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Looking for stripers?


Here's where all the action is lately…

By Jim Harris

Arkansas Wildlife Editor

Wayne Walker (pictured) of Springfield, Missouri, brought in a massive Norfork Lake striped bass this week. Walker caught the fish vertical-jigging a Tader Shad and showed it off at the marina at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, where owner Lou Gabric got a photo and sent it to us.

Lou says striped and hybrid bass are being found all over Norfork Lake. On Wednesday, he found them in a cove in 15-25 feet of water feeding on shad. Not only that, he found largemouth, spotted and white bass also feeding heavily on the surface in the same area.

He also located a few striped and hybrid bass in 60 feet of water just outside of the main river channel. Shallower stripers are going for a small 3.5-inch paddle tail swimbait or a Kastmaster with a feather trailer, Lou says. The deeper stripers are interested in a vertically jigged 3-inch plastic jig, though anglers can also vertical-jig a spoon.

All sorts of bass are 'getting very energetic,' he said, and topwater action is starting. It's sure to get better as the water warms.

Guide Jon Conklin of FishOn Guide Service at Beaver Lake says stripers are still roaming there and are fair. Look from Monte Ne to Point 12. 'They should make a good spring showing up both river arams within the next month,' Conklin said. Stripers are also very good and are staging at Lake Ouachita to make their runs up the river channels, according to Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa. Alabama rigs and topwater C-10 Redfins are always good choices for striper there.

Plenty of other opportunity abounds. Check out our reports below:

Norfork Lake

As of Saturday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam is 6,266 cfs.

Lou Gabric at Humming-bird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake has had some fishing ups and downs due to the ever-changing weather patterns. But overall, the bite continues to be good for most species. Yes, you do have to look for bait to find the species that follow the bait fish, but typically once you find the bait the fish will not be far away. The bait moves from very shallow water out to deep water, then the cycle begins again.

Striped and hybrid bass are being found all over the lake.

“(Wednesday) I found them in the back of a medium-size cove where the strong southwest wind was blowing straight in. There were big schools of bait at the mouth of the cove, but once I passed the points of the cove, I found that the bait was scattered out.

The fish were in 15-25 feet of water feeding on shad. The fun part of this area was that the largemouth, spotted and white bass were all feeding heavily on the surface. I also located a few scattered out striped/hybrid bass in 60 feet of water just outside of the main river channel. The bait was scattered out so, of course the fish were scattered out as well. I am catching the shallower stripers either by casting out a small 3.5-inch paddle tail swimbait or a Kastmaster with a feather trailer. I have been catching all species on these two baits when I find them in relatively shallow water. The deeper stripers I have been vertical jigging a 3-inch plastic jig but you can vertical jig a spoon.| “As stated above the bass are getting very energetic. Topwater action is starting and will only get better as the water temperature continues to warm. This will happen when the cool fronts stop and we start getting some stable weather. Crankbaits, swimbaits, spinners, A-rigs, and topwater baits are all working at this time. After a rain head back into creeks that have some flowing water, you will find some nice bass.

See FISH, page A9 FISH

From page A8

“Crappie have started to school on tops of brush and are starting to roam back into their spawning areas. This is the time when I start trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows in size 7 and 9. Find a cove that has a lot of brushpiles and start trolling throughout the cove. You will pick up some really nice fish. There will still be some crappie in the brush, typically on the tops of the brush. Use a small plastic jig. Live bait drifted over the brush is also working great.

“I post almost daily on Facebook. If you want more frequent information please visit and like Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page.

“Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”

Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort says the lake level is 553.37 feet msl and has risen about 2.5 inches in the last 24 hours with generation about three-quarters of the time. The White River at Newport is 19 feet and rising. “We are approaching the power pool of 553.75 feet msl, where the Corps of Engineers take over generation control again. We received about 2.5 inches of rain here at Blackburn’s in the last three days, but it is over now and another cold front is here with highs near 50 for a couple of days and then warm-up later this weekend and very warm early next week.

For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.

Norfork Tailwater

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.8 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water every day. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect more wadable water in the future.

There has been wadable water on the Norfork during the day and it fished poorly. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). Double- fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.

Dry Run Creek has fished particularly well. Spring break is here and the creek can get busy during the week. Weekends can get a quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.

Beaver Tailwater

Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that with the generation schedule and the water levels going down, getting on the bite has been a little bit of a struggle, but definitely possible. The best response has been with light terminal tackle and various PowerBaits. Hitting the deeper holes and moving around will keep you on the bite.

“Drifting has done good as well, but not as good as fishing the deep holes and slack water,” Austin said. “I have not tried it yet, but with the low water levels, you may try to fish downstream from Houseman Access. Try pulling F-7s, and S-R 5s. You may end up catching something other than a trout. The bite is spread out, there really has not been a real hot spot, just hit the deeper water.

Good luck and catch some fish.”

Visit Austin’s fishing Facebook Page for more tips on the tailwater.

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