Norfork Lake Slab Crappie
Fish and Fiddle
And Tim Partin of
101 Grocery and
When some folks catch a 9” crappie, they may consider having it
mounted. On Norfork Lake, crappie must be at least 10” to be considered for
the live well. That is the minimum size of a keeper.
the water temperature is right, the cloud cover good, and the planets are
properly aligned, crappie fishing is incredible. You’ll be throwing that 10
incher back to make room for the more normal 12 to 14 inch fish. With a
daily limit of 15, your nights may seem very long as you wait to get back on
the brush piles the next morning.
Where are those piles you might ask? The Norfork Lake
know, as does the
bait shop guys and most
staff. Just ask, it just doesn’t get any easier. Well, actual it does
because many of these folks have lake maps with known brush piles accurately
marked. Now it can’t be much easier. Well….. no. The local lake managers
have place marker signs mid-pile of the brush on trees and sign posts along
the lake shore. So with a pair of binoculars, some dollar store reading
glasses, and maybe a cheap graph, you should have no problem finding the
piles. But if by chance you still struggle, you might consider jugin’’ for
During the cooler weather, October through April, crappie fishing
really picks up. They
move into shallows in the many brush piles that have been added to the lake
for fish cover. We find that when adding our own brush piles, the crappie
move in almost immediately. On any given day, people are surprised by the
size of the crappies caught on Lake Norfork. It is common for these fish to
be in the 12 to 15 inch size. You can catch them around boat docks on a
regular basis in this same size range.
You will find that perhaps you do not always catch these fish in great
numbers, but you will catch the biggest crappie that most people have ever
seen. Whether you are fishing with a
guide and catching larger numbers of crappie, or if you prefer
to do it on your own, the size of our crappie will astonish you. Use very
small tube jigs for crappie. The trick is finding how deep the crappie are.
Once you find that, you can concentrate on the right color and can usually
catch quite a few. Keep trying different depths and different colors, and it
will not be long before you find the right combination.
the fishing slows, move to another brush pile, and then go back later to the
first and try again. Norfork water is very clear so be quiet and calm.
Crappie spook easily and will not bite after a few are caught in one brush
pile. By moving and fishing another pile it gives them time to settle down
and return to the brush. As with other fish, the color jig varies with the
Another basic favorite is using live minnows on a very light slip bobber.
Hook one or two through the tail and drop them over the top of the pile and
let them free line. Or try hooking minnows through the mouth and troll them
over the top and along the sides of the piles. You should get some action.
brush piles look for the blue and white signs along the shoreline. The piles
are usually from 50 to 150 feet long, and far enough out in the water so
that they remain submerged during low water periods. The signs are usually
about equal to mid-pile.
planning fall winter or spring fishing trip keep Lake Norfork in mind.
Walleye, crappie, bass, and striper fishing is especially good in the cooler
By the way
2008 spring rains and subsequent high water event produced a phenomenal
spawn for crappie and all other Norfork Lake species. The Arkansas Game and
Fish Commission predicts that starting with the 2009 season, fishing will be
fantastic for years to come.