Welcome to our Norfork Lake Fishing Home Page
Norfork Lake is one of the most popular vacation spots in the Ozarks. The lake has some beautiful surroundings to go along with its clear water. With over 550 miles of shoreline and 22,000 surface acres, there is plenty of water here for pleasure boaters and anglers.
Norfork Lake is known as a good striped bass fishing lake, but there is so much more here to offer anglers. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, sunfish, crappie, walleye and catfish are all here.
Learn About the Fish
Primary Species of Fish
Striped Bass & Largemouth Bass
Most anglers come here to target stripers, but the largemouth bass fishing is pretty good too and they get pressured a good amount here as well. Some of the other species of fish are here in good numbers, but they aren’t targeted as much by most anglers who visit here.
Secondary Species of Fish
Walleye, Catfish, Crappie, Bluegill, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, White Bass, Rainbow Trout & Brown Trout
This lake has so many species of fish available to catch. Walleye are actually here in pretty good numbers and size. If you know how to fish clear water lakes for walleye, you can have some success here. Catfish, crappie, bluegill, white bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass are in this lake and they can all be caught if you specifically target them.
Nearby Trout Fishing
The nice thing about visiting Norfork lake is that you have the White and North Fork Rivers nearby if you want to go after rainbow trout and brown trout. You can catch 1 pound rainbow trout all day and there are some huge brown trout if you are looking for a trophy.
The Norfork Tailwaters is a stream formed as a result of the Norfork Dam. This tailwater is called the Norfork River, which is also the North Fork of the White River. This stretch of river is just under 5 miles long and there are 3 public access points. Fishing is very popular in this area with waders during low water, but when they are releasing water, a boat is needed to fish these waters properly. Rainbow trout and brown trout are the primary species of fish, however, some cutthroat trout and brook trout are caught here too.
The White River, of northwest Arkansas, flows north and east into Missouri then back into Arkansas. The river travels a total of 720 miles to its confluence with the Mississippi River. The White River basin drain contains about 27,765 square miles with crystal clear water and a bottom composed of gravel, bedrock and sand. The White River, below the Bull Shoals Dam, is one of the most famous trout fisheries in the world. This river is just several miles away from the Norfork Dam, so anglers can easily come visit Norfork Lake and then spend some time on the White River to do some trout fishing.
The White River is home to some awesome trout fishing. It is one of the better rivers in the midwest if you’re looking for action with the shot at a trophy fish too. Rainbow trout are loaded in this river due to an excellent stocking program. The brown trout fishing is also very good with some very big fish available in this river.
We have an entire website dedicated to fishing the White River. Take a look at the link below for more information.
Clear Water Fishing – Use Lighter Line
Norfork Lake has very clear water, so fishing can be tough on anglers that are new to fishing clear water lakes. Most anglers that do well here will be using between 6 and 10 pound fishing line. Fluorocarbon line, or at least a fluorocarbon leader attached to your main line, will definitely help you get more bites. With the faster moving lures you can get away with a little heavier line, however, if you are finesse fishing, you definitely want to go with lighter line because the fish have more time to see your presentation.
Deep Water Fishing
Norfolk lake has a lot of deep water with plenty of steep drop offs. In the spring, you’re going to find a lot of fish up in the shallows. From summer through fall, a lot of the better quality fish will be roaming the deeper waters. Many anglers do well here by fishing 20 to 35 feet deep for a variety of bass and panfish in the summer and fall months. Use your electronics to find the schools of bait fish hanging out in deeper water and you’ll catch a lot more quality fish during the warmer months of the year.
Fish at Night
Night fishing can be very effective during the summer time. It gets hot in the summer, which can definitely slow down the bite for many different fish species. Fishing at night can definitely be productive and it can be a little easier to fool some of those bigger fish that don’t want to bite your lures during the day.
Fish the Coves
On Norfolk Lake, there are a lot of smaller coves located just off the main lake. Some of these spots are great spots to fish, especially in the spring in the fall. These coves give fish a place to come shallow and find an easy meal, but deep water is still close by, which makes these spots more appealing to game fish. Shad will often get chased into these coves in the spring and fall and you can target a variety of game fish that will be following them.
Fish the Creek Arms
There are a lot of longer creek arms on Norfork Lake. Like most other lakes in the south, there is some very good fishing in these creek arms during the spring when fish move in to spawn. Norfolk lake has a lot of deep water in many of these creek arms, so there is plenty of deep water available to hold quality fish in the summer and fall as well.
Fish the Main Lake
The main lake has miles and miles of shorelines that offer good fishing, especially early in the season. After the spring spawn, good numbers of fish will move out into deeper water. On Norfork Lake, you can find a lot of good deep water drop offs close to the shorelines all around the main lake. There are so many spots that look like they would be awesome for fishing due to the nice drop offs on good looking shorelines, so you have to use your electronics to move around and find some baitfish. The areas with schools of baitfish will usually have a variety of bass and other species nearby as well. These schools of baitfish will move around the lake, so you may have to work a little bit to find some of the better drop-offs for fishing during the summer and fall months.
Fish the Points
Norfork Lake does not have a lot of very distinct points in relation to the size of the lake. However, there are a number of points to fish on the lake and a variety of bass and other fish will use these areas from spring through fall.
Fish the Rocks
Norfork Lake is full of rocks, so plan on fishing plenty of hard bottom while fishing here. Anglers target a variety of fish along the rocky shorelines throughout the lake.
Fish the Shorelines
For many anglers, they will pick a shoreline and start fishing. With the combination of rocks, wood and some good depth, you could probably get away with picking any shoreline to start fishing and you’d catch some fish. With so much deep water so close to the shorelines on Norfork Lake, there is so much good water to fish here.
Fish the Wood
Norfork lake has a lot of wood in the lake. Whether it’s lay downs, trees or some of the many fish attractors that are located throughout the lake, wood should definitely should be part of your pattern when targeting bass and other species of fish here.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has a fish attractor map for Norfork Lake to help anglers locate them faster. The Arkansas Game and Commission also has a fish attractor map for Norfork Lake and many other lakes as well.