Thank God March is finally over! I have never seen a March like this one in terms of weather and fishing. A normal March brings warm days with south winds and some rain. This March was nothing like that. When we did get a warm day with south winds it was followed by cold north winds, rain and cloudy days.
The lake level was 547 at the beginning of the March, and it ends with a lake level of 558 – and our rainy season has not begun yet. I can only hope we can get some stable weather and that the Corps of Engineers can run some of this water off before June.
With that being said, there are some bright spots. The crappie have moved shallow into 2 to 3 feet of stained water. The night bite for stripers is strong, and the stripers are feeding on big baits. They’re still in deep water  – 15 to 40 feet – but they are very shallow in the water column.
The fish that are blowing up on our big baits are less than 10 feet deep. I’m running my planner boards with only 5 feet from the board to the bait, and stripers are blowing the baits out of the water. Fish are being caught in the Cranfield, Bennett’s and Big Creek areas. Fish the points and sharp turns along bluff walls halfway up the creeks.
Start looking for top-water action early and late afternoons off the points and bays halfway up the creeks and beyond. You will start seeing stripers feeding around Cranfield Island, Cow Point, Bennett’s, Brushy Creek and Big Creek just east of Hand Cove Resort. Once the water starts to reach the 60-degree mark, Norfork Lake will turn on fire.
Everything will bite better with warmer weather. The best place to find fish is Bennett’s Bayou and the Twin Coves area. Up past Cranfield there is lots of bait in the area, much more than Big Creek, which could bode well for Big Creek since the predators may be more interested in whatever you present. But as always, as we say, find the bait and you will find the fish.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423

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