The fishing on Norfork Lake continues to improve. The shad are still spawning, and the stripers are on a very early morning bite. We are catching stripers as soon as we get a bait in the water somewhere around 5 a.m. The bite does not last long and is usually over by 7 a.m. I’m seeing a shift in the bite due to the hot May weather. This past week I boated over 35 stripers in three days, but the weekend – with the boat traffic and people fishing – slowed the bite. What’s now happening is the stripers are beginning to feed heavy on crawdads, and this means they are very shallow then they are moving to deep water. I have yet to find a consistent deep-water bite, but it’s only a matter of time and you will catch them later in the morning. Right now we are catching them on weighted floats set at 15 feet and 30 feet, long lines with split shots and planner boards with the bait 20 feet behind the board.
The odd thing this past week was where I have been catching them. Normally it has been off the points, but we found large schools of male stripers in waters 90 to 140 feet deep feeding on shad before and shortly after light. There is some top-water, but it does not last long.
Start looking at Robinson Point in 20 to 30 feet of water near the bottom. The stripers will be feeding on crawdads. Start very shallow then continue to move out till you find them. This pattern will occur all over the lake as the water continues to warm. We are near or at the 80-degree water temperature all over the lake. The lake is also being drawn down a few inches every day, so start planning on switching to a full summer pattern within the next week or so.

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