with the hot weather we're having this week. If the future weather forecast has any validity, I predict that the fish will start to move more into a normal early fall pattern sometime next week. Hopefully my prediction is more accurate than the weather forecast usually is (ha). What I am trying to say is that the striped bass will soon migrate from the dam area and head northward toward cooler water, the larger slab crappie will start to move back into the brush, and the bass will start to feed more heavily in shallower water. Currently the best bite for striped and hybrid bass is still located close to the dam and the fish are deep, from 60 - 80 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended out in the deep river channel. I fished by the dam area on Monday the 17th and had a great day of fishing. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging with a spoon is also catching a few fish. Trolling an umbrella rig or a large swim bait is also picking up some nice fish, but you need to get your bait down below the 50 foot mark.

The walleye bite is also very good. You can locate this species in several different areas and depths. If you like to troll with a bottom bouncing weight and a crawler harness, start checking out the sides of long points, as well as, along the deeper bluff lines and bluff line points. The walleye are moving out a little deeper and can be found in 30 - 40 feet of water. The thermocline is dropping down so the fish are following suit. The second location is in very deep water on the bottom. Monday I found a huge school of hungry fish 80 foot deep. I was fishing close to the dam out in front of a main lake point. I was on a drop off with the front of my boat in 80 feet of water and the back of my boat in 100 feet of water. I was getting short bites on live bait and losing them half way up. I even tried a stinger hook with no luck. I decided to start vertical jigging a white with a chartreuse back spoon and they loved it. I would drop it to the bottom then lift it up about 4 feet then let it fall again. They were eating the spoon on the fall and when I would start to lift the spoon up again I would feel the weight of the fish. I limited out in less than a half hour once I started this process.

The crappie bite slowed for me this week with the water warming about 3 - 4 degrees. The bigger slabs that were on the brush last week seemed to have moved off of the brush. They should start moving back in next week with the upcoming cool weather forecast.

I had a good day of fishing this morning for spotted bass and white bass. The medium size whites have schooled up on large flats. Early and late in the day you can find schools of fish from 12 - 25 feet of water. I was vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon and catching one after another. The big jumbo whites will move onto these same flats as the water cools. At sunset you can find schools feeding on the surface. I found quite a few nice size spotted bass this morning while trying to find big crappie. I was jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon in and around brush piles. The spots were towards the bottom of the brush with a lot of small crappie and white bass on the tops of the brush. I also had a big battle with a 12 pound blue cat. This cat hammered my little spoon and I thought I was snagged at first, then he started to swim. 15 minutes later he gave up and came to the surface. I only have 4 pound test monofilament line on my reel with an ultra-light rod. It was really fun. I was grinning the whole time during the fight!

Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 551.83. The lake surface water temperature has increased slightly to 83-84 degrees. The main lake appears to be clear from the surface with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained. The thermocline has dropped to roughly 35 feet based on the temperature readings taken by the Norfork Lake Striper Club last week (thanks to the club for the great information).

Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Norfork Lake striper bite will continue near the dam until the water begins to cool. Instead of the water getting cooler it’s going up with the warm afternoons. No rain increases the chances that the stripers will be near the dam for a while. The latest oxygen level shows there is no oxygen for the stripers other than the dam area. Stripers need 5 percent of oxygen to be active. As each percent is reduced the striper activity decreases. Right now at 70 feet the oxygen is 2 percent. The stripers are still feeding but you need to get your bait right on their noses. I'm using 4-ounce barrel weights and a short 18 foot leader and dropping it to the bottom then reel up a couple of turns. Gizzard shad is my bait of choice, they are more active than threadfin in both size and activity. I had a guide fishing next to me using threadfin shad and while I was getting bites he was watching us catch fish after fish. While we were catching our sixth fish for a limit he finally caught 1. Fish live bait right now, I have watched the trollers and spooners fish every day and only see 1 or 2 fish caught. When the water cools the bait will begin to school and will move to shallower water in the mouths of the creeks. Check Big Creek if you're on the lower end of the lake and Robinson Point, Float and Panther Creeks in the mid-lake area. The Fouts area will begin holding fish along with areas from Red Bank to the 160 bridge. Find the bait and you will find the stripers. They will be hungry and begin their fall feeding pattern.

Reported by: Arkansas F&G


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About: - Norfork Lake is located in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The 20,000 plus acre lake is known for its clear, clean waters, and is a popular Arkansas vacation destination. Norfork offers good fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, stripers, crappie, bream, walleye, and catfish. Mild winters enables anglers to enjoy fishing throughout the year.
  • largemouth and smallmouth bass
  • white bass
  • stripers
  • hybrid bass
  • crappie
  • bream
  • walleye
  • catfish

Misc Info: -


Lake Norfork Elevation



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