Last Updated November 29, 2017
Tom Reynolds from STR Outfitters told us, "In December, Arkansas is full fishing and hunting mode. Winter fishing for stripers, walleye, bass, and crappie is very good. Duck hunting begins in earnest with the migration and arrival of ducks and snow geese. As the weather turns colder up north, the mallards head our way with the peak migration in late December and early January. Modern gun deer hunting ends the first weekend of December but we still have 3-day muzzle loader in mid-December and a 3-day modern gun hunt right after Christmas. Plus, our archery season continues to the end of February. In all you have many opportunities to harvest a deer, some ducks, and a big stringer of your favorite fish. Combine the hunting with some great striper fishing and you have a perfect Cast & Blast opportunity. We offer both deer and bird hunting Cast & Blast packages starting in November thorough Mid-February. Lodging is available at some of the lakefront resorts. Some even offer extensive hunting grounds. Check it all out at www.stroutfitters.com/specials.
Stripers move to deep water as winter begins. The shad move from the shallows and setup in deep water usually near or in the river channel. Look for bait and stripers in waters 50 to 100 feet. The shad will usually be in the 40-foot range in December and move deeper in January and February as the water turns colder. Live shad, both gizzard and threadfin, work the best and should be 3 to 5 inches in length. Spoons are your next best method for catching stripers. The best color and length is a white 3-inch spoon. Our presentation varies but it's usually floats, and downlines. Our normal bait will be 3 to 5 inch gizzard shad. Most times we will have 8 rods out, six downlines and 2 floats. I will vary the depths of the downlines until I figure out what range the stripers are holding that day. I then set all lines to that depth. One trick I use is using a light leader line of 10 lb test. The lighter line allows the small baits to move freely in the water. The best spots to catch stripers in December are Float and Panther Creeks, the large flat above 101 bridge, and the river channel in the 101 area up to Crystal Cove. Look for the bait or sea gulls and you will likely find the stripers. December and January can provide great striper bite all day long, it's just not a morning bite.
The bass will move to the buffs and drop offs near the river channel. The best baits are on jigs, worms and spinner baits thrown later in the day if you can a bank that has wind pounding it. There is also great night fishing throwing jigs, worms, and black or red 3/8 OZ spinner baits. You can catch fish all over the main lake and the creeks.
The crappie bite is very good. The fish are holding along the buffs in brush piles and roaming the flats in 20 plus feet of water. Warm days will bring the fish up so make sure you always check out the shallow flats. Spider rigging is the most effective technique to catch them. You can find active crappies in Brushy Creek and Big Creek on the south end of the lake, and Bennett's Bayou, Red Bank, Calamity Beach, Pigeon Creek on the north end.
Winter fishing on Lake Norfork can be very rewarding. You will the lake to yourself and the weather is usually in the 40's or higher. This is a great time to come down from the hard water, snow, and cold to enjoy some fantastic fishing."
Tom & Sean Reynolds have fished Lake Norfork for over 51 years and they guide out of Tracy Ferry Marina; you can reach him at www.stroutfitters.com, 870-421-1541 or on Facebook at/STROutfitters.
Tommy Cauley told us, "The water level at Greers Ferry Lake (at the time this forecast was written) was at 456.92 feet, it is 5.12 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet, and will continue to fall with no rain. The black bass fishing is good shallow on spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, and traps, the deeper fish can be caught on a c-rig, or football head out to 40 feet, some top water action as well as a jerk bait bite going on as well. The catfishing is good for blues on cut bait all over the lake. The walleye, some are being caught under the whites and hybrids, we presume the rest are on the move, you might fish a minnow on a jig head in 27-35 feet of water for some action on the end of flats. The Crappie are eating well in 15-23 feet of water on jigs and minnows as well as road runners. No report on bream the hybrid and white bass are eating well on structure all over the lake with some breaking going on at various times as well, use spoons, inline spinners, hair jigs, Alabama rigs, and top water baits, stay around the threadfin."
To book a trip with Tommy, call 501-654-8844 or 501-940-1318. You can also email Tommy at [email protected]t.