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My dilemma!

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I know it will probably be hard to give me much of an answer (or maybe not) from the limited amount of information i can provide in a post but here goes anyway! :)

I fished norfork lake arkansas last weekend and we did not do so hot. We were pre-fishing the lake for a tournament we are going to try and fish this upcoming weekend. Work wont allow us to pre-fish any during the week. I wish i could fish more during the week but i just cant. :(

We caught about 50 *read as 30 lol* fish all day long, most were below the 15 inch limit across all species of bass *spots, blacks, and smallies that will be implemented for this tournament. We had 2 keepers for the day that totaled 5.9 lbs on my scales.

We generally fished our lures in 10 feet of water or less. Reason being the water temperature is approaching 60 degrees and I figured they should be starting to move shallower. Obviously that didnt work out to well for us.

We fished main lake point's that were very long and shallow, we fished deeper main lake points that dropped off fairly quickly. We also fished points in a few larger creek arms. We also fished some pocket's and cove's as well. All the while catching loads and loads of short fish. Granted some of the fish we caught were 14.5 inches and weighed 2 to 2.5+ lbs, the fish are extremely healthy this year *for my area and lake* due to last years ultra high water levels and flooding.

We did not catch the 2 keepers till towards the end of the day. One came from what i can best describe as a small creek arm in a bay. Very small as creek arms go no more than 300 yards or less to the main bay and it only had 1 or 2 channel bends. This creek arm is not a running creek, more of just small cleft in the mountainous area this lake is built on. The keeper came from within sight of the back of the creek. Depth in the middle of the channel was probably 15 to 20 feet. Depth of the caught fish was probably 5 feet, he was under a rock. The water is ultra clear and this fish came from no-where, musta been under a rock.

The second keeper came from a small "cut" at the end of a bluff wall that dropped off into 100 feet of water within a boatlength of shore. This cut was around the "point" that the bluff came to on the northern end and the water immediatly shallowed up to a small pocket about 15 feet deep in the middle and a very small 1-3 foot deep shelf in the back. On one end of the pocket it continued up into relatively shallow water of 15 to 20 feet with an island just off the next point. So basically it was a transition from a bluff to a *kinda* flat. This second keeper was caught in the extreme back of this pocket.

Then we had to leave :(

This lake is (my figures may be off by a little here hopefully not much as the info came from a website about the lake) 30,000 acres of surface area with 300 miles of shoreline. The maximum lake depth is around 200 feet. Depths out in the "middle" are routinely 60 to 100 feet. Even in the larger creek arms which can run for miles it can be 60 feet or even deeper in the channels.

Water temperatures the week before the weekend i fished were around the high 40's low 50's at sun up, warming to between 55 and 60 at the end of the day according to the local marina.

We had alot of storms and a cold front blow through during the weekend.

This week we are seeing bluebird skies and air temperatures of 70 to 80 degree's for the high, lake wind advisories are posted as well. Water temps from what the tackle store is telling me are holding much closer to 60 degree's during the night now and warming up above 60 during the day and changing fast. We are expecting 80 degree temps for the next 4 days here.

SO!!!! after reading that wall of text *sorry heh* my question is should i focus more on the extreme back's of pockets in my upcoming fishing trip this weekend, and hit alot of small shallow pockets? Or should I try for some main lake fish? Hoping the water temperatures coming up will get some of the actual "keepers" coming up shallow on the main lake areas getting ready to spawn?

OR do you guys feel I would be more productive trying to fish somewhere deep and catch fish in "transition" areas?

Also why did the 2 biggest fish of the day come from the backs of pockets? Is there a reason biologically for that? *clarification* *I would have thought there would be keeper fish even on the main lake in shallow water with the surface temps the way they were* The surface temp's were fairly uniform in all the places we fished that day after the sun actually got high. 57 to 59.7 degrees. So it wasnt like those pockets were 8 degrees warmer. Does 2 or 3 degrees make that big of a difference?

Sorry for making such a big post but i see every time anybody makes a post asking for advice it seems they never give enough information and get asked for more and i wanted to try and get it right the first time.

If i need to look for these transition areas i will have to enlist some more aid! As i can understand alot of the stuff i read on the forum's in relation to other *relatively* shallower bodies of water. But i find it hard to relate to the types of water i fish. ie I can see how a 2 foot ditch running through a flat could be good on a flat that is 7 to 10 feet deep but how do i relate that when we dont have any actuall "flats" on this lake? Just long shallow main lake points? By shallow i mean that when your 50 or 60 yards out from the bank its *ONLY* 20 feet deep. And the drop is usually a fairly quick steady descent into the oblivion of the main lake. There are drop off's but they tend to be dramatic like 40 feet plus underwater bluff's.

I'm sorry i probably ended up asking alot more questions than i originally intended. Any and all replies will be appreciated.

Even ones asking for more info :) even though your eyes probably hurt after reading this ...if you managed to make it that far lol.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT- I hope I wasnt supposed to put this in the "tournament" subforum. Oops if so.

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In a situation where the water has warmed from the forties to the upper fifties with very fast rising temps I have only one rule. FIND THE WARMEST WATER!!! Usually this is where most of the shallow water is on the lake away from any deep water. The fish there are almost always more active. Any deep water is still cold and hasn't had a chance to warm much to move fish shallow even though the surface temps are warm over the cold deep water so those fish are still stuck on winter. First thing I would try is to find the shallowest flatest part of the lake and keep going shallower as long as the temps keep going up. The very backs of shallow creeks with very little water flow coming in are my favorite.

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Interesting!! So the surface temp alone does not dictate what the fish out on the main lake might be thinking about. You have to factor in the temp at depth to a degree. Since these fish live fairly deep to begin with. Thanks for the info!

P.S. Sorry Glen didnt mean to make you have extra work moving my post :( Lesson learned :)

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Randall was right on look for the shallowest water you can find on my boat for example I have a temp gauge which is right under the surface and the deph finder on my trolling motor also has temp and their will be a degree and a half to 2 degrees difference in water temp with only a foot or 2 difference from the point of the readings,so I would also head to the backs of the creeks with no water flow,the warming steady temps should make this even more productive.

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Thanks for the info stratos. I will definitely try this out this upcoming weekend. I had noticed the difference in water temp from my skimmer on the back of the boat and the trolling motor temp sensor but I always attributed it to differences in calibration or something. Learn something new every day!

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