Norfork Lake, Arkansas
Early Spring Striper Fishing Tactics
the Ozarks this year is the worst I have seen in 17 years of living here
but it will be over soon so it is time to start thinking of early spring
striper movements. The current water temperature is the lowest since 2000.
That year we had a large shad kill and I expect the same this year.
Striper fishing in 2000 was outstanding, the fish were hungry, and with
reduced shad population, the bite was on. Starting in late February we typically will see the
winds switch to the south and a gradual warm up of air and water
temperatures. The stripers will begin to move from the deep water
following the shad. There will multiple opportunities to catch stripers at
that time. Both live bait and artificial baits will be very effective. The
night bite will begin once the winds blow from the south. You will want to
fish the northern and northeastern banks of the bays and main lake and
main arm points. Some excellent spots are the points near the near the
Norfork Dam, Koso Bay and Point, the Hudson area, Frog Pond, Diamond Bay,
Cranfield Island, and the points north of the Cranfield area heading
towards Red Bank access.
During this time of year live bait, shad & shiners, are also very effective. The stripers will be roaming the shoreline looking for food. I use shad but everything I do can be done using shiners. Most days I will run a large spread of lines. I begin with 2 inside planner boards, one near the shore and other out 20 to 30 yards. These board lines will have large gizzard shad in the 4 to 8 inch range. Out of the back of the boat I will have two lines with floats, shad on the hooks, with no weight at varies depths from 10 to 30 feet from the floats. These lines will be set back from the boat between 30 to 60 yards. I then set out two free lines with a split shot weight on one line and nothing on the other. Both will have large shad on them and will be set 40 to 60 feet from the back of the boat. The last outside line will have one planner board with a large shad out 40 yards from the back of the boat.
As the water warms the stripers will continue to move into the larger creeks to spawn. The magic water temperature number is 60 degrees. Your tactic to catch stripers should be to keep moving with the fish and continue to experiment with your techniques.
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