Ozark Mountains Bull Shoals Lake Buffalo River White River Mountain Home

How to Fish on Norfork Lake

This article is provided by Steve Street, owner/operator of Blackburn's Resort, Norfork Lake's first resort. Steve fishes year around and produces the Norfork Lake fishing report. He is also an avid Scuba Diver and Spearfisher.

Patterning Late Winter/Spring Bass By The Numbers on Norfork Lake


As water temperatures warm, bass patterns change. Use these guidelines from bass/striper pro Darrel Binkley of Bink's Guide Service in conjunction with a surface temperature meter to find and catch bass throughout the spring season on Lake Norfork.


Lake Temperature

General Location

Best Fishing Approach


38 to 42 Degrees

Bass will be deep (20-35 feet) in clear lakes, shallower (10 to 15 feet) in murky lakes, target points, channel drops & ledges. Bass in natural lakes may suspend near drop-offs in 7-10 feet of water.

Fish slowly with a 3/4 ounce jig & pig making repeated casts to cover, or tight line a leadhead grub or spoon.


42 to 44 Degrees

Some bass will move up to the breakline & sit or suspend near cover. This initial movement is typically only a few feet shallower - if bass were at 30 feet, try 25 feet.

Stay with the jig & pig or grub in the same spots. If bottom bumping doesn't work, try swimming the lure just off the bottom.


44 to 48 Degrees

More bass will move to the first breakline. Around 46 degrees, a few big females may begin staying on objects along migration routes leading to shallow spawning areas.

Work a jig progressively shallower on steep points until you contact fish. Try jigs & suspending jerk baits around isolated stumps & creek channels, accessing shallow bays.


48 to 55 Degrees

Many bass are staging now on drops adjacent to spawning areas & isolated cover along migration routes. A few big bass may spawn around 55 degrees.

Use more active lures as water warms - big bladed spinner baits & small crank baits in murky water, suspending jerk baits in clear lakes. Scan shallow bays for early spawners; use floating worms & tube baits if you see any.


55 to 60 Degrees

Many bass will be staging, & greater numbers will be moving in to spawn.

Try spinner baits & small crank baits on drops & isolated cover for stagers; floating worms & tube baits for early bedders.


60 to 70 Degrees

Bass will either be moving in to spawn, spawning, or leaving the nest.

Target pre-spawners on migration routes & drops, close to bedding areas, with spinner baits & small crank baits; spawners with floating worms & tube baits & post spawners with topwaters & minnow imitators.


70 to 80 Degrees

A few bass will spawn from 70-75 degrees, but many have left the nest via migration routes to deeper, more open water.

Begin by targeting any remaining spawners with floating worms & gitzits. Try surface lures & buzz baits in 72-76 degree water in spawning perimeters.  Gradually follow migration routes back to main lake with crank baits & Carolina rigs.