Stalking, Hunting, & Fishing
For Those Norfork Lake Stripers
By Greg Weinmann, Owner of Hand Cove Resort
Feel that pole almost jerked out of your hand. Watch in awe as your spool is emptied of 8 pound test lightning fast. Tighten that drag a notch and hold on. You’re fishing for Norfork Lake Stripers!
Lake Norfork is nationally known as one of the top 3 premier trophy striper lakes in the country and is the leading cause of Striper Fever Syndrome in the Midwest. Catch just one 20 pound fish and you’re addicted. There is no cure. The only way to get temporary relief is to fish and fish often.
These monsters, unique to Norfork Lake, typically weigh in between 8 and 14 pounds. Twenty and thirty pounders are relatively common and every year anglers are netting fish topping the forty pound mark! It’s the abundance of Gizzard and Threadfin shad, the striper’s favorite food, that allows these freshwater whales to grow to the enormous size and weights you’ll find in Norfork Lake. Shad prefer clear water, moderate water temperatures, and a never ending source of plankton for food, conditions Norfork Lake is famous for. So, lots of shad plus Norfork clear water…..big stripers, really big stripers!
Stripers by Season
With that you should be saying to yourself “I’ve GOT to get me some of those. But when is the best time?”
The best time to fish for Norfork Stripers really depends on you. The fish are here all year long. They’re always hungry, always mean, always aggressive, and always ready to fight you. So it comes down to what time of year do you enjoy fishing and your favorite style and technique to use. Norfork’s weather is usually mild during any particular season although each season is distinctive. Do you like to fish warm weather? How about when it’s a little nippy? Want to fish at night, early in the morning, or both? It’s up to you. The important thing is to know the proper technique and bait choice during the time of year you’re fishing. Not sure about timing or techniques, then contact one of Norfork’s professional Striper Fishing Guides.
If you’re on a trophy hunt with mounting potential or you just want something to brag to the guys about, be sure to be here sometime between early March and the end of May. The 2 weeks before and after April’s full moon tend to be prime time.
If you want to stock the freezer, come see us beginning in June through October. Daily limits are typical during these months. Bring plenty of large Ziplocs and sun screen. You might want to wear a swimsuit. During these months that lake water can be awfully inviting.
The winter months are the “almost sure thing” months. Fishing tends to be very consistent. Most days are limit out days but sometimes it can get chilly out there. A good snowmobile suit or hunting gear usually works well in the boat.
Still not sure about timing or techniques? It’s best to hook up with one of Norfork’s experienced Striper Fishing Guides. These fellows can help you with most any striper issue you might have and you’ll have a great time learning techniques, bait choices and even the current hot spots. So be sure to book a trip. You might want to bring some Ben Gay. Your shoulders and arms will appreciate it.
If you’ve already contracted Striper Fever, be sure to check with your Norfork Lake resort owner. They usually are in the know as to what’s happening on the lake. Those bait shop guys are a great source of information also.
Need a boat to chase those bad boys down? Many local marinas have fishing boats for rent as do the lake resorts.
Of course one of those trophies can tail-smack water in your face or you can fill your live well most anytime of the year, so pick a week, book your cabin, charter a trip with your soon to be favorite Striper Fishing Guide and just get at it. There really is not a time not to fish for those unique Norfork stripers.