In November Norfork Lake area is the sportsperson paradise month. Fall fishing is at its peak, modern gun deer season opens, and the famous Arkansas duck season opens. You can hunt in the morning and catch stripers, bass, and crappie during the rest of the day. It does not get any better than that! Deer season opens the second weekend of November, ending the first Sunday of December. Duck season opens the weekend before Thanksgiving and closes the third Sunday in January. Stripers are in their fall feeding frenzy along with the bass and crappie. Just pick your sport and Arkansas’ Norfork Lake has something for you. We also have a 3 day muzzle loader in mid-December and a 3 day modern gun hunt right after Christmas. In all you have many opportunities to harvest a deer. Combine the hunting with some great striper fishing and you have a perfect Cast & Blast opportunity. Our Cast & Blast packages starts in November thorough March 31st. The package includes 5 day 4 night lodging, 2 8 hr striper fishing days and a guided pheasant hunt that includes: guide, transportation, 8 pheasants per person, & processing. The total price for the package is $750 per person.
Stripers are in need of fating up after the August and September low oxygen months where they do not eat much. The stripers will be all over the lake after the fall turnover. The best places are the 101 Area, Big Creek near Hand Cove, Robinson Point and near or above the Arkansas/Missouri boarder. The colder the water the more active the stripers will be. Look for stripers in shallow water 30’ and keep moving out deeper until you find them on or near the bottom. The maximum depth should be no more than 50 feet. Find the cooler water with shad and stripers will be feeding heavy. Small to mid-size gizzard shad and threadfin shad is the best live bait followed by shiners. Spoons and swim baits will also catch a lot of stripers. Match the size of bait to have the best results. You may also see some great topwater action so always have a topwater bait on a rod.
Our presentation varies but it’s usually planner boards, floats, and some downlines. Our normal bait will be 3 to 6 inch gizzard shad. Most times we will have out 10 rods that covers a very wide spread. The next best way to catch the fall stripers is trolling a swim bait or crankbait. 3” swim baits and 7” crankbaits would the best. Since it’s shallow you can run long lines you do not need downriggers. Planner boards also work well trolling. As the weather cools the stripers will move up most major creeks and will also be on Robinson Point. You can catch them using the same method I described above.
The bass will start feeding heavy, with lots of top water action. Early morning top water, then jigs, worms and spinner baits later in the day are your best baits. There is also great night fishing throwing jigs, worms, and black or red 3/8 oz spinner baits. You can catch fish all over the main lake and creeks.
The fall crappie bite should be at its peak as the fish move up and also be feeding heavy. Spider rigging is the most effective technique to catch them. You will see lots of action in Brushy Creek and Big Creek on the south end of the lake, and Bennett’s Bayou, Red Bank, Calamity Beach, Pigeon Creek on the north end.
Regardless of your outdoor passion, the fall scenery displayed by Norfork Lake is fabulous. There is no better time to view the Arkansas hardwoods exploding with vivid colors. The lake gives you a never ending fall treat as you motor from hot spot to hot spot.
Tom & Sean Reynolds have fished Lake Norfork for over 51 years and they guide out of Tracy Ferry Marina; you can reach him at, 870-421-1541 or on Facebook.