Spear Fishing Norfork Lake
By Steve Street
The clear waters of Norfork Lake make it one of the best for spear fishing. It has good visibility and large numbers of big fish. I personally fish for walleye, crappie, catfish and white bass and go diving as much as possible.
Surface water temperatures range from the mid 70’s in early June to near 90 in August. The temperatures drop significantly just below the thermocline which can run from 20-40 feet. I wear a wetsuit to protect myself from brush and hooks, not because it is cold. Fish usually gather on and around structure so it is very important to know where the brush piles are located. Since the structure was removed from the river bed before flooding, I get a permit to cut cedar trees from the Corps of Engineers and put in my own brush every winter to attract fish. The Corps also does this and marks them with a blue sign on the shore. If they are placed at the correct depth, fish will be around and in the trees.
It is very easy to get the diving fever when you see the size of the fish in Norfork Lake. A 9-lb. walleye gives me the same sensation as seeing a 12-point buck during hunting season, maybe more. You have peace and quiet, no phones and computers and cannot get interrupted until you come up. When I get my work done during the day you had better look quickly or I will be gone diving. It has been said that I have a tank a day habit and get ornery if I cannot go. After 15 years my zeal has not decreased. I cannot think of a better sport for the whole family.
The Norfork Lake Tourism
would like you to be aware of the following:
The spear fishing season on Norfork Lake begins June 15th and runs through the following March 15th
Spear fishing limits are ½ of the daily top water limits.
All species except Largemouth, Smallmouth and Spotted Bass are allowed to be taken.
Norfork Lake hosts a spear fishing tournament the first Saturday after the season opens. Call for your favorite chamber member details.
Several marinas and dive shops rent out scuba diving gear, offer instruction and certification, as well as spear guns for fishing.
Spear fishing is not legal in the Missouri waters of Norfork Lake.