Fishing Report

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The lake level is 553 and dropping very slowly with just a little generation. We had a couple of cold windy days but the last few have been in the 60's with light winds. It rained a bit last night but it is to get in the 80's this weekend. We received just under 3-inches of rain in October.  The surface temperature is 65 degrees and the creeks are starting to clear. The warm weather will slow the turnover but it has not affected fishing much. Lots of shad are in the creeks with the wind blowing in but most of the fish under them are small. They are coming up all over just before dark. I am fishing mostly main lake except when it is very windy and I move out of the wind to the creeks. A few things have just changed. Crappie are still on brush at 25 ft. about 8-ft. down on minnows and when spooning they are hitting on the way down. I started catching  black bass on brush near the bottom yesterday and some nice smallmouth on the steep banks on the north side on a grub from 6-12 feet down around Cow Point. I have been fishing for about 3-hours everyday and am putting from 8-11 keeper fish of all kinds in the trophy pond. Many schools of shad have no fish around them so if you are looking for open water fish you have to keep moving. They are not jumping in the boat but you can catch some if you work at it. Those of us that have been here a while call the fall bite when the walleye start moving to the shadowy banks just before dark and can be caught on soft plastics and the red meat fish move to the banks near Cranfield Island and Near Quarry Marina after dark to feed.  This usually happens, if at all, near the full moon in November but it is the 4th this year and is too early. Fall fishing is stick bait fishing but it also is not happening yet. The stripers are mostly 5-8 lbs. and small and it is better to leave them alone for now.  Many walleye are short but about 1-in-4 are keepers. I am seeing large schools of shad on the mainlake just outside brush piles in 38-45 feet with a few smaller fish on them. Crappie and Bass fishing is the best now with big ones just starting to show up. Crappie are pretty much on all brush in the 25-ft. range with a lot of them being caught. The numbers will go down but the size will go up as the water cools. I am catching more large ones everyday. They will come up shallow as the water cools in the evening but now set your slip float at 7-8 feet right over the brush. This very warm weather coming up may change things but if you stay around brush you will catch fish. Spoons, grubs with minnows and slip floats with minnows are all I am using and when one does not work switch to another and keep moving. I am catching some good ones every day. Cabins are $53/day at Blackburns with a free boat stall.  

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The lake level is 554.45 and stable with no generation for over two days.The lake is stained with the creeks being more clear than the main lake which is starting to turn green. The weather has been beautiful with highs in the mid 70's and should continue for a few days. The surface temperature is 73-74 degrees.  There are small stripers floating by my dock. Someone must be throwing them away after bringing them in.  They will not stay alive in a well now. Release them immediatey. Crappie fishing is still ok and I am catching about 6-7 keepers in about two hours of fishing. About 1/2 are hitting on Bink's spoons and the rest on minnows. They are about 10-feet down over brush. Bass fishing is slow. I have several good bass fishermen in and they are working hard for keeper fish. White spinner baits, grubs, and crank baits are best. The top water bass are mostly small. The backs of creeks are full of shad about 2-1/2 inches long in the late evening. Spooning is the best technique now for walleye and crappie but some bass are caught on the shelves on wind blown steep banks beating the shore. They seem to hit about 10-12 feet deep around cover. I am usually spooning big bass this time of year but it is not happening now. Bluegill are everywhere and I have some giant ones under my dock. Bink reports catching walleye everyday but only about one in four are keepers. Some open water fish are showing up on the flats between Mallard point and Cranfield Island in 30-ft. of water. A lot of small ones. Yes you can get a good locator, get out about two hours before daylight and net shad, put out a half a dozen lines and troll.  Sooner or later you will catch fish if you go through enough schools. Sorry but that is not for me.  I prefer to catch them myself. Trolling unbrellas is more effective than that and requires a lot less equipment. I do not do either but a lot of people do. Bink reports the river is running brown for several weeks. What is up with that? It must have something to do with keeping the lake level so high for so long. The only time I have seen it is after a heavy rain. The lake is about to start turnover and may be already. I usually know exactly but have been unable to go diving for a while. It sometimes is quick but more often takes a while. That is why I put in brush for my friends and customers so they can have an advantage.  Some nice flatheads are coming out of the brush on spoons also. November looks to be good.  There are a lot of fish.

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It is still very warm here with highs near 90 and and a surface water temperature of 80-degrees. Any changes in fishing is more due to dropping water level than any pattern. Most big fish this time of year are still in open water on shad but some are on brush at or near the thermocline which is at or just above 29-feet. If you can find brush at 30-feet on main lake points there will be walleye on them. I was catching them on flats but they have moved. I wish more people were helping to put in brush piles rather than fishing other people's. They hand out permits in January. Catfishing is fair on jugs and trotlines with live bait but it is hard to keep the small bass off them. I am starting to try prepared bait but flat heads will not bite anything that is not alive and that is what I really want.  Crappie are in their normal places for the end of September and have not moved from the open water for the fall yet. The ones being caught are left overs from the summer and you can catch out a brush pile easily. I have been catching some every day but no big ones. I call big ones from 15-17 inches and typically catch them in the winter. There are a lot of shad and there is no reason for them to move from open water yet. The ones I have been catching during the middle of the day are 8-ft. down over brush at 28-feet and I am using both a 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon and a small crappie minnow with a slip float. My other favorite lure, 2-inch white twister tail turned the wrong way on a 1/16th ounce white with red eye jig head and tipped by hooking a small crappie minnow through the top of the head is not working well yet. I cannot keep the small bass off them. Bait fish are everywhere. Smallmouth bass are numerous with some big ones being caught but a lot of small ones. Same with Kentucky and Largemouth. I caught some white bass in Blackburns Creek but they were small also. You have to get below the small bass which are very shallow to get the crappie. This looks to be a typical year now with the water level finally going down and the surface temperature about normal. I am very sorry about the striper kill down by the dam but the ones in this area are looking healthy but a little thin. I do not fish for red meat fish much anyway but a lot of people do and to each their own.  Leaves more crappie, walleye and catfish for me and the trophy pond. Lake is stained and you can see your lure to about 5-feet down on main lake. Set your slip float for crappie about 3-feet deeper than you can see the minnow. We received a little over 1/2 inch of rain this week and it helped but we are very dry. Blackburns has it's parking lot by the dock back now and you can walk or drive to it and step right on and cabins are still $53/day with a free boat stall. All cabins have a covered porch and there are no duplexes. Big pool is open and boating conditions are perfect.

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Things have been the same for a while. The surface temperature is 80 degrees and the lake is dropping slowly and is at 574.85   They have the level  at Newport, which is their most important thing for some reason, down to 16-feet and they might start letting some water out when it hits 14. We have had no rain and it is getting dry here. They have been dropping the lake about 1-inch per day with generation less than 1/2 the time. Almost all of the fish are in the buckbrush and trees and under debris including the shad and other minnows. The thermocline is forming and will be at less than 20-feet and the fish will be just above that. As the thermocline goes deeper the fish will follow it as long as there is dissolved oxygen. Just about every bait is working for something, just look for the shad being pushed up to the top.  This is happening all day.  Fishing is not great but you can catch some good ones working where you can get your lure or bait close to the shore. Points part way back in the creeks are a good place to start. Limb lines are not working very well but trot lines baited with prepared bait are working across the backs of creeks for smaller channel cat weighted to the bottom. I keep trying live bait but the flatheads have eluded me so far this year. Dragging night crawlers around the islands are getting walleye. Bass are everywhere. The debri on the main lake is almost gone and the main lake is clearing faster than the creeks. We need the lake to drop about 5-feet for launching and parking to be less congested with the increased summer boat traffic. They could do this if they wanted to. Norfork Lake in general is in good condition. Blackburns is very busy with people taking advantage of our low prices on both cabins and boat rentals and free boat stalls. Pontoon rental with trolling motors is very busy this season.  Norfork lake is the best option for lakes in the area for boating. 

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The lake level is 551.4+ and the surface temperature is in the mid to high 60's and the lake is pretty clear except for the pollen. It is to rain for the next couple of days and we seem to get some just when we need it. It is to get very cool this weekend so bring jackets.  It is not too wet or dry. We are at a good level on the lake and it is in general in excellent shape. The best bite for now is the top water bite early in the morning but they can come up any time when the shad get pushed up to the surface. Get out there about 6:AM and fish until they go down which is about 9:30 AM part way back in the creeks. East pigeon and middle pigeon are good places to start. If the weather is clear and sunny use a clear spook. It sparkes in the light and resembles a shad in the sunlight. If it is cloudy a white spook and a 5-inch bass assassin will work just fine. Use a spittin image for bass. Learn how to use the spook properly and it will draw them up even when they are several feet below the surface. I like the spook puppy because it is more the size of the shad but the larger ones can be cast further. They always seem to come up just out of reach. Some big bass are with the red meat fish, some are on the bank spawning, some are making nests and some are finished. Bass on Norfork spawn up into the summer.  That is not the only bite. Smallmouth bass are on the river channel banks just off the bank as are warmouth. I am catching them from 2-4 lbs. quite regurlarly and in the middle of the day too. Many fish have moved under docks both on main lake and just off. Bass, walleye, crappie and bluegill are loaded there but are hard to catch. They are shallow and can see you. I looked for walleye on the flats around the Islands but could not catch any. It is usually a may thing but the water is too low to bring them in early this year. The best bite for them is evening just before dark on shadowy banks near brush on the 5-inch plastics. Some crappie have spawned and moved to brush but some are also still in the creeks on any wood. Bluegill fishing should get very good soon. Blackburns still has 1-bedroom cabins for $53/day for two people with a free boat stall with your cabin and free 24-volt trolling motors for your fishing pontoons which we have several for rent. Check prices before you book and save a lot of $ here at Blackburns where we do not charge you too much. 

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We received a little over an inch of rain last night and it is misting a bit now. The water level is at 549.43 and is at a good level. It has come up about 4-1/2 feet from the low earlier.  The main lake surface temperature bumps 60 when the sun comes out but it is just in the 50's for ambient temperature today so it will not rise today. We need some low temperaures to stay in the 60's for fishing to really take off. Spring fishing begins when open water fish start to come up in the morning and they are doing that. The places that are first to have a good topwater bite are fall and panther creeks and they are coming up there now most days. It will get better and better as we get deeper in April and start tapering off the end of May.  Bink reports catching fish morning, noon and night with some walleye still full of eggs. When the top water fish go down try casting a spoon where they were last seen and hopping it back to the boat allowing it to go about 20-feet down. A lot of small fish are being caught but a few good ones. They are not jumping in the boat but you can get some big ones if you are persistant. Top water fishing is the best and trolling umbrellas when they go down is next. Using bass assassins in the evening on shadowy banks are producing some walleye and bass. For some reason flukes work better than assassins  on this lake for bass. The only difference is the split tail. Use a weighted nose hook and keep that head dropping as much as possible. The rising water has washed some dirt from the shore and pollen are combining to stain the lake. I saw some very large turkey and found several mushrooms yesterday and the purple martins are back. Those are all indications of good fishing to come. Blackburns resort and Boat Rental is full now but have a few openings next week. People are taking advantage of our low cabin and boat rental rates. If you are staying at a place where you are nearly the only customer you are paying too much. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and there will be plenty of people here to help you with fishing tips. All cabins have covered porches and we have no duplexes. Your first boat stall is free with cabin rental. 1-800-635-0526

Norfork lake giant crappie.Image title

Brian Deardoff with 2 of 20 caught yesterdayImage title

Caught last night.Image title

Tom Kelly with some good ones.Image title

Fishing had slowed dramatically after the cold weather and snow but is picking up now. Surface water temperature is 56 degrees on the main lake and 58 back in the creeks in shallow water. We have had big variations in ambient temperatures and the water has been slow to warm up. We need some nights to have low temperatures near 60 to really get things going. Our normal high is 62. The lake level continues to drop slowly with generation occurring for several hours a day and it is now at 545.27 and it is clearing a bit but is a good color for fishing. There is a lot of pollen in the water on wind blown banks. It is brown indicating juniper which comes out early. Bink reports catching good fish on the bank in the evening and after dark. Walleye before dark on stick baits and soft plastics and stripers and hybrids after dark. Walleye are showing up more and more everyday. Crappie fishing was fair and then the water cooled and they came back to the brush and it got good again. Now very few brush piles are holding fish where they were thick on them last week. It is their transition period between the males moving shallow in the creeks to make a nest and the big females in open water on shad. Many shallow brush piles in the Pigeon Creek area are exposed with the lower than normal water level. Be carefull when going around Robinson Island and Cranfield Island and do not try to cut through. There are a few bass coming up at sunrise but not too many. A few are also surfacing back in the creeks in the evening but are small. The big ones are being caught on south facing main lake channels with steep banks on grubs and crank baits. Some stripers are on the banks at night but most are in open water and hard to find and if you do hard to find feeding. Top water fish are on their way and one of the first places to find them is Panther Creek. Blackburns has many good brush piles but few are holding fish now. They will after the spawn. What we do not need now is a fast change in water level to hurt the spawn. Keep it right where it is for now. When the main lake hits 60 degrees things will really break open. Right now you have to work for the fish but you can catch them if you are persistent. Get back to the basics and use only clear light line and take off all of the hardware. Smallmouth bass fishing is getting good. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental has one bedroom cabins for $53/day and your first boat stall is free. 1-800-635-0526

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The lake level has been dropping and is below 548. Surface termperature is 48 degrees. I do not know why they are lowering it so much but it does not bother me much. It just gives us more capacity for the spring rains and lets us fish in a smaller bowl. The main lake is stained but clearing a bit and the creeks are stained just right for fishing. For you smallmouth bass fishermen this is the time. i am catching 4-lbers everyday along with giant crappie up to over 17 inches and thick across the back. I like winter fishing. Usually I am nearly the only one out there but the lake was very busy with the nearly 70 degrees yesterday. The smallmouth were off the steep river channel banks in 16-18 feet of water on a grub tipped with a minnow, the crappie were on brush with a minnow on a slip float and the black bass were on brush on main lake points on a 1/2 ounce bink's jigging spoon. Caugh fish steadily all evening until dark. For you open water fishermen there are a lot of shad 50-feet down no matter the water depth at the mouths of the major creeks on the main lake channel. We had some good striper fishermen in yesterday and they had a little trouble getting very many fish. They fish umbrellas and almost always catch fish. I am not much on trolling a half dozen rods with live bait on them until I run out of gas. I am poor and it is hard on motors and I always get tangled up when I catch a fish or get two on at a time when going through a school.  The fish population is good on Norfork Lake and they are healthy. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental has the best prices on both cabins and boats and is open all year. A free boat stall comes with your cabin.and you can launch right here and do not have to go elsewhere to do so.  We have it all and at the best price. If you are staying somewhere where you are nearly the only customer you are paying too much. Pet friendly. 1-800-635-0526

Iowa Boys can catch fish too.Image title

Scuba SteveImage title

Gus Carlson With Some Good ones.Image title


Caught Yesterday. Steve deardoffImage title

Things are changing here on Norfork Lake. The surface temperature is in the low 60's and the level is 552.8 and rising slowly. The creeks are stained and the visibility is about 5-6 feet down on the main lake. There are a lot of shad and finding them does not necessarily mean fish are under them. Quite a few white bass and a few hybrids are on the flats in front of the houses on  Mallard point on the way to Cranfield island. Some good stripers are west of the bridge and east of Cow point in about 50-feet of water. The fish seem to like to suspend down about 40-feet no matter the depth. Spooning and trolling umbrellas are both working. The crappie have moved to the shallower brush in 22-25 feet on the main lake near Blackburns Creek and in the  area around Briar Creek and the brush near the launch near Red Bank. The ones that are not on shad have moved off the deep brush so find several brush piles at 20-25 feet deep and work them.   You have to stay right on the brush to get the fish and they bite for just a few minutes and then quit for about 2-hours. The stick bait bite after dark has been a dud but keep checking the walleye rearing pond area for fish anyway. The biggest change is the bass. I am catching several shallower in the creeks on brush in 20-25 feet of water on the spoon. Good ones too.  I am not having much luck pounding the bank on the main lake yet. I love winter bass fishing and it looks like it is starting despite the water temperature. The fact that they are showing up on the points on brush in the creeks is good news for me. i do not chase the open water fish in the winter much but a lot of people do. I like those big fat Kentucky Bass and 15-17 inch crappie and throw in a Walleye or two. They are in the brush with the crappie but on the bottom next to the brush. My poles are rigged with small grubs, slip floats and 1/4 and 1/2 ounce Bink's Spoons. I like the white and red ones this time of year. It is good to just be outside and if you have already winterized your boat, come on down we have one for you. There is no closed season and you can not walk on our water or drill holes in it. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental has the best prices on Both cabins and boat rental and do not charge you for boat stalls and are open all year. 1-800-635-0526

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Caught By Joe CebulaImage title

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A lot has changed. First the thermocline is gone. It was at 38 feet for a long time and the oxygen level was poor at below 32-feet but not now. A lot of fish that were staying in 30-feet of water are schooled, roaming and scattered. Big fish are anywhere from shallow to 48-feet. Deep brush in 40-feet or more are holding big walleye and black bass. Many crappie have moved in from open water and are schooled on brush at 30-feet. The surface temperature is 75 degrees and the visibility is pretty good on main lake and clearing in the creeks.  Some open water fish are showing up suspended a bit in 60-feet of water. Catfish are also on brush at varied depths. This is a good time to catch some good bass and many are holding crawdads. I got a nice striper on a main lake point in 30-feet of water on brush. The lake level is 553.25 and dropping slowly with one generator partially running for several times a day. Many bait fish, mostly bass and bluegill have moved to cover at all depths. This is a good time of year to catch about anything and will continually get better for several weeks. People are getting stripers up-river near the border on shad and hybrids and white bass are moving into Blackburns Creeks area on spoons. I like this time of year for both pole fishing and diving.  Good weather, good fishing and low prices. $53/day for a one bedroom. Why pay more? Most boat stalls free. 1-800-635-0526. Fall foliage peak is coming the last of the month and we received 1-1/2 inches of rain this week to help everything out. We were dry. Peep leaves, fish and dive all in the same day.

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The recent heavy rains have really muddied up the creeks and filled them up with debris from Cranfield to past the Robinson Point areas. The debris is moving with the wind. The middle of August also brings early morning fog so this combination is bad for props so watch out. The lake is very stable at 553.12 and they are running one generator just enough to keep it that way. The rain has muddied up the water on main lake points as well as the creeks and the visibility, which was good to 25 feet is gone. Bink reports that the rain had little effect except the level rose a few inches in the dam area. It is still clear and there is no debris. What a difference a few miles can make. He is catching walleye at the mouths and part way back in the creeks in 32-34 feet of water on the spoon. He is concerned about the stripers. They are schooled in 150 feet of water 35-40 feet down in the middle of the lake and there is no oxygen deeper than 45 feet. They want to go deeper but cannot. He says if it does not cool down there could be another fish kill. It is susposed to cool this weekend. I hope so we do not want to lose our big striper. People are catching them by trolling umbrellas. Smallmouth and Kentucky bass are off steep banks on the ledge at 25-28 feet and are schooled. Catfish are with the walleye near the bottom. Bluegill are on brush and crappie are scarce. The lake It is at a good level. The surface temperature is 89. Different tactics for different parts of the lake. 

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The lake level is very stable now with one generator running just enough to keep it at just below 553. The thermocline has dropped to about 27 feet with pretty clear water to there and a mud line from there to about 31feet. Striper are scattered and roaming and feed early and then move to deeper water. I am not seeing very many brought in but some. Walleye is the best bite and they are in 32-35 feer of water near the bottom on the end of main lake points. Some big crappie are with them on brush but the schools have not moved in yet. There are not very many fish on the brush but several fish above it in warm water especially smallmouth bass but they are mostly small. There are some big bluegill on the brush. Spooning is the best but good fishermen trolling deep diving crankbaits in 30-35 feet of water across points are catching good fish of about all species. I am surprised at the low number of fish on brush that is not on main lake points. Night fishermen are catching some good bass on blacklights. It has been and is susposed to remain very hot for several days and the middle of the day fishing is poor. Get out at first light, fish until about 10:AM, take the middle of the day off and go out again about 6PM. I like glow in the dark saltcraws for after dark bass fishing. Scuba diving is getting better as far as visibility is concerned but fish always get a little scarce this time of year until the crappie move in. They are getting several catfish but I do not hunt them very much preferring walleye and crappie. 

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The lake is still rising slowly with little generation. It is now over 557. Both the main lake and creeks are stained. There is a thermocline at 20-feet with cold water under. Crappie are fairly scarce but you can catch some if you know where. You have to cull several to get a keeper. Walleye are on main lake points in 23-30 ft. of water near the bottom with smaller ones suspended in 50-ft. about 30-ft. down. Spoons and dragging night crawlers are the best. Striper have moved deeper and to the main lake and are also suspended in about 50-ft. of water. The surface temperature is 85 degrees and rising. Out normal ambient high is 85 and we have been in the 90's with lows near 70. Night fishing with blacklights and salt craws are producing some nice bass. The only top water left is bass and they are mostly small. I got some nice walleye and white bass diving yesterday and the big ones were all below the thermocline. Bink is on the big striper and catching them everyday but they have moved from the creeks. Blackburns resort and Boat Rental has some openings for this week and would appreciate your business. Call 1-800-635-0526 if you do not want to pay too much.  We have mostly free boat stalls and do not charge for trolling motors on pontoons. 

This is the biggest fish I have seen all year. Rum Binkley.Image title

The lake level is stable at 553.8 with one generator running continuously. The surface temperature is 74 and is not changing much. The main lake is cloudy and the creeks are stained. There is no thermocline yet and there is no reason for the fish to be at any particular depth. The visibility is about 4-feet down to near 30 feet. Fish are coming up both mornings about 6:AM and evenings at 6:pm and other times in between on cloudy days. Spooning is best when the fish go down. I am catching walleye on brush at about 20-feet on main lake points and some big bluegill but few large crappie. Several smaller ones are being caught in Pigeon and Redbank. Black bass are both on the brush and in open water on shad. Small bluegill and warmouth are holding the big fish on the brush. Shad are everywhere and can come up anytime. Look first on banks where the wind is blowing into. Learning to catch fish after they go down is the secret. Otherwise it makes for a short day of catching. I had a report of walleye being in 10-feet of water on points but have not personally found these. Fish are coming up around Cranfield Island and Point 5. When the thermocline finally forms the fish will be right above it or just below it. There will be a lot of fish at about 16-20 feet soon.  

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We received 3.3 inches of rain last evening and night and the creeks run heavily for a while. The backs of the creeks are muddy but not too bad. We were dry and a lot sunk in. The level raised from 553.26 to 554.15 and is still going up as they quit generating this morning. The surface temperature was 69 degrees last night when I came in. The top water fish are the best bite now with the best time to get them is just before sunrise. They are all over the lake depending on which way the wind has been prevailing. The shad follow the plankton and the open water fish follow the shad. Start looking on the bank where the wind has been blowing into. Depth does not matter much as the shad are being crowded to the top. Bink and I have been catching walleye on spoons in 16-26 feet of water on brush near the bottom. They are where they always are in May before the thermocline is formed and will be right at the thermocline later. Crappie fishing is not the best yet with a lot of small fish being caught before a good one. Larger bass have mostly spawned and are in their post-spawn period with the females getting healed up. Some good ones are on the banks with more in open water on shad. Bass top water on the banks is getting better every day. Smallmouth have slowed a bit. Bluegill are biting well and catfish has slowed a bit also with flatheads slowing and channels picking up. White bass are easily caught on top most every morning with Hybrids next and then stripers. Blackburns resort and Boat Rental has the best prices on both cabins and boats and we do not charge for most boat stalls. We have bass boats and fishing pontoons. 1-800-635-0526

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Well the water has warmed up, the spawn is almost over and the spring top-water action has begun. Many fish have left their beds, crappie are moving to the brush piles and walleye are starting to go to mainlake points. Stripers, Hybrids, White Bass and Bass are coming up almost every morning and some evenings. This is the time to get your zara spooks for stripers and spitin image for bass and be out there before sunrise and again in the evening and walk that dog. Take the middle of the day off unless it is cloudy then fish a creature bait like a 3-inch plastic crawdad with a 3/16th jig head in the creeks. This has been slow coming but is finally here. Come on down. 1-800-635-0526.

James Soltysiac With Some Nice FishImage title

The lake level is 559+ and the surface temperature was 58.4 last evening. They need to do more to drop the lake. It is much too high for December. There has not been a fall bite where the open water fish move to the bank to feed after dark but they are still on the long flats suspended in 30-60 feet of water but feeding more heavily. The high water has allowed the shad to spawn several times this year and their population is back up. The fish do not have to move to the bank at night to feed but just stay on the shad and feed all the time. If you have a good locator and know where to start you can catch fish. They will feed heavily until the water temperature drops and they become more lethargic and move to the old river channel by the bridges and Bidwell where they will be more difficult to catch. Find the shad, note their depth, drop your spoon to the botton and reel it up two feet per turn for a baitcaster and one foot per turn for a spinning reel and snap your line up about six feet and allow to drop on slack line into the shad. Some times it is good to drop the spoon to the bottom and reel up fast through the shad. Bink and I usually catch the biggest fish of the year during the full moon in November on a stick bait but not this year. I am spooning brush in 28-32 feet of water and catching some good smallmouth, largemouth and crappie .  That is what I am after. There have not been many changes except the open water fish on the flats that have been there for several weeks are feeding more heavily and the water is still rising.  Walleye are getting a little more difficult to catch. Several crappie are being caught off the dock but only about 11 inches. The big ones are near the bank at dark on a grub but not very many. Not many big stripers are being brought in only in the 5-8 pound range but a lot of white bass and some hybrids in the 3-5 pound range. 

The lake level is 556.44 and dropping 4-inches a day with heavy continuous generation. Wish they could have done this during the summer. All launch ramps, parking lots and roads are open again and in good shape again. The surface temperature is in the low 70's and the main lake is clear and the creeks are stained just right for fishing. The open water fish are following the shad which are following the plankton which follow the wind direction. One day the fish will be in the North Creeks and the wind shifts and they move to the south creeks. I like this level now and the brush which had been too deep is now in play. The most important tip now is to fish the stained water. I have been catching fish close to Blackburns in 30-feet of stained water with a 1/4 and 1/2 ounce Bink's Jigging spoon. I only use the heavier ones in deep water. Grub fishing was pretty good but has stopped now. Crappie are starting to bite on brush with a slip float and minnow but are also moving with the wind and bass are still hitting a single spin and crank baits in the creeks. I am not much on crank baits but they are catching smaller fish now. I am only fishing brush piles now. The white bass are biting in the creeks but are small. The big ones with hybrids mixed in are not here yet. It is too early for a night bite but that is determined by the lake turnover. Norfork lake does not turn over violently with debris coming to the surface off the bottom like shallow northern lakes. The thermocline just inverts and the clarity, water temperature and oxygen level is the same for several feet down causing the fish to scatter. After the surface water cools down with the short days the open water fish will school and  come to the banks to feed at night and move further out during the days. This usuall happens during November. The other fish will also move shallower to cover and stay there. Spoons will be the bait of choice for a while during the day and stick baits at night. Until then I switch to a grub when the sun goes down. I have no luck with spoons after dark. This is a fun time of year and the lake is in excellent condition.Image title

The lake level is 571.60 and dropping about one inch per day with just a few hours of generation. The surface temperature is in the high 80's and the visibility is about 7 or 8 feet off rocky banks. The thermocline starts at 23 feet with cold water at 30 feet. I am finding walleye at the end of mainlake points just at the drop offs at 35 feet. Some bass are with them and the crappie are starting to move in. If you know where there is brush at less than 40-feet crappie will be there. Billie Springer and his crew just left and did well on walleye, stripers and hybrids. They troll umbrellas and are good at it. Most people are using jigging spoons. Look for shad near old river channels part way back in the creeks. Bass are coming up most mornings early. Nothing has changed for several weeks. 

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