Norfork Lake fishing report: Sept. 19, 2019

The Norfork Lake striper bite will continue near the dam until the water begins to cool. Now, 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 in 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 only 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 reeling 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 one. 

Fish live bait right now. I have watched the trollers and spooners fish every day and only see one or two 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 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 beginning their fall feeding pattern.


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