You can swin laps in this pool. The children will love the slide.
The big pool is now open for your enjoyment here at Blackburns. Bring the children and get on in. It is sparklingly clean and has been newly painted and deck resurfaced.
You can swin laps in this pool. The children will love the slide.
The big pool is now open for your enjoyment here at Blackburns. Bring the children and get on in. It is sparklingly clean and has been newly painted and deck resurfaced.
Rob and Brad Gravengoed are good fishermen.
Carl Scott caught and released some good ones yesterday.
The lake level is 567.30 and has risen about 1-inch in the last 24-hours with generation a little over 1/2 the time. The weather has been sunny and beautiful for a couple of days but the nights have been very cool and the lake surface temperature is not rising and is hanging in there in the mid 60's. It looks like more rain is coming Sunday night and Monday. We have not had any excess rain this month. A lot of fish were caught yesterday. Blackburns is nearly full with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. The big swimming pool is open now but nobody has been in it yet. It is like the lake temperature and is in the mid 60's. A little too cool for me but we are ready for your visit when it does warm and it will. Look for top-water fish at sunrise and then switch to creature baits on jig heads on the bank after that. Swim baits about 3-inches long are catching both crappie and bass. Several crappie are spawned out and are on brush back in the creeks in about 23-ft. of water and are hungry. Cast you jig past the brush and let it sink into it as you slowly work your jig across it or drift with the wind over the brush and use you trolling motor to go the other way. I am catching more on the drift. Several fish are throw backs but several are pretty good sized. The same goes for bass. Small stripers are with the bass as are some white bass and hybrids. This is prime time for striper fishing and the size has been disappointing. Several hard core striper fishermen are starting to release some and that is an improvement. The big bluegill are getting ready to spawn and are under Blackburns dock. I am seeing no shad spawning and not very many shad at all compared to this winter before the kill. Several gizzard shad are in Blackburns Creek but not big schools. Threadfin are small and fat like they have not spawned yet. We are about two weeks late for everything water temperature wise. Surface water temperature is usually in the 70's by mid May and normal ambient high is 76 but the cool nights are holding everything up. The lake overall is in good condition and the fishing is fair to good with several small fish mixed in the the big ones. Bass, crappie, stripers, walleye, hybrids and white bass are all being caught everyday.
This guy did not stay at Blackburns. He either has too much money or a little slow on the draw.
The lake level is 567.20 and is stable when they generate and rises when they don't. The surface water temperature is 65 degrees and the fish are biting. Trollers are catching some stripers in the 6-9 pound range and bass fishermen are doing well. Crappie are good but there are several throwbacks. Walleye fishing is steady with some caught everyday. The top-water bite is geting better and they are either coming up of just under the surface. Fish for them the same way. The weather has been cool and nights have been cold and the surface water temperature has dropped just a bit in the last several days. The sun is shining now and the ambient temperature is in the low to mid 60's. It is to get near 80 on Sunday and Monday with rain back in the forecast on Monday. The lake in general is high but in pretty good condition and fairly clear. You can see your lure down a few feet. Fish are scattered out about everywhere except for in the deep main lake. Shad are still in the creeks but have move into the north facing ones with the predominate north wind for several days. There are a lot of fish under and around the dock. Blackburns is nearly full with several boats rented and the big pool is open. There is not much time for resort owners to be fishing now but I have a lot of good fishermen giving me reports. I try to get out as much as possible but cannot stay long. It would be nice if the water level would not rise any more but we can handle it here if it does. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
Rob and Brad Grevengoed with some of today's catch. They are good fishermen.
The lake level is 566.98 and has risen 5-inches in the last 24-hours. We did get a little rain this afternoon but not very much. It is pretty much cool and miserable. They started generating a little more and the level has been the same for a couple of hours. The lake overall is in pretty good condition but the people here are tired of the cold temperatures and cloudy and dreary skies. Fishing is hanging in there and several fish are being caught. There is no brown water and not very much debris but some is blowing with the wind direction changes which is from the northeast now. It is to warm up nicely by the weekend but bringing more rain with it. May 15th is when the most severe rules go into effect for the dam management and they try to keep the White River at Newport at 12-feet unless the area lakes are at 70% full and they only increase to 14-feet and we have not seen that since last fall so do not expect any level drop anytime soon and probably just a steady increase. What you see is what you get and probably more unless we go into a drought. Blackburns can handle high water pretty well and better than most and have dock access no matter how high it gets. The people most affected are day users and weekenders where launching and parking are reduced and campgrounds and swim beaches are nearly gone. We are fine here now and nobody knows what tomorrow will bring but we will handle it here with very few diminished services, if any, and just some inconvenience. Hold and hope. That is what the government plan is that has only worked about one year in the last several and there are several people that still think there are not any alternatives. There are and they need to be explored. We have just become used to how government runs things and do not expect much and do not get much. We have a beautiful lake here and are better off than many places. I sure hope they do not hold and hope too long and have to open flood gates and flood out the farmers downstream again when this could have all been avoided. We are not there yet and can only hope for the best. Blackburns big pool is open.
Caught fishing with Binks Guide service Yesterday
The lake level is 566.55 and has risen 10-inches in the last 24-hours but they starting generating earlier this morning. The lake overall is in pretty good condition but rising steadily. Small stripers, bass, bluegill, crappie and walleye were all caught yesterday by several good fishermen. It is very cool and dreary with a northeast wind and you need a coat out on the water. The nightime lows are in the 40's. This is not what you would expect for the 10th of May but global warming has not hit here yet. Normal high is 76 degrees. There is not much to say about the spawn except that some have and some haven't and the surface water temperature has dropped to about 67 in the Blackburns Creek area and the fish are confused and do not like making nests and have them too deep the next day. They will only try this a couple of times and then give up and then release unfertilized eggs in open water. You can catch fish about everywhere except in open deep water. Several are on the bank in back of the buckbrush on worms and other creature baits and some are on brush in the creeks in 23-ft. of water on jigs and minnows. Some small stripers are on the steep bank west of the sunken Cranfield Island. Over 1/2 of the crappie being caught are throw backs as are the bass but some nice ones are also being caught. Norfork is known for big fish but not high numbers but that is not the case now. I am not seeing very many shad and the ones that I do see are very small except for some large gizzard shad under docks. Some were in the back of Hensley's yesterday but the wind has shifted to the northeast for a couple of days now.
Tom Kelly caught and released some good ones yesterday fishing Float Creek with his six inch worm.
The lake level is 565.74 and rising with no generation since last evening. We received 0.8 inches of rain so far last night and today and it is still very cloudy and thundering. The creeks are running but not very fast but will continue to raise the lake with some going in and the drain is plugged. They are dropping the White River at Newport very quickly and are headed for 18-feet there as fast as possible for some unknown reason. They would really like it to be at 12 feet so there is not much chance of very much of a drop anytime soon. Fishing is not affected much but the day users and campers are in for another frustrating year. Table Rock is hogging all of the White River capacity and filling Bull Shoals quickly and they will be forced to let out more like they were at Beaver Lake when it almost went over the spillway last week. It is not what we can do about the current situation but how we got here. Hold and hope is not a very good plan and has not worked since 2008 when they opened Norfork spillway gates for the first time. At least they know how to do that now. Most resorts have learned how to handle this change in lake management and do not have diminished services until the lake rises a few feet more. Blackburns always has access to their dock but it gets more difficult and costly and we are not allowed to make any permanent fixes due to Corps of Engineers Rules and most of these rules are not bad. If conditions change rules need to be changed and this has not happened for many years. Nobody is asking to flood out anybody downstream, just do a better job of management. The lake continues to be in pretty good condition for fishing and the surface water temperature is rising and headed for 70. We are to get much cooler weather for several days and the rise in water temperature will be mitigated. I am still catching fish that are full of eggs that should have spawned by now. They just do not like this springtime quick rises in water level. Crappie just under the 10-inch limit are numerous and will make for good crappie fishing in the next few years. Walleye and bass numbers are also high. Some fish are still back in the creeks and some are on main lake points with some on brush and some on the bank. People are still killing dock floors full of stripers and some are just over the legal size of 20-inches which are still babies. We will pay for this in the near future but what I cannot understand is why they are bragging about it. There are still a lot of them in the 5-10 lb. range but their numbers are dwindling rapidly. Catch and release on stripers would make a lot of sense now while they are shallow and can survive catching and then not fishing for them in deep water in the summer when they all die after being caught but nothing seems to stop these meat hunters even though there is not much left after the red meat is cut out. Some nice fish were brought in yesterday and many more released. People are really glad to have a covered porch on their cabin today here at Blackburns.
Fish of the Day yesterday released under the dock. I can still see him down there.
The lake level is 565.47 and has risen about 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with no generation since last evening. The have opened the spillway gates at Beaver lake just before it went over the spillway as predicted and are still running Table Rock as fast as they can and filling Bull Shoals rapidly. Norfork is not on the Chain of Lakes and they are pretty much letting it rise so not add to the high water on the White River at Newport. They have let it drop from over 26-feet which is flood stage to just under 24-feet which is minor flood stage. Beaver is 7-ft. above power pool, Bull Shoals is 13-ft. above, Norfork is 10-ft. above and Table Rock is 2-1/2 ft. above. Bull Shoals can hold a lot of water and cetainly gets it's chance to prove it being below Table Rock which they keep as close to normal as possible to protect Branson and the Landing. It certainly would have been a good idea to drop the lakes in the winter and keep them from rising with the spring rains as long as possible instead of holding and hoping and flooding downstream in May after the crops are planted. A friend told me that they were called by the Corps and their camping reservation for Bidwell Park had been cancelled and that there would be no more until October. I do not know much about camping after being in the the Boy Scouts and Military but maybe they are anticipating letting things flood again. They are not flooded yet. We have not had any rain for several days now and the rain scheduled for last night and this morning has not amounted to much except a lot of noise but it is raining now and very dark. I had to check out a rental boat yesterday and took a fishing pole with me. Most resort owners do not have much time for fishing now and I am not an exception and it is a good thing that I have some of the best fishermen on the lake giving me daily reports this time of year. I went to the first place on the main lake and caught nothing for about 1/2 hour and went back in a creek on brush in 23-ft. of water and found a lot of crappie in 23-ft. on brush. I caught my limit of keepers and about three limits of throw backs and started to move again when a distressed boater needed help and I had to tow him to the Cranfield boat launch ending my fishing for the day. They were nice fellows from Missouri. I did see a line if debris right in front of Cranfield campground but was able to get through it by going slow. It was heading downstream towards the Island. Most of the junk at the mouth of Blackburns creek the day before was gone and the lake overall in this area was in pretty good shape at least where I went. There was no brown water and the water near the shore was clear and I could see my lure down several feet. There was very little debris overall and it was easy to get out of what there was. The people that I talked to all caught fish with bass being right on the bank behind the buckbrush as well as around docks. I released all of my crappie under the dock and they all swam right into the brush under there along with other crappie, several bass, big gizzard shad and many bluegill. The big bluegill have just moved in. There was at least a 6-lb bass right by my boat lift when I came in. The water temperature was about 68 degrees and should rise again today with last night lows in the 60's and daytime highs near 80 this afternoon after things clear up. Many crappie are still full of eggs and a lot of short ones are everywhere. It is time to set out a trot line with live bait and catch some catfish. The water is not high enough for limb lines yet but most of the trees near the shore are dead anyway as is the buckbrush from being under water too long. The top water bite is a little disappointing so fat but there is some early. People are still killing the stripers that are left even though they are small and seem proud to do so. When they are gone they will have to leave here and go decimate another lake. Blackburns big pool is nearly full and will be ready to open soon and you can still get a one bedroom cabin for $59/day with a free boat stall. I highly recommend Clean Cut Tree Service. They have the best equipment, fair prices and are very knowledgeable.
The lake level is 564.35 and has risen about 10-inches in the last 24-hours with a very little generation yesterday evening. Norfork lake is up about 7-1/2 feet since the first big rain last month when it was down to 557. This last rain was not as big as the first one but they had not been able to get rid of the water yet when the second one came resulting in continuous high daily rises with no generation to stop it. The rises continue and do not expect any relief anytime soon. The huge generation and spillway release from Table Rock into Bull Shoals is filling it quickly and keeping the White River at Newport to near flood levels. Beaver Lake is getting near capacity and they will have to release a lot of water from it soon or it will get over full. Dam management 101, do not let the water go over the dam. Maybe they can get that right. Keeping the levels high all winter and holding and hoping do not seem to be working very well. More rain is scheduled for later this week with low pressure moving through about twice a week which is not unusual for early May. Yesterday was not the best weather wise. The wind shifted to the north and the ambient temperature dropped all afternoon and by about 5:PM you needed a coat. It was dark and dreary with misting rain all day. Several fishermen stayed out in it though and caught fish. Others were just hanging around on their porches rigging poles or socializing. I heard more than one comment about how nice it was to have big covered porches and not be cooped up inside all day. Today is sunny and beautiful and everybody is out. Just take it day by day and be thankful for no severe weather. I am. The big pool is filling and will be ready for you when it finally warms up and it will. The continuous lake rises is messing up what started out to be a good spawn but the fry should have a lot of cover.
David Smith from Bozeman, Montana caught and released his first Norfork lake Smallmouth yesterday.
The lake level is 563.39 and has risen over eight inches in the last 24-hours and we have received a two day total of 1-1/2 inches with most of it coming last night. The creeks are running and the lake is still rising fairly quickly with no generation since yesterday afternoon. It is not going to quit rising anytime soon and this last rise has floated more debris out into the lake like we needed anymore and I have to move the dock in daily. The wind has shifted to the north and we are to get much cooler ambient temperatures and nightime lows to get down to near 40. The surface water temperature is still right at 66 degrees and it will be lucky to hold that in the next several days. More rain is in the forecast. It turned out to be a very nice day yesterday with a high of 78 degrees with sunshine in the afternoon. Most people caught fish with several small crappie starting to be caught along with the big ones. Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be pretty good and several largemouth have spawned but the ones that have not must be getting discouraged with the sudden rises in water level. Bull Shoals is rising the fastest and Table Rock is still dropping with heavy generation and spillway releases despite the White River at Newport being right at flood stage. Try and figure that out. It is time to set some catfish lines. We should get a couple of days break in the weather before another front comes through and things are starting to clear out now.
Tom and Mike Soltysiak with some of yesterday's catch.
The lake level is 562.71 and is rising steadily with a 3-1/2 inch rise in the last 24-hours with no generation since last evening. It was very foggy this morning and is just now clearing. We are to receive more rain later tonight with 1-2 inches likely and possible storms and it is to continue to the morning. It is the season. We got over average rainfall for April this year with most of the excess coming on the 29th. The rain tonight will keep the lake level rising. The ambient temperature is to get into the 80's today and after the weather moves through the wind will shift to the north again and cool back down to near 70. The average high is 74. Blackburns has lots of friends in Mississippi and hope they are all well after the storms last night. It is never good to be featured on the weather channel. I hope Mountain Home never makes it. Blackburns has a lot of good fishermen in now and they caught fish yesterday afternoon with reports of several species being caught. Nobody got rained out as we received less than 0.2 inches of rasin. Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Warmouth, Ozark Bass and small stripers, hybrids and White Bass were all caught. Norfork lake has a lot of varieties of fish and all seem to be doing well except for the numbers of White Bass and Large stripers. Walleye are doing well and are healthy but the bite has slowed just a bit in the last few days. Fish are showing up again on mainlake brush but most of my brush piles are a little deeper than I would like them. I started putting some of them in shallower with the change in Lake management keeping the level higher the last several years. They used to get too shallow in the summer but not now. That strategy is now paying off for Blackburns customers and they are catching good fish off them. If we ever get back to good lake management we will have them at all levels. I would like them to be at 25-ft. with the tops about 8-10 feet down. Just deep enough so you cannot see the fish. If you can see the fish they can see you and will not bite. The lake overall is in fair condition and will be fine if it gets a little time to settle out. A couple of feet of lake drop will stick the debris back on the bank after the almost 6-ft. rise since the end of April but do not expect that anytime soon. The White River at Newport is right at 26-ft. and near flood stage. The only lake in tha area to drop is Table Rock and we all know why they are dropping it and it has nothing to do with protecting the farmers down stream. We missed our chance to draw the lake level down this winter but maybe some day the light will come on. We also need to get rid of the stupid 12 and 14 ft. rules of managing the White river at Newport. Spooning and minnows are both starting to work on main lake brush and creature baits on jig heads for the banks part way back in the creeks. The spawn is messed up with the rising water so just work from right on the bank to out in front of the buckbrush in the backs of the creeks. The top water bite is improving everyday and the fish are coming up in their normal locations for May but mostly on sunny days. On rainy cloudy days they are still there but just a few feet down and will come up to the top if you just think like you see them up. On sunny days use the clear spook because it glistens in the sunlight like a shad and on cloudy days it does not matter much but you can also use a white or colored one. Small poppers are also working near the bank for about everything. Reports of spinner baits working are coming in but I do not use them much on Norfork. The same is for crank baits. They both work though. Surface water temperature is 66-degrees and will warm today especially in the creeks. the bluegill are near spawn.
Mickey McGee is a good friend and long time repeat customer. He and his crew are always welcome here. They can catch fish too. Some of yesterday's catch released.
The lake level is 562.51 and has risen 4-inches in the last 24-hours with no generation since last evening. We have received just a little rain so far today with more on the way and it is very cloudy but people are getting in some good fishing time. I has a 66 degree water temperature in Blackburns Creek just a few minutes ago. Smallmouth bass are around the Boy Scout Camp and crappie are in Echo point creek and Hensley's. High numbers of throwback pre-spawn crappie are being caught now in brush in 30-ft. of water just under the 10-inch limit. Several crappie have not spawnwd yet, but bass, shad and carp are spawning everywhere and the creek is full of fish. Things are about two weeks later than normal what ever that is. Live bait trollers are bringing in several small stripers and hybrids as predicted with the top-water bite and shad spawn. I have never seem so many people so proud of such small fish but they just have not been around here long enough to know what things were like when the big stripers were in high numbers. I have seen Guides like Darrel Binks, James Nichols and Gerry Sperry bring in many fish over 40-lbs back in the early 1990's when they were plentiful. 30-pounders were common and 15-pounders were throw backs. Over fishing and too many years of high water for extended time with low ozygen have taken their toll and nobody seems to care except to kill the ones that are left and brag about it. A program of catch and release for them needs to be started and also not fishing for them in deep water. The stocking program for them resumes this year and it will take several years to even approach where we were but there is no better time to start than now. It will be a waste of time to stock them if things continue as they have been for the last several years. They are what sets Norfork lake apart from the average lake and I want them back even though I do not fish for them anymore. It used to be really fun to go out on a warm November night with the full moon shining on the bank and catch a 30-lb. striper. The new generation need to experience this and us old folks should not rob them of that. No better way to spend an evening. The lake is clearing every day and we need it to drop 3-4 feet to stick some of the debris on the bank and have the rain stop. A little generation would not hurt but I do not expect that for quite a while. Overall fishing is just fair but most everyone is catching some fish of several different species. Things could be a lot worse and all area lakes are experiencing the same condition but Table Rock is hogging all of the generation and that water is going into Bull Shoals. If we get no more big rains things could straighten out by early summer but that could be a stretch. Fishing is the least thing that will be affected and high water does not affect fishing much except when it comes too fast. We have all had our Covid shots at Blackburns and hope you have too but you can still social distance here with all cabins being individual with no duplexes and the lake is big and so is the pool. I will start to fill it next week. People are really wanting to get out and you can come here. We will not charge you too much. If you are new to Blackburns you can meet some of our many repeat customers and join in on the fun. We help each other catch fish and the chikdren can meet new friends. Blackburns is your fishing and family headquarters for Norfork Lake and especially welcome Veterans and Police. Compare prices.
The lake level is 562.08 and has risen about six inches in the last 24-hours. It is stable when they generate but rises when they don't. There has been no generation since last evening. They have the White River now at 26-feet at Newport which is flood stage and are generating Table Rock as fast as they can and supplementing the discharge with flood gates to keep Branson Landing from getting high. The rest of the area lakes are rising and do not expect them to drop much anytime soon with more rain coming Sunday and Monday. There is some debris on the lake with an occasional big one but mostly small. If you try to go out after dark you will hit something. Just take it easy during the day. Blackburns is full now with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area and most are catching fish. The carp are spawning back in Blackburns Creek and that is a sign that the threadfin shad are also spawning and the top-water bite is on with surface water temperatures in the early to near mid 60's. You can catch a lot of bass now with a spitin image or a Zara Spook Puppy. Lizards and crawdad creature baits are also still working on light jig heads in the brown water near the shore for bass. Some Black Crappie have spawned but others are still full of eggs. Slip floats about 8-9 feet down over brush with minnows are also working. I have not seen very many spawned out White Crappie yet and just a few bass. The spawn might still work out if the rain coming does not raise the lake much but it will be harmed if it does. They get tired of moving the beds and just squirt out unfertilized eggs into the open water. There are still many places where the water color is good and you can get out of the brown water. Brown warms up faster than clear water and it is darkest as you get further back in the creeks and that is where the shad, bass, crappie and carp are spawning. The lake is up a total of five feet since it's low of 557 earlier. Walleye continue to bite and some are on main lake points near brush which is getting too deep again. Pre-spawn bluegill are starting to bite and catfish are back in the creeks. It is an exciting time and things are changing daily. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and Police and Veterans are especially welcome at Blackburns. We are the family and fishing headquarters for Norfork Lake. We will keep our prices low for you while continuing to upgrade. We were voted the most improved and best value in the area for the second year in a row.
Tom Kelly with some of yesterday's catch released under Blackburns Dock. Tom was fishing Float Creek with a worm.
The lake level is 561.61 and has risen 4-feet since the 4.5 inches of rain Wednesday through Thursday morning and is still rising a little less than 1/2 inch per hour with no generation. It came down fast at times washing out roads and culverts and more is to come Sunday. The creeks run hard but have slowed way down now. Blackburns wants to thank the County Judge and county road workers for their quick response in repairing our road. We are fortunate to have them. Everything is back to normal here. The rain came just one day ahead of the devasting one in 2017 which took the lake a long time to recover and took out the Dawt Mill Dam. Things have not been the same with it gone and there are no restrictions on the inflow when Missouri gets big rains and the pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and debris can now wash directly into Norfork Lake from the Missouri farms. We never used to have moss and algae like we have now. We also have a little foam on windy days which is a sign of pollution. It has not affected the fishing though with all species high in numbers except the Striped bass and White Bass. I would have thought the White Bass would have come back by now but they have not. I am finding about 1/4 of what used to be here compared to earlier years. Most white bass spawn in February or early March but it has always been the case that some spawn all year and multiple times some years. Finding them full of eggs in May is not unusual. There were shad coming up last evening in Blackburns Creek but not nearly as many as usual. They could be spawning but it is hard to tell with the water being a little cool for that and they were further away from the bank than during a major spawn. it is about time for it though but the water temperature needs to be in the higher 60's. They do spawn multiple times a year. Maybe even three but it is a sign the stripers will start coming up so expect to see dock floors full of dead ones posted until they are all gone. There are still fair numbers of small ones in the 6-9 lb. range left and a very few about 15 which people now consider big but are not. The sudden rise in water level will not help the remaining bass and crappie spawn any but at least some are finished. Kentucky Bass spawn well into the summer and Flathead catfish are the last to spawn and finish in July. I hope the remaining bass give it another try but many will not.The brown water from the runoff runs from the back of some creeks to near the main lake but lightens up as you get out and should settle out unless we get another big one. The bass should spawn in this but the sight fishing for bed fish is over for this year in most places. Tom Kelly caught and released some nice bass in float creek yesterday and says the fishing was not affected much there. John Bornhop said he caught bass almost a will in Hensley's creek. Bart Vandervelde is catching a lot of bass in Blackburns creek. He releases all fish and is also a good sportsman and has been coming to Blackburns for 38 years and loves top-water fishing. It is sunny and warm here today and things are settling out. I expect a lot of fish to be caught and we have several good fishermen. Everybody was sure glad to have big covered porches on their cabins the last few days. We do not promote smoking but do allow it outside here. You do not have to bring an umbrella to smoke. They are running Table Rock as fast as they can with augmented spillway releases to keep from flooding Branson Landing so do not expect Bull Shoals to drop anytime soon and all of the capacity of the White River At Newport is taken up so expect the same for Norfork. We will be fine here unless we get another big one. Minor flood Stage of the White River at Newport is 23-feet and they are at 22.82. If they has drawn the lake level down last winter to 548 instead of holding it at 553+ we would be at about 555 which would be just right. Just sayin. I am still not going to tie a lure on my line and drag it all over the lake until I catch a fish. I like the feel of the bite and setting the hook but if it is meat you want it works sometimes but when the fish go into the brush after spawn you better buy cheap lures. That is meant for you Mark. Molly would not do that on her own. Thaks for your help yesterday.
John Bornhop with some good ones.
The lake level is 557.80 and has risen 2-inches in the last 24-hours with no rain and no generation. They always quit generating before and during a rain to make the rise as much as possible and keep us one big rain away from high water. There has been ample time to lower the area lakes but they refuse to do so. At least they are keeping Table Rock at below power pool to protect Branson Landing while raising the other area lakes. It is all about the $ and political pressure like everything else. Hold and hope and open the gates after the crops are planted downstream to inflict as much damage as possible is the game. We have had several days of beautiful weather since the last rain. KTLO radio has the best and most accurate forecast for the area as we do not fit in with Springfield or Little Rock. It looks like we will get quite a bit though and we can expect a significant lake rise with no generation. They could mitigate the rise if they wanted to but refuse to generate. We just do not need three or four inches in the Norfork Lake watershed in Southern Missouri. The big rain that made a mess of things in 2017 happened on the last of April and I was hoping that date would pass with no major events but it does not look good. A couple of inches in this area will not hurt much but we will see what happens. The lake is in excellent condition, clear and warming and the bass and crappie spawn is in full swing. A lot of fish were caught out of Blackburns yesterday and the Black crappie that were brought in were spawned out. This just happened in the last couple of days and they were on brush in about 25-30-ft. of water 10-ft. down and biting minnows and jigs part way back in the creeks. Many bass are on the beds with some females having just spawned and on shad and coming up in the early mornings. Several males are still on the beds either waiting on the hatch or protecting fry. I am seeing no schools of fry yet and they always come in under my dock when they leave the beds in this area. It has been a good spawn so far with the water remaing fairly stable and in the buckbrush providing good cover. We could use a couple of weeks of the same to really help things out. It has been slow warming up this spring but it looks lke it is here to stay now. Walleye, bass and crappie remain the best bite with a few hybrids and a few stripers in the 7-9 lb range being caught. Every once in a while a 15-lb striper is being caught but not very many. Twenty pounders used to be an every day occurance and thirty pounders not uncommon but those days are over until they can make a comeback. I hope they do. Blackburns still has one bedroom cabins for $59/day until Labor Day so come on down. We are very busy here. If you are staying where you are nearly the only customer you are paying too much. Blackburns is the fishing headquartes for Norfork lake and spend all winter putting in brush piles for our customers. They catch fish and we will show you where they are.
The lake level is 557.65 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with no generation since yesterday. There is still a little runoff from the hillsides but the creeks are not running. It looks like more rain starting tonight through Thursday so the level will continue to rise. It looks like we will get a couple of inches at least depending on how long it stays around. Other places could get more. The lake surface temperature is in the early 60's and rising with the warm nights. The bass and crappie spawn is now in full swing and I am catching a few black crappie that have spawned. One of our guests went to the top-water place that I mentioned earlier and had a good time catching fish at sunrise. They came up on schedule for several minutes with the shad surfacing in about 20-ft. of water. Several of the fish were short but some were not and they were mostly bass with a few small stripers with them. They were all released anyway. Bass are on beds everywhere back in the creeks and pre-spawn fish are hitting crank baits and poppers in and in front of the buckbrush. The males guarding the beds and fry are picking up the gitzits and taking them out of the beds as the sight fishermen are now able to find them in the clear water easily. Most bass fishermen release their fish unlike striper fishermen and that is why Norfork is such a good Black Bass fishery and getting better and striper fishing is going down hill. I would have thought the White Bass would have made a better come back after the kill a couple of years ago but they have not. A few are being caught but they used to be everywhere and most everybody could catch them this time of year. The walleye are making up for it though and are in greater numbers than I have ever seen them with several being over the 18-inch minimum limit. Twenty yesrs ago big stripers were everywhere and walleye were scarce but it is the oposite now. More and more people are coming to Norfork for walleye and crappie and the fishing pressure is much greater and also the boat traffic overall.
The lake level is 557.53 and is up about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time with 1- 1/2 generators running. It was beautiful yesterday and that is to continue until Wednesday morning when we are to get rain and thunderstorms through Thursday. We could get some heavy rainfall out of this.The ambient temperature is to be near 80 for the next two days and then cloud up but stay in the 70's and clear back up for the weekend. I saw several more bass on the beds last evening now that the water is warming again. The creeks are surprisingly clear after the rain and runoff. The surface water temperature is is still hanging in there at about 62 but is rising now with last night staying warm and about 60. The surface water temperature was 62 this morning. I am still not catching many spawned out fish except walleye but that will change soon. There was a top-water bite this morning with bass coming up in front of Twin Coves early. It did not last long but is improving every day. Crappie and Bass continue to be the best bite but trollers are getting some small stripers and some nice hybrids. Hybrids are the best bite of the red meat fish now but expect more of both as the top-water bite improves. People continue to kill those small stripers like they are trying to eradicate them and they are. It is certainly nothing to brag about. Many crappie are on beds now and I hope the lake level does not come up very much for a couple of weeks but it could. Blackburns has several good fishermen in and they are all catching fish. It is a good time of year. Just keep the storms and heavy rains away. The lake is in excellent condition and Blackburns is ready for your visit. We will start filling the pool soon. It is big and takes several days to fill but you will like it when you get here. I get a kick out of people paying an extra $25-30 per day for cabins, also paying for their first boat stall and then hauling gas cans up and down from the dock to town to save money on gas. It does not make much sense. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. Keep working the banks back in the windblown creeks with creature baits for bass and crappie. The wind should start to change from predominately north to the south as things warm up so change creeks and look for top-water action early on sunny days. Fish will bite all day on cloudy days.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service Yesterday. That Bink is one good fisherman.
The lake level is 557.41 and has risen 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours and is still rising with generation about 1/2 the time. There is none now. The water stayed clear with the runoff except in the very backs of the creeks. It was very cool yesterday with highs near 60 and breezy. It is a beautiful day today after the fog lifted and is to get to about 73-degrees with 80 scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. That will put the spawn into high gear even though it has progressed without the benefit of warming water. It will warm now with nighttime lows near 60 for a couple of days. Tomorrow morning will be a good time to be on your top-water spots at sunrise with a spitin image for bass and a clear spook for red meat fish. If they do not break the surface try calling them up anyway as they will not be very deep and will come up to get the lure if they are there. Look to see if you can find shad this evening and the big fish will be there in the morning. I am not finding very many shad but am mostly just fishing the backs of creeks on the bank and on shallower brush part way back in the creeks. Stick with those creature baits on a light jig head. Lizards, 3-inch worms and crawdads are all working. Work the bottom but keep the head dropping as much as possible while reeling in. Plan to lose some lures in the buckbrush and other dead brush on the shore. Use a light jig head, about a 1/16th ounce white with red eye and do not drag the bottom to help prevent this. The black crappie are the first to spawn and that is what I am mostly catching but am still not catching hardly any spawned out fish except walleye. Twin coves, Briar creek, Pigeon, East Pigeon and the creeks near to Blackburns are all producing several fish including bass and crappie with a few walleye. Smallmouth and Kentucky Bass are the best now. Blackburns is nearly full here with people taking advantage of the best place and best prices on both cabins and rental boats on Norfork lake and we really like our repeat customers and do not test our friendships by charging them too much. We are the family and fishing headquarters for Norfork lake and especially welcome both Police and Veterans. New customers are also welcome and you can join the family. We try to help and take care of each other. Your first boat stall is free here except that we do not have stalls available for one night stays but have good launching and plenty of room for you to pull your boat in and out. We are not huddled up on a cliff here and the children have plenty of room to run. Check us out if you are in the area.
The lake level is 557.11 and has risen 2-1/2 inches from it's low of 556.90 last evening when they quit generating in anticipation of the oncoming rain. They always do that in order to enhance the rise and keep the levels up. It is about what it was at this time yesterday but it is rising quickly now with no generation and the creeks running pretty hard. We have had 2.2 inches of rain and it is still raining. It is to move out this afternoon with more to come next week. It is springtime and the only ones not expecting rains are the government. The White River at Newport is at the magical level of 14-feet so do not expect much. It is raining in Missouri also so we should get a pretty good rise out of this unless they start generating. I was hoping for a stable level until the spawn was almost over. At least the southern part of the state is not getting much. The severe weather is to be in Texas and Oklahoma next week and we wish them the best. We will get more rain as this moves northeast but it does not look too bad for here so far. The trollers for stripers are starting to catch fish as predicted and continue to kill small ones. Pictures of a dozen dead stripers taken like they are heros are not impressive. They just make people look like meat hunters that are willing to destroy the future and are proud of it. They will not keep doing it for much longer. The stripers are getting smaller and smaller and pretty soon they will be bragging about 20-inchers. The normal amount will be stocked this year after last years absence do to covid and the long road to recovery can start. We want them in the lake but it will not happen if the ones that are left are hunted down and killed. They will be easily caught with the top-water bite starting so expect more smiling faces of people with 8-9 lb. dead stripers. Bass fishermen are doing very well. We will get weather near 80 for a couple of days with lows in the early 60's and that will put the spawn in full swing for both them and crappie. As the crappie spawn they will move to the main lake brush and brush part way back in the creeks where the fry will be looking for cover and the post-spawn fish will be looking for dinner. The bass will also move to the main lake shad and hit top-water but I am not seeing many shad at least not near what I was. They were loaded in the backs of the windblown creeks but just a few are there now. This is a fun time of year with a lot of action and things should start changing rapidly with not many changes in the last couple of weeks until now. Bass, crappie, walleye and small stripers are the best bite now so work the bank with creature baits on jig heads part way back in the creeks and keep your top-water lures ready. Try a small popper for shallow fish in the brush. You could see bass on nests in the creek yesterday but we will see what this runoff does to the clarity. It will not help sight fishermen. A lot of fish are being caught right in front of the buckbrush. The fishing pressure is as heavy as I have seen it for this time of year especially on the week-ends.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday.
The lake level is 557.08 and has dropped about 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours. They quit generating for an hour yesterday and again for several hours early this morning and are religiously holding the White River at Newport at 14-ft. for some unknown reason. I guess they are hoping for a big rain so they can close their campgrounds. We are to get a little over an inch of rain the next 24-hrs.There was just a little last night The surface water temperature is holding at under 60-degrees in this area but that should change with ambient temperatures to reach 80 next week. It looks like the cold weather is over. I am tired of wearing a coat. It should be 72 everyday now. A couple of warm 60-degrees low nights will really get the spawn going in full swing. The fish are also getting tired of waiting for warm water. The nearly stable water level is making for a good spawn so far and we need to just avoid any sudden drops or rises in the level. The creeks seem to go from stained to fairly clear almost daily but the main lake is clear as it has been for a long time. It does not need to be any clearer for fishing. The lake overall is in excellent condition. Everyone caught fish yesterday and crappie and bass are still the best bite. The striper fishermen are all turning into crappie fishermen and few stripers of much size are being caught. Normally they would be coming in all over the place by now. Maybe they can get the crappie population down also as they are killing many fish. Catch a few. keep a few and release a few. There is another generation of fishermen coming. Blackburns has several good fishermen in now and is very busy. They are taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and rental boats on Norfork lake plus the first boat stall for your boat is free. You can save a lot of $ by staying here. If the gas prices go any higher you will need it. The top-water bite has ben slow coming but it will come. If you are out there at sunrise have a top-water lure on and be ready. I can usually tell where they will come up by where the shad are the night before. It is usually on the bank with the predominate wind blowing into it with the plankton. The problem is I am not finding very many shad. At least where I am catching fish during the day. Most of the fish are either staging for the spawn just outside the brush or on the bank either making nests or spawning except the walleye which spawned weeks ago. Keep using three inch creature baits, like crawdads or worms on a jig head and stay as far from the bank as you can cast them and work the bottom. Some are using finesse worms. I am using Bobby Garland baby shad or 2-inch twister tails. Tip with live minnows if fishing gets slow. The incessant and cold north wind has made north facing creeks the best now part of the way back. Some are just fishing Blackburns Creek and not leaving and catching several fish. I am still catching a few crappie on the main lake on the spoon in 16-feet of water fishing for walleye. They are full of eggs and I do not know why they are there but they are big. If you are sight fishing for bass on nests use a gitzit. The male bass will pick it up and take it out of the nest. I do not use this technique but it works and does not hurt anything if you release right on the spot. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and the weather is to get warmer. Blackburns is your family and fishing headquarters on Norfork lake. If you are not here you are paying too much. Police and Veterans are especially welcome.
Illinois Bass caught fishing with Bink's Guide service yesterday. That is a big one.
The lake level is now 557.15 and has dropped a little over one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. They have got the White River ar Newport down to 14-feet now and are not letting much out. Let the hold and hope begin. We are to get more rain tomorrow afternoon and significantly more on Friday night before the next front leaves. We can expect a lake rise but it is pretty dry and we can take some but not a lot and they will surely quit generating when the rain begins like they always do. They like to magnify the effects. The lake surface water temperature has dropped below 60 again with the cold nights but we can expect it to start rising again early next week with ambient temperatures to get into the mid and high 70's with lows in the 50's. A lot of fish are wanting to spawn bad and many male crappie and bass are on the banks making nests. I have not seen any schools of fry that have been hatched. The best bait right now is a creature bait, either a crawdad or 3-inch worm on a jig head thrown into the buckbrush. Some are using paddle tail grubs. I am using a twister tail tipped with a live minnow. It is a beautiful day today with a high in the early 60's and sunny. It is to cloud up this afternoon. The lake in general is in good condition and the clarity is just right for fishing. Things are on hold just a bit now with the fishing needing a little warmer water for the top water bite and spawn to get in full swing. It got down to 33 degrees in town last night and several degrees colder down here in the valley near water level but it was not quite a record. The normal high is 72 and low 47 and it will be good to get back to that. People are catching fish everyday though.
Fish of the day released under the dock.
The lake level is 557.25 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The White River at Newport is now 15-ft. and it keeps lowering as does the discharge. It was a cool and blustery morning yesterday and got worse as the day progressed. There were a few rain drops and then a few snow flakes with a strong north wind by afternoon with dropping temperatures. The cold front came in with a vengence and the skies cleared by evening and it got cold with a low of 29 this morning. It was a record low. Global warming was not a problem. The high pressure has settled in now with sunshine with lighter winds but still breezy and cool with highs to only be in the 50's. It is to be in the high 70's again by later on in the weekend after another cold night tonight. Another low pressure is to move in later in the week with a good chance of rain before the weekend. The lake is dropping, the water temperature is dropping and the fish do not know what to do or at least what I think they should be doing. I went out to a known walleye point and caught no walleye but some big crappie on the spoon in 17-ft. of water near the bottom and they were full of eggs. I have not a clue on why they were on the main lake in deeper water. No wonder trollers are catching them. Another thing. Where are the big schools of shad? Before and after the shad kill in February they were everywhere. Then they were in the backs of the south facing creeks with the south wind being predominate and had a lot of fish on them. They were coming in under my dock in March and filling the stalls and attracting crappie, bass and catfish. Now I have none except some big gizzard shad around my underwater light. I did have a big school of bass about 4-5 inches long come in under the dock yesterday and I also do not know where they came from. They had to be last yesr's hatch but did not grow very fast. With the large amounts of shad and the warm summer I would have though they would have been larger. They could have been Kentucky's but I could not tell. Everything is just mixed up this spring. Black crappie spawn first and the black crappie that I am catching are still full of eggs. They like to spawn just a little deeper than the light penetrates and just out of the clear water. I do not know how they can do this with the creeks going from clear to green overnight and then back again with the changes in generation, wind and boat traffic. I do not kill very many fish but I am finding no spawned out anything except for walleye. There are very few big White Bass compared to two years ago but the few that I am catching are still full of eggs and they should have finished spawning by early March at the latest. Largemouth Bass eggs hatch in two days at a 72 degree water temperature and five days in 66 degrees and we have not reached that yet and the temperature is going in the wrong direction. The big bass that were under my dock pre-spawn feeding on bluegill left for a few days when the water warmed and are now back. It is hard to figure out what is going on if you are not out there every day. It is fun to figure things out. Maybe I should just tie on a lure and drag it all over the lake until I catch something. It does not work for me but to each their own. Things they are changing but a lot of fish are being caught. The one thing that is not changing is the price at Blackburns. You can still get a cabin for $59/day and your first boat stall is free here. We do not promote smoking but if you do you do not need to bring an umbrella to go outside. All of our cabins have big covered porches and all are individual with no duplexes. Duplexes are ok if you are lonely and need close company with your neighbor but other wise not so good. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide service yesterday.
The lake level is 557.35 and has dropped an inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously now for several days after both being run for a couple of weeks before they cut way back. The White River continues to drop and the discharge flow reduced while holding the area lakes to a very small drop. Newport is now 15+ feet heading to 14. I still remember what happened the last of April in 2017 and that time is approaching. Southern Missouri is to get some snow tonight and we are to get cloudy this afternoon with a dropping temperature and then clear off with heavy frost tonight and a lighter one tomorrow night. It could devastate the fruit trees and ornamental shrubs and bushes but is not unusual. Most of the fish continue to be back in the creeks and many have not spawned yet with the cool weather and a surface water temperature hanging in there at just below 60 or just above for several weeks. The water in the shallower creeks is varying a lot with the rollercoaster weather. It warms quickly in the sunshine and drops with the clear nights and cool temperatures. Bass and crappie want to spawn bad and a few more are doing so everyday but the majority have not. The bigger bluegill are starting to move in under the dock but are not nearly ready to spawn yet. They need about a 10-degree warm up. People are now bragging about slaughtering big bass and that is certainly something to be proud of. Not. Most good sportsmen do not kill bass, at least largemouth and smallmouth, but some people still do. Remember the possession limit is just twice the daily limit and that is five. They are not stocked here like stripers and hybrids and are not considered put and take like trout and red meat fish. What we need the most are more carp and gar meat hunters. Several Striper Fishermen have turned into crappie fishermen by necessity. It will be hard for them to troll for crappie when they move to the brush and then plan three will have to be implemented but I wish them luck. 3-inch swim baits, 2-inch grubs, jigs, creature baits are the best lures now and gitzits for sight bed fishing are best for bass. Spook puppies and spitin image are the best for top-water. Walleye are biting both spoons on the main lake points and in the brush with the bass. The lake is clearing with the the stable level and is an excellent color for fishing. The overall Norfork lake condition is good as is the fishing. The warm weather will come. Taking things easy is not hurting much. Listen to "Live in the Boat" with Darrel Binkley of Bink's Guide Service Thursday mornings at 8:45 on KTLO radio 97.9 FM or on TV cable channel #5 for a what is happening right now report.
Dave Titus with some of yesterday's catch.
The lake level is 557.45 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. They are dropping the White River at Newport quickly and also dropping the discharge while drastically cutting the lakes dam discharges. Newport is now at 16 feet heading for 14-feet and then 12-ft on May 8th. The idea is to keep the area lakes one big rain away from high water instead of creating a little capacity and then hold and hope and then open the flood gates after the crops are planted downstream. They have been able to accomplish this goal in most of the last several years so it must be what they want. When asked about this all they have to say is the dams are doing what they were built for to hold water. My question is why not hold a little less in the winter so you do not have to hold so much in the spring and summer? At least they have Table Rock at power pool so Branson Landing does not flood again They got enough flak from that a few years ago. It is all about the $. The other lakes are several feed above power pool. It is to be a nice day today with a high near 70 but then the cold weather moves in Tuesday night with freeze warnings. This is not unusual for this part of April. Cold fronts move in and out a couple of times a week from February through April. Look for a couple of nights with lows in the 60's for the top-water bite to really take off. The post spawn bass will be really hungry and will come up almost every day. Now it is just mostly on clear mornings at sunrise. A lot of bass are still full of eggs and have not spawned yet but some crappie have but not nearly all of them. Pigeon, East Pigeon, Briar Creek and Float Creek are good places to start. Grubs tipped with minnows, Bobby Garland jigs and 3-inch swim baits are catching a lot of fish on the bank in the buckbrush. Spring walleye fishing is as good as it has been in several years with more keepers showing up than the last couple of years. Some are on the bank with the bass and crappie in the creeks and some are on the main lake points in 14-16 feet of water on the spoon. Pretty much all of the fishermen here at Blackburns are catching fish. About 1/2 of the people here are fishermen. Others are building houses, constructing businesses, looking for property or just relaxing and enjoying nature. The forest canopy is filling out fast and many plants and trees are blooming and it is a beautiful time of year. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. You can save anywhere from $30 to $60 per day here with no diminished quality and in most cases better. A lot better.
Scuba Steve is the winner of the 27th annual Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental Invitational with over 18-lbs. He has won every year.
The lake level is 552.52 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running full time. The level of the White River continues to drop and has fell another foot to 17-ft. and heading towards 14 now and 12-ft. the 15th of May. Do not expect much if any drop if we get any rain and a rise if we do. The lake is clearing nicely with the slow drop but the surface water temperature is staying the same or dropping a bit in the backs of the creeks with the cool weather. It is to get very cold about Tuesday night with a chance of frost and the daytime high is to struggle to get to 70 for the next week. It will take just a couple of warm days and nights with the lows in the 60's to bring the shad near the top in the creeks and really get the top-water bite going. It should be here by now but we could go right into summer anytime after next week. There is a little early action now but not very much and not very long. The bass fishing was pretty good yesterday and the fireworks tournament was won with over 15-lbs with 75-boats entered. Blackburns guests said they finished about in the middle of the pack but lost a couple of big ones in Pigeon Creek which would have placed them right up there. The bass that I caught were all full of eggs and out from the bank a bit in deeper water. I do not sight fish during spawn but a lot of people do. The bass and crappie spawn are not in full swing yet but more and more are in some stage of it every day. Both bass and crappie will continue to spawn into June especially Kentucky Bass. Spooning for walleye is improving on main lake points in 14-18 ft. of water in front of brush. I am just not catching very many White Bass but the ones that I am catching that are of any size are full of eggs but that is not unusual. I do not target them but they are fun to catch on top-water. More should start coming in soon if it ever warms up and it will. They are just like the stripers and there are not many big ones left or at lest what people that have been around here for a while would call big ones. Bass, crappie, catfish and walleye are the best bite now but bluegill are starting. They spawn when the water temperature gets into the 70's on sunny warm days sometime in May and then move in under my dock and are a favorite of the children fishing here. I feed them and they are in there by the hundreds and big ones too. The ones under there now are only about 4-5 inches long but there are lots of them and draw a lot of big fish including catfish and pre-spawn bass. If you want to feed the fish use chicken feed because it sinks slowly and also floating catfish food. If it is windy the floating stuff will float away but the chicken feed will not and they hit it going down and the catfish eat it off the bottom. When there is light wind the bass, crappie and bluegill will hit it on top. This is a time of transition and you have to be out there everyday if you want to stay on top of it. Norfork Lake is full of big healthy fish and we all want to keep it that way. It is being managed well and the stockings are to be realized as before the covid junk hit here and maybe we can get back to normal. We at Blackburns have either had their shots or in the process of getting them and hope you do too. We need all of our customers and have lost a few due to covid. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 557.60 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. What you see is what you get so do not expect the level to drop much anytime soon. They are still dropping the White River at Newport and slowing the discharge and are heading for the stupid number of 14-ft. It is now 18. We received 0.2 inches of rain in the last couple of days and are fortunate. It is good to have a stable lake level during the spawn. The cool weather and nearly stable surface water temperature has dampened the top-water bite and pushed back the peak. If they come up it is only for a short time now but they want to. It is now in the early 60's on the main lake and all over the place back in the creeks. Normally striper fishermen would be killing a lot of fish now and I expect more soon. Most of them have turned into crappie fishermen and are unable to catch stripers of any size. If they do they are few and far between. They are now showing off pictures of stripers under 10-lbs. and act proud to be killing them. I would like to see the limit dropped to two per day until they make a comeback. The hybrid stripers are more able to handle the low oxygen times of late summer and I would also like to see more of them stocked as their survival rate is much better as the area lakes are being managed to stay high for long periods of time. The fishing pressure is as high as I have seen it for this time of year. Fishermen are everywhere. There is a one day tournament today for Norfork lake fireworks funding and they have 75 boats signed up. Blackburns has several customers participating and we wish them well. All fish are to be released. It would be good to figure out a way to weigh the fish immediately and release them instead of taking them away from the nest so predator fish can eat the eggs. They should do well with almost everyone catching fish here at Blackburns. The weather is to be well below normal for several days so do not expect any water temperature increase with the cool nightime lows. The normal high is now 70 and we are not to get to that level for a week and lows are to be in the low 40's and high 30's with a chance of frost in low lying areas. Bass, crappie and walleye fishing are the best bites with bluegill starting. Catfish are not far behind. Jugs and throw lines are catching some nice fish. Pigeon, East Pigeon and Briar creeks are producing crappie as well as walleye. Float creek and Big creek are good for bass as well as Blackburns creek. Some big female crappie are still out in deeper water waiting for the males to make nests so this could go on for a few weeks. More and more will then move to main lake brush after spawn. Catch a few, release a few and leave some seed. Showing pictures of huge stringers of dead fish does not enhance anyone's image anymore. People just do not like it unless they are just meat hunters and do not care about anybody else. The numbers of fish are not limitless. Just ask the striper fishermen. We have a good fishery here and we want to keep it that way so everyone can have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Blackburns still has 1-bedroom cabins for $59/day while others are trying to get $100/day for duplex cabins with no porches. We like our customers here and do not waht to charge them too much. That is no way to treat a friend, at least not here.
It does not get much better eating than this but I released it anyway.
The lake level is 557.70 and has dropped about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. They continue to drop the White River at Newport while at the same time slowing the discharge and now it is just above 19-feet and it looks like they are headed back to that 14-ft. level for some stupid reason that nobody knows. Keep it up as high as possible and hold and hope is the game. It is almost like they want to flood out all of their own campgrounds. It is just government money anyway and is not real. They cannot even manage when there are drought conditions let alone big rains and some people want bigger government. I do not promote killing large numbers of fish or take pictures of dock floors and huge stringers of dead fish but it is a good thing that Blackburns Has two fish cleaning stations at the dock. Almost everyone is catching fish and they are both busy most of the time. No waiting in line for the slow guy here. The cool weather and predominately north wind has now blown the plankton and shad into the creeks coming into the river from the south and that along with most of the bass and crappie spawning or wanting to spawn already making nests in the creeks has really increased the bite in these areas. One couple reported catching over 70-fish, releasing most or f them and never leaving Blackburns creek. Flatheads are still being caught on jugs using small bluegill but channels are also showing up. Throw lines are also working. Creature baits, small grubs tipped with minnows and jigs cast to the bank are catching most of the fish. Some walleye have moved to main lake points in 15-18 ft. of water on the spoon near the bottom. The top- water bite has not hit full stride yet with most of the fish caught there being bass in early morning at sunrise. It is to be cool for the next several days but not cold. The nightime lows are to be in the early 40's and that will not allow the water to warm. It is just over 60 now on the main lake. Blackburns is the place to be so come on down. We will not charge you too much. Compare prices before you pay too much elsewhere. If you have extra money give it to Disabled Veterans.
Good fishing on Norfork Lake Out of Blackburns Resort yesterday. Walleye caught by Bink's Guide service and Keith Katashuk. Roger and Lesley Maggard also has a good day.
The lake level is 557.74 and is exactly what it was at this time yesterday with One generator running continuously. They continue to lower the discharge on the White River at Newport while at the same time lowering the level which is now 20-feet. We did receive about 0.8 inches of rain last night but there was no storm and it all sunk in and the creeks did not run. One of the states that Southwestern power Administration services is Texas, from Norfork Dam, and I wonder if they know power is available from here while they are experiencing shortages. Both the dam management and power administration are run by the government and one hand does not know what the other one is doing. If I lived in Texas I would not be happy about this. They can generate more without causing any problems downstream like they were doing for several weeks prior to Monday when they slowed way down. Flowers are blooming, grass is growing, mushrooms are popping up, fish are biting and things are about as good as they can be here on Norfork lake. The weather is cool with below average daytime highs and nightime lows and the water temperature has quit rising and is hanging in there at about 60 and has been for a long time. It is still pleasant. The stable water level in the buckbrush is making for a good spawn so far. More bass and crappie are moving to the banks everyday but some are still on mainlake brush with the walleye on points. The main lake is clearing just a bit and the creeks vary from stained green to clear almost daily and change with the wind and generation. Most of the fish are in the creeks now. We are to get more rain later this week but it does not look like anything serious so far. Come on down and visit. You can get a cabin here at Blackburns for $59/day for two people. We will not charge you too much. We are the family and fishing headquarters for the Mountain Home area.
The lake level is 557.73 and has dropped about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running. They are dropping the discharge and level on the White River at Newport steadily as predicted and the 15th is not here yet. They cannot wait to start holding and hoping again. Any drop now will be very slow even if it does not rain. Which it will. We did receive just a very little rain last night and some more to come later this week with below average temperatures and northerly winds all week which will stop the surface water temperature rise. Fishing is getting better everyday and only slows a bit with the continuous cold fronts moving through. Many fish are wanting to spawn and they are about to do so anyway even if the water does not warm for a while. Male crappie and bass are moving to the banks now to make nests. I had a report of a nice crappie hitting a zara spook yesterday and that is not a male keeping other fish away from it's nest. Females are still pre-spawn feeding. Several walleye are being caught in 15-18 ft. of water near the bottom on the main lake but only about 1/3 are keepers. All female walleye are spawned out but almost no female crappie. The stable water level in the buckbrush is making for good spawning conditions and I hope it continues for a while. Norfork Lake bass spawn well into June especially Kentucky bass. Bass, crappie and walleye continue to be the best bite and just a few stripers are being caught. I am still seeing pictures of many small dead stripers. They may say they are being released but if you see one with it's mouth open it is not going to swim away any time soon. They are not collecting them to release them and are cutting their own throats and ruining the future for the younger fishermen. I would really like for them to make a comeback. Almost everyone caught fish yesterday and some are extending their stay because fishing is so good. It will be cool with highs just in the low 60's for several days but it does not look like any washouts. This has been a typical spring and yearly rainfall is just a little above average and most of that came in one shot in February. The lake is in good condition now.
Don Katashuk with a nice one caught fishing in Float Creek yesterday.
The lake level is 557.77 and has been exactly the same since they shut off one generator several hours ago. It looks like they are getting ready for the April 15th deadline for dropping the lake and they have also dropped the White River to below 21-ft. This way they can keep us one big rain away from high water and start holding for a big release later. We can just hope the dry spring continues. It was windy Saturday, beautiful yesterday and is to be great again today. Blackburns has been nearly full and almost everyone caught fish Sunday with bass and crappie being the best bite. I saw some bass making nests Saturday and Sunday back in Blackburns Creek and it is getting fished heavily. The wind has just moved to the North and a cold front is coming in bringing cooler weather tomorrow for a few days. There is a chance of light rain late tonight. Everytime the surface water warms a bit a cold front cools it down again with a North wind. I got reports of crappie full of eggs being caught in 30-ft. of water in front of brush piles suspended and others on the bank either making nests or spawning. I went out for a few minutes and caught four crappie and they were all full of eggs and ready to spawn. The water justs needs to warm a bit and there be no sudden change in water level for a couple of weeks to insure a good spawn. There is plenty of cover with water in the buckbrush. The lake is at a good level now and I would like it to stay right here all the time. 555-559 is just right. I am just not convinced we can avoid a big rain so it can stay here. We had one already and it took two months to get things straightened out and it also took dry weather with below average rain. The big swimming pool is now painted and curing. Our pool is 30x60 with a water slide and kiddie pool. It is 1,800 square ft. and you can stretch out and swim laps. Most pools in the area are 20x40 and are 800 square feet. Ours is over twice as big. The deck is resurfaced and the slide is painted and we will be ready for you when you come visit. The full court basketball area is also resurfaced. It is on a flat area with two hoops but small enough for us old folks. If you miss a shot the ball does not roll down a cliff. The big playground is flat and green with many things for the children. Sandbox, play stations, swings, volleyball, soccer, horseshoes are all palyed here and you can watch them from your cabin or from the big pavilion with shuffle board and ping pong. We have it all here at Blackburns and at the right price. You can save a bunch by staying here without a decrease in quality. We are the family and fishing resort on Norfork lake and especially welcome veterans and police. Sorry we are not politically correct but try and respect everyone. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
Released under the dock by Tom Kelly. He is one good fisherman.
The lake level is 558.03 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. The water surface temperature is hanging in there stubbornly in the high 50's and the water is clearing. There is some top-water action early on sunny mornings just at sunrise part way back in the windblown creeks and there has not been a problem finding any wind. At least it has cut way back this morning after being incessant all day yesterday and cool. Use a Zara Spook for red meat fish and Spitin Image for bass. The top-water bite will get better if the water ever warms and should be an everyday occurance by about the 15th. Even though you might not see them on cloudy days they will be in the same places and you can call them up with the top-water lure. The striper fishermen, turned crappie fishermen should be able to catch some stripers now until they are all gone. The crappie are still both on the bank in the creeks and on brush in the creeks suspended in about 20-ft. of water. More are on the bank or staging just off the bank in 10-15 ft. of water. Bass are ready to spawn with some males making nests. Some walleye are on main lake points in 15-20-ft. of water and some are in the creeks on shadowy banks in the afternoon. Three inch creature and swim baits thrown to the shore and walking the bottom back to the boat are catching several fish, especially smallmouth bass which are the best bite. I use a 3/16th jig head and Bink uses a 1/4 ounce. You have to snag some wood to catch fish so bring plenty. Crankbaits are catching largemouth bass especially on windy days and we are having plenty of those. I do not know why crappie are on main lake brush in 20-23 ft. of water near the bottom but they are. Not high numbers but big ones and they are full of eggs. The walleye that I am catching are spawned out but still very fat. They sure did not have any problem finding food this winter with the shad kill and all fish are very healthy. The White River at Newport is still dropping and is now at 21.25 feet so they can keep generating if they want to. It will be interesting to see what they do after the 15th of this month when the rules change. I hope they keep going to give us more surge capacity but the lake is now at a good level and in good condition for fishing and boating. We just do not need a gully washer in Missouri. Blackburns was nearly full yesterday with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. The new roof on cabin #9, the only mobile home, is finished and now all buildings on the property have new steel roofs. Also all cabins have new laminate flooring. No more carpet or shingles for us here. The renovations on cabins #1,2,4 and #11 are completed and we are ready for your visit. The pool deck and basketball court are resurfaced and we are just about done painting the entire pool. Things look good here and we are ready for your visit. Also there will be no price increases this year and you can get a 1-bedroom cabin for $59/day with a covered porch and no duplexes. Are you tired of paying for your first boat stall yet? Your first regular sized stall is free here. Sorry, pontoon stalls are extra but we have eleven pontoons to rent. I have never seen more boats out there on the lake in April. People are really wanting to get out of the cities. I do not blame them. We found some morel mushrooms yesterday. The rain earlier brought them out. Before it was too dry.
The lake level is 558.31 and has dropped about 2-inches in the last 24-hours with both gernerators running continuously. It started to raise a bit with the storm about 3PM when we received about an inch of heavy rain in a few minutes but started dropping again in just an hour or two. The wind blew down some trees, a billboard in town, broke a few dock cables but I saw no bad damage. There were a few power outages but things have calmed down now. It is to be sunny and cool the next several days with sunshine and below average temperatures. The main lake surface water temperature just will not get up past 60 and is just below that now. The crappie want to spawn but few are. The males are on the bank making nests and the females are in deeper water waiting. Striper fishermen have turned into crappie fishermen and are dragging the shoreline in about 20-ft. of water and picking up females. It is like carpet bombing. Others are casting to the brush or any wood near the bank and catching males making and pretecting nests. I have caught no spawned-out females. Flathead fishing has slowed but the smallmouth bass bite is good. A few nice white bass are being caught but not as many as a few years ago. Very few stripers of any size are being caught but some nice hybrids are. Short bass are being caught in the creeks in pretty high numbers and walleye are showing up regularly but I have seen few big ones. The overall fish population in Norfork is good and fishing is getting better every day. The fishing pressure continues to increase but the lake overall is in good condition. The rain really greened things up again and the trees and shrubs are beautiful. My favorite are the red buds. We have the best population of Purple Martins ever both at the resort and on the dock. I really enjoy listening and watching them. Blackburns is a bird sanctuary and I spend more on their food than people food but do not mind.
The lake level is 558.52 and now is dropping over three inches a day with both generators running continuously. It is dry here and they are now able to reduce the level of the White River at Newport and also the discharge rate while letting area lakes drop. It is now under 22-feet. The lake is now dropping about a fast as it can just using the generators. We will see what happens when the 15th gets here and the rules change but things are looking pretty good now. We have a good chance of getting more rain later today but can take an inch without raising the lake much. It would be really nice to keep the level below 560 for the rest of the year especially for parking, launching and day use. The lake color is good for fishing and is trying to clear. Too clear is not good but we have not had that in a while. The surface water temperature should rise today with ambient temperatures to reach 80. It has held at just at or under 60 for a long time on the main lake. Lots of fish are wanting to spawn and different species are in varying stages of the spawning process. Male bass and crappie are on the bank now. The walleye that I am catching have no eggs but some are shallow in the backs of the creeks and some are on the usual main lake brush. Use a spoon on the brush and a small creature or swim bait on the bank. Three inches seems to be the right length. A lot of short bass were caught out of the buckbrush in the backs of creeks yesterday but some were keepers also. I do not keep bass this time of year or sight fish nests. There are more boats out there for this time of year than I have ever seen. Norfork Lake is no longer a secret. The facts that we have no good roads to get here and no major airports are not keeping them away anymore. People are just trying to get out of the city and the giant boats and boat traffic of Lake of The Ozarks and are pleasantly surprised on their first trip here. The days of taking a small flat bottom boat out on the lake may be numbered. I fish a bass boat but when I see a big steep sided boat with an antennae heading my way I turn and get away from it as fast as I can. I guess my days of being nearly the only one out there in peace and quiet are limited to winter. Some growth is good but sometimes I think it would be nice for it to be like it was when I moved here in 1995 and knew almost everybody in town. Now I go into the super Walmart and see a hundred people and do not know any of them. Now that is a change. Now instead of a two lane road going by my corner it is a five lane highway and still more busy. It is getting harder and harder to exist as a good ol hillbilly country boy. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental prides itself in being pro-veteran, pro-police and pro-family and these groups are always welcome here and we try to keep our prices low for them. I served my time in the military but am more proud of my father's family who were all heros of WW-2. Five brothers all served at the same time and the sixth one tried but was only 16. No political correctness will change that. My father is the marine near the bottom and I could not be prouder. He served in Iwo Jima, Saipan, Tinian and occupied the Island of Japan. The bombs for sure saved his life as he was on his way to invade Japan when they were dropped and surrendered. Who could not be proud of that.
Dave Titus with some of yesterday's catch. Released under the dock.
The lake level is 558.82 and continues to drop about three inches per day.I hope they continue. We received about 0.2 inches of badly needed rain yesterday and it really greened things up. In just a few minutes after it stopped buds were bursting open on trees and shrubs and grass turned about three shades of darker green. It was good to have the dust settled. The main lake surface water temperature is stubbornly holding in there at about 60-degrees and the creeks can vary as much as 5-6 degrees a day depending on wind, ambient temperature and how close to the banks you are. This is a weird year for spawn. I caught a white bass about 2-1/2 pounds and it did not have bloodlines in the eggs and was not ready yet. They usuall spawn in February. Some smaller crappie in the 10-12 inch range are ready to spawn and larger ones are not. I had always found the larger ones spawned first and then moved to main lake brush. This same thing happened last year and the spawn continued well into late May. The flatheads that I am catching have no eggs but they are the last fish in the lake to spawn. The top-water bite for stripers and white bass is just starting on some days and begins about 7:Am and does not last long. The stripers that I have seen being caught are small and should have been released. Keep killing those little ones boys and brag about it and they will be all gone. The night bite for spawning stripers was a fizzle. I do not know if they are just not there or just late but it usually happens before now. Maybe since the big ones are gone the smaller ones are not ready yet. The smallmouth bass fishing is very good now and they are right on the bank in the buckbrush and can be caught on a 3-inch creature bait on a 3/16th or 1/4 jig head walking the bottom. Be prepared to lose a few lures. Use clear 6-lb. line on a 6-1/2 ft. medium heavy rod. More walleye are in the same places as are some crappie. Expect to catch all three. The same walleye that were in the 15-inch range last year are just about keeper size which is 18-inches. Some are just a bit short but more keepers are being caught than last year. Bluegill fishing has been slow for some reason. There are a lot of them down there but they will not bite very well at least for me. A couple of them fried up like potato chips are pretty good eating. The lake overall is in good condition and the fishing is fair to good and is getting better. You can catch fish all day in this cloudy weather. Try a 2-inch white twister tail tipped with a small crappie minnow on a 1/16th ounce white with a red eye jig head on 4-lb line just for fun. Turn the tail up and hook the minnow through the lips. You will be surprised at what you catch. Tip of the year.
Caught fishing with Bink yesterday.
The lake level is 559.07 and has dropped a little over 3-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. The lake surface temperature was just under 60 in some places and in the low to mid 60's in others. The water is trying to clear and is at a good color for fishing on both creeks and main lake but has been slow doing so as it has been slow warming up. The ambient low was 65 last night and that will really help things out. The rain is moving into Baxter County now and it looks like we will get a little and maybe a storm. We do not need the wind but a little rain will not hurt. I never thought I would say that. The lake has dropped about 2-feet from it's high and that was badly needed and we need more. They are dropping the level of the White River at Newport very slowly now and it is at 22.35 and is where it should have been all winter and we would be at 552 and able to hold another big rain. The fishing is getting better and better with bass and crappie being the best with catfish not far behind. White Bass are disappointing and are not near what they were before their kill-off a couple of years ago. They are the easiest to catch and people that have trouble catching fish could almost always catch them. Not so now. They spawn several times a year and should make a comeback with the goodly amount of baitfish in the lake. The shad kill this year made a dent in them but there is still plenty of feed with the absence of the big stripers scarfing them up. Some male crappie have moved to the bank and shallow wood to make a nest and the females are mostly full of eggs with blood lines wanting to spawn. I cleaned one big female crappie yesterday with no bloodlines that I had hooked deep. It still had several days before spawn left. Others are ready. If all of the males are caught off the nests there will be nothing to fertilize the eggs and protect the eggs and small fry. Catch a few, keep a few and release a few. This may be the easiest time to catch them but not the best time for the population which I would like to keep where it is. Norfork is a good crappie lake and known for big ones and not high numbers. There are few places where you can catch 14-16 inch crappie regularly and we need to keep it that way. There are more and more boats out there everyday and the fishing pressure is increasing over the years and the boats are getting bigger and bigger. Not sure how much I like that but it is what it is.
The lake level is 559.34 and has dropped three inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. I hope they keep this up. The lake surface temperatures are rising with ambient temperatures near 80 and warmer nights. It is above 60 now about all places even in the early mornings and gets in the mid 60's back in the creeks in the sunshine shallow in the afternoons. There is to be a cold front coming through tomorrow cooling things down just a bit with a chance of storms and some rain. We can use a little rain with things getting dusty and dry. The dry last of March and early April has been a blessing for lake levels in this area. The pollen is starting to come out in force and there are green layers of it floating on the windblown banks. Moss is breaking up and is floating around. We did not used to have this and I think It will get worse before it gets better. The repercussions of the loss of the dam at Dawt Mill in 2017 are just starting to be felt on Norfork lake. The runoff in the watershed of the Norfork River is now unimpeded and flows directly into the lake. The lake in general is a good color for fishing. Bass, crappie and catfish continue to be the best bite and striper fishermen are either turning into crappie fishermen or going home. A 15-lb. one is rare now and would not have even worth a picture a few years ago and is still not as far as I am concerned. High water with no oxygen for long periods of time, over harvesting and none being stocked by Game and Fish last year do to covid will just exacerbate the problem. They will not come back anytime soon if people do not quit killing them but still it continues. Stripers are what sets Norfork lake apart from other area lakes and I want them back. I have not kept one for a couple of years now. The limit needs to be dropped to two until they make a comeback. They do grow fast. Creeks are the best fishing now with just a few on main lake brush. Bass, crappie and walleye will move back to the main lake points on brush after spawn. Cast a grub, jig or crearure bait on a jig head to the shore and work it slowly back to the boat raising and letting the head drop as much as possible. Pigeon, East Pigeon,Twin Coves and Briar Creek are good places to start. Very good. Cabins are still $59/day here at Blackburns and your first boat stall is free unless you drag your own pontoon. We have 12 of them to rent. Come on down and check us out. We will not charge you too much.
James and Mike caught some good ones this morning. I usually do not take pictures of white bass but just want it to be known there are still some left.
The lake level is 559.63 and has dropped three inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuous. The surface water temperature was just under 60 when I went out yesterday afternoon and just over 61 when I came in about 5:PM. The wind was light from the south and the ambient temperature was 77 degrees and it was a perfect day. We are not to get any rain until wednesday and they have upped that to 90%. The highs are to stay in the 70's with lows in the 40's. I was surprised how quickly the water temperature had risen in one day. We are dry and some rain will finally be welcome. They are holding the White River at Newport at just under 23-feet and that is good. This is a good level if they can just hold it there. The brown is gone out of the water and it is stained green and you can see your lure down just a few feet just right for fishing. Most of the debris is sticking to the bank with the water dropping and it has dropped about 1-1/2 feet from it's high of just over 561. We could sure use some surge capacity. I talked to a person on the lake who said he had trolled for miles for two days and had caught nothing so I sent him back into a couple of creeks and put on a rapala. When he went by later he said he had caught a few crappie in the 11-inch range trolling the shoreline. If you put out enough lines and troll long enough you will catch fish but there is not much skill involved and you miss the feel of the strike and setting the hook. Just take the rod out of the holder and reel. I decided to fish a couple of main lake brush piles. When most of the fish leave the main lake there are always a few very large ones that remain. I do not fish for high numbers or troll but like to go for large ones and I caught a few very large crappie vertical jigging in 23-ft. of water right in the brush. One was 16-inches. I then moved to the creek and caught a few but they were small. There were several boats out there but I expected more. When I returned to the dock it was full of bluegill, crappie and some large bass. That is a sign that the spawn is near. This is an exciting time of year when things are changing rapidly and you have to adapt to the changes. Crappie on the bank in the creeks and top-water bass, stripers, hybrids and white bass are coming soon.
James Soltysiak with a nice walleye caught this morning.
Tom Kelly with one of several caught and released yesterday.
The lake level is 559.88 and has dropped three inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously.They are holding the White River at Newport at just below 23-feet and that is good. It is nice to be below 560 again and I hope they continue the good work albeit a little slow and late. The rain threat for wednesday is 40% and we can take some with no problem as dry as it is. Before that and after, it is to be mostly sunny and dry with highs in the 70's. If they continue until April 15th when the rules change it will be good. Fishing was much better this morning than yesterday afternoon and the water is warming a bit and is still in the mid 50's on main lake. It is all over the place back in the creeks but they are both clearing and are clearest near the bank. Bass, crappie, walleye, white bass and a hybrid striper were all caught with Tom Kelly catching several nice smallmouth in Panther creek. All of his fish were released on the spot. Tom is a very good fisherman and conservationalist. He had been off with trolling motor problems but is back strong now. He reports Hogdes Marine in Bull Shoals did a fast job on his trolling motor, it works great and he recommends them. They are nice people. James Soltysiak is back from Missouri and catching fish already. He and Mike Eakle caught some nice ones this morning. It is nice to have warm weather again even if the nights are still a bit cool. Debbie, Dave and Bryan finished resurfacing the pool deck yesterday and it looks beautiful. It should look good at $160/bucket and we have used eight of them already. The basketball court is next and then painting the rest of the pool and then we are hopefully done. Too many improvements and not enough money. It is a good thing that we have been very busy here to keep things going. We all are very proud of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental and hope you will like it when you get here. We know you will like the price and no increases.
Mixed bag all caught on the spoon yesterday. Norfork has a lot of varieties of fish.
The lake level is 560.14 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. They are holding the White River at Newport at 23-feet and that is good. Should have done that all winter and we would be at 552 now but this level is ok barring any big rains in Missouri. We are to get no rain until next wednesday when thunderstorms are likely. It is getting dry. Bink reports about everything was biting yesterday except for stripers and he caught them all on his spoon. Our striper fishermen from Kansas are disappointed and say they can catch crappie a lot closer to home. They are having fun catching them and catfish here though. It is good to see a few White Bass showing up. The lake is staying stubbornly cool with the cold nights and is stil in the low to mid 50's and the water is slow to clear up but is trying. You cannot tell the clarity from the surface but have to either use an underwater camera or dive down there. Sometines it looks clear from the top but is cloudy down below and vice versa. Also the thermocline cannot be detected with a locator. What some people think is the thermocline is just a mud line above or below it. We are far from forming a thermocline now. It is to stay with highs in the 70's for the foreseeable future and it looks like spring is finally here. Sometimes we go directly into summer. The next fishing event to look for will be the top-water bite for bass, hybrids, stripers and white bass. This will start soon and especially when the nightime lows stay in the 60's. Get out you Spitin Image and Zara Spook. After they go down you can call them back up if you know how to work the lures properly. It takes a little practice. We are busy resurfacing the pool and basketball court and then the improvements will be finally done. It is very busy here at Blackburns with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals on the lake and not having to pay for their first boat stall. Even with all of the improvements there will be no price increases at Blackburns this year. It is hard to hold prices with lumber and insurance costs increasing dramatically, but we have, so we do not have to increase rates on all of our repeat customers, which we have many and appreciate. The $59/day one bedroom price will hold until Memorial Day so come on down. If you are in the Mountain Home area for Easter stop by and check us out.
The lake level is 560.39 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. That is good. Getting it back below 560 will help a lot of people. There is no rain in the forecast and I hope they keep it up. After April 15th the rules change and I am concerned they will slow down again. They have had all winter to drop the level but refused to do so. The main lake is clearing a little but the creeks still go from clearing to stained overnight. It is clearest near the shore. We have some striper fishermen who have fished hard for about three days and unable to catch anything of decent size and have turned into crappie fishermen. At least they can catch something. I fear the big striper population is lower than I anticipated but people are still killing them no matter how small. A 20-inch striper is the minimum legal size and they are just babies but Pilgrims think they are big. The bass are also moving back into the creeks and want to make nests but the water is just too cold. We did not get the heavy frost predicted for the last two nights but it was cold anyway. The surface temperature is going down instead of up but it is to warm into the 70's later this weekend and early next week and we need to get the surface temperature up into the 60's on the main lake. I am catching crappie back in the creek on brush in about 20-ft. of water but the wood is near the surface. More fish are near the bank in the afternoons when the shallow water warms a bit in the sunshine. Few fish are on the banks on the early cold mornings. A few nights with the overnight lows in the 60's would really help. I am glad March is over. Maybe now the low pressure fronts will not be cold fronts also. Cold fronts followed with clear skies and cold nights do not help the fishing any. I am catching some nice flathead catfish everyday on a short throw line baited with 3-inch bluegill. They are not right on the bank but out in about 12-ft. of water and biting at night. They should continue to stay here until the gar move in and chase them away. We seem to be getting more and more gar in the lake. I am glad the bow hunters are helping to clean them out. The carp will move into the back of Blackburns creek soon to spawn and will be there by the thousands. I hope the bow hunters get some of those also. They can get all of them as far as I am concerned. Fishing overall is just fair but the good fishermen are catching some everyday. We are just stuck in this low to mid 50's water temperature for a few days and it will just take time to warm the water up. The bass and crappie want to spawn bad. I am ready for a little top-water bite. I am tired of wearing a coat.
Bryan said he was going after bass and crappie and he did. Released under the dock.
The lake level is 560.62 and has dropped a little over two inches in the last 24-hours with continuous generation. Dry conditions and little rain for several days has helped things a lot. The ambient temperature did not get as cold as predicted last night but it did get to 34 degrees but is still supposed to freeze tonight. The very warm weather scheduled for Sunday has now been backed up a day or so but the weather is still to be fine but cool for the next couple of days but sunny. The wind shifted to the north and it was cool but not too bad yesterday. The wind finally dropped last evening and is low so far today but is to pick back up again with the heat of the day which is not going to get out of the low 50's. The surface water temperature is also dropping slowly on the main lake and there is a bigger swing in the creeks but both are still in the low to mid 50's. The main lake is clearing and the creeks change from clearing to stained green almost daily. The current due to generation is moving downstream and is enhanced if the wind is blowing from the northwest. The variable wind, cold fronts and big temperature changes make fishing difficult. You cannot use the same techniques every day if you want to catch fish consistently. The bass and crappie are moving from shallow on gentle sloping banks part way back in the creeks to steeper banks in deeper water depending on the conditions. Work a small grub on a jig head off steeper banks in cool weather in the mornings. Park as far from the bank as you can cast and let the grub sink as it falls into deeper water towards the boat. Watch your line for a twitch. If is is warm go back further and work a creature bait on a lighter jig head in shallow water near the bank in the buckbrush. I am still not finding any crappie on the main lake on deeper brush piles but are finding them pretty far back in the creeks in shallow brush in 17-20 ft. of water when it is cool and cloudy and near the bank when it is warm and sunny. The males are not making nests yet on wood near the shore with the persistent water temperature in the 50's. They want to though and the bloodlines in the eggs in bigger fish are getting larger. One day the crappie are under the dock in 23-25 ft. of water and the next they are gone. Flatheads are part way back in the creeks and are biting several feet from the banks in about 10-15 ft. of water on live bluegills. I am using a small throw line with just a few hooks on it and catching some good ones every day. Trollers are catching some stripers in Bennetts on live bait but not very big. Just a few White Bass of any size are being caught. Fishing overall is just fair and many striper fishermen are either turning into bass and crappie fishermen ot staying home. Dropping the lake a couple of more feet would not hurt anything and help several people with access. The top water bite that I was seeing back in the creek in the evening is gone with the cold weather.
Brian Deardoff with the fish of the day. He says he will try for bass and crappie later.
The lake level is 560.82 and has dropped a little over an inch with both generators running most of the time and just a few hours of just one. They are actually trying to keep the area lakes from rising but mostly the emphasis is on getting Table Rock back to power pool while the others rise. We may drop more quickly when they accomplish this and they are close. We could be dropping much more quickly and have not received any rain for a week with none scheduled for the next several days. We will be ok unless the area around Gainsville gets a gully washer like in 2017. Nothing could have helped things when this happens except that we were at a 546 level when it happened and it would have been more of a disaster if we had been at 560 like now. It is always good to lower the level in the winter to the 540's and not be above 552 at the end of April when they start the stupid 14-ft. rule at Newport. When it changes to 12-ft. the 8th of May there is not much chance the lake will drop much unless it is already very high. Then they will hold it all summer. I do not want the creeks to clear very much until the bass spawn is over. When it is clear the sight fishermen catch the male bass off their nests and it does not matter if they are released later or not the damage is done. With nothing to guard the nests the eggs or small fry have a life expectance of about 1-minute with hundreds of bluegill and other fish laying in waiting for an open nest. The other thing that hampers the spawn is rapidly rising or dropping of the lake level. Spawning fish will only try to change nests a couple of times before they give up and just spray them out in open water without being fertilized. A nice stable lake level in Mid April continuing until early June with water in the buckbrush makes for a very good spawn even though most of the buckbrush is dead from being submerged for so long. We are to get a very cold low temperature tonight and tomorrow night with freeze warnings both nights. This is not unusual for late March and early April but will not help the blooming flowers, shrubs and trees. I do not plant my garden until early May as Blackburns is in a low valley close to the lake and gets a few degrees colder than higher elevations. I have seen frost in early May several mornings after clear nights but normally does not harm much except tomatoes and other delicate plants. There is just no need to get things out early as we will get plenty of heat later. The lake surface temperature is staying in the mid 50's but should come up with ambient temperatures reaching nearly 80 by Sunday. It looks to be a very nice weekend. These cold fronts just keep coming through. People that used to troll for stripers are not catching much and are now trolling for crappie. I am still seeing people taking pictures of dead stripers that barely reach the 20-inch minimum. They need to smile as they are ruining the future. When you see pictures of trollers with a few crappie usually means they have worked hard for them all day and are trolling the shoreline for hours. Sometimes they have been out for a couple of days with nothing and finally catch a few accidently. Bass, crappie and flathead catfish are the best bite now and can be caught on small jigs, grubs and soft plastics near the bank part way back in the creeks. Check Pigeon. East Pigeon, and Briar Creek for crappie. It looks like warmer water, April 15th and spawn will all be in effect at about the same time. We are catching bass, crappie and Flatheads everyday here at Blackburns and still have cabins for $59/day and a free stall for your boat. Can't beat that anywhere. Mowed the grass for the second time yesterday.
Scuba Steve with the fish of the day yesterday released under the dock.
The lake level is 560.95 and is exactly what it was at this time yesterday. They dropped to one generator last evening and are still running just one. The lake stays the same with one generator running, drops slowly when there is two and rises when they shut both of them off. We are to get a good chance of a little rain tonight and tomorrow but nothing serious. It is to get very cold Wednesday and Thursday nights with frost warnings out and then very nice for the weekend with highs near 80 again Sunday and Monday. The March and early April rollercoaster is at it's best now with cold fronts moving in and out regularly. The lake surface temperature is stuck in the 50's and does not have much hope of raising anytime soon until the late weekend. The big crappie have left the main lake for the creeks leaving only the small ones that are either too young to spawn or not ready yet. I fished main lake brush piles and caught only fish in the 6-7 inch range and no big ones. The males are on the bank and getting ready to make nests but have not done so yet. The females are in a little deeper water under cover like docks or brush and feeding. This is not the time to see how many crappie you can kill. Leave some of the males on the banks. After the spawn if you catch the males off the nests the bluegill will eat the eggs faster than you can kiss a duck if there is nothing left to protect them. The Game and Fish do not stock crappie in Norfork Lake anymore so we have to rely on natural reproduction only now. A little bit of catch and release can help a lot in the next few weeks on about everything. Pictures of huge numbers of crappie dead on dock floors are not impressive but about as repulsive as the same with stripers. Nobody wants to see those anymore. Keep a few and release a few and everyone benefits. Try casting a Bobby Garland baby shad or a two inch twister tail tiipped with a live minnow on a 1/16th ounce jig head on 4-lb. test or a maximum of 6-lb. to the bank and keep the jig head dropping as much as possible near the bottom. The water is clearest near the shore so do use clear line not colored or spider line. You will catch both bass and crappie. Also use a 3-inch creature bait like a grub or crawdad on a 3/16th jig head and work the shoreline near the bottom. Soft 5-inch plastics will also work for both bass and crappie but walleye the best. This is a fun time to fish but not easy. You have to go out there regularly and be persistent. They will start to bite just when you are ready to give up. Go in the wind blown creeks and that changes almost daily with the incessant variable, gusty winds of late March and early April and cold fronts moving in and out. The top-water bite will be here soon with the warm overnight lows. I am seeing just a bit in the evenings but not much. It is just too cold early mornings.
Mike caught a flathead on a live bluegill in Blackburns Creek yesterday. That is a good sign.
The lake level is 560.94 and has dropped 3/4 of an inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. It raises when they cut down to one generator or quit generating but drops very slowly when both are running. There is not much rain in the forecast for the next several days and I really hope they keep generating. Cold fronts and wind just keep coming through followed by high pressure and warm days but very cool nights with clear skies. We are to get another frost later this week. It is not time to plant gardens yet. The surface water temperature is still in the mid to upper 50's depending on where and when you check it. We need to get this moon smaller and warm nights in the 60's to really get things going and get the top water bite started in earnest. Blackburns had several fishermen out yesterday and they caught a few fish but not a lot. Bink reports doing great on Saturday but catching some but not great yesterday. This gusty wind is getting old but better than in many other places who are getting flooded out and windy. Several crappie have moved back into the creeks and so have many bass. I am not catching much on the main lake but just a few on main lake brush in 23-25 ft. of water about 9-feet down but you have to work for them. Much of the lake is still a little brown with some small debris but not bad. The brown is settling out very slowly for some reason but is getting there. The lake sure has changed with the very heavy rain in late April of 2017. Dawt Mill dam is now gone and the runoff in Missouri comes right down to Arkansas with not much to let it settle out. I think every big log from Missouri now resides in Arkansas. They do provide good spawning grounds for crappie though. With the buckbrush and most of the trees dead near the bank from being submerged in water for so long it will take several years to replentish to where it was if it ever will. You can be sure of one thing. If the lake ever gets down near 550 for an extended time in the spring we will have a bumper crop of cockle burrs. I have not missed them much. People just keep killing small stripers and a big one now is 15-lbs and not very many of them. It looks like this will not stop until all of them are gone. They should be criticised for killing stripers rather than bragging about it. Nobody wants to see huge stringers of dead fish anymore. I am sure that I do not. Go catch a few, eat a few and release a few. Walleye, crappie, Kentucky Bass, flathead catfish and bluegill are the best eating. Blackburns is very busy and we like that. We have things all fixed up and did not try to sneak a price increase in on you. We will not charge you too much. If you are staying at a place where you are nearly the only customer you are probably paying way too much.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday.
Cabin #11 with three bedroom, two bath and big screened porch after renovation.
The lake level is 561.01 and has risen 3-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 1/3 the time and one running about 2/3 the time. We missed the strong storms that hit Mississippi and Alabama and inundated Tennessee with rain. Even though I do not like the way it is managed, Norfork is in better shape overall than most of the lakes around. We just need about two weeks of no rain but that is highly unlikely in the end of March and early April. We would have been just fine if they had drawn the levels down in the winter but they refuse to do so. A lot of things are changing and have changed on the water. You cannot go out there once a week or so and write a report. They are just not worth anything. First of all the lake surface water had passed 60-degrees and was about 61 but has dropped again with the cool night to the mid 50's. The bluegill have moved back in the creeks under docks and have brought catfish and bass with them. Some walleye were caught yesterday by Bob Schniderman from Illinois part way back in creeks in the Red Bank area on a Stick bait. He is a good fisherman. Crappie are schooled up and are also back in the creeks in about 23-ft. of water and biting on jigs and grubs tipped with live minnows. They are pre-spawn feeding as are the bass. Fish are starting to come up in the evening and the creeks are the place to be for about everything. Big stripers are being either elusive or just gone. Hybrids are being caught near the bank on stick baits and nice ones too. This is all happening after a couple of weeks of not very good fishing. The lake seems to be clearing just a bit but is either brownish green or green over most of the lake and the floating small debris is not affecting clearity much. Flatheads, bass and crappie were all caught in Blackburns Creek yesterday and there were several boats out there enjoying the 80-degree weather and participating in fishing tournaments. Bink caught a mixed bag of fish yesterday including, bass, white bass, hybrids and small stripers. He is fishing the Big Creek area and reports the water is clearing a bit but still brownish. No report on the night striper bite. The fronts continue to move through about every three days and when the cold fronts get here followed by high pressure the fishing is slowed for a couple of days and the water temperature drops again. There is some top-water bite in the evenings but will not start in earnest until about April 15th. Things are in transition now but that is what makes things interesting. Blackburns has finished renovation on cabins 1,2,4 and the three bedroom two bath house and are now focused on painting trim. All other cabins are freshly painted. That is why we have received the Best of Mountain Home Awards for improvements and value for the second consecutive year. We did not raise any of our prices and your first boat stall is free here unless you bring your own pontoon and we have 12 of them to rent. Our one bedroom cabins are still $59/day for two people and 2,3,4 bedrooms are priced accordingly. All have covered porches and none are duplexes. You will like what you see when you get here. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 560.78 and has risen about 4-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running part of the time and one part of the time. When they cut back the lake rises and when both are running it stabilizes but does not drop. We received 1-1/2 inches of rain in a two day total earlier in the week. The water temperature was 57 on the main lake yesterday and that will rise with the ambient temperature approaching 80 today with sunshine. We are to get a little more rain later this weekend and then hopefully none for several days. The usual two cold fronts a week are to come through this week with alternating warm and cool days and nights. There is some debris in Blackburns area on the main lake and with the slowly rising water it is breaking away from the bank and moving around with the current caused by generation and the wind direction. I do not see this going away until the level drops and the stuff hangs up on the shore again. The creeks vary from fairly clear to brownish green depending on the generation. I could see my lure down a little more last evening so it is heading in the right direction. Bass fishing is still the best with most of them on the banks now and back in the creeks on bluegill. A few crappie are being caught but not as many big ones as before along with some hybrids and a few small stripers but there have been no good results reported for the night bite for them yet. They have to simulate a spawn soon and it should be happening. They are one of the few fish that ingest their own eggs. The full moon is tomorrow and if there are clear skies they should be on their spawning banks north of Cranfield and across from Quarry Marina. The walleye should be showing up now but I am not finding any. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental has received awards for the Best of Mountain Home in the most improved resort and the best value categories for the second consecutive year. Come on down and check us out. You will like what you see and like the price better. Why pay too much for nothing unless you just have too much money? If you do stay here and give the difference to Disabled American Veterans. They need it more. Fishing overall is just fair. It is beautiful today and there are several boats out there.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday. The hybrids can take the high level low oxygen water better than stripers.
The lake level is 559.82 and is about what it was at this time yesterday. They quit generating last night but started again early this morning. We received 0.7 inches of rain last night and it is raining now. The creeks are not running yet. I would really like to get through this rain with little or no rise of the lake and get some dry weather. On April 15th the rules change again , and depending on how they calculate 50% of flood storage, could really stop or reduce generation back to the stupid 14-ft. rule at Newport. After that it drops to 12-ft. on May 8th and it really stops. Our best bet is to stop the rise now and have drier weather. We have not had more than average rainfall so far this year. If the level was drawn down to at least 548 this winter we would be at 554 which would be perfect and right at power pool. It was a nice warm day yesterday afternoon when I went out and the wind was variable and gusty. It would change directions every few minutes and swirl and gust. I found a lot of fish on brush in 23-ft. of water and caught a couple of crappie but moved to get out of the wind. The wind blown banks were full of small floating debris and hard to fish. I went back in Hensley's creek and caught a couple of barely keeper bass on the bank and then stumbled on a large school of shad way back in the creek in about 19-feet of water and spooned up a couple of small White Bass and a throw back Kentucky. The surface water temperature was 55 on the main lake and 57 in the backs of the creeks. Bink reports finding 60-degree water back in Big Creek but I did not find that in Blackburns area. He also reports catching a very large Hybrid in the late afternoon but not much after dark yet. The water color around here is a very light brown with a little green mixed in and you can see your lure down about 1-1/2 feet. It is not my favorite color but is ok and is clearing very slowly from the rain that happened over a week ago. The slowly rising water is keeping some small wood floating and it is blowing in the wind. I want to fish the wind blown banks but with the bank behind the buck brush and the debris blowing into it makes it difficult and you get snagged a lot. If you move where it is better there are not very many fish there. I am on call and do not want to travel very far to find the water that I like. Fishing overall is just fair but there are some signs of top-water in the evening and with 60+ degree water coming things will change everyday. You just have to be out there when it happens. The fish are there except the big stripers.
Fish of the day.
The lake level is 559.55 and has risen about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours. They cut back to one generator for several hours when it started to rain and then quit for several hours. They are generating now. We received about 0.6 inches of rain last night and it all sunk in and the creeks are not running. We are to get more on Thursday. The grass is green and we mowed on Saturday for the first time. Dogwoods are in bloom as are Bradford Pears. It is really starting to look like spring. The north part of the lake is stained a little brown but you can see your lure down a couple of feet. It is about the same far south in the Big Creek area with some stained green in between. Bink reports he is casting soft plastics and catching some good sized White Bass. This has just started and is a few weeks late. Otherwise he is using a 3-inch creature bait on a jig head for bass. He is going to check out the night bite for stripers tonight. It should happen soon with the full moon on the 28th. Not nearly as many people fish this bite as in years past. I remember when you had to get out there in the afternoon to get the best spots and we caught 30-lb fish. That certainly is not the case now. You should see some walleye coming in on the shadowy banks on soft plastics just before dark soon. I fish for them first and then move to the striper banks at dusk and switch to the stick bait. The surface water is in the mid 50's and not rising very much. It is to be near 80 this week and that should bring it up. There are top water fish coming up in the backs of the creeks in the evening and most of them are bass. Things will change quickly now so stay tuned. They are finishing up on the new siding on cabin #11 today and starting on the pool resurfacing. I am picking up several boat seats from ITS in Midway for reupholstering today and will be broke after that. We need your busines in order to get diapers, pablum and milk for the babies and take the dogs to the vet, buy dog food and shotgun shells.
John and Luke Bornhop.
Float Creek Eagles.
The lake level is 559.51 and has dropped about two inches in the last 24-hours with continuous generation. With the rain coming again tonight and thursday I sure hope they keep it up. They usually quit everytime it starts to rain. The brown water coming down from the north is dissipating, is a lighter color, moving south and spreading out with most of the debris being small. It is not my color of choice but fish are biting in it. I am catching my fish in water stained a little green with visibility down to about three feet but am having to go a little further than I want to to find it. A lot of fish seem to be in about 23-feet of water and vary location during the time of day and amount of sunshine. Crappie, bass and small stripers are the best bite. It is really discouraging to see people still bragging about dock floors full of small dead stripers. Some are barely 4-5 pounds and are babies. It is hard for some people to change. When they are gone I guess they can go to another lake to deplete. Stripers are one thing that set Norfork Lake apart from many other lakes and I am sorry to see them go. The more small ones that are killed the longer it will take for the population to grow with the Game and fish not stocking any last year due to covid. They are resuming the stocking this year and I am glad. Kill other fish for meat. They do not dress out very well anyway. Catch and release them and do not fish for them in deep water. I wish they would drop the limit on them to two. It is important to have them in the lake and people really like to catch them. The water surface temperature was 54 yesterday afternoon and the creeks are not as clear as thye were a few days ago. I could see the bottom under my dock in 23-feet of water but not now. It seems to change daily. There is more surface activity in the creeks in late evening everyday. The top water bite will be not far away and is the easiest time to catch fish. Get your spooks and spittin images ready when the water temperature passes 60 and take the dog out for a walk. I really like to watch fish hit them. Much better than just trolling anybody can do that.
Luke Bornhop with the fish of the day. Caught more too. Those are some nice crappie.
The lake level is 559.68 and has risen 1-inch in the last 24-hours. They quit generating last night but have started up again. It drops when they generate just a bit and raises when it stops. It has not rained for several days but we have a good chance later this week. The weekend has been beautiful and people are out. Blackburns was full yesterday except for the one cabin still under construction but it will be ready the first of next week. We had to pull of it since it was also full all last week. This has been the busiest spring so far with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rental on Norfork lake and a free boat stall. They just do not like others raising their prices and appreciate it that we did not. Blackburns is the best value in the Ozarks. The overall fishing continues to be just fair with bass and crappie still being the best bite. Several small stripers less than 10-lbs are being caught and people are still killing them. The pictures that they are taking are of smaller and smaller dead fish. I am seeing no big ones. I went out for a bit last evening after work and had to move further downstream to find clear water. The brown stuff is still moving downstream and is about at the 62-bridge. I checked a good place out across from Bidwell and it still had junk and brown water so I went to Float Creek where the water was perfect for me. I caught both bass and crappie and had to come back in. Some fish were on the bank and some were on brush. Big schools of small bluegill have moved back into the creeks and some predator fish have pulled off shad and went back with them. Fish were coming up in Blackburns Creek just before dark last evening and some nice ones too. They were mostly bass but some White Bass were in there. Blackburns Creeks is not brown and is at a perfect color for fishing. The surface water temperature is still in the low to mid 50's depending on when and where you take it and is not moving up or down much with the cool nights. Fishing overall is slow to fair but some nice ones are being caught everyday. We just do not need any more rain for a while keeping the lake from rising and let things settle out and clear up in the brown areas. If the lake would stop rising the debris would stick to the banks otherwise I will fish south of the 62-bridge until it does. Not to say fish do not bite in brown water, I just do not have any confidence in fishing it when lightly stained green water is available and it is. I am happy it is spring and things are busy. We like that. It was a perfect day.
The Moody Brothers with some of yesterday's catch. Good fishermen and better friends.
The lake level is 559.64 and has risen about three inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. The light brown water is moving down the river channel and is just about at the 101 bridge and heading south. It is clearing and dissipating as it moves and is not a problem. The wind has been blowing hard for about three days and has made fishing on my best spots more difficult. It has layed a bit now and is moving to the south at about 5-10 and it is to get into the 60's today with bright sunshine. We had about a half of dozen different fishing groups out yesterday and all complained about the wind and slow fishing except the Moody brothers. Crappie and bass continue to be the best bite with a few small stripers and white bass being caught. The water temperature continues to be in the mid 50's in the afternoon and is not increasing much with the very cool nights. 23-feet of water seems to be the best for crappie with the fish on top of the brush in the sunshine and down deeper when it cools off and early. I am using 1/4 ounce Bink's spoons. Bobby Garland jigs, and slip floats with minnows and all are working but at different times. You have to keep trying all three. I do not use Alabama rigs but they are working for bass as are stick baits and crank baits. Stick with the wind blown banks on both main lake and part way back in creeks. The bluegill under the docks in the creeks are drawing bass and crappie but the spawn is still a bit off for both unless it really warms fast and it could do just that. This is the first day of spring and sometimes we just go straight into summer after a cold March and cool early April. What you look for is when the nightime lows stay in the 60's for the best fishing. Blackburns has all of their cabins open now and most of them are full. We are finishing up the new siding on the last cabin for the year now and then are working on getting the pool ready. Spring is a very busy time here with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals on Norfork lake. They also like the free boat stall and the no price increase. The three person paint crew has painted just about everything that does not move and we are ready for you. Come on down. You will like what you see when you get here and we will not charge you too much. We have spent all of our money on improvements and need business to by lunch. You can help out a fellow American.
The lake level is 558.94 and has risen 5-inches in the last 24-hours. They quit generating yesterday evening and just started up again about an hour ago. We missed most of the rain and storms yesterday and just received about 0.2 inches of rain. Much more was predicted. I had a 57 degree water temperature yesterday afternoon when I went out and the creek just stained up a little but is still pretty clear. The new brush that we put in under and around the dock are all full of fish. Most of the fish that I am catching now are either shallow when it is warm and the sun is shining or deeper when it is cool. Stick baits, crank baits and small grubs are working best when they are shallow and spoons and jigs when they are deeper. It is very cool today and is not to warm up much until later this weekend. It is a typical March with variable weather and cold fronts coming through about twice a week. The normal high is now 61 and we will not see that for a few days and the water will not warm any until we get some more warmer nights. The overnight lows near freezing will not help things out any. Bass and crappie fishing is the best with some stripers being caught in the 8-10 lb. range up in Bennetts. I do not fish up there much. I mostly fish where I also scuba dive and the visibility is almost never good up there until later in the fall. Right now the lake is clearing but the debris that is in the water is mostly moving with the wind and is scattered. The stuff is not nearly as big or nearly as much as in 2017. There are plenty of good places to fish with the right colored water and the brown water is dissipating rapidly that has come down from Missouri with the junk in it and it will stick to the bank if the water ever starts to drop again. It is a very small problem. I am catching and releasing some very nice fish everyday but it is sometimes difficult to get out of the wind which seems to be blowing about three out of four days but if it did not it would never dry out. Blackburns has several good fishermen in taking advantage of the best prices on the lake on both cabins and boat rentals with their first boat stall free and the price is $59/day for a one bedroom cabin for two. We will see what happens in the next few days. I bet some nice fish will be caught.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday.
The lake level is 558.57 and has come up 7-inches in the last 24-hours with about three hours of generation. They just started now for a little bit. I went out yesterday to catch some crappie and explore. Things were all mixed up. It was not like a big slug of brown water and trash was finally getting here from Missouri. There was some debris from Cranfield Island to Echo point but not big stuff and most of it was in the middle of the lake. One bank would be clear and another would be light brown with small pieces of wood floating and changing direction more with the wind than with the current which is none when they quit generating but is inherently moving south down stream. The creeks are running now and the lake will continually rise moving the brown water and debris along. It seems like the brown was mostly on the river channel banks east of Cranfield but brown west and North of there. It is no secret that I do not like dark brown water for fishing very well but did not find much of that going east. I found the color that I wanted, which is stained green with visibility of about three feet, on a 23-ft. brush pile in the Cow point area and it was loaded with fish. I ended up catching two nice bass in the 3-4 pound range, released them immediately, and switched to the 1/16th ounce jig. I then caught six good crappie and came back to Blackburns Creek. The water was as clear as I have seen it under my dock in years. I could see my lure down 15-20 feet and it was too clear. The new news is that there was 56.5 degree water out there in the afternoon and my dock stalls were full of bluegill about 4-inches long. When this happens every year that means the big bass and catfish will be back here soon after them. It is about two weeks earlier than normal, what ever that is, and it usually happens in early April. The Black Crappie Males will move back into the creeks near the shore on any wood to make a nest soon followed by the White Crappie. Pigeon. Middle Pigeon, East Pigeon and Briar creek are good places to start but they are brown now and the water needs to heat up to over 60 anyway. The ambient temperature is to cool after this rain for a while and will slow the heating down a bit but the big crappie are now full of eggs and some with blood lines already. The full moon is the 28th and the night bite for the striper spawn should start in about a week and people will be bragging about killing small 10-pounders again and then in April when the top-water bite starts they will do it again until most of the actual big ones that are left will be gone. It may not matter if the lake keeps rising and they keep it up all summer, like they usually do, the stripers will die off on their own anyway from lack of oxygen. One government agency stocks the stripers and another one kills them off. It is raining hard now and the spring rains are here. Surprising? To only a few. Bink caught some nice fish yesterday on his spoon.
The lake level is 558.01 and has risen 4-1/2 feet in the last five days and one foot yesterday. They quit generating last evening and just started again. They have generated two hours since noon yesterday. The level continues to raise when they quit generating and is about steady now when they do. It will go up more with rain scheduled for tonight and tomorrow. All of this could have been eliminated or slowed way down by just drawing the level down to the 540's in the winter. The operation rules need to be reviewed and changed but fat chance of that. It was warm and windy yesterday and it helped the drying process. Blackburns Creek and the ones around here have cleared already and you can see your lure down several feet now but that changes almost daily. The creeks have quit running and the water running yesterday was clear. The surface water temperature is in the early 50's and about normal for the middle of March. I did not fish yesterday but just went out for a bit to check out lake conditions. All of the fishermen here were out and I did not talk to them yet. I cannot speak for the north part of the lake but the conditions around here are good. The weather for the latter part of the week looks good but cooler. The grass is green and about ready to mow and the Bradford Pears are ready to bloom.
Mike with some of yesterday's catch
The lake level is 557.10 and has risen 8-inches in the last 24-hours. At least there has been continuous generation . We did get another 1-inch of rain last night and the creeks are running again but not nearly as fast. The lake has come up a total of 3-1/2 feet since the rain started and we have had a total of about 3-1/2 inches in the last four days. It is still raising at the rate of about 1/3rd of an inch an hour. We are to get more rain Wednesday. It has been a total surprise to dam management that it rains here in the spring. Maybe they can take this into consideration next year and make some changes. I doubt it though. Blackburns creek had started to clear again last evening but I have not been out yet today. One of our customers was fishing Briar Creek yesterday afternoon and reports a slug of debris was at the channel swing near Twin Coves and was heading south towards Cranfield. It looks like last night's rain will bring it on down. I went to Panther Bay for the tournaments weigh-in and there were two going on about 4:PM. The water was very clear there. They reported the fishing was not as good Sunday as Saturday but I watched one person check in five fish weighing 17.5 pounds of nice largemouth bass. That is not bad. The Norfork Lake Bass Club reported about 43 boats entered. I did not stay for the entire weigh-in and just wanted to get an idea of what was going on. These boys know how to fish. Mike Eakle caught some nice crappie and bass yesterday fishing on Blackburns brush piles and Roger Moody caught some bass. It started to rain about 5:PM and they came in. I had to work on cabins all day but will check it out later. We are to have a couple of days of dry nice weather.
The lake level is 556.46 and has risen a total of three feet in the last two days of rain. They started generating at this time yesterday and have run continuously since. The creeks have almost quit running and the lake is still rising about 1/3 of an inch an hour. We have brown water now out past Blackburns Dock but the north wind has kept it from going on out to the main lake. The generation pull and southeast wind will move it out to dissipate. It is not real muddy just brown. The rain is supposed to go away after tonight and be sunny and warm for a couple of days and then rain again on Thursday. It sure would have been nice to have had the lake level down to about 548 going into the rainy season and then we would just be a little lower than normal instead of one big rain away from the magic mark of 561 where it starts to be a problem. Nobody thought about doing this but maybe someone could start a discussion about implementing this radical policy in the future. Duh. I got the utilities back on in then rest of the cabins yesterday at the urging of management reminging me that the last four opened up last week were full already and she was turning away customers. Some are leaving today and we have openings starting today so come on dow. We will not charge you too much. The surface water temperature was 52-54 when I went out last eveing. I got my work done for the day and waited until all of the bass fishermen were off the lake and they were everywhere until about 4:PM. I fished main lake brush in the clear water and caught bass and crappie and came in. The rain did not seem to affect the fishing much. I do not fish brown water but some do. I like it where the brown meets the clear right at the transition but to each their own. I just fished the Blackburns Creek area and everything was fine. They need to keep generating and stop the rise but I do not know if they have it in them but I expect not. I caught some nice fish.
Attention Bass Catters: The Bass Cat invitational is the 22nd and 23 of October this year on Norfork Lake and Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental is already getting many calls. We just do not want any of our regulars to miss out with it being in the fall thinking they have plenty of time. We will be on our winter rates already then and you will be able to take advantage of the following weekly rates:
1-Bedroom for up to two people for $354/week
2-bedroom for up to four people for $450/week
2-Bedroom Deluxe for up to four people for $498/week
3-Bedroom for up to four people for $678/week
4-bedroom for up to six people $840/week
Call soon 870-492-5115 So you do not miss out and have to pay too much elsewhere. We have plenty of parking and you are not crowded up on a hillside and we are close to takeoff with a launch right here and closest to town. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and you can save hundreds of $. Plenty of outlets.
Dave Titus with some nice ones yesterday. .
The lake level is 555.15 and has risen 1.86 feet in the last 24-hours with no generation since early yesterday afternoon. We have received about 2-1/2 inches of rain so far with more on the way tonight and tomorrow. It is rising at the rate of about 2-inches per hour now and the creeks are running pretty hard but I have seen them much harder. The spring rains are here and the only ones that are suprised are the idiots running the dams. We should have been at about 548 going into March instead of 554. The hold and hope policy has not been modified since the 1940's but at least they drew the levels down in the winter then in anticipation of spring rains. Not now. I did forget the minimum flow law change which took away 1.75 feet of flood capacity for the put and take trout on the river which showed that the dams were also for river fishing and recreation. Everybody caught fish yesterday. Bink, Mike, Tom, Dave and Scuba Steve all caught good ones. Mostly bass and crappie but a couple of small stripers in the 10-lb range were caught and released for posterity. I do not know what the rain will do for fishing and it depends on how much more we get. I will check things out a little later. There is a bass tournament today out of Panther Bay near here and I will find out how they do. We have several guests here for the event. I anticipate good fishing and there could be several hours of no or light rain. I wish them well. I have to go get more cabins open as the ones we just did are full already with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals on Norfork lake and the free boat stall. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 553.57 and has dropped about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours . They quit generating all last night and just started again. There is no serious effort to drop the lake. So far this weekend there have just been sprinkles but they keep saying rain and it looks like the best chances for very much are tonight and Sunday. It is very dry and we can take some with no problem but do not need a gully washer in Gainsville. Some of the heavy rain is going north and they can have it. The dates for the Bass Cat invitational and Cystic Fibrosis Benefit on Norfork Lake have been announced last week and are October 16th for Cystic and October 22nd and 23rd for Bass Cat. We are getting reservations already for both and welcome Bass Cat Back to Norfork for their 50th anniversary. They have been gone too long. Everybody should be vaccinated for covid by then and it should be very fun and comes at a beautiful time of year. I just talked to Bink and he is really catching the big bass on the jerk bait and some walleye too. We are so busy here at Blackburns to get out fishing for very long. I make it out everyday but sometimes not until late afternoon. We now have 10-cabins open and ready for you with the rest coming next week. I have been burned too many times with variable March weather to get them all open too early but after the 15th it is pretty safe. I hope so. The below zero weather in the middle of February caused enough plumbing problems and I am glad that is over. The weather has been spring-like now for several days but has been cloudy, dreary and warm for several days but a high pressure is moving in early next week dropping the night time lows down to about normal again. The normal high now is 59 degrees and we have been quite a bit over that with daffodils blooming all over now. The normal low is barely above freezing and we do not need any of that. The grass is turning green with buds on the Bradford Pears. I have only been using two lures. The 5-inch suspending jerk bait and the 1/16th ounce Bobby Garland jig and catching bass and crappie everytime out. It looks like around the full moon will be the right time for the spawning stripers to go to the flats near the bank at dark the end of this month.I am seeing or hearing about very few stripers being caught now and none of any size. It is going to take a long time to convince me anything near a ten pounder is a big fish and if they keep killing those there will be none left with the game and fish not stocking any of them or hybrids last year due to covid. We need to take the pressure off them until they make a comeback and they will if the government quits flooding out the lake every year and holding it up high all summer. If this continues the future looks grim. Walleye fishing continues to improve and is already competeing with stripers as the most sought after fish. Right now bass and crappie fishing is the best and the jerk bait is the best lure. The lake overall is in excellent condition and the main lake is very clear. Not as clear as several years back but more than recent years. Last year diving conditions did not ever get good but I am hoping for better things to come early this summer. I really like diving for walleye and missed it last year a lot. Covid be damned. I have had both my shots and ready to get back to normal. Get yours and come on down we will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 553.63 and has dropped just a bit in 24-hours with both generators running about 25% of the time, 1/2 generator running 25% and nothing about 50%. They must be anticipating the big rain fall coming Sunday. They always quit generating when it rains to maximize the effects so the lakes can raise as much as possible. They then say the dams are doing what they are supposed to do, hold water, and then open the gates and flood everything out downstream. Sounds like a plan to me. Deja Vu all over again. It is dry here and we are under an outdoor burn warning and can take some rain. It is a good thing. I had a surface water temperature of 51 yesterday in some places and the spring-like weather is helping fishing. I caught fish on spoons, jigs and jerk bait both on main lake brush and part way back in the creek near the shore next to deep water. Bink had a good day on both bass and walleye on both the 1/4 ounce spoon and the jerk bait and caught fish all day. Big ones too. I was using the 1/2 ounce spoon to keep it vertical in the wind. The days are to be warm until after the weekend and then cool a bit but not too bad. Normal highs are 58 degrees and we are to be several degrees over that for the next several days with storms possible. Typical middle of March weather. The phone is ringing steadily and I have to get going and open up the rest of the cabins. It looks to be a busy spring so far. I have had both of my covid shots and the rest of the staff are getting them later this month. No problems. Fishing is getting better everyday. The main lake is very clear.
The lake level is 553.66 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with quite a bit if generation yesterday but none since last night. The main lake is clearing nicely and the creeks change from clear to stained green almost daily. Near the shore is clear almost everywhere. The lake overall is in excellent condition and fishing is getting better. It was not as good yesterday as the day before but I still caught several fish just not as big. I caught bass and crappie but it was not nearly as fun in the gusty south to southeast winds. The fish would bite for a while and then stop for an hour and then start again. I saw no dead or dying shad and no birds on the main lake anywhere. Some crappie and bass are in the wind blown creeks on shad and some are on brush. I have a brush pile in Hensley's Creek in about 15-18 feet of water and the shad were there also and I caught several crappie that were barely keepers but not the very large ones like the day before. The wind had cooled the lake a bit and the surface water was back to about 49 on the main lake and 48 back in the creeks. Not much difference. The predator fish are more on baitfish than looking for the warmer water but smaller bass are near the shore. Casting the 1/16th ounce jig past the brush and letting it sink into it worked the best. Some bass were still hitting the jerk bait. I tried the 1/2 ounce Bink's spoon and caught one keeper bass and hooked a shad on almost every drop. The fish cannot be very hungry. There are starting to be small bluegill schools under my dock and when the numbers increase so will the bass and catfish bite. It happens evey year. The big bass will move in around the dock on the bluegill and pre-spawn feed. It is very busy here at Blackburns with improvements being made everyday for you. We opened up four more cabins this week and are deep cleaning them, staining the new siding and painting trim. I am very proud of the looks and you will like what you see when you get here. People are getting excited about spring fishing and we are getting a lot of reservations. We only have 10 cabins open now and I will have to hurry and get the rest open. The cold weather in mid February really slowed down progress but we are making a lot now. Blackburns has the lowest price on both cabins and boat rentals, does not charge for your first normal sized boat stall and all cabins are individual with no duplexes and all have big covered porches. No price increases on anything this year. Can't beat that anywhere. No need to go elsewhere to launch and we have ample parking for your vehicle and trailer. You can drive or walk to our dock down about 400-yards from the resort and step right on. The dock is in a protected cove with good fishing nearby. Come on down and check us out when you are in the area. You will be welcome. One bedrooms start at $59/day for two people and we have no studios.
Look at the size of those crappie. Mike caught them yesterday on Blackburns Brush piles.
The lake level is 553.78 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. The area lakes are hovering around the top of the power pools and they seem reluctant to drop them below that. That level is where the Corps turns some of the control over to the power administration but they are both run by the government so you cannot expect or get much. We need to be at least 6-feet below that to make room for spring rains which are on the way starting Thursday and continuing through most of the weekend. They usually quit generating when it rains in order to enhance the lake rise as much as possible. We will see. Surprise me. It is always in the name of flood control but just holding the lake is not flood control when they hold and hope until they are full and then open the gates. Just keep all area lakes as near normal as they can without flooding downstream and that includes drawing them down in the winter and getting rid of the stupid 12-foot rule at Newport. Minor flood stage is 23-feet so just keep it below that as much as possible and then hold. The so called problem of the lakes getting too low happens very rarely and can be easily controlled. Just stop generating. The lakes were not built for power generation in the first place and it was not even included in the original plan. They were built to create jobs for the W.P.A. and justified by flood control to get congressional approval . Power was an afterthought albeit a good one. It is always about the money and it was approved later. It was like going out on a different lake when I left the dock yesterday. The surface water temperature had broken 50 and the lake had cleared a bunch. I only speak for the area that I fish which is from about point 8-near Red Bank to around Point 4 near the entrance to Panther and Fall creeks. I seldom go to Big or Brushy Creeks unless I am fishing with Bink and that is where he keeps his boat. I never go to Bennetts but do fish near Bidwell. Mostly I keep from in between Cranfield Island to Robinson Island including Float Creek. I seldom need to go very far to find fish and many times only use my trolling motor. I went into the back of Hensley's creek with a jerk bait and caught several bass but they were all throwbacks. While coming back out I decided to check out a main lake brush pile with a jig and started catching crappie. Big ones too. I had only been able to just catch a few in the last couple of weeks since the shad kill. Things had really changed in one day. That is why you cannot go out once in a week or so and write a report. I do not even know what to expect for today. I saw very few seagulls on the main lake but several flocks of ducks back in the creek. I caught about eight crappie and a nice largemouth in about 1-1/2 hours and came in. It was a beautiful day I am happy to report the fishing is getting better. I expect the trollers will start picking up a few stripers soon as the healthy shad move back out into open water. I just wish they would stop killing them as they are cutting their own throats. Big stripers just cannot thrive in high level, oxygen depleted water when it gets hot and we have had a lot of that in the last several years. I guess it will take all of them to be gone until they quit. Then they will have to learn another way to fish or move to another lake to deplete. I prefer to let them alone and not fish for them in deep water and encourage catch and release. The bass fishermen do it and it works well. Norfork Lake bass fishing has become excellent as well as big crappe. Walleye fishing is getting better and better and May is almost here when it gets the best. The lake overall is in excellent condition.
The lake level is 553.92 and is dropping very slowly with generation about 1/2 the time. The spring rains are to start later this week and continue through most of the weekend with about three inches possible. The only ones that are surprised with this are the Corps of Engineers who are holding the area lake levels up as high as possible for as long as possible and implimenting their hold and hope policy. They will probably stop all generation when the rain starts like they usually do to maximize the rise. Hold, hold and hold is their name and open up the gates and flood everything out downstream is their game. They have to want this to happen or they would not do it year after year with no adjustments. Fortunately we are getting dry again with no rains for a while and below average precipitaion for this whole year so far with a burn warning. We can take a couple of inches of local rain with not much harm but we do not need heavy rain in Missouri in the Norfork River Basin. The lake level should be at 548 or less now, about six feet lower, and there have been ample times to achieve this. The weather was beautiful all weekend and it is to continue to be about perfect until about Thursday. The wind was about 5-10 from the south when I went out yesterday and a little gusty. The predominately southerly wind for several days had blown the shad back into the south facing creeks and they were everywhere near the shore in about 12-20 feet of water and some schools were from the bottom to the top of the water column blacking out the fish finder. The water was clear in some areas and stained in others but was mostly clear near the shore. I found no brown water. I talked to Binks who is fishing the south end of the lake in Big Creek and he reported finding exactly the same thing down there with the same surface water temperature of about 49 which is exactly what I found. It really did not matter where I checked it was the same wheather far back in the creeks or on the main lake. He was spooning and jerk baiting like I was and caught a few bass but nothing to brag about. The same for me except that I have this one brush pile on the main lake facing south that is good for one or two crappie but no more. Mostly one. Out in deep water on the main lake is mostly barren of fish. The shad are lethargic and easy for the predator fish to catch and they are stuffed. They certainly are not hungry. Normally these slow shad would be easy prey for the big stripers and they would clean them up quicly as in the past but the big stripers are almost gone and this difficult fishing could last longer than normal. People are now taking pictures of 8-10 pound stripers and bragging on them like they used to do with a 30-pounder. I guess they will continue killing them until they are all gone. Bink says it will change quickly when the water warms and the shad quit dying and I hope he is right, he generally is. I think it will be more gradual and take more time but he has been here longer than me and knows more than I do. He has seen it all several times and catches fish when nobody else does and that is the measure of a good fishermen. Newbies coming here when the fishing is good and they catch a lot of fish and all of a sudden they think they are a guide. If you need advice on bass fishing check with some of the old time Lake Norfork bass fishermen. They have seen it all and pretty much catch fish all the time. Go to some of the local fishing tournaments and talk to them when they weigh in. Several of them will be in old Champion boats with new stuff hanging on it. I had lost my confidence yesterday and decided to spoon in the shad until I caught a good fish. I dropped it down to the bottom and gave it small jerks and let it sit while reeling in very slowly towards the surface. I caught a shad almost every drop and they varied from about two inches to almost four inches in lenght. Some were very large for threadfin. I did catch a couple of crappie and about a three pound bass and came in. It was about as slow as it gets but the weather was great and it was nice to get out. Now back to work. It is really looking nice here at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental and you will like what you see when you get here. Especially the price. Some are raising prices not only for the year but raising later again this week again for the season. We are not doing this and there will be no price increase on anything again this year despite insurance and lumber prices skyrocketing. It is hard to hold prices but we are doing it. It is for our regular returning customers of which we have many and appreciate but new customers can take advantage of it also. Why pay more unless you just have too much money? If you must pay too much just stay here and give the difference to disabled Veterans. They need it more.
The lake level is 554.07 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. The lake is at a good level and color for fishing. I was busy working on cabins and boats yesterday and getting my second covid shot and was unable to get out fishing. I talked to my friend Tom Kelly who has been out fishing and is a very good fisherman to get a report. He says he has been out everyday for several days and has not been catching very many fish. He did see shad dying but the water was too clear for him at point 5 and he could see the bottom at 12-feet and deeper. Later he went up to point 6-A in Bennetts where the channel turned and there was muddy water. He fished a couple of points where he usually finds fish with little luck. He did find some 54-degree water. Then he went across from Bidwell with the same results and then went back into float creek and it was a little better but not good by any means. Other reports say they got much more rain up north near the border and the water was muddy but I have not seen any of that in Blackburns area. If that is correct then it should be on it's way here unless it settles out before it gets here. The creeks in this area rotate between clearing and stained almost daily. Another fisherman reports doing better on bass up near Red Bank where the brown water turns to clear water. I seldom go that far but it is a good place sometimes and gets fished pretty heavily despite the lack of marinas and resorts in the area. Bass fishing is the best fishing right now with not much else being caught. Bink is out with a client now and I will get a report from him a little later. He is fishing way down in the back of Big creek and using the stick bait. He says there is no muddy water in that area either. I have to get four cabins started up for the spring now and will check things out after that. It is very busy here at Blackburns and we will be ready for you when you get here and will not greet you with higher prices. The weather looks good for the next week with a chance of rain about thursday. I am not predicting things busting loose like some say but fishing should steadily improve with the warmer overnight lows and longer days and it needs to.
The lake level is 554.22 and is the same as this time yesterday with both generators running about 1/2 the time, one half generator running 1/4 of the time and Zero about 1/4 the time. It is a good thing the spring rains have not started yet. The lake surface water temperature is between 47 and 48 degrees depending on when you are out there. The cool nights drop it a little and the sunny warm afternoons warm it a bit. It will take lows to move up into the 50's for a more speedy change. It will get there but normal ambient highs are only 56 degrees. It is to be above that for at least the next week with not a lot of chances for rain in the forecast. Things overall are about normal except the fishing has not picked up very much yet. The creeks did stain up some yesterday. We are working very hard on resurfacing the pool and basketball court and installing and staining new siding on several cabins. Things are really looking good here at Blackburns. The boats are almost all serviced and several seats are getting reupholstered at I.T.S. in Midway. They do a great job. The dock has new cables, encased floats, new pumps on both fish cleaning stations (no waiting to clean fish here) and many other improvements including another Purple Martin House. That makes three on the dock and more in the resort. The flock is getting bigger and I really like it when they get here. We do not have mosquitoes here but they sure take care of other flying insects including the mayflies. The cold weather last month set us back a bit but things are really getting done now. Not much time for fishing but the days are getting longer and I can get in a couple of hours after work before dark. There will be no price increases on anything this year and our summer rates do not go into effect until Memorial Day. We do not jack the prices in the spring like several others. Some have new price increases this year and are raising them again next week. Compare before you buy. Why pay more? Bass fishing is still the best with a few crappie(just a few) starting to bite. People are getting antsy to get back out in the water and I am getting many calls about when to come to fish. All I say is not yet but I will be out there everyday and let you know. I would like to say soon but March is so variable that it is impossible to predict. People want to schedule vacations and I understand that. People bragging about fishing right now ask them if you catch no fish do you have to pay? If they agree, take them up on it. I will not tell you fishing is good until it is.
The lake level is 554.24 and has risen a little over 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours. They quit generating last evening and just started up again. The weather has been beautiful but the fishing not so good. The water temperature came up a little yesterday to about 47-degrees and the water seems to be clearing just a bit. You can see your lure down about 3-4 feet but it is still a greenish color. I started out fishing a main lake brush pile in about 30-feet of water with a spoon and a big shadow came up in the water all around my boat and it was a school of shad from the surface to about 20-feet down. I was catching a shad everytime I dropped the spoon and decided my one lure had too much competition with about a million shad. They were in no hurry to move and there was nothing chasing them so I was the one that moved. I started just going very slow across the main lake to check things out. The water temperature was the same everywhere I went and there were no bait fish. Almost all of them are either back in the creeks of if they are on the main lake they are next to the wind blown banks. There are much less birds out there now scarfing the floating and stunted shad and I am seeing very few dead ones floating. Bink reports the same below the dam indicating not nearly as many shad are going through the generators. There are still many schools of shad out there and this kill did not hurt anything but the immediate fishing. Normally the big stripers would be going crazy feeding now but they simply are not there, in any numbers anyway. There are just too many big schools of baitfish with no predator fish under them. Shad kills have happened several times in my 26-years of living on this lake but the big stripers have been out there to clean them up quickly. Not this year. I am having a hard time catching a couple of fish in an outing and they are so stuffed full of bait that they are ready to explode. Everyone seems to know when this is going to change but could not predict it happening. They say it needs to warm up when it is cold and say it needs to cool down when it is hot. All I know is that we do not need any more rain for quite some time. I do not know what will make it will change except for time. The stripers should go to the bank later this month near the full moon to simulate a spawn. The walleye should be going up river now. The White Bass should make their run but many of them are also gone from a kill a couple of years ago. The bass should move back into the creeks. I can tell right when this happens when small bluegill move in under my dock in big numbers. The top water bite will start sometime after the middle of Apil part way back in the major creeks and the male crappie will move in shallow in the backs of the creeks. All of these things will happen but nobody know just when. You just have to be out there and be ready. I am not promoting any of my customers to make a trip here at this time but they will be the first to know when things get better because I will tell them. I will also show them where my new brush piles are. We have some good ones.
We are catching a few bit not very many. These were caught on a Bink's spoon in 30-ft. of water on brush yesterday.
The lake level is 554.17 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. The lake surface temperature is between 45 and 46 degrees depending where where and when you take it. Just a few crappie are showing up on brush and they mostly have lockjaw. Many fish of about all species are in open water on shad. Some are part way back in the creeks and some have blown near the bank on main lake river channel banks. I am not seeing very many stressed shad and not near as many are going through the generators and there are still a lot of healthy ones schooled. We still have a good supply. Any fish that I am catching are not biting because they are hungry and are stuffed full. Bass fishing continues to be the best bite and I have not seen a decent striper caught in a few weeks and crappie continues to be slow at the best. The Norfork Lake Bass Fishing Club members fished Bull Shoals last weekend and their weight numbers were way down from before the cold and snow hit and they have some of the best fishermen in the area. It will get better it will just take a little time for the dead and dying shad to go away and spring to get here. Nobody knows exactly when but it will happen. It always does. We just do not need any big rains in the water shed area in Missouri like in 2017. That would not be good. The lake is at a good level now but does not have much room for the spring rains. I am happy to just be out there and not freezing.
The lake level is 554.14 and has risen 6-inches in the last 24-hours. They did start generating this morning but shut it right back down after two hours. They have just started it up again now. This is not the level that we want going into March and the rainy season. It needs to be six feet lower. There has been ample time to lower the area lakes last fall and this winter. It is a very good thing we have had below average moisture so far this year with the reluctance to let any water out. At least some generation has begun after about a week of nothing. I though I saw someone with a paint brush of never seize and a can of WD-40 trying to free the generator gates that had been stuck shut from lack of use when I went by today but am not sure. Fishing continues to be slow. Bink took one of our guests out today and only caught three fish in 4-hours. When the legend can only do this you can be sure it is not easy. I will keep trying and will give you a report. People predicting what and when things need to happen before things get better sure did not predict this would happen, especially in mid February. You just have to be out there with the right lure in the right place and be persistent. You cannot go out every so often and write a report. It is not worth anything. Tom Kelly did catch and release several nice bass and a walleye from his trophy pond today so they are biting somewhere. He was using the stick bait. Maybe he will give me permission to fish it. I am not going to get a can of corn and a Zebco 202 and trout fish quite yet. I have faith. The only things that I am sure of is that we do not need anymore rain for a long while, I do not have very good luck in brown water on Norfork lake and shad stink.
The lake level is now 553.64 and it has come up about another inch in the last few hours with no generation. It rained hard and we received about 0.8 inches this afternoon and it is still sprinkling. We do not need anymore rain for a month. The creeks are running but not hard. There is no dreaded brown water in the backs of the creeks in this area. I tried jerk bait, spoon and jig and only caught two fish. No picture fish. It was about as bad as it gets. The spring rains are here now that February is over and the lake will continue to rise if they do not let any water out. I had 45 degree water on one locator and 45.9 on the other and they did not vary much no matter where i went. There just does not seem to be hardly any fish on the main lake except right next to the bank where the schools of shad have blown into on the south facing ones. Go part way back in the bigger creeks and look for shad. I caught no crappie and the bass were barely keepers. It takes a long time to figure this lake out and people that are new here and are here from up north usually get discouraged but the longer they are here and listen and ask a lot of questions the more fish they will catch. NORTHERN SHALLOW WATER FISHING TECHNIQUES DO NOT WORK HERE. When people come in to the dock and say they threw everything in the tacklebox at them and they still won't bite I know they will not catch anything. These old southern boys know what they are doing and it is best to listen to them. The shad will keep dying for several weeks and the jerk bait will get better and better until it warms up. March usually brings a couple of cold fronts a week and can be the most difficult month to fish. After the 15th it usually starts to get better but you cannot count on that. Pound those banks with those jerk baits for a while. It is your best chance. Practice honing your techniques rather than changing lures. Bass, walleye and crappie will all be there sooner than later.
Mike Eakle with the fish of the day yesterday.
The lake level is 553.48 and has risen four inches in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. We have received about 1-1/2 inches of rain in the last three days. It did not come hard and a lot of it sank in. There was still moisture in the ground but the creeks did not run. It stayed warm all night and is in the 60's already today and looks like rain again. They did not have to shut the generators off like they usually do when it rains to maximize the raise because they have already been off for several days. Nothing, Nada. They are starting the hold and hope method of management early this year. Fishing is picking up just a little but not much and it needs to. We picked up just a few crappie yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks. First we were iced in. Then the shad kill started. Now the fish and birds are starting to clean them up a bit. The fish that we are catching are stuffed full of shad and they are sure not biting because they are hungry. If you put fish in your live well make sure you dip out all of the dead shad every day. If you do not there will be a nice surprise for you if it is not opened for a few days. It is worse than Catfish Charley. Rain and thunderstorms are to start any minute. The weather looks to be ok for the next week with rain in and out. The normal high is 55 and the normal low is just about freezing. Bass fishing is still the best bite.
The lake level is 553.12 and has risen 2-inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. They are holding the White River at Newport at 8+ feet and I have reports from below Calico Rock that it is nearly dry there. There can be no logical explanation for this except there may be some mechanical problems on all of the generators on the area lakes and they are rusted shut from lack of use. It is about March now and the spring rains will begin. Holding the lakes up so high this winter gives them a better chance of holding and hoping and shutting the generators down everytime it rains and being able to open the flood gates and flood everything out down stream after the crops are planted. They can inflict more damages that way. There has to be better ways to manage things but you cannot expect much. I got a bill yesterday in the mail and it was delinquent before I received it and had been in transit for 16-days. The Post Office is about the same as dam management. You cannot expect much from anything run by the government. They cannot even keep the worthless minimum flow siphon working on Norfork Lake. The lake surface temperature is not rising much with the cool weather and is in the low 40's. It was to get up to near 50 yesterday but was lucky to break 40. It was to quit raining yesterday afternoon but drizzled most of the day. It was not the best day. The water is still stained. I talked to umbrella trolling fishermen and they are struggling to say the least. Live bait is not working either but that can be expected when this happens. The best way to catch anything now is the jerk bait and the jigging spoon but they are not setting the world on fire. I am going out for just a couple of hours after work and am lucky to catch a couple of bass. No picture fish. I cannot get a crappie to bite and they are on shad like almost every fish in the lake. The bait fish are moving slow now and are easily eaten. Every fish that I am catching are stuffed full of shad and spitting them out. There has been no generation for days and therefore no current. Most of the dead shad are sinking rather than going through the generators like normal. When they do generate a little just below the dams are full of them and predator fish and birds are feeding like crazy but that has not happened in several days with nothing coming out of the generators. Healthy shad are always schooled but the stunted and dead ones are at the mercy of the wind which is often variable and swirling and scattering them out. There are still at lot of shad left and they are filling the creeks facing the prevailing winds part way back. Some of the damaged ones will continue to die even after the water warms. You have to use the spoon or jerk bait and simulate a dying shad as best you can to catch much. The game fish are not on the brush now unless a school of shad happen to go into it. This shad kill has happened several times since I have lived here and things will get better but it will just take time. Bass will be the best bite for a while and more and more walleye and big crappie will start showing up hitting that jerk bait near the bank until the stripers and walleye move to the banks north of Cranfield Island near the walleye rearing pond and also on the flats just north of the dam at dark. Then use the same lure as a stick bait and again stay as far from the shore as you can cast a 5-inch suspending Rogue or Thunder stick and crank it down three or four turns and with your rod tip down retrieve very slowly just fast enough to have steady action. Check your lure out before dark to make sure the action is correct and it is not pulling to the side. If it is adjust until it is working properly. If you do not you will be wasting your time and say the fish are not biting and you will be correct. When this bite is over then the top water bite will begin in early April and get good about the middle of the month. Learn how to walk the dog with a spook for red meat fish and a spittin image for bass. All of these things happen every year and the only variable is when. High water does not affect fishing much except if there is mud and trash when it rises too fast. Then there is a problem. When this happens I start catfishing. I like catfishing too.
Caught on a Jerk Bait. The picture does not do it justice.
The lake level is 552.96 and has risen 2-inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. The minimum flow siphon is down and they did crack one generator open for a few minutes. They probably did it to keep it from rusting shut. The White River at Newport remains at 8+ feet. It has rained a little bit and they did not have to shut generation down like they usually do when it rains because it was already 0. We have a chance of rain for the next few days. Bink reports that he found fish part way back in the creeks where the shad were dying and the birds were feeding hard. He caught mostly bass on both the spoon and the jerk bait. Fishing was overall not the best but at least he caught some. The ones caught were stuffed with shad and did not bite because they were hungry. He found no fish on the main lake and none on brush piles or in the backs of creeks. Just between 1/2 and 3/4 way back. The shad that are dying or stunned are at the mercy of the wind so which way the wind is blowing will tell you where to look first. I personally believe every fish in the lake are following the stunned or dying shad now and you just have to present something that simulates that to have a chance to catch anything. When the water warms and the shad stop dying and they get cleaned up things will change. The full moon tomorrow will not help anything either. Maybe the cloudy weather will help a little. Early March weather can be very variable with a lot of fronts coming through and it is not my favorite time to fish especially after a shad kill but I will be out there anyway and let you know when things change. If it was easy, everybody could do it. Bass are the best bite now.
The lake level is 552.76 and has risen two inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. They are holding the White River at Newport to eight feet and letting the lakes rise. There can be no excuse that spring rains are responsible for the lakes getting high when they have had ample time to lower them. It is like they want the water high so they can close the campgrounds and flood the farmers after the crops are planted down stream. I went out yesterday and spent most of my time checking things out after all of the ice went away. The water temperature was 42.5 to 43.5 on the main lake depending if you were in the sun or not. The water has stained up again and you can see your lure down only about 2-feet unless you are near the shore. There is moss growing on the rocks near the shore and makes it hard to keep your lure from fouling if you are fishing there. The prevailing south wind had blown the shad up into the creeks facing south and there were a lot of them. The ones that are stressed cannot resist the wind like normal and cannot move to warmer water on their own. The birds were scarfing up dead and dying shad near the surface and they were everywhere. The wind had changed directions and came from the north west with the new cold front coming in but was not enough or had not been doing it long enough to move the shad. I went into echo point creek and it was full of shad in about 40-ft. of water 20-ft. down. The schools came almost to the surface. I spooned into the shad with no luck but did not have a stick bait on the boat. There were just too many bait fish stressed to make it very likely to get a bite. I tried a grub and minnow which is my go to bait when fishing is tough and still nothing but moss near the bank. I went back in and got a couple of 5-inch suspending rogues and a 6-1/2 foot medium heavy rod with a baitcaster reel. You need the rod a little stiff to get the right action on the lure. I went to a steep river channel bank that had dead or stressed shad on or near the surface and staying as far as I could cast to the bank, did so and cranked the lure down a few feet and let it set for several seconds and then jerked three times and let it set again. The idea is to simulate a dying shad and make it more appealing, bigger and easier to get than the shad. You are in competition with a lot of other baitfish so this will not be easy. You should pick up bass, stripers, hybrids and walleye in this manner. The stressed shad will continue to die for several weeks after they are first affected by the cold even when the water warms and this method of fishing will be effective as long as you see stressed shad or even if you don't. I caught a couple of bass and had to come in at 4:pm. No picture fish. Some people just left and fished hard and only caught a couple of fish. It was a nice day and it was good to be out after all of the so called by some, beautiful weather, was over. It was not so beautiful when the propane company came and filled my three tanks. If the electric company does the same I will have to cut down on food to pay the bill but I will not raise resort prices on anything and Blackburns continues to have the lowest price on both cabins and boats in the area and plan on keeping it that way. I wish everyone else would follow my lead. It would make it easier on everybody. Some have raised their prices again and will raise them again in March for the so called spring rate. We do not do so until Memorial Day. You can save a lot by staying here or just stay longer with the same money. Compare before you book. The stripers that are left will move to the banks on the flats to simulate a spawn just before the full moon in March at dark and can be caught on the same stick bait but fished a little different. They always do just before the top water bite starts. I do not kill stripers or fish for them deep so I do not know their egg situation but their timing and places are pretty much the same every year.
The lake level is still rising with no generation and the people managing the dams not only need impeached , they need prosecuted for neglect. Can you believe the White River at Newport is 8-feet for absolutely no reason and nothing is being done about it. The good news is that the ice is out at the launch at Blackburns and our dock. You can launch here, park here, and step on the dock. No sense paying more money to stay elsewhere unless you just have too much. If you do I suggest helping out the disabled veterans. You can stay here in a two bedroom cabin with covered porch and no duplex for the same as others with only one bedroom with no porch and we have a much better place. The fishing may not be the best now but you can at least get out there. Many people from the north are getting very tired of the cold and I do not blame them. It was 73 today and most of the snow and ice are gone but the backs of the creeks still have remaints of what some people call beautiful. I do not call a child freezing to death in Texas Beautiful but I am not looking out of a picture window and drinking coffee and getting a check. I have work to do and need to make a living. Things look pretty good here now but the fishing will get better over time after the dead shad are all gone. It may be tough for a few days but Bink and I pretty much know what to do. I like to catch fish when nobody else can. Anybody can do it when it is easy. You do not hear from them when itis difficult only wheneverybody is catching them. That will be in early April or when the stripers that are left simulate a spawn. I will let you know.
The lake level is 552.48 and has risen 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River is 8-feet at Newport and nobody knows why. Nothing is flooding anywhere. The people managing the dams in this area need to be impeached. We need to be at 548 at a maximum going into March and hold that level for as long as possible in the spring when the rains start and not quit generating eveytime it rains. Those would be good places to start. It is to get near 70 today with the winds shifting from the west back to the south. It should take out almost all of the snow that is left. My dock was still iced in last evening but not nearly as bad with temperatures in the high 50's yesterday. I am not sure if it will be open today or not but it will be close. I was able to get my boats raised up through the ice with the lifts. It is much less on the south side than the north and it will be open sometime today but I need to go about 300 yards north to get to the main lake. This is a perfect time to plant grass seed. The water temperature will not raise much on the main lake until the ice and slush are gone from the creeks and we have above freezing lows at night and continuing sunshine. Last night and today will really help. I would really like the shad kill to be over and all of the floating fish to be eaten up by the birds and fish. It is hard to tell how many have sunk except when they go through the genarators and show up in the river but they will not generate anything. I will go out and see what is happening with the fish when the water opens up but there is no sense getting in a hurry. It will be all right but we just have to be patient. Things will change quickly and I will be out there to inform you. This is as long as I have gone without fishing in many years but refuse to go someplace else to launch a boat and catch nearly nothing. Pushing things will not help. Just time.
The lake level is 552.35 and is up about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. They just started one generator. The White River at Newport is now at 9+ feet and about ready to dry up. They are doing an excellent job of holding all of the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible for what nobody knows. Yesterday was cloudy but we did not get the predicted rain. It was a melting day but did not get above 46 in the clouds. It is sunny today with highs in the mid 50's with a southwest wind and it should take out more snow and warmer tomorrow. I still have about an inch of ice under my dock and on the launch so you will have to go to Panther Bay to launch until it is gone. I will let you know. The snow is gone on the lake and has been replaced by slush with ice under. Not very conducive to the warming of the water very quickly. The very backs of the creeks are melting and the ice line is moving towards my dock from the main lake albeit slowly. The threadfin shad continue to die off and many are going through the generators when they finally decide to run any. Bink reports the birds are feasting just below the dam when there is generation. He lives on the river right below the dam. This will continue until the water temperature gets back up into the early 40's. The fish are also feasting on the dead and dying shad and will be hard to catch for a several days. You will have to find shad near the bluffs that have not died yet and are near the surface and moving slowly and use the stick bait. Look on the banks where the prevailing wind has ben blowing. Get as far away from the bank as you can cast and crank the suspending bait down three or four times or simulate the depth of the shad and jerk three or four times and let set for several seconds. Do not get in a hurry. You must make the lure more available than the shad for the feeding fish. This technique will be better in several days after the shad either sink or get eaten up. It will take longer than in the past with many of the big stripers gone. Bass fishing will be the best now but it will not be very good for a while. I will try crappie fishing as soon as I can get my boat out of the dock. You may want to rush out there but you can expect slow fishing until the end of the month. In a week it will get better unless it gets cold again. March is very variable. After March 15th I expect excellent fishing.
Caught by Scuba Steve in 1995 on Crappie Rock in Blackburns Creek. Am I holding it out too far?
The lake level is 552.27 and is the same as it was at this time yesterday with very little generation.They have dropped the White River at Newport to 11+ feet as predicted and are doing nothing to drop the area lakes. They are doing everything possible to keep the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. It was about 50 yesterday with sunny skies and took the snow pack down. There are a few bare spots but still quite a bit left. The roads are in good condition but my dock is still iced in. A lot of the snow that was on the ice has melted to slush and the ice line is moving in towards the back of the creeks with open water getting closer and closer. It is cloudy today and the wind is picking up from the southwest so it should melt quite a bit more. If it rains later, it will also help. The snow was light and did not contain much moisture but the meltdown has made it just right for snowmen now. It will not affect lake level much. I would like the lake to drop about four feet this month but fat chance of that. They just will not let any out. They would rather hold and hope in the winter and then open up the gates and flood everything downstream in the spring after the crops have been planted. More damage is inflicted that way and they can close the campgrounds. The lake is in good condition now and all we can hope for is a normal year what ever that is. Fishing will get good when the shad are thinned out. People ask me what is the biggest crappie that I have caught on Norfork lake. I have posted one that I had mounted in 1995 which was right up there with them. Norfork lake has some big crappie and I do really like to catch them.
The lake level is 552.28 and has risen 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. They just started last hour. They are also dropping the White River at Newport very quickly and it is just under 13-feet and it looks like it is heading to 12. This is not surprising as they are very reluctant to lower the area lakes before spring rains. My dock is still frozen in but that should change next week with the warmer weather. We will see if the people that think this weather is beautiful continue to do so after they get their electric and propane bills. The lake surface temperature was 36 on the main lake yesterday morning with the backs of most creeks iced. Some threadfin shad are dead already with many barely alive and near the surface. I do not know how many sink and how many float but this is a serious kill. The birds are having a feast below the dam. I will be out fishing as soon as I can get a boat out of the dock. I could launch another one but I do not hate the fish that bad. They are having easy feed now anyway. It is sunny and warming nicely so far today with a chance of rain later tomorrow. It looks like the bitter cold is over and the snowpack is disappearing but has a way to go yet. I have been doing plumbing for several days and hope I now have it under control. This area is just not set up for seven below zero temperatures. The county did an excellent job of snow removal and I really appreciate it and our roads are clear. When the lake opens up we will be back to normal and that should not be long. Spring is on the way.
The lake level is 552.22 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours. There was less generation than the day before with more hours of nothing and more of 1/2 generator and less of both. They must not need the power. We have not had a rolling blackout as warned yet but if we did and the generators were shut off it would not make me happy but not surprise me any with the government running both the power administration and dam management. I had about 33 degrees on my porch out of the sun and there was some melting compacting the snow to about 1/2 of what it was. The warmer weather and bright sunshine resulted in the ice not jetting out towards the main lake from Blackburns Creek as far as it was but the dock is still iced in and the creek is mostly snow covered. Today will help things even more. I would like to move the dock out a little but it is impossible to do so now. When the wind shifts to the south and it warms up the ice will go away quickly like last time this happened. The longer days are helping also. I cannot get a boat out but people are reporting that threadfin shad are dying on the main lake. When this happened the last time stickbaits were the lure of choice and around the bluffs near deep water is the place to look for them. They will try to stay in the warmest water but will be at the mercy of the wind when they get stressed which is now. The game fish will be feeding on them like crazy and probably are as we speak. The reduced shad population in the spring will also make it much easier for open water fishermen to catch fish with gamefish on most schools of shad that are left. We have not had a shad kill on Norfork for several years and the population was very high with many schools void of gamefish making it harder to find them. The big stripers that are left will be easily caught. I would like to see the lake level drop about 4-feet but it does not look like that will happen. If they will not generate fully when there is an energy crises they probably will not after it is over. There is not much that is predictable anymore you just have to be out there and report what is actually happening and go from there. One big rain in Missouri in the Norfork Lake watershed could change everything. Remember the spring of 2017. The removal of the Dawt Mill dam is not helping the water conditions any either and things are continually changing.
The lake level is 552.44 and has dropped less than two inches in the last 24-hours with two generators running about 50% of the time 1/2 generator running about 40% of the time and nothing about 10% of the time. They are talking about rolling blackouts here and millions of customers are out of power in Texas and they have free electricity here and still will not generate. I guess they are worried about the crops downstream growing in the snow. Think what it will be like when fossil fuel is eliminated and everybody has to plug in their cars. They better think things over before just raising fuel prices and closing pipelines. Gas prices have already gone up about 40 cents since the election. This global warming is really getting to be a problem. You cannot even buy any heaters of any kind here in Mountain Home now. Many home generators run on propane also. With one more night of frigid cold here tonight anybody on a well pump will not be able to drip water to keep pipes from freezing if the power goes out. We are fortunate to be on city water here at Blackburns and do have water even if the power goes out. The weather is to really improve starting next week and is to be near 60 again. The snow is very dry and will not make much water for runoff into the lake. We have received about 10-inches total here and most things were closed in town yesterday including most of the hospital annexes. The main roads are clear now. The ice line on the lake continues to increase out toward the main lake and the smaller creeks are iced in. A south wind, a little sunshine and 50+ degree ambient temperatures with get rid of it quickly. This is about what it was like the last time this happeded and it was gone quickly. With most docks frozen in we do not need any big winds until the ice is gone. It has been miserable but I have to count my blessings. My good friend Jim in in a St. Louis hospital after open heart surgery and is on a ventilator. I wish him well. After things like that you learn not to sweat the small stuff. People griping about little things just have not had anything really bad happen to them yet. The cold and snow have really hampered the on-going improvements here at Blackburns and with it being nearly the end of february we are really going to have to get with it to get them all done. Fishing starts just after the 15th of March in earnest here and it is not even 4-weeks away. There will not be much time for fishing but the days are getting longer and I will be able to go out after work most days and keep you abreast of what is going on here.I do not know what I will find when things finally thaw out. All I know is it is not beautiful out when your pipes are frozen and you are stuck in the snow and cannot get to work. That is not me but is many other people and I am grateful.
The lake level is 552.56 and has dropped a little less than 4-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running most of the time, none some of the time and one some of the time. You would think they would need all of the electricity they can get with the serious shortages in the Southwest Power Administration service area, especially Texas. They have allowed the White River at Newport to rise to 14-feet which is a little improvement but they could be at 21-feet if they wanted to. A four inch drop a day until 548 would be fine with me. We are about ready to go into the spring rainy season despite the current weather. Blackburns creek is frozen over and the ice is getting almost to the mouth of the creek. When this happened before, a few years ago, it only took a few days of south wind and normal ambient high temperatures, which is 52, and it will be mostly gone except for the very backs ot the creeks and then they will thaw quickly. I miss being out fishing but most people are not out there anyway this time of year or just go out occasionally. I ike those winter crappie. There have been no crappie stocked since 2014 in Norfork with only Striped bass and Hybrids stocked from the State Hatchery system and walleye from the Nursery pond north of Cranfield. I sure hope high water does not take the pond out this year as in the past and cause it to have damage. The last time it took several years to get it in operation again. Walleye is getting to be the most sought after fish in Norfork and I would like to see more of them stocked as they do not reporduce in Norfork well. Some do but not enough. The Norfork Lake Biologists work hard and have the interest of the lake at heart. The brush piles and habitat improvements have done nothing but get better in the last few years and they have done a lot to improve fishing which is their main goal and I thank them. Money well spent. I learn a lot from their reports. They have a good crew. I do not take pictures of tarantulas, snakes, alligators, bears, thermometers showing how cold it is or measuring sticks showing how deep the snow is. It just scares people away but some people think 7 below zero is beautiful. I do not. It might be something different to look at through the picture window while drinking coffee or wine. I do not do either but have to work outside as do several people. At least we have had no ice storms or power outages of any siginficance like Texas. Some would think it is very beautiful there. I just wish them well.
The lake level is 552.90 and has dropped four inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running most of the time and both running now. The White River at Newport is also dropping and is now at 12+ feet. We received a little over six inches of dry snow and it did not put much moisture in the lake but did lower the surface water temperature. The below zero temperatures did not help it much either. The sun is shining now and it is to be back up to about 20 today with more snow coming tonight. We went down to the lake and checked the water temperatures. It was 39 degrees out in the main lake in front of Mallard Point in about 100 ft. of water in the North wind and 36 degrees near Blackburns Dock part way back in the creek with ice pushing further towards the main lake from the back of the creek and slush out to the south end of the dock and moving around with the wind. I have not checked it out yet this morning but with the below zero ambient temperatures last night I am sure it is iced in. This happened one other time in the early 2,000s but I cannot remember the year. I had to use a boat to break the ice to get out to the main lake. With this severe shad kill it will decrease the amount of bait fish and it will make it easier now and next spring to catch fish. Most schools of shad that are left will hold game fish and they will be easy to troll through and catch with live bait. With people continuing to kill stripers, this should just about finish off all of the big ones that are left. People are determined to kill them and it seems nothing will stop them until they are gone. The shad will come back since they spawn two or three times a year and are very prolific. Stripers depend 100% on stockings and the game and fish did not stock any last year due to covid. They are resuming stocking this year and barring any more long term high water we should be back to the road to recovery. It will take several years. All of the other species of fish in the lake are at good numbers except White Bass but they are making a comeback. The lake is clear and at a good level and spring looks good so far but things can change quickly. Remember the last of April 2017 when they received big rain in the Norfork water Shed in Missouri and the lake came up 20-ft. in two days? I do. It was not good and it took a long time to get it back down. It was September before it got below 560 and was not a good year for stripers and their future in Norfork lake. It will get better though and I am really looking forward to spring which is not far away. I will check things out a little later and let you know.
The lake level is 553.22 and has dropped 2-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 3/4ths the time. They quit most of the night. Most of the Southwestern Power Administration sevice area is very cold and you would think they would generate more since the level is in the power pool. They are still dropping the White River at Newport and I will never understand this. Why not draw down the lake in the winter like they used to? With the government running the Dam management and also running the Southwestern power you should not expect much. You certainly do not get much. The lake is clear. The surface water temperature was 39.8 in the middle of Blackburns Creek in 20-feet of water yesterday evening with a little ice way back in the creeks where it ends. As the water got deeper there was no ice on the shore. I will check this later today and also go into the main lake and check it also and let you know when I start up my boat. The shad kill is coming if it is not here yet. We are fortunate that there was no rain before the snow so there is no ice and the conditions are cold and snowy but not too bad for driving but it is impossible to work outside very long. The snow is not heavy and should not affect dock roofs much unless they are in poor condition. The north wind has been cold and not helping things but there is little drifting. We have about 3-4 inches now with more to come later this week. It is snowing very small flakes now and not very heavy but the temperature is barely above zero and the north wind continues to be very cold. I have not seen this in the 26+ years that I have lived here but it just shows you how important this global warming is to the country and why we need to get rid of fossil fuels now no matter how high the fuel prices get and shut down the pipelines and start buying oil from the Middle East again and shipping it with tankers. (Exxon Valdez) There is no need for us to be energy independent. This north wind would sure turn some of those beautiful wind turbines but we have not seen the sun except for about two days this year and it would be tough powering solar panels. I wonder if they will let us burn wood. That is a new idea. We are to recover next weekend but not to where we should be with normal highs in the low 50's. Anything will be an improvement but I always count my blessings and am thankful for no ice. I do not like ice. I remember the 2009 ice storm and it was terrible. NAEC is much more prepared now than then and I do not think that will happen again at least to the same degree. I was out of power for 20-days and was fortunate to have has a generator and a fuel truck with a hand pump. Back then people did not want them to trim their trees and politics ruled. Now they trim them no matter what and have forgot political correctness. I am heading to the dock now and will let you know. We will just make the best of this. I will be fishing as soon as I can and get you a report.
The lake level is 553.56 and has dropped 2.2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation a little over 1/2 the time. They continue to drop the discharge and level on The White River at Newport and have for over a week. At least the lake level is heading in the right direction finally and is just under the power pool of 553.75. It is hard to get an accurate surface water temperature now with the variation caused by how deep it is and where you are in relation to the wind. It is cooling down fast near the shore but not so fast out in the main lake in 100-ft. of water where it is just over 40. It certainly is not going up again any day soon. It is to be nearly a week before we get over freezing but we are 1/2 way into February and spring is on the way. I will let you know when ice starts forming in the backs of the creeks near the shore. That indicates there is a shad kill. I went down to the dock and started up about a dozen boats yesterday and checked batteries. They need a full charge or they will freeze and ruin them in below zero weather. I also lowered the boats that are on my five boat lifts part way down in the water so the lower units will not freeze and break. All of the lower units have had oil changed and new water pumps but but it does not take much moisture in the oil to freeze them in this weather. We are not used to it here and you can get by with a little until it gets this cold. They are sealed up but not pressurized. We have already refurbished the dock with new cables, much more support and new floats to withstand a heavy load caused by snow and ice on the roof. When you see what I call the fingers or walkways on the sides of the stalls go under water you are in trouble and you must get the snow and ice off the roof. If you do not there will be damage and bending of metal if you have a steel dock and possible collapse of the roof on a wooden dock. The last time we had heavy snow and ice I worked all night getting the ice and snow off the roof. Others did not and their docks collapsed. Mine did not. I do not believe in swindling insurance companies because they look for any excuse to raise their rates. There is not an excuse for allowing damage but it did allow some people to get a new dock where they could not have on their own. I am very happy with mine and do my best to keep it in good condition. The dock and boats are as secure as possible, I have split much wood and laid it in, have my house wired for my new generator in case of a power outage, checked the antifreeze and batteries in all my vehicles and am as ready as I know how to be and will hope for the best. We will see. Things have a way of working out if you are willing to help yourself. I will go fishing again when it hits 30 and give you a report. That is what I do.
Some were very nice. Norfork Lake crappie fishing is the best. Especially if you like big ones.
The lake level is 553.84 and has dropped 1.2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. They are lowering the White River at Newport rapidy and are trying to keep area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. The big news is the weather. It is to be cold and not come out of it for a week. I have not seen this in the 26 years that I have lived here let alone in February where it usually starts to warm up. We are also to get some snow which will not melt for a week also. It now looks that we will have a shad kill for sure. The surface water varies a lot depending on the wind and water depth but the shad will migrate and stay in the warmest water which is now in the low 40's. They will start to get lathargic and stressed at about 39 degrees and you would see them suspend within sight of the surface and move very slowly and stop and be easy prey for the fish if you were out there. I will not be out there Sunday or Monday if things happen as predicted. Yesterday was about as cold as I can take and I have all electric gear with a suit wired like the Japanese aviator one my father brought back from WW-2. I was ok until the north wind started blowing and I had to clean fish and then my hands got numb and started burning after getting wet. I cannot fillet with gloves on very well or do anything else for that matter. I caught several nice crappie with some in the 11-12 inch range and a couple several inches bigger than that. All were caught on the 1/16th ounce jig fishing in 27-35 feet of water just outside brush pile near the bottom. I was out for about 1-1/2 hours and came in just after 4:Pm after the wind came up. People that say the cold is nice and the snow is beautiful do not have to go out in it and make a living. It is ok if all you have to do is set at home by the fire and drink coffee and look out the window. Other wise it bites. I am ready for it to at least get back into the 40's but it is not to happen soon. When it does I will be back out there and maybe in the 30's but not single digits.
The lake level is 553.94 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. The water is getting very clear and it is cooling with this winter weather especially in the backs of the creeks where it gets shallow. It is to get colder and is to last about another week. Our normal high is 50 and it is struggling to get to 30. It is snowing lightly now but the ground is not covered. All of the ice went well south of us and that is very good. The wind is to pick up and that is not good. It does not look to be the best conditions especially Sunday and Monday where it is to get as cold as I have seen it in many years. This global warming is the biggest threat to America. The water temperature on the main lake was 44 when I went out yesterday and there may be a chance of a shad kill if it drops below 40. I never though this would happen this year with a surface temperature of 48 going into February where it typically raises instead of dropping. What is rare about this is the length of time it is lingering around. They are dropping the lake a little now and only need to continue for about three inches to get down to the power pool. It would be nice to get several feet lower than that to make room for spring rains but a lot of things need to change for that to happen. It is very good that the rainfall has been lower than average for the last couple of months and there have been multiple chances for them to drop all of the area lakes. They are all about in the same condition, close to power pool. They have a lot of leeway now and can allow the White River at Newport to get to 21-feet until April 14th but have shown no inclination to do so. I do not know who made these rules but it must have been a long time ago before computers could control the whole system. They certainly need to be reviewed and changed like they did for the minimum flow for the put and take trout on the river raising the power pool and taking away 1.75 feet of flood capacity. It was cool with an ambient temperature of 30 when I went out yesterday afternoon and the wind was calm. I fished brush piles in Blackburns creek for about 1-1/2 hours and caught some nice crappie in the 14-15 inch range. No giants but very good ones. I was casting the 1/16th ounce jig past the brush and allowing it to sink into it. They would bite about the time it touched wood. I did not try for any bass with the spoon as my fingers were getting cold everytime I took off my heated gloves. I must be getting puny but there was not anybody else out there. The lake is in excellent condition and at a perfect color and depth for fishing. It just needs to stay that way. Higher water does not affect fishing much except if it comes too fast . It does affect day users and launching and parking but Blackburns is set up to handle about anything. It is just nice to be able to drive to the dock and step right on for people that do not like steps like it is now. Anyway all of the area lakes are in the same condition so far this year as I mentioned before.
The lake level is 554.09 and has dropped 1-1/4 inch in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. We have had about 1/2 inch total of moisture in the last several days with nothing heavy just several slow drizzle days making things miserable. The lake is clearing again with the creeks leading the way especially near the bank. I am only fishing for a couple of hours a day and staying close to home but I mostly do that anyway. There is not much sense having to travel very far with what I want very close. There is a lot of interest in getting the striper population back where it used to be especially the big ones that are the most vulnerable. There are several different possible solutions which not everyone will agree with. The first thing is that I want stripers in Norfork lake. Some do not. Without them we are just another very nice lake. It has been proven in the last 40-50 years that stripers can live with other species except for trout. The second is that there is a problem. Some people do not want to admit it because they make a living from them. It is not in good interest to let people find out they are almost gone and their chances of catching a trophy is much lower than a few years ago. I do not want them to find out after they have come here and are disappointed and go home and tell everyone. Some can be convinced that a 8-10 pound fish is big but not anyone knowledgeable. If you are going after them for meat they do not dress out very well and do not compare to walleye, crappie, bluegill, Kentucky Bass and flathead catfish for eating. Some will argue this but the same people also eat carp and gar. Next, what can be done about this problem. Since none were stocked by Game and Fish this year due to covid the class of 2020 will be absent. That can only be made up over time. Increased stocking could help but if all of the big ones die it will not do any good for at least five years. The answer is to slow the death of the older fish by identifying what is causing their demise. There are two main problems. One is letting the lake level rise into the vegetation for a long period of time and reducing the oxygen in the water and the other is over-fishing. Stripers are ocean fish and do tolerate low oxygen well. We have always had some kills in late summer but not nearly like the last several years of high water. For every striper you see floating there are several more times that amount that sink and are not seen. The lake level needs to be controlled better and not held up high for so long. Next is over-fishing. People are learning how to catch them better and once that happens they are quite easily caught. Another is fishing pressure. There are a lot more striper fishermen out there now. Live bait used to be the best way to catch them and you had to have a lot of equipment to net the shad, keep them alive which is dificult and down riggers with expensive cannon balls and planer boards. There used to be balloons all over the lake but not now. It cost a lot and took a lot of time and money to get ready to go fishing and the average fisherman would not or did not want to do so. Now with the increased use of Jigging spoons and umbrella rigs they can catch fish easily with little preparation and cost. Both are deadly. If you can control the depth of the umbrella rig by speed and weight and troll through enough schools of shad you will catch fish. If you have a good locator and find fish and drop a spoon on their head you will also catch fish. This was not the case 20-tears ago when the big fish population was high. Increased quality of electronics has not helped the stripers either but only helping the fisherman resulting in many more limits being caught everyday with the stockings not changing. Stripers are semi-put and take and do not reproduce in fresh water so what you see is what you get. They just live a lot longer than rainbow trout and grow faster and bigger. They should be considered game fish and not meat fish and be released as much as possible. They fight really hard and are fun to catch. A lot of people like to fish for them and sets Norfork lake apart from the average lake. There are several things that can be done after keeping the water out of the vegetation for long periods of time reducing the oxygen drastically. It will do no good to stock more if they all die after they grow. We will just end up being a small striper lake like others. Other things can be done. Reducing the limit from three to two is one thing. Another is to outlaw umbrella rigs like the bass people have outlawed Alabama rigs in their tournaments. They are just smaller umbrellas. These are regulatory things that would help. Other is changing the culture. Promote catch and release, again like the bass people do. Many bass fishermen do not keep any fish. Next is to not fish for them in deep water. When they go deep leave them alone. I know there is pressure for the guides to catch fish every time they go out but it is their long term livelyhood that they will be protecting. They need to learn how to fish for other fish. Dock floors full of dead small stripers in advertising pictures is also not helping anything whether it is legal or not. Venting deep-caught fish lets them go down but they die anyway. If guides stopped cleaning and packaging stripers to take home and the people had to clean their own fish, less would kill them. These are just a few things that could be done and nobody will agree with all of them but what we must agree with is their is a problem and some of us want to help and get Norfork back to a trophy striper lake that has brought people back here for years. Stocking more alone will not solve the problem. Stocking more Hybrid Stripers that are more tolerant to low oxygen and fight very hard would help in the short term but they do not get nearly as big.
Scuba Steve's best fish of the day.
The lake level is 554.17 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 2/3 of the time. The surface water temperature was just short of 45 degrees yesterday afternoon when I went out. The ambient temperature was in the mid 30's but the wind was not bad so it was tolerable. I just cannot fish very well with heavy gloves but caught some nice crappie. I just stayed out for about and hour and 1/2. The fish are biting on both the 1/16th ounce jig and 1/4 ounce Bink's Spoon. I tried a minnow on the slip float but no takers. One day they work and nothing the next. Bass are with the crappie. Some stripers are being caught on the spoon but are small in the 6-9 pound range. I have not talked to any live bait fishermen that are having any success. Those are about the average size being caught now after the kill-off and over-fishing. Some hybrids about the same size are also coming in from open water on shad in about 60-feet of water 45-50 feet down. They are pretty much scattered all over the lake in this area but way out from Cow Point towards the old river channel is a good place to start looking. I am fishing brush piles and surrounding vicinity in 27-35 feet of water near the bottom and catching some everyday. It is to get very cold this weekend after several days of damp, cold, cloudy and depressing weather. February is 1/3 gone now and spring is on the horizon. I just want it to get back to 50 where it should be. The crappie are full of eggs but no bloodlines yet. The lake in general is in excellent condition for fishing and is at a good color and level. Wish it would stay here all the time.
Jeff and Hunter Barber caught some good ones yesterday.
The lake level is 554.33 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. The water surface temperature is still in the mid 40's but should drop with the coldest weather of the year coming for about the next week before it warms back up. They have forcasted this for two weeks and it is over a week late now but here it comes. Our normal high is 48 and we will be far below that with a low on Thursday near 10-degrees. We will see. It looks like it will happen though with the cold going all the way to the gulf. Montana and Minnesota are really down low. The days are getting longer by about two minutes a day and we are nearly 1/3 through with February. Just keep the ice and wind away and we will be fine. I will be out there if the wind is not blowing. We have no frost in the ground but that could change later this week. Crappie and bass fishing is very good now and I am catching some nice ones everyday. The 1/4 ounce spoon and 1/16th ounce jig are working the best now. Some of our guests did well on minnows yesterday catching both bass and crappie off Blackburns Brush piles. The water is not as clear as it was but it is hard to tell with the cloudy and dreary weather. The creeks are definitely stained more than they were. We will get through this cold and spring will be here before you know it. It is certainly slowing down the outside work on the resort but we will get it done. Split a lot of wood yesterday and fished for a couple of hours.
Cash with a big one. What a nice family.
Hunter and Sophie Barber.
The lake level is 554.61 and about the same as yesterday with a few hours of generation and then nothing since last evening. The lake surface temperature was 46.5 when I went out about 3:Pm and the lake was stained a little more than the day before. I caught nothing but a small bass for about an hour and then the crappie started biting a little after 4 and nice ones too. I caught fish until after 5 and then came in. Jeff Barber and his family, Dave Titus, Tom Kelly, Mike Eakle and myself all caught crappie over 15-inches. It definitely was a good day and there was a lot of fun here at Blackburns with a lot of work getting done and children running all over the place enjoying fishing off the dock and playing on the playground Then the real fishing began. That is the way we like it. It was very nice with ambient temperatures in the 50's and sunshine. That is to go away later next week with the coldest weather of the season coming. It was to happen earlier this week but they have kept backing it up but seem sure it will happen. I will get my electric fishing uniform plugged in. We have had a mild winter so far with very little precipitation so we can take a little winter here in february. That does not mean I have to like it. We have many more improvements left to get done and not much time to do it. It will get busy here after the middle of March with people taking advantage of the low cabin and fishing boat rental prices and free boat stall when the warm weather gets here. We will do everything we can to be ready for you and we will not charge you too much. Blackburns is the family place.
Dave Titus with more good ones.
The lake level is 554.63 and has dropped about 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with a little more generation but not much. They are making no effort to drop area lakes and all are above power pool. The weather man has postponed the cold arctic air here to the middle of next week and has mitigated it a bit. It will be cold but not nearly as bad as formerly forecast. It was cool and drizzle yesterday morning so I waited for the wind to pick up and the front to start to blow through and it did about 3:Pm so I went fishing.The fish started biting as soon as I got to a brush pile in about 35-ft. in Hensleys creek. The wind was from the west and kept increasing until the white caps were lapping over the boat. I had caught eight crappie and one bass on the jig casting it past the brush and letting it sink into it. They bit right at the top of the brush and in front of it near the bottom. I do not call any Norfork Lake crappie under 17-inches giant but I did catch a couple near that. The rest were 14-15 inches except for one only about 10-inches. I released all but the four largest ones which I saved for a shut-in friend who loves them. I saw no other boat out there except Dave Titus who was also catching fish. The wind did die down at sunset but by then the temperature had dropped about 15-degrees so I did not go back out. The best fishing has been just at sunset and until it was getting dark until yesterday. The high pressure and clear skies are here now and we will see what that brings. That is why you have to be out there almost everyday to write a report. It changes with the wind, air pressure and cold fronts. Usually one day after the high pressure moves in the fishing is not the best but it gets better and better until the next Low pressure is fully here. I found fish in deep water schooled but did not want to bring them up and have them die. Venting the fish lets them go down after being caught deep but they die anyway. When the wind has been blowing for some time into one bank near deep water the bass can be caught with a crank bait. Otherwise a lot of them are just outside brush on shad near the bottom and can be caught on the spoon. Use 4-lb. test on the 1/8th and 1/4 spoon and 6-lb on the 1/2 ounce and 8-lb. on the 3/4 and 1-ounce for the best action. I only use the larger ones if the wind is blowing hard to keep the line straight up and down. If you drag the spoon you will lose it for sure. If you want to kill everything you catch fish in over 50-ft. of water near the bottom. The water temperature is still 47 and is also still clearing. It is very clear near the bank and stained a little green in open water. Algae is getting to be a problem near the bank for some reason. Probably because the dam at Dawt Mill is gone. The new siding on cabin #1 is finished and partially stained. Cabin #2 is about 1/2 done. #4 and #11 are next. You will like what you see when you get here at Blackburns and there will be no price increases again this year and your first normal sized boat stall is free. We do charge if you bring your own pontoon. Please get you deposits in for this year to hold the cabin and boat of your choice and prevent disappointments. The summer months are filling up more than normal. I do not use the money to go on vacations, buy a new car, truck or personal boat and all of it goes to improvements. The money you save by staying here can be donated to Disabled Veterans.
Fish of the day yesterday by Scuba Steve. Caught more too. All were released under the dock.
The lake level is 554.72 and is just a touch higher than this time yesterday. They quit generating last evening and have not started up again. They are doing an excellent job of holding the area lakes up as high as they can for as long as they can even in the dead of winter with no excess rainfall. Go figure. The surface water temperature was between 47 and 48 yesterday when I went out and it was a nice day with medium to light winds and an ambient temperature near 50. Not bad for early February. The arctic cold front that is to bring polar air this weekend to the south central states has caused a lot of people to prepare for it and I sure hope the weather man is wrong. I think we need to fire him as well as the ones managing the dam levels. He is wrong more time than right for this area. I have watched many people watch their phones and mill around, cancel boat rentals on what turned out to be a nice day worried about not being able to get a full day in. If I am concerned, I watch the skies in the northwest and hang close to Blackburns Dock and come in just before the heavy rain starts and keep away from the in between the bridges area which is the windiest place on the whole lake. It is cloudy and warm today with a chance of light rain and a good day to fish. The bite was pretty good yesterday with everybody catching fish. Mostly bass, crappie and small stripers with a couple of 6-lb. hybrids coming in. Walleye are scarce now for us. It is getting near spawn time for them and white bass and the white bass will school and start their run up stream and into shallow water when the temperature is in the 50's. The walleye run on Norfork used to be much larger several years ago than now. You could tell when it was happening when the trucks would be lined up along the bank on highway 160 in Missouri. Now not so much but the overal numbers are higher now. I wish more were stocked since the fishing pressure is so high for them, but at least some of them reproduce unlike stripers and hybrids which are semi-put and take. The white bass are very prolific and are the go to fish when nothing else is biting or the bite gets tough for some people. They will bite anything with a spinner on it including road runners and rooster tails. They also cannot resist a spoon anywhere near them. I am glad they are making a comeback. It is good for novice fishermen to be able to catch anything consistently and they are fun to catch. Norfork is a good lake and is full of many different varieties of fish.
The lake level is 554.70 and is the same as yesterday at this time with generation about 1/2 the time. They cannot get it down below the power pool in the winter with below average rainfall let alone during the spring rains. We need to impeach the people managing the dams and hire private professionals to do the job. It was a beautiful day with light winds and a temperature of 48-degrees when I went out yesterday. I went out twice, once mid morning and again late afternoon. It did not warm early enough to pour concrete and was cold early, so they started putting new siding on cabins 1,2,4 so I went fishing. The improvements continue here at Blackburns with no price increases. The best bite was just before dark on bass and crappie again with a few small stripers in the 7-10 pound range and the jigging spoon the best lure. The stripers were released on the spot as they are not big enough for a picture and need to grow and the others were released under the dock. It looks like the arctic cold front will start saturday night and last through monday with warmer temperatures after that. How I tell if it is too cold for me to fish is when ice forms on the eyelets of the rod and on the line and gets into the reel and fouls up the drag. If you add cold north wind to that I am gone. Otherwise I am out there sometime almost every day usually after work. You cannot write an accurate report by going once a week or when you finally catch some fish. Things change too fast. Tom Kelly reports catching some nice fish on the grub in the Robinson Point area, Mike Eakle was fishing from Cow point to the bridge, I was near Hensley's point and Dave was fishing near Blackburns. I did not hear from Binks. All caught fish. It is good to have so many good fishermen helping with the report. I miss Harvey who was the best crappie fisherman that I have ever seen. The surface water temperature was 46-degrees and the lake was the same color, stained greenish as I have reported many times and a good color for fishing. This is not new news and has been the same for a few weeks. You could see your spoon down about 6-feet. Fishing is getting better and needed too. Once February gets here spring is on the way but you can expect a few glitches and it is hard to plan a trip and expect the best conditions until after mid March. I am fortunate that I can pick the time to go fishing with just a few minutes notice. You certaily cannot go by the weather forecast here as we do not fall into the Springfield or Little Rock category and the lakes and rivers have an effect that is not factored in by them. It is best to Listen to KTLO radio for the most accurate weather. Today and tomorrow should be good.
Welcome to February. The lake level is 554.59 and has dropped about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with several hours of generation. The weather was cool and windy yesterday but you just have to know where to go to get out of it. I like to hug main lake cuts where the wind is coming from in the old river channel next to deep water. If you go back in the creeks it is just swirling. Blackburns Creek is usually pretty protected and has some good brush piles. I do not ride far in the boat when it is cold but fish close to home. You can bet I will not be out there in open water trolling around. Our monthly rainfall for January was below average and they still will not drop the lake. March-May are our rainiest months with September after that. They should know what is coming but refuse to do anything about it. It would be nice if they could keep the level where it is now but they cannot. 560 is the level where some dock access, parking and launching becomes affected. Day users are the ones mostly affected. Blackburns has dock access at all levels but it becomes a pain and requires steps to get to it. Otherwise you can park and step right on the dock and launch right here. No need to go elsewhere to launch and one person can do it easily but we will help you if you want. Some resorts do not have launch availability and you have to have two people. The weather is to be in the low 40's today and then warm up nicely the rest of the week with an arctic cold front dropping down from Canada this weekend with the coldest temperatures of the season. We will see. Their batting average is not very high but they seem to be pretty sure about this one. We can take a couple of cold nights without dropping the water temperature much but do not need prolonged cold to cause a shad kill. This starts to occur at below 40 degrees. I like the shad population right where it is. Everything has plenty of food and the fish are very healthy. The crappie are full of eggs and the spawn looks to be right on schedule with the big ones spawning first. I have not killed any other kind of fish since the catfish stopped biting.
Scuba Steve with a couple of good ones.
The lake level is 554.64 and has risen about 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They quit generating last evening and all night and have just started up again. The lake surface water was over 46 yesterday and has risen a bit but an arctic cold front is to come down next weekend and to drop highs well back into the high 30's for a day or two. The wind has shifted back to the north now and it is cool again with a high in the early 40's today but nice for about three days starting tomorrow with sunny skies. The normal high is now 47. We received a total of about 0.8 inches of rain on Saturday and the ground is still saturated. The lake is about as clear as it has been for a few years and now is at a very good color and level for fishing. I have just been fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill and overall it has been just fair with some days better than others but is better than a week ago. The days are getting longer and the average high increasing but February and the first half of March can be very variable here with very warm days and then a cold front with north winds right after almost killing the fishing. Low pressure and cloudy skies with a light wind and small moon is the best time to go. The water dropping does not help fishing any but we badly need it to drop several feet to make room for spring rains but they are reluctant to do this for some reason. This has been a typical winter so far with very little snow and about average rainfall. I have been able to fish almost everyday. The spoon and jig have been the best lures lately and look for fish just outside of brush piles near the bottom in 35-ft. of water on a drop-off if possible. I do not fish with crank baits much but the people using them are catching some good bass. I have not seen or talked to striper fishermen lately and there are very few boats on the lake when I am out there. No reports usually mean no fish. Blackburns is getting everything ready for spring and is your fishing headquarters for Norfork Lake. You will like what you see when you get here and like the price better.
Mike Eakle with some good ones caught yesterday on the Bink's Spoon in 35-ft. of water near the bottom.
The lake level is 554.54 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation most of the time. They quit last night but have started up again this morning. I suspect they will get it down to the power pool of 553.75 and then slow way down again for some unknown reason. At least that has been what they have done in the last few years when they changed from the policy of drawing the level down in the winter to make room for spring rains to holding it up all winter and allowing it to flood and open the spillway gates ruining the crops downstream and holding it up all summer to prevent replanting.Government work at it's best and some people want more government. It was a beautiful day yesterday with a high temperature of near 50 with medium winds. I tried crappie fishing in brush about 20-ft. deep and could catch nothing but small fish. Went back to the 35-ft. level just outside the brush and caught several nice ones. There sure are a lot more species of fish feeding on shad in the open water now that the big stripers are almost gone. Their absence has sure changed Norfork Lake fishing with other kinds of fish thriving. The bass are getting bigger and bigger and the good bass fishermen are doing very well with more fish in the 5-6 lb. range being caught this year than I have ever seen before. Even the Kentucky Bass are approacing three pounds. Crappie and catfishing is about the same but more of both are in deeper water. Trollers trying for temperate bass are catching a much more variety than before. White Bass are making a comeback but there are not nearly as many as a few years ago. Bluegill size and quantity has been very good. Overall fishing has just been fair but some nice fish are being caught every day. The average ambient high temperature is on the rise and has moved from it's low if 44 to 46. The surface water temperature was back up to 46-degrees yesterday and as it rises there will be more shad moving back further into the creeks with game fish on them. The walleye run up the river in February is not near what it used to be a few years ago and the ones moving up there are mostly small. I do not even go up there for it anymore no matter how much I like walleye fishing but the overall numbers and size are getting better and I caught more last year than normal. The best time for them is now in May and early June where they will be on brush in 16-20 feet of water near the bank as the thermocline forms. Norfork is a good fishing lake and the more you fish it the better it gets plus you can stay at Blackburns where you do not have to pay too much. We are in a central location on the lake and close to town and services.
Jeremy Deardoff with a couple of nice Norfork lake crappie. We like those.
The lake level is 554.69 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They quit generating last night but started again this morning. They are struggling to just get the lake down to the power pool and we are to get more rain this weekend. The ground is saturated. It was a beautiful day yesterday with light winds and sunny skies and pleasant to be out fishing. The surface water temperature was 45.5. I tried the back of a creek just to see if any fish were shallow and found a few but none were biting. The shallow water warms faster than the deep water and fish will move there soon but it is just too early. I like to try new things and be the first to find them. The next and final stop was a main lake cut on the old river channel on a Blackburns Brush pile. I was casting a Bobby Garland Baby Shad and letting it drop into the brush anywhere from 20-45 feet of water. This did not work either. It was out of the wind so I switched to a 1/8th ounce Bink's silver spoon. The silver color works well in the sunshine and it glistens several colors including blue. The fish started biting right away. I like the smallest spoon possible that will get to the desired depth and still stay straight down. The smaller the spoon the lighter the line so you are not trying to drag an anchor rope. I caught six crappie, two bass and two nice bluegill in about an hour and came in. The fish were biting anywhere from 27-35 feet of water near the bottom. I saw no other boats and it was very peacefull and just good to be outside with no crowds or noise. I feel so fortunate and count my blessings. There are very few places where you can do this. I put the fish in Tom Kelly's Trophy pond. It is ready for the spring now but I am not quite. More improvements to make here but no price increases.
The lake level is 554.78 and has dropped two inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running. There are no spillway gates open. The surface water temperature remained at just over 45-degrees despite the snow which is almost gone now. It will be by tomorrow when it is to warm to near 50. The fishing was pretty good yesterday especially the bass. People are still killing small stripers and they are also biting and also getting smaller. The lake is clearing more and is at an excellent level and color for fishing. I had to get out my all electric weather gear to keep warm but it was fine. I was usuing the grub on the drop-offs on river channel banks and they would hit near the bottom in about 35-ft. of water. I released them all and they were fine. It would have been too deep for crappie to survive. I will fish for crappie a little later today. I did see one other boat out there and was surprised to find someone crazier than myself. It snowed out the cement repair on the pool and basketball court so I might as well go fishing. I am not much for laying on the sofa, looking out the window and saying how beautiful the snow is. Not. Especially if you have or want to work outside. They said we got about two inches of snow but it looked like more here. It did not affect the roads though and started to melt in the afternoon. It is hard to believe January is almost gone and spring is on the way. We have a lot of improvements to get done before March fishing begins in earnest which is about the middle of the month. It is sunny with a full moon and I will see if I cannot get a few crappie to bite. They need to drop the lake to about 548 but we will see.
Scuba Steve's Fish of the day yesterday. Going bass fishing now.
The lake level is 554.94 and has risen about 5-inches in the last 24-hours. They are not generating but did open spillway gates just a bit again this morning to slow the rise after shutting them down all night. The surface water temperature was 45.5 when I went out yesterday about 4:PM and the crappie were biting. They continued for about an hour and then quit. And I mean quit. I caught ten keepers and released five of them at the dock. The rest go to my friend Gus who is celebrating his 90th birthday next month. He loves those Norfork lake crappie as do a great many people. It does not get any better than crappie, walleye, bluegill and Kentucky bass with a flathead catfish thrown in every once in a while. We received a couple of inches of snow this morning early and it is melting now. I really like bass fishing when it shows and will be out there shortly. I am anxious to see what it did to the surface water temperature and clarity. This is a good day to plant grass seed. This is the first measureable snow this season and it is too much for me. People that love it should move to Caribou, Maine. They would be very very happy there or have to go outside and work in it and then see how beautiful it is. For me I am ready for spring even though I catch a lot of big fish in the winter. I am done with cross country skiiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. No walking on water or drilling holes in it for me. I will stay here where you can fish all year and have no closed seasons. Any furhter south and you get too many storms, hurricanes and other problems. I am where I want to be. Norfork Lake is the place.
Bryan Deardoff with some of yesterday's catch.
The lake level is 554.50 and has risen 10-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with several hours of both generators running. They shut off the generators but have now opened spillway gates equal to a little over one generator. They must not need the electricity and are wasting the water. If they cannot maintain the level the last part of January, fat chance they can or will do it this spring. There is no rhyme or reason to their no-plan management. Hold and hope and open spillway gates is no plan. We should be at 548 or less now to make room for the spring rains. The weather was nice after work so we went fishing. The dock renovations and new roof are now completed on cabin #9, the mobile home, and we are now resurfacing the pool deck and baskerball court. All cabins and out buildings now have a new roof. We never stop with the improvements here at Blackburns. Crappie was the best bite but a few bass were also caught. All of the bass were released on site but a few crappie were kept for dinner. We do not fish for deep stripers and release all we catch accidently to let them grow. If more people do not do this all of the big ones will be gone. Most of them are already gone. The Kentucky bass. crappie, flathead and bluegill eat much better anyway not to mention the walleye which I am unable to catch now. Most of the crappie were near the bottom at 40-45 ft. of water but the largest were in about 30-ft. 20-ft. down. The spoon was the best lure. The bass were with the shallower crappie. Fishing overall was just fair but we caught some nice ones. It was an overall a good day with a lot being accompilshed. We were full here all last week but have a couple of cabins open starting today. Come on down and check us out. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. We have no duplexes so you can social distance and all cabins have covered porches.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday. We really like it when nice families have a good time together. That is what it is all about.
Caught fishing with Bink'sThe lake level is 553.62 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with very little generation. They quit generating before the rain started in order to get the level up as high as possible for as long as possitble even though the White River at Newport is only 7.6 feet and about ready to dry up. We received 3/10th of an inch of rain Saturday night and 1/1/2 inches last night and this morning. It is over for now. The creeks run for a while but not hard. I went crappie fishing yesterday and caught some good ones. One was very large. They were spooned up in 45-ft. of water on the bottom. I do not have a clue why they are there but they are and just outside of brush piles and near cover close to deep water. There were some fish coming up about 5-PM and most of them were bass and some good ones too. That is the first top water that I have seen in a while. The usual routine of the bass moving to their winter banks and staying there has not happened this year. I suspect more of them are in open water on shad in the absence of big stripers. Brush piles are not producing very well unless they are deep. People are still dogging those small stripers in the 3-9 lb. range in deep water knowing they will die when they catch them. It looks like they will keep doing this until all of them are gone. They do not know how to fish any other way and will not change. They need that red meat. Fishing overall has been just fair and the lake in general is in excellent condition. White Bass fishing is getting better and needed to. The ground in the watershed area is saturated and any rains just north of us will raise the lake. Local rains and rains south of us have a much less effect on the water level unless the creeks run hard. It is almost february and we need to be at about 548 now down about 5-1/2 feet. All of the area lakes are just about at the power pool level which is a good level but does not leave much room for spring rains. There is absolutely no reason not to drop them. I am starting to catch more fish on spoons and less on jigs.We are working hard here at Blackburns makings improvements for you and there will be no price increases this year. Thanks for your repeat business. We appreciate you.
Released under the dock yesterday.
The lake level is 553.54 and is the same as yesterday with 2-3 hours of generation. Just enough to keep up with the river inflow. It is a good thing we have had very little rain. The surface water temperature is right at 47 in the afternoons on the main lake in this area. Lower in shallower water and near the bank. The water is very clear near the bank. They have now lowered the White river at Newport to 9+ feet and dropping. This is about the worst case of dam mismanagement ever. I guess they must know we will not get any spring rains. The lake is in excellent condition now though for fishing, at the right depth, and right clarity. There is some algae forming near the shore and I am not used to seeing that. We never used to have that or any foam on the shore. Pollution is creeping in on us and is mostly caused by heavy rains in the watershed north of us in the Norfork River basin in Missouri, the Corps holding the lakes up for too long in the summer and not from runoff from Corps property around the lake. I am glad we have the buffer zone. I was fishing brush and structure in about 35-feet of water yesterday on the main lake with the spoon and jig and caught both bass and crappie. We were working on the dock and I did not get to go out until about 4:Pm and the fishing was slow but steady. The jig outfished the spoon. The best bite was about 4:30 Pm. It is usually best right at dark but not yesterday. It was cloudy and warm. Today it is clear, sunny and cooler and we will see what that brings. Blackburns has several fishermen in now with more coming in today and they should catch some. It has been a mild winter so far and the good bass fishermen are doing well. Guides and locals are still killing small stripers and they are getting smaller and smaller. They are cutting their own throats but it looks like they will not quit until every big one is gone. They will drive the business to other lakes but insist on living for today. I do not fish for them much anyway but they are a big attraction to the lake and it is a shame to have them gone. The numbers and size of almost all other species are up and at good levels on Norfork except for White Bass but they will take care of themselves in the next few years as they do not require stocking and reproduce well in the lake. There are plenty of bait fish. The lake oeverall is in excellent condition and fishing is only fair.
Not a lot is changing. Water still about 47 degrees, visibility still pretty good at about 6-feet, level has been nearly the same for over two months at 553.60 with very little generation and people keep killing small stripers and they are getting smaller and smaller. Next they will be taking pictures of 20-inchers. Hybrid stripers, crappie, bluegill and bass continue to be the best bite. Some white bass are showing up. Fishing overall is just fair but some good ones are being caught every day. Blackburns is working very hard to get ready for spring but current busines is also keeping us busy. We really do not have an off season anymore. The dock is coming around nicely and we will start on the pool and basketball court next week. Almost all of out rental boats have been surviced and several boat seats have been taken to ITS in Midway to be reupholstered. We will be ready for you and have not raised our prices again this year. Things are looking good here. If you are in town come on over and check us out. We will not charge you too much.
Mike with some nice ones.
The lake level is 553.56 and has remained right at the power pool for several months as are all of the other area lakes. It looks like they are going to hold them up high all year no matter how low the White River at Newport gets. It is at 10-ft. even now and dropping. It could be at 21-feet if they wanted to. The lake is in excellent condition now and perfect for fishing. Several fish of different species are just outside of brush in 45-50 ft. on shad and are biting on the spoon. They seem to be at the 45-50 ft. level no matter how deep the water is. The wind has finally receded and varies in direction with the fronts but has been from 5-10 MPH for several days with ambient highs in the early 50's making for confortable fishing. It has been calm in the evenings The good news is that the average high temperatures are on the rise. They went up to 44 today and had been at 43 for several days. With the days getting longer and the temperature rising means spring is on the way. It does not mean that we will not get any cool weather though but the chances are getting smaller. It all depends on the wind. Bink is on the temperate bass with all species being caught. I am still fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill. The jigging spoon is working the best. We have finished the new roof on the mobile home and are working on resurfacing the pool deck and basketball court. New floats are being installed under the dock and when that is finished it will be completely refurbished. New water pumps have been installed on both fish cleaning stations and we will be ready for you when you get here. Many new beds and bedding have been purchased as well as furniture. All of this is happening with absolutely no price increase to you. Not many places can say that. If you are not staying at Blackburns you are paying too much.
Norfork Lake Fun out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental fishing with Bink's Guide service on the spoon yesterday. Two of the biggest caught.
The lake level is 555.60 and has been very stable for a couple of months with very little generation. They are holding the White River at barely above 10-feet at Newport and all of the area lakes are just about at power pool with no effort to drop anything so far this winter. The ambient temperature was in the low 50's and the surface water temperature was exactly 47 degrees and the wind was calm when I went out yesterday. The lake is fairly clear and you can see your lure down about 6-feet. You can see the tops of some of Blackburns Brush piles. The bite of the day was hybrid stripers. I found them just outside brush on shad in 45-ft. of water. Bink had some of Blackburn's guests out and they reported having a lot of fun catching about 50-fish and releasing most of them. Walleye, small stripers, white bass and some hybrids in the 7-8 lb. range. They were using the spoon and jigging straight down. They are out again today. Bink has been working closely with Blackburns for over 25-years and they have attended over 100 sports and boat shows together. He books about 80-100 guide trips in conjunction with the resort every year and it has been a very good symbiotic relationship. We quit attending sports shows a few years ago when they became ineffective. Before the internet they were the best ways to get business but not now. They became just a place where fishermen would come for a social event for a day and already had a guide and place to stay. We did more than our share of them and we met a lot of nice people. They went the way of printed advertising. We went from completely booking the resort and his guide business from Memorial day to Labor day with several other trips before and after in the mid 1990's to booking absolutely nothing except for a few weekend trips during prime time. The bookings came but almost all from the internet but most from repeat customers. Blackburns has about 80% repeat customers and we have developed many friendships over the years and continue to do so. That is why we try to keep our prices as low as possible and not try to see how much money we can get out of our friends. It is easy to be very friendly with customers if you are charging them too much. We do not do that. Crappie fishing was a little slow yesterday and bass fishing was a bit better. Look for shad just outside of brush in 40-45 ft. of water and drop a spoon on them. A lot of differend species are together.
The lake level is 553.61 and has risen 1-inch in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. They refuse to drop the area lakes and the White River is below 11-feet at Newport. It has been about a normal January so far and we have missed all of the snow and ice that has been predicted. The surface water temperature has remained above the middle 40's and has not varied very much lately. There are about two cold fronts a week coming through. It warms up for a couple of days and then another cold front preceded by wind comes in for about the same time and then a high pressure with wind comes in with clear skies and cold night time temperatures followed by warming days and then the whole process repeats itself. When high pressure is present the winds die off in the evening. I wait until the warmest part of the day to go out and come in when the sun goes down. That way you miss most of the wind and coldest temperatures. Some like to charge out there before sunrise in the wind and fish until it gets warm and then come in. To each there own. I catch fish both ways but am not a cold weather fan. I lived in northern Maine and Minnesota and am through with snomobiling, cross country skiing and ice fishing. I like it here where you cannot drill holes in our water or walk on it but still have four seasons of which winter is the shortest. Winter fishing is very good here but I always look foreward to spring and summer scuba diving. The lake now is in excellent condition and at a good level and Blackburns Brush Piles are at a good depth. Bass and crappie continue to be the best bite now and a few white bass are still biting in open water just outside brush in 40-45 feet. Most of them are small but some are about 1-1/2 lbs. Hybrid fishing is fair and about normal. Stripers are scarce and big ones are extinct. The big ones that are left should show up for top-water bite this spring and the meat hunters should just about finish them off. The number of stripers in the 5-10 lb. range is still pretty good as are the ones just at or below 20-inches. The absence of the 2020 class due to Covid will hurt the future as will people killing more and more of the small ones thinking they are doing good. People bragging and taking pictures about killing fish below 10-lbs have replaced the ones of people bragging and taking pictures of 30-40 pounders. It will be a hard sell to the public. At least to the people that know better and have been around here for a while. The temperate bass usually go deep just off the old river channels near the bridges sometime in January and get lockjaw. Some may have done that now with people fishing in front of Cow Point and on the flats if Front of Mallard Point docks not catching much the last few days. I suspect some of it may be do to the cold front but maybe not all. We here at Blackburns are catching some very nice crappie but the bass fishing has slowed a bit. Fishing overall is just fair. You cannot go out avery three or four days and report a pattern. Things they are a changin.
Mike with some nice ones caught yeaterday.
The lake level is 553.50 and is the same as this time yesterday with very little generation. It looks like they are not going to drop the lake for the winter but they still have a few weeks to wake up before spring. If you do not expect much you do not get much and we are not getting much. The lake is in excellent condition now though and is a perfect level for launching, parking and stepping right onto the dock with brush piles at just right depths. The water is as clear as it has been in recent years and the surface water temperature is 47-48 degrees depending on how far back in the creeks and close to the bank you are. It did not drop much during the last cool streak and barring a very cold last part of January there should not be a shad kill which starts to happen when the water temperature drops below 40-degrees. The average high temperatures for the area start to rise again in just a few days. The average high now is 43 and just watch until you see a 44 and then spring is on the way. There are a lot of shad out there now. Crappie fishing has picked up a bit and bass fishing is still the best. The striper fishermen are trying hard but are not catching many and the ones that are being caught are almost all small (below 12-lbs) and a 12-15 lb. one is small compared to a couple of years ago standards. I guess they will keep killing them until they are all gone. I will keep fishing for bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill and catfish until they come back if they do. Trollers know of no other way to fish and it is hard for them to learn other methods. It seems that more other species of fish are chasing shad in the absence of big stripers and I suspect they will start catching more bass and crappie trolling and even catfish. White bass are making a little comeback but the numbers are also not nearly as high as a few years ago. You will start seeing people with pictures of white bass instead of stripers. Hybrid Striper fishing is about the same as it has been and they have not killed off but not nearly as many of them are stocked. They put up a great fight and are fun to catch. I wish more of them were stocked. The bass population is very good here on Norfork. Smallmouth fishing has improved in the last several years and lots of them in the 4-lb. range are caught and in high numbers too. Kentucky bass are at very high numbers and some of them approach 3-lbs. I have seen more largemouth in the 5-6 pound range caught last year than in any year before and I have lived here for 26-years and fished here for more than that. Bluegill are getting bigger and bigger and catfishing has been steady for as long as I can remember. This should be a good spring for fishing. The fish are certainly there and the Game and Fish are resuming their stocking program this year and that is good. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but you cannot get a better grade than the person you are copying from.
The lake level is 553.49 and has risen just a bit since yesterday at this time with very little generation. They are doing everything they can to keep all of the area lakes up as high as they can all winter. The lake is pretty clear and getting clearer with just a touch of green. Just right for fishing. The surface water temperature was between 47 and 48 yesterday in the sunshine and did not drop with the cool weather hardly at all. The ambient temperature was in the low 50's when I went out yesterday and the wind was light from the southwest and went calm just before sunset. The fishing overall was just fair but got better after sunset. Bass and crappie were the best bite but that is about all I fish for in the winter except for a few big bluegill for a sandwich. All of my fish went into Tom Kelly's trophy pond and it is ready to go for the spring. The lake in general is in good condition and the fish population is excellent and it has been a good winter for fishing. Lately the numbers have not been high but there are some very good fish being caught everyday. Blackburns are making resort and dock improvements everyday and are in the process of putting a new metal roof on the mobile home cabin #9. After that is finished every building on the property wil have a new roof. We have spent several thousands of dollars on beds and bedding, floors, appliances and dock renovations. The whole place is in excellent condition. We are in the process of getting all of our boats serviced and ready to go for the spring. All of this is being done again without any price increases for 2012. Come on down and visit. We will not charge you too much. The 300MG internet is very powerful and reaches almost everywhere on the resort. This costs a lot but people really like it. You will too.
Dave Titus with some of his yesterday's catch.
The lake level is 553.47 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with little generation.It has been almost the same for over a month and within one foot for two months. The surface temperature was 46-47 yesterday and has not dropped much with the cool weather. The sun is out and I had almost forgot what it looked like. It is a beautiful day and there are more to come. The wind has moved to the south and is really making a difference in temperatures. It will not be long before the average daily temperatures start to rise and the longer days are helping also. Everybody caught fish yesterday here at Blackburns. Dave Titus reports catching his fish in 45-50 ft. of water suspended just outside brush piles on steep banks. I caught mine on brush in 19-feet of water on a jig over brush. Mike caught his on a main lake point and Tom in Float Creek. All of us were using different techniques. The Game and Fish have announced a couple of new laws for 2021 for North Arkansas waters. From now on we must pull the plugs and drain live wells on all boats as they leave the launch unless special permits are issued for tournaments. Bull Shoals Lake has taken the three fish limit for Stripers and Hybrid fishing off and it is going to the statewide limit of six. They say it is because they are not managing them on that lake but i suspect it is also because of the numbers of fish. More and more are showing up there with Missouri stocking a lot starting a few years ago. The limit on Norfork is three total.and I would like it lowered to two until the numbers are back. People are now bragging about catching 8-10 pounders when it used to be 30-40 pounders and they keep killing them. I am glad the stocking will resume this year. I am getting calls of people complaining about other businesses raising their rates with out notice and are looking for new places to stay. That is their business but Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental will not raise their rates this year on anything. We have almost all repeat business with most being friends and we do not want to see how much money we can get out of them. People can be very friendly when they are charging you too much and some people do not mind paying too much if they have too much money. You can stay here and donate the difference to Disabled Veterans. Compare prices before you book. January 15th is the date to get your deposit in for the 2021 season to reserve the cabin and boat of your choice. A couple of months are almost booked already. We do not want you to be disappointed and look forward to seeing you again this year. You will like the improvements and what you see when you arrive and at no increased price. Not bad. Call Debbie at 870-492-5115 and she will fix you up. Spring is on the way.
Mike Eakle with a few good ones this morning.
The lake level is 553.61 and has risen 1/2 inch in 24-hours with no generation. It looks like that the weather coming from Texas will go south of us again this week. We have been fortunate to miss everything so far this season. It looks like the cool weather will just hold on for a day or two and then get back up to near 50 again early this week. The lake is in good condition with a surface temperature of about 47 degrees. The water is pretty clear and does not need to get any clearer for fishing. Fishing has been slow the last few days but a few good ones are being caught. It is hard to catch them from the sofa. The north wind has been about 5-10 miles per hour and it is cold trying to stay out there in open water. I choose to get out of it and fish brush but both are being difficult. The fish bite for about ten minutes and then quit for two hours. I just enjoy being out there and try to make it at least for a short time every day and have gear for the weather. It is not necessary for me to make plans, load, trailer the boat, launch, park and load back up. I just go to the dock and am fishing in about two minures in Blackburns Creek which is out of the wind most of the time and has good brush piles. I am very thankful to be able to do that almost everyday. Overall fishing has been fair to poor most of last week and cold fronts do not help anything. The new moon is the 13th and the weather warming at the same time should help things. We will see. I like a challenge. If it was easy everyone could do it and they can't.
The lake level is 553.57 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with very little generation. The surface water temperature has dropped to 47-48 with the cooler temperature and the lake is pretty clear. You can see your lure down 5-6 feet and is about as clear as it has been in over a year especially near the bank. The wind was from the northwest at 5-10 yesterday and the ambient temperature struggled to get to 40 if at all. I did see a few boats out there with one trolling out from Cow Point and another couple near the bridges. When you do not hear a report is is not that they are not fishing but that they are not catching any fish. I caught five crappie and three bass and had to work hard for them. No picture fish but a few of the crappie were about 14-inches. My photographer said it was too cold to come to the dock and I do not have a camera on my flip phone and do not know how to take a selfie or a desire to do so. The crappie fishing was slow and I only found them in one place. Bass fishing was worse. I did find some open water fish but they were very small and not woth catching and not biting very well anyway. I was surprised at the number of boats out there. The lake in general is in good condition and the overall fishing yesterday was fair-poor but a few good ones were caught. I will try again today. The days are getting longer and the average temperature will start to climb again soon. Spring is on the way.
Scuba Steve caught some pretty good ones yesterday.
The lake level is 553.74 and has risen one inch in the last 24-hours with three hours of generation. They now have all area lakes back up to or above power pool. It looks like there is no intention to drop the lakes before the spring rains. They like to hold and hope and then close down all of the campgrounds and open flood gates and flood everything down stream in early summer. It is not the government's money but the taxpayer's but you would never know and there is no accountability. There will be no brush cutting permits from the shoreline on Norfork lake this year, only Bull Shoals. This makes sense since Norfork Lake was a WPA project to create jobs and they cleared the whole river basin of all standing wood. Bull Shoals was several years after and they finally realized this was not a good practice and left the cover in before flooding the White River. Bull Shoals inherently already has much more cover and Norfork has none that is not man made or placed there. So the government allows the public to cut brush for the fish habitats every year on Bull Shoals and every other year on Norfork. It goes right along with the dam management plan of hold and hope. If it makes sense do the opposite. The Arkansas Game and Fish are promoting fish habitat and are collecting Christmas Trees at certain locations and putting them in the lake for the fish. Now this makes sense and I am surprised the COE of Engineers does allow this. They really like control. I am glad that there is a buffer zone around the lake protecting the lake from animal confinements, herbicides, pesticides, row crops, septic systems and cutting trees for a view. This really helps to keep the water clean and I hope this never changes. There is one exception to this rule and that is Mallard Point. They allow ownership to the water there. The reason for this is that it was necessary to bribe government officials with special treatment and ability to buy this property before the Norfork River was flooded in order to get the dam approved for building. Nothing has changed in almost 80 years. It was a little cooler yesterday but was still ok with an ambient temperature in the high 40's and is still cooler today. We received a total of about 1/4 of an inch of rain yesterday afternoon about 4:Pm and last night. The rain in the afternoon was not enough to rain out the fishermen and the fishing was pretty good. I caught bass, crappie, bluegill and one short walleye. The keeper fish were released in Tom Kelly's trophy pond. The best bite was just before the rain at 4:PM and I was using the spoon and jig in brush at 25-ft. The fish are roaming and are not in one special place. The surface water temperature is still over 50 and the water is clear, especially near the shore. It is to warm back up later this weekend to about 50 and be cool until then. It is cloudy and dreary now with light wind as I head out to fish. I do not have to leave here to go on vacation and feel I am on one everyday as soon as my work is done on resort improvements. It is looking good here at Blackburns and there will be no price increases this year where your first boat stall is free. If you are in the area stop by and check us out. We are open all year.
Mike with a couple of pretty good bass caught on the Bink's Spoon and released under the dock.
The lake level is 553.64 and has risen about 2-inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. The heavy rain south of us in the White River Basin last week is holding the river up at Newport for a bit until it works it's way out. They are holding all of the area lakes just about at the power pool level. The surface water temperature was 51 degrees with sunny skies and light wind with an ambient temperature of 55-degrees when I went out yesterday. Bink reports he found a feeding school of temperate bass and caught all three species on his 1/2 ounce white with red throat spoon vertical jigging. They were in 40-ft. of water near the bottom. The largest fish was a sriper at 14-lbs. and is pretty big now days. He released all fish on site to let them grow. I am seeing a lot of boats near the bridges trolling but not many fish being caught there. Striper fishermen all seem to covey up there in the winter for some reason. They are really trying hard to catch fish and are fishing for a couple of days or more before finding any. I think the water temperature is still too high for the stripers to get lethargic and move to the main lake just off the channel near deep water and get lock law. I am still seeing schools on flats in 40-ft. of water on shad and moving. I am fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill on brush in 20-30 ft. of water and the bite was definitely better yesterday than the few days before. I am not catching any walleye at all now for some reason. They were just outside the brush a couple of feet off the botton but not now. I have caught one short one only this week but bass fishing is still good and crappie are improving with the bigger ones starting to show up again. This is a typical winter for fishing but the water temperature is holding up there a little longer than usual. It looks like the weather is going to deteriorate starting tonight but I have the gear to deal with it and will be out there every day. Just keep the ice away. The lake level and clarity is just right for fishing and the lake overall is in excellent condition and there are lot of fish in it.
Tom Kelly with a nice one caught and released yesterday. Tom is one good fisherman and sportsman. He caught more too.
The lake level is 553.51 and is about the same as this time yesterday. They have kept the level the same for about a month and it looks like that is where they want it to be going into the spring where we are one big rain away from starting to affect parking and launching for day users and campers. Nobody seems to know why they will not draw it down. It is a good level now for fishing and we all hope it stays that way. The ambient temperature was in the 50's and there was no wind on a sunny day when I went out yesterday. The surface water temperature was just above 50 and it was about as nice of a January day as you could ask for. There were few other boats out there and the fishing was not the best for me. I caught two keeper bass and one nice crappie in two hours of fishing. The overall fishing has been slow for a few days but some good ones are still being caught. Mostly bass and crappie but a few trollers are catching some stripers in the 6-9 lb. range and hybrids about 6-lbs. but not very many. They are still killing what is left of the big stripers and soon they will be bragging about catching 6-8 pounders instead of 30-pounders of a few years ago. Some are already doing this. I guess meat hunting is more important than sport fishing. At least the stocking program is to resume this year and that is good since the stripers and hybrids are semi-put and take and do not reproduce in the lake. Hopefully we do not have another striper kill in late summer this year. Some schools of white bass are showing up in the 1-1/2 lb. range and that is good as they were also scarce for the last couple of years. They reproduce and grow fast in Norfork, are easily caught and fun to catch. They are the go to fish when others are not biting and we need them. Nobody seems to know why they died off but they are coming back. Hybrid fishing has been about normal but will hurt a bit with none being stocked this year. Other species in Norfork are high in numbers and size and are very healthy. It looks to be a very good spring for fishing on Norfork so far. The many walleye that were just short this year should be legal this spring and the bass are doing very well with many people practicing catch and release. I have seen more five and six pound bass caught this year than I have seen in many years of fishing Norfork. Smallmouth fishing has also been excellent. The shad population is about right so everything should have enough feed unless we have a big shad kill and it does not look like that so far with water temperatures near 50 in January. Anything could happen but things look good so far and I am enjoying winter fishing every day. Kentucky Bass population numbers and size are also good and they make excellent eating and that is what they are there for. Same for bluegill.
James with a couple of pretty good ones released under the dock.
The lake level is 553.48 and has risen just a bit since this time yesterday with very little generation. None since yesterday afternoon but they just started again. The lake has cleared in the last three or four days and is very clear near the shore. The surface water temperature was right at 50 when I went out yesterday and the wind was from the east at about 5-10 MPH. The fishing was not the best but a few were caught, mostly bass. They were not giant but nice sized. The ambient temperature was in the early 50's and it was a nice day and mostly sunny. It was very foggy this morning and is just now burning off. It is to be nice for a few days and then cool off again. I saw four other boats out there all evening and three were from Blackburns. There was one fishing open water in front of the docks at Mallard Point. The rest of us were fishing main lake point brush. The live bait striper fishermen that I have talked to are looking hard and long for schooling fish and when they find some feeding they catch a few very quickly and then they are gone. Most of the ones that they are killing are getting smaller and smaller. It is nice and warm again today and we will see what happens. It is nice to just be out there.
This is what one of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental Brushpiles looks like on the graph. We will show you where they are when you get here.
Winter Grub Bass Fishing on Norfork Lake by John Bornhop. Released on the spot.
The lake level is 553.33 and has dropped about 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with continuously running both generators. That is good. The lake is at a perfect level and color now for fishing and we are catching fish here at Blackburns everyday. It has been cool but that should change tomorrow and for several days after that with highs in the 50's. The water surface temperature is in the high 40's and it is stained a bit and you can still see your lure down about 4-5 feet. Bass are the best bite with fish both being caught by setting your boat in about 45-ft. of water and casting as far as you can to shore on steep banks and letting your grub drop to the botton and using your rod to keep it coming towards the boat and keep it dropping as much as possible. You may have to let out a little line as it drops. Watch for the line to twitch and set the hook. Several are also on brush from 20-35 feet and can be caught on the spoon straight down in the brush. I do not fish open water much but some are probably on shad. Crappie fishing has slowed some but some nice ones are still being caught. I am usually catching more big ones this time of year but we will see what happens. Big bluegill fishing has also slowed and I did not catch a catfish yesterday and tried pretty hard. I am surprised they kept biting for so long this year. A few white bass are showing up just outside of brush but they are small compared to the past. Fishing overall is just fair but some good ones are being caught everyday and everybody are catching fish. I like it that the days are geting longer. We have some nice people in at Blackburns and are open all year.
Caught on the Bink's Spoon and released on site by John Bornhop.
The lake level is 553.36 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running for several hours. They did stop generating when the rain started last night and have not started up again. We received about 1.3 inches of rain and the creeks are running slowly. The ground is saturated now.The water surface temperatue is just under 50 and the lake is a little stained but a good color for fishing. Everybody caught fish yesterday with some very nice bass caught and released. The bass fishing is good now on both the spoon and grub and is the best bite. I was the only one fishing crappie and caught some but not a lot. It is typical winter fishing and the lake in general is in excellent condition. It is hard to believe January is here already and we here at Blackburns are working hard on making improvements and you will like what you see when you get here. You will also like that there will be no price increases this year and your first boat stall is still free. The money you save by staying here could be donated to the disabled Veterans. We have a cabin open now with one leaving today and you would be welcome. The weather is to warm back to the 50's early next week. The hard work putting in brush piles is really paying off now with fish on most of them, mostly bass, crappie and bluegill. Spring will be here before you know it.
Dave Titus is back and catching crappie.
The lake level is 553.41 and has dropped about an inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running about eight hours. We missed the heavy rain that was predicted so far and most of it went south out of Norfork's watershead. I measured about one inch total in the last three days and it all sunk in with no runoff. It is not over yet but nothing serious should happen tonight and it is to clear and warm back up early next week to the 50's. The surface water temperature is about 48-49 depending on when and where you check it and is about normal for this time of year. When the surface temperature drops below 40-degrees the threadfin shad start to stress and the fishing gets easier. This does not happen every year and I prefer it not happen. I like a good steady supply of both gizzard and threadfin shad and do not think there can be too many. Too many does make fishing much more difficult but that just creates a challenge. It is fun to catch fish when nobody else can and the game fish have all they want to eat all of the time and all fish are healthy and fat. We have a good supply of shad on Norfork lake now. The local wildlife biologists indicate normal stocking will resume this year and that they have requested 154,000 striped bass, 44,000 hybrid striped bass and will be operating the walleye nursery pond this year. They almost always get what they request and this is very good news and a great start to getting the big striper population back on track. What we do not need is high water for an extended period of time in late August or early September causing low oxygen and fish kills on the larger stripers. Otherwise we will become an 8-10 lb. striper lake. We are almost there now. They might be able to sell that to some pilgrims but people that have been here and experienced the great striper fishing in the past are not buying it. I sure hope it comes back. I would like to see the limit dropped to two fish per day instead of three and outlaw trolling umbrellas and promote catch and release until they come back. Bass fishing continues to be good on grubs on steep banks near deep water. Crappie fishing has slowed but some nice ones are being caught and the hybrid stripers are hanging in there. I am glad we have them. They take stress better than stripers. The White Bass are making a comeback and needed to. Catfish are still being caught. December can be out coldest month here and we will see what 2021 brings. I am looking forward to it. There are a lot of fish in Norfork and I am catching some evey day.
Tom Kelly with a couple of nice bass released under the dock.
The lake level is 553.52 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with about 4-hours of generation. We are to get three inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday and it would have been nice if the lake was lower before this. They have had weeks to do so but refuse. The surface water temperature is just about 50 degrees and has dropped slowly. The weather was nice yesterday with little wind and all people caught fish. Everybody released their fish under the dock and none were killed. There are a lot of them under the dock now. The water is still stained a little but not bad. Good for fishing. Bass, crappie, bluegill, white bass and a small striper about 9-lbs were caught. They were mostly on or just outside brush at 20-40 ft. and hitting the spoon but some nice bass were caught on the grub near the bottom in 30-feet. It was nice to have light wind and calm waters.The days are getting longer now and that is good. We are getting a lot of work and improvements done around Blackburns getting ready for spring. You cannot wait for it to warm up as it gets very busy here in March. We will see what heavy rain does to fishing but it is dry and should not raise the lake much unless we get a lot in the watershead north of us and they completey shut off generation like they usually do when it rains. It should be ok but if we were at 548 and it raised 5-feet we would be where we are now after the rain instead of 558. They like to keep us one big rain away from causing trouble. It must be fun for them. Otherwise they would not have to do it. The lake right now is in excellent condition for fishing.
The lake level is 553.62 and has risen one inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. They just keep holding for no reason. The surface water temperature is near 50 and the water is stained a bit and just right for fishing. It was a little windy yesterday but not bad. It was easy to get out of it. There was a good bite for bass, crappie and walleye on brush anywhere from 18-ft. to 40-ft. on the spoon. Blackburns has several fishermen in and they all caught fish. All of our cabins were full with people taking advantage of the lowest prices in the area and free boat stall. We are open all year. Bass and crappie fishermen are really catching some nice fish. It has been warm for several days and is cooling some with rain scheduled for Wednesday. Maybe the clouds will cover the big moon. Blackburns people are busy making improvements and will have no price increases next year. You will like what you see when you get here and we will continue to be the best value in the Ozarks. We have a lot of repeat customers and do not want to charge them too much. Your first boat stall will continue to be free unless you bring your own pontoon. We have 11 of them to rent with several of them being fishing pontoons. It is hard to believe it is almost January already and spring will be here before you know it but we have a lot of fish to catch before then.
One very nice crappie caught on the Bink's spoon yesterday in the 65+degree weather. Caught bass and Hybrids also.
The lake level is 553.53 and is still rising slowly with one hour of generation. It does not look like the level gauge on the White River at Newport is working properly but there is not much water there. Why they are keeping all of the area lakes up this high in the winter is anybodies' guess. Most likely a lack of foresight. It most certainly is not because of rainfall. The lake is at a good level for fishing now though with brushpiles at perfect depth. There are still some people out there targeting the big stripers that are left and catching and killing very small ones less than 10-lbs. I guess they will not quit until they are all gone. I sure hope covid does not inhibit stocking this year. If we have high water and low oxygen again this year striper guides had better take up crappie and bass fishing I had to make a quick trip up north and visited a friend in Kansas City and he took me fishing. The lake was very near and was called Hillsdale Reservoir. It was not great big but nice sized. It was just a little over 50-ft. deep and the surface water temperature was in the mid 30's. We caught walleye, crappie and white bass but no largemouth. It was the first time that I had fished anything but Arkansas area lakes in several years and was fun. Nice lake and was not crowded but I would not drive that far to fish it. I do miss the fly in trips to Northwest Ontario for walleye that I used to take almost every year before i moved here but do not miss the black flies and mosquitoes. Having none here was a major reason for me relocating 25 years ago. It is great to be outside at dark and not have a cloud of mosquitoes and black flies on you in the summer. We here on Norfork Lake are very fortunate where you cannot walk on our water or drill holes in it. The surface temperature was 50 on the main lake when I went out yesterday afternoon. I caught crappie and bass and even caught one keeper walleye. All of Blackburns cabins are full now but we will have one opening starting tomorrow. Several fishermen are in but also construction people and others visiting family. The weather has been beautiful with above average highs most of the time with a few cool days mixed in. The water is stained a little but a good color for fishing. Fishing overall is just fair with bass fishing being the best. A few hybrid stripers are being caught in the 5-lb. range and some crappie. Every once in a while a walleye is being caught but not nearly as many as earlier. There were a few trollers chugging around yesterday but I did not talk to them to see if they caught any. I am not into trolling. Most people were bass fishing. Bink caught some nice ones.
I just had some people just cancel a vacation this week because they had a trolling motor that would not self-deploy and it was the holiday and they could not get anybody to work on it. I asked if it could be manually deployed and they did not know. I do not know much about self-deploy but I remember when I was deployed overseas and I did not like that very much. People do not have to know anything about fishing anymore just buy your way into it. What you need is a live scope to find the fish and a locator with 3-D side imaging and gps that puts your boat in auto pilot and has a remote and automatically take you to a desired location. The trolling motor must self-deploy and have a so called anchor or spotlock that keeps you in one place all the time even if the wind is blowing. A remote is also necessary so you do not have to get out of the boat seat or have to pull the trolling motor in or out of the water. Then you can locate fish and drag an umbrella through them until a fish bites. They need to take it a little farther and have self-deployed rods and reels into a rod holder that automatically reel in fish with a robotic arm that swings them into the live well that automatically sets water temperature and oxygen level. The fish locator must find the fish automatically and interface with the trolling motor to stay on it no matter where it goes and sets the boat speed so the umbrella is constantly on top of the fish. This way the so called fisherman does not have to do anything except sit in tha captain's seat take a video of his catch so he can brag about it. He does not have to know anything except make them bite and nobody has figured that out yet but some are much better than others. I catch a lot of fish and do not have any of these things. I still use a marker buoy to mark brush piles and let my line out to the bottom and reel it in one turn for 2-feet to set my depth depending on my reel ratio. Nothing compares to the initial bite, setting the hook, bringing a fish in on light line, catching fish when nobody else does and letting them swim away. I will never cancel a fishing vacation because my trolling motor will not self-deploy. There must be a manual way to get them down. My goodness. Trolling for fish is hit and miss anyway. It is like carpet bombing. I use mine to stay in and out from the bank or on top of brush without using my big motor. I fished for years with neither a trolling motor or a fish locator and did quite well and nobody even heard of remotes. We had to get up to change the channel. Knowing when to go, where to go, what to use for bait and how it is presented will always be the most important.
The lake level is 553.51 and has risen a little less than an inch in the last 24-hours with about two hours of generation. The new news is that they have dropped the White River at Newport to 3+ feet and they can barely launch a river boat there. It looks like they will run the river completey dry before they drop the area lakes for the winter. They are determined to keep them up as high as possible for as long as possible in order to make them flood next spring and early summer. This is worse than incompetence. The ambient temperature was in the low 60's, surface water temperature 53+, visibility was about 5-feet and the wind was from the south at about 10-15 MPH when I went out yesterday and the fish were biting. I saw no other boats on the lake. I was catching bass, bluegill and crappie fast and then the wind shifted to the northwest, increased in velocity with big white caps and it got black in the west. It took just a few minutes for the storm to blow through with some heavy rain and then the sun came out. The temperature dropped about 20-degrees and the fish stopped biting. I mean completely stopped. I ducked into an empty dock stall until it was over, fished about thirty minutes until sunset and then came in. I ended up catching about 10 crappy and a half dozen bass and a couple of very large bluegill. Still no walleye. It is to get very cold tonight and cool tomorrow and then warm again the day after Christmas. This cold weather should really help the bass fishing but the moon getting bigger and will be full on the 29th and the high pressure just getting here might not help things. One thing you can be sure of is the cold fronts do not help anything but fishing gets better and better until the next ones gets here. Cloudy days with a light south wind, no moon and the lake rising slowly are my favorite. The days are getting longer finally. The lake overall is in excellent condition. I am not seeing as many schools of shad as I was.
Caught yesterday on the 1/4 ounce Bink's Spoon in 30-feet of water on brush.
The lake level is 553.44 and is stable with very little generation. They are holding all of the area lakes up except Table Rock which is still dropping and keeping the White River at Newport almost dry at 7-feet. Why? Nobody knows and there is no accountability just incompetence. It is a good thing it has been dry. It was windy on the main lake yesterday and is again today with cold weather coming for Christmas and then warming again right after. The surface water temperature is hanging in there at about 54 degrees and the lake is stained a little but you can see your lure down about 5-feet if it is a light colored one. The lake in general is in good condition and fishing is just fair with bass and crappie being the best bite. A few temperate bass are being caught but very few have any size and people are fishing hard and long to find them. Sometimes two or three days to find one feeding school. I sure hope this Covid goes away so the game and fish can get back to their regular routine of stocking. With the increased fishing pressure, fishermen learning how to catch them trolling unbrellas and live bait, and low oxygen kills in late summer the big ones are rapidly decreasing and getting smaller. I have been catching several spooning just outside brush piles but most are under 20-inches. We can get the big ones back with good stockings and no high water for several years. I am releasing all red meat fish no matter the size and not fishing deep water for them. It does not look like we will get back to where we were for several years but I would like it if we could. I caught crappy yesterday and will try for bass today. Walleye are eluding me as of now but I have released litterly hundreds of them this year so I at least know some are there. The undersized ones numbers are high but more and more larger ones are being caught every year. A cold front is coming through and we will see what it does to the fishing with the moon getting bigger. At least the days are now getting longer and that is good. Blackburns has two cabins not rented now and would welcome your visit. Better than setting on the sofa and you can social distance and not get near anyone. Your first boat stall is free and all cabins are individual with no duplexes and all have covered porches.
The lake level is 553.48 and has not changed very much in a couple of weeks with little generation and they are holding the White River at 7+ feet and it is almost dried up and the area lakes are being held as high as they can for as long as they can so there will be high water again this spring and summer. The surface temperature was 54 again when I went out with Bink's yesterday. You could see your lure down about 5-feet. The lake clarity is about the same whether you are near Blackburns or in Big Creek. We were checking out different places and different methods of fishing. We went to a steep bank part way back in a creek near deep water used the grub for bass and caught a few and then tried spooning brush anywhere from 17-40 feet of water and caught more bass. It slowed and we went to open water fishing in about 35-40 feet of water and found some scattered fish but no big schools. Sometimes they were near the bottom and sometimes 25-feet down. We did not want to fish deep water and kill any caught fish. We caught two stripers, two white bass and a hybrid in about one hour. One fish was a striper on one side and a hybrid on the other. I have not seen very many of those. We released all fish all day immediately after catching and did not get any picture fish. It was a beautiful day with a high near 60 and variable winds from about 5-10. Pretty good for near the end of December. The shortest day of the year is now over and we are headed in the right direction. After January 1st. spring is on the way. We talked to some people trolling for stripers and they said they had been fishing for three days and had caught one fish over 20-inches and one hybrid. I still have not caught a walleye for over two weeks. That was really what we were looking for except for when bass fishing. I will try for some crappie today. It is to cool Christmas day and then warm again. I am not catching a lot of fish in brush like I was earlier and the fish sometimes bite on a spoon and sometimes not but that is not new news. It happens this time every year. The water temperature needs to drop about 3-4 degrees to really get the winter bass going well. They are only fair now but bass are the best bite on the lake presently.
Caught and released under the dock yesterday. This was the biggest.
The lake level is 553.48 and is stable with no generation for almost 24-hours. It has been in the 553's for a month and it looks like that is where they are going to keep it and not draw it down again this winter. Maybe it will change if they need electricity in the Southwestern Power area and it does not rain much but it seems that they want the water level high going into the spring if they possibly can and blame high water on the rain which everybody knows will come except for the Corps. Their motto it still hold and hope and then open the gates. The surface water temperature is still almost 53 degrees and has only dropped 10 degrees in the last month and has dropped very slowly but steadily. It is now at winter bassin temperature and there were several boats out there yesterday taking advantage of the mild temperatures and no wind. Several people caught fish and everyone here at Blackburns caught several. The people still fishing for stripers in deep water also caught some fish on live bait in the 8-10 lb. range and seemed proud to do so. I guess they will be happy when they are all gone but I will not be. It has not been that long ago when a few 40-pound stripers were caught and a 30-pounder was common and now they are killing and taking pictures of fish less than 10-lbs. It is not impressive. You cannot pretend that bringing up fish that are 50-60 down will survive. Just do not fish for deep fish until they come back. There will be plenty of top-water fishing in a few months and they can be released. Learn how to catch other fish until then. I Iike the fact that Norfork has so many different varieties of fish and brings in fishermen from all over with different wants. When one species is not biting very well you can catch others. That is a good attraction for the area. 20-years ago it was hard to catch a good walleye and now they are common and the numbers are on the rise. It was about in 1998 when diving was much more popular than it is now on Norfork that there was a year-long fishing tournament at the dive shop. Only one keeper walleye was speared that whole season. Now with the reduced visibility due to the high water and dive shops closing due to low numbers of divers, the ones left on Norfork are doing much better now with the increased fish population and would come back if the visibility came back. We need several normal water level years and the resumption of fish stockings to bring back the striper fishermen and scuba divers and the elimination of Covid to bring back the people in general. The overall fishing on Norfork is just fair-good and bass fishing is the best with crappie and bluegill next. Some red meat fish are being caught but they are trolling miles to find them with Hybrids about as big as the stripers. I am glad we have them. I have not caught a keeper walleye in a week and am out there every day.
People ask about Black Nosed Crappie. Here is a couple of views showing the black lines from the front of the dorsal fin to the nose.Caught yesterday.
The lake level is 553.43 and is the same as it was yesterday at this time. They are generating just what is coming in from the river and nothing more and keeping the White River at Newport at a little over 9-feet. Nobody can figure out why they are doing this and are not likely to find out since there is no accountability. The surface water temperature was just under 54 and the ambient temperature was about 50 when I went out yesterday. The wind came up in the afternoon when the front came through, layed down after then and is supposed to get windy again later. You can get out of it sometimes but the wind blows through the old river channels no matter which way it is coming from and that is where I like to fish this time of year. It makes it hard to see your line and tell when you have a bite for bass, especially in the winter, and when that happens I switch to crappie fishing. At least you can drift back and forth over the brush piles with your jig. I found some Arkansas Black Nosed Crappie, caught a few along with some small white crappie and came in. When you get into some small crappie it seems that is all that is biting there and the ones that are the same sized are schooled in the same place. The sides of the mouth are paper thin or thinner and you will lose the big ones if you are not carefull or happen to hook them in the top of the jaw. They will not live if you catch them in much if any water that is over 20-feet down. I saw on TV where people fishing salt water had this device that took the fish back to the same level that they were caught from and released them right away before the bends kills them. This might work for our catch and release people that are fishing deep water. Crappie caught in 25-35 feet of water look like their eyes will pop out and never make it so if I am not keeping any fish I simply do not fish deep water even though it may cut down on the numbers caught. It is cloudy with light winds and a temperature of about 50 now and a good time to go fish. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental is set up for fishing and is your go to fishing resort. We have different sized boat stalls for different sized boats and your first boat stall is free and have two fish cleaning stations. All cabins have big covered porches and there are no duplexes. We are out there almost everyday and will let you know what is going on on the lake before you get here.
The lake level is 553.42 and is the same as yesterday with very little generation. All of the area lakes are either stable or rising slowly except Table rock which is dropping so they can protect Branson Landing from flooding next spring. The surface temperature was exactly 54 and the lake looked stained but you could see your lure down about five feet when I went out yesterday. It was sunny with light winds and a very nice day. I saw four boats out there and three were from blackburns. Fishing was slow but everyone caught fish. Mostly crappie. They were in 30-ft. of water on brush. The sides of their mouth are paper thin and you have to bring them in very slowly and use the net. I use true turn or Mr. Crappie hooks to try and catch them in the upper jaw but it does not always work. I like the #4 red ones. Jig heads are usually straight hooks and there is not much you can do about where you catch them. We are catching mostly black nosed crappie for some reason now and were catching the big white ones. Most of the black nosed ones are stocked which shows how important the stocking program is. I sure hope it gets back to normal next year after the covid vaccine gets to everybody. Bass are not stocked and seem to have a good population with several big ones. We are getting more and more 4-lb.smallmouth and several people are now releasing them. Releasing big fish is better than stocking little ones. More and more people are realizing the low numbers of big stripers and are starting to release the ones they are catching instead of taking pictures of dock floors full of dead small ones and bragging about them. This is good and should help the numbers and size to improve in the next few years if they do not let the water level get too high and hold it there all summer and the stocking program resumes and increases. Until then I will keep no red meat fish and not fish for them in deep water. Venting them does not work. They will go down after doing so but die anyway. Crappie are another species that cannot take coming out of deep water either. 20-ft. is about the max for them. I quit fishing for them in deep water after I have caught all that I want to keep and that is not very many. We have a good population of big crappie in Norfork and I want it to stay that way. I caught no picture fish yesterday but Mike did.
We kept the catfish. The bass go under the dock.
The lake level is 553.43 and is just about what it was at this time yesterday with generation for just a few hours. They are making no effort to drop the lakes. Five of the last six years they have allowed the lakes to get high in four of them they did not drop the lake in the winter. In 2018 they dropped it to 545 and it stayed at normal level all year with several feet of extra capacity. 2017 was nobody's fault with the huge rain in March. That was a horrible year for everyone. It just took too long to get it back down. When they let it stay at over 553 all winter there is only a few feet of surge left until problems start. Parking, road access and launching starts to be affected at about 560 for several places. One big rain can do that. 565 is manageable but inconvenient. Keeping the White River at Newport this low does not help anybody. Minor flood stage there is 23-feet. You cannot let the government run anything. They need to disband the Corps of Engineers and hire good managers to oversee private companies to run things. They do not clean rest rooms, paint, or do any maintenance any way. It is all contracted out. They do not even manage the gates at the campgrounds. As far as I can see they ride around in new pickup trucks. They flood out their own campgrounds and open spillway gates almost every early summer. Spillway gates do not generate any electricity and the water is wasted. Closed camgrounds do not generate any revenue. The whole operation is just managed very poorly. The lake now is at a very good level and could remain so if we have a drought. That is about the only way. They quit generating every time it rains to maximize the effect. Who ever come up with the 12-foot rule at Newport should be strung up and they are not even getting to that level now. It is now just over nine feet and was under eight a couple of days ago. It was very cool with a cold wind when I went out yesterday. The surface water temperature was in the low 50's and the ambient temperature struggled to get to 40. It is now time for winter bassin'. Look for high river channel banks with deep water near and a ledge a few feet from shore. Cast your 3-inch grub as far to the banks as you can cast. Bink uses a 1/4 ounce jug head and I use a 3/16 but I fish closer to brush than he does and do not want my lure to sink as fast. There is just more wood close to the bank where some fish are and I do not get snagged so much. Keep the lure sinking as much as possible and let out line if you need to. Nothing else. Watch your line and look for the twitch and set the hook. You will not feel the bite. If you do not set the hook he will jump and spit and be gone. Use a net and do not try to pull them up over the side like they do on TV. The same thing goes for crappie. If they are hooked on the side of the paper thin mouth they will go pop and also be gone. Very few crappie jump but some do. Fishing this time of year requires special skills and more fishermen get shut out. The cat fish continue to bite for some reason. All three different kinds. I am out there everyday and there are very few other boats. It is nice to have the lake to yourself. I like that. I fish for what is biting and do not enjoy chugging around for hours looking at my graph for open water fish, finally find some, have a fast bite for a couple of minutes and then they are gone by the time you get your first fish in. I have not seen a decent striper in a month and it is a good thing we have hybrids. If people do not quit killing small stripers under 10-lbs we will not have any left. Those are even too small. Let them grow.
The lake level is 553.45 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with generation for about six hours. It was cold yesterday with highs in the low 30's but there was little wind so it was not too bad. It is a little better today but not much and the wind is about 5-10 from the north and cold. There is a high pressure moving in and it looks to warm up quite a bit later this week and next week and to reach 60. The electric sox work well but it is hard to cast with big gloves on but I have lived in a lot colder places than this. It is easier to spoon straight down with a bait caster. The last few years it seems that December has been our coldest month rather than January. I will be glad when the days start getting longer instead of shorter and that is only a few days away. The surface temperature is dropping and is now about 54 depending on where and when you check it. I have a report that the Bass Cat Invitational has ben moved to October but the exact dates have not been published. it has not been held here for several years and it will be good to have them back. They should just stay here at their home but business is business. The Mountain Home Chamber should work on this. I found a brush pile with a lot of crappie on it and caught a few and came in. It was in about 20-ft. of water and the brush came to about 10-feet from the surface and the fish were right on top of it. I was using the 1/8th ounce spoon straight down. There were no other boats out there. I also caught another nice catfish on my throw line. It only has five hooks but is producing well. We will see what today brings. The lake is in excellent condition but needs to drop about five feet going into the spring. Things seem to work out a lot better when they do that and it does not hurt anybody.
Caught on the Bink's spoon and released under my dock. Caught some crappie and bluegill also but not high numbers.
The lake level is 553.54 and has dropped about one inch in the last 24-hours with two generators running for about six hours. The White River at Newport is now a little less than eight feet and was below seven. The surface water temperature was 55 even when i went out yesterday and I saw no other boats all the time I was out. It was cool but very little wind and I spooned two different brush piles and caught bass, crappie and bluegill. The cool weather will not raise the water temperature any time soon but it is to get near 60 next week. The fish were all in about 20-feet of water and right on top of the brush. I did not catch high numbers but some very nice fish. Our striper fishermen went home and caught a few hybrids and small white bass but were disappointed. They fished hard and were very determined. I was sorry for them but I do not know if they will come back or not. I showed them what I was catching but that is not what they wanted. The stripers that they did catch were about 5-pounds. The hybrids were just a little bigger. I am catching some bass that big. The Game and Fish are reporting that some fish are getting a fungal disease or water molds on Norfork. I am fishing and catching fish everyday and have not seen any. I have in the past though. The ones that I am catching are very healthy and fat. I think it has something to do with how they are handled after catching and releasing but am not sure. The tagged one that I caught last week was very healthy and had obviously been caught or netted before. It is cold with the high to barely reach 40 but it will be ok if the wind does not blow. The lake in general is in excellent condition and fishing overall is just fair but some nice ones are coming in every day. One bluegill that I caught yesterday was very large and fun to catch. Sandwich size. I turned the bass and crappie loose under the dock. The catfish are still biting and that really surprises me. They are usually in open water by now especially the flatheads.
The lake level is 553.67 and is up 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They have not generated for several days and the White River at Newport is at 7+ feet and almost dried up. They just started generating but I bet that will not last long. Why will they not drop the lakes in the winter? Nobody knows. There needs to be some accountability. The lake is at a perfect level for fishing now with brush piles at good levels and parking and launches the same. The lake surface water temperature is dropping with the weather cooling and the cold precipitation falling into it. We did not get much, about 1/4 inch total. It started as sleet, changed to big snow flakes, went to rain, and then alternated from snow to rain everytime it started to accumulate. There is just a little on the north hillsides now and should be gone by noon. It is just to get into the lower 40's today but it is sunny out and not windy. I went out for a bit yesterday and caught a few but no picture fish. It was pretty miserable but it could have been worse if the wind had been blowing. I worked on the dock and went out between rains but there were not many betweens. Bass crappie and bluegill continue to be the best bite and the lake is clearing. We are to get a little more weather later this week and then warming up again. I have my cold weather gear all out and charged up and ready to go. Some years I do not even need it but it looks like it may be necessary this year. As long as there is no ice and the wind does not blow everything will be fine. This is one fine place to live. It is time for winter bass and crappie fishing for me.
The lake level is 553.53 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is now 7+ feet and is about to dry up and they still will not let any water out. Something is wrong here. The lake surface water temperature is dropping and should continue to do so with the much cooler weather. This will not hurt the fishing at all. It is now in the mid 50's depending on where you take it. The creeks cool faster in the winter and warm more quickly in the spring. The water is stained a bit but you can see your lure down at least 5-feet. The mixed precipitation has not arrived here yet but looks like we will get something. Some snow will obviously drop the water temperature. I would like it to get to about 52 degrees and stay there. The fishing was a little better yesterday with people that had not caught anything for three days catching a couple of decent hybrids. They were about to give up. Another striper fisherman went crappie fishing and caught a couple. It is very good that we also have the hyrids. We do not need another extended high water year again. It is good for other species of fish though. It provides good cover for the spawn and they have a much better survival rate than on a low water year with no cover. The main thing is to not have big vatiations in water level quickly during the spawn. It works out well if the water gets into the buckbrush and the level stays constant in the spring but most of the buckbrush is dead now and is decaying. We split wood for most of the day but still found time to go out and catch a nice catfish, a couple of bass and a few crappie just before dark. A striper was undersized and a white bass was very small but at least a few are showing up. It is cool and cloudy today with some weather coming our way. Time to charge up the gloves and sox.
The lake level is 553.41 and has raised 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is now at 8.5 feet and dropping. It is unbelievable that they would dry up the river and not let any water out. This is an example of how badly the dams are managed. We did receive about 0.65 inches of rain yesterday. It is cloudy and much cooler today with a high in the 40's. The lake surface temperature was 56 when I went out yesterday and is about the same today and you could see your lure down about 5-feet. The fishing continues to be just fair overall but some nice fish are coming in every day. Bass, crappie, bluegill are still the best bite with catfish, walleye, hybrid stripers and a few very small white bass also being caught. Our striper fishermen fished all morning and most of the rainy afternoon to catch one hybrid striper and no stripers. We are scheduled to get mixed precipitation late tonight and early tomorrow morning and then clear up again. I will believe it when I see it but they could be right, but not often. They were right yesterday but the timing was off. I guess it is time to get out the cold weather gear but not having to until the middle of December is not bad. I fished brush in 30-35 feet of water and caught bluegill and crappie and then switched to the grub on a river channel bank next to deep water and caught several bass but no picture fish earlier today. Mike caught a nice catfish off the dock after the rain at dark. I have commercial fished for catfish on several rivers and also on lakes and have never seen a channel much bigger than this. A 10-lb is a big one and this one is larger than that. Much larger. You cannot predict what you can catch on Norfork but we have about everything except muskies and northerns. I like that. I also like that you cannot drill holes in our water or walk on it and there is no closed season.
Went out in the light rain and came in about 1-1/2 hours later just before it started to rain straight down. Good thing all of Blackburns cabins have big covered porches in this kind of weather. I do not smoke or avocate smoking but going outside with an umbrella is not necessary here. Caught fish steadily until I came in. Fun.
This is mostly what we caught and released yesterday. Bink is one good bass fisherman.
Scuba Steve caught and released a tagged fish. It was reported to Game and Fish. It was still almost exactly where they tagged it several months ago.
Some very nice fish were caught and released fishing with Bink's Guide Service.
The lake level is 553.28 and has risen about an inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. The white River at Newport is 9-feet and it was 8-feet earlier. More is coming in from the rivers than they are letting out. I guess they are preventing water from flooding out the crops in the delta. We are to get some rain today and we need some with none for almost two weeks. The lake in general is in excellent condition with a surface temperature of over 57. The weather is to cool a bunch starting this evening but not bad for almost the middle of December. it was not the best day as far as fishing goes but it sure was beautiful out. It was sunny a couple of hours ago but has now clouded up and looks like rain is not far away. Catfish, bass, crappie and bluegill continue to be the best bite with a few walleye and hybrid striper being caught but not too many. The bass fishing off steep river channel banks continues to improve. Some are on the first ledge and some just out in deeper water. Stay as far from the bank as you can cast and let your lure drop to the bottom and bring it in just slow enough to keep it dropping as much as possible letting out a little line if needed. Several nice Kentucky bass can be caught in this manner with a few largemouth. The St. Louis Boat Show has been cancelled for this year and I have not received any confirmed dates for the Bass cat Invitational which could be the first weekend in April but not approved yet. I have missed seeing our Bass Cat friends for a few years.
The lake level is 553.23 and is still rising just a bit with about one hour of generation. The White River at Newport is at 9+ feet and dropping. It loks like they would rather dry up the river rather than drop the lakes. The water looked stained today but you could see your lure down a little further at maybe 5-feet. I went with my friend Darrel Binks today to be on the "Live in the Boat radio Show", what a privilage. He wanted to check and see if the bass were on the winter spots on the green grub and they were. He fishes for what is biting but is probably the best bass fisherman that I have ever fished with. He caught most of the fish but had to take me in early to take out some other paying cuatomers. It was a beautiful day. The sun came up and burned off the fog and got very warm with light wind. The surface temperature was 57. I left at 11:30 Am and went back home to fish on my own. I checked my throw line and jugs and caught some very nice fish and then went out to Catch some crappie. We talked to some trollers and they said they caught three stripers but only one would measure. That means 20-inches or about 3-lbs. Not so good. Here is the deal. People that are making their living on stripers are trying as hard to catch them as they can but in doing so are depleting the future for the present. I remember when this same thing happened on Beaver Lake. The guides were catching big fish, and lots of them, several years ago and invested in big center console boats to take out six or eight people and all caught their limit until a big striper was about eight pounds. It has come back a bit but all of those guides are gone. The same thing has happened to Norfork but for different reasons. High water and depleted ozygen along with increased fishing pressure and the fishermen getting much better at finding and catching fish with better electronics has done the same thing to Norfork. Things have to settle down with the lake not getting so high for so long, covid has to go away so the stocking has to get back to normal and this has to happen for several years. The fishing pressure will take care of it's self when people cannot catch very many. Meat hunters are meat hunters and do not care about the future but what they can catch and kill now. Nothing is forever. In a positive note bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, catfish all have excellent numbers and hybrid stripers are still ok but not nearly as many of them are stocked. White bass are coming back from their kill a couple of years ago and will take care of themselves. This is a beautiful lake with high numbers of fish. People that are fishing for several days to catch a red meat fish and trying to glorify it are not helping them selves just depleting what is left. It is not a measure of fishing ability but just how many they want to kill and deplete until there are none left to try and mis-represent the fishing for today's business. Tell it like it is and change tactics.
Listen to KTLO 97.9 FM or Cable channel 5 on TV for "Live in The Boat" with Bink's Guide Service at 8:45 Am tomorrow. He has invited me to go with him. It should be fun.
The one on the left is over 12-inches.
The lake level is 553.23 and has risen just a fraction from yesterday at this time and they have not generated since last night. The White River at Newport is at 9+ feet and it looks like they would rather let it dry up than lower the lakes for the winter. I though when they lowered Table Rock to below normal they would let some out of the other lakes but I guess not. Hold and hope is the name and open up flood gates in the late spring is the game. What a plan. Flood gates do not generate any electricity. The surface water temperature was 57 again yesterday and does not look to drop anytime soon with the very warm weather. The new news now is the catfish bite. I have lived here for over 25-years and have never caught very many catfish in December. When it gets cold they slow way down on feeding and leave the creeks. Not this year. There have been warmer than normal years when the water temperature has not dropped below 50 and the bite was not this good then. They are part way back in the creeks and hitting on live shiners on both jugs and throw lines. Some nice ones too. We caught all three species of catfish including flatheads, blue cat and channel cats this week alone and they are still biting. I do not care who you are but it is fun chasing a jug down the lake with a big ole catfish on it. The very large crappie are also coming in every day on brush anywhere from 17-feet of water to 40-feet. Dave Titus is back and is catching them everyday. A couple of walleye were also caught and some smaller bass just over 15-inches. This is the third day for the striper fishermen and they are getting very discouraged with none over 5-lbs. They are catching a very few hybrid and white bass but no picture fish. White bass are not picture fish anyway. The old saying is that white bass are for people that cannot catch anything else and trout is for people that cannot catch white bass. Not my saying but it gets a smile out of some. At least they are not put and take. They are just starting to come back after their kill a couple of years ago. The overall lake condition is excellent and there is a high number of fish in the lake in general. I know of no other place where you can get crappie of this size. There seem to be more and more of them in open water on shad than before. I guess it is the lack of competion from other fish and the good number of bait fish. Trollers are catching more of them accidently than in past yeas. This certainly is a good place to live and I enjoy going fishing everyday and feel very fortunate.
The lake level is 553.20 and is about the same as yesterday with only about two hours of generation. Maybe they will let a little out after they get Table Rock down to below normal to protect the Branson Landing at all costs. It is not about any rules just the $. We are not to get any rain until Friday with very warm temperature in the 60's starting tomorrow. It was very nice out yesterday with a high of near 50 and light winds and the fish were biting. We caught catfish, bass, crappie and bluegill and a few open water fish not worthy of a picture. The White Bass were small and the hybrids were about 4-5 pounds with no stripers. They were released to grow but we kept the catfish and a couple of crappie for a neighbor. It is very foggy this morning but should give way to sunny skies soon. The lake surface temperature is about 56 and has been stable or dropping just a bit for several weeks. The lake tries to clear but then stains up some but also has been about the same and you can see your lure down about 3-4 feet. It was more clear a little over a month ago but is still very good for fishing and the lake in general is in excellent condition. The open water fish are hard to find with people fishing two or three days and catching nothing and then finding a school and have some fast fishing for a few minutes and then they are gone again. There are lots of schools of shad with nothing chasing them. The water temperature has not dropped enough for the winter bass to stay on the bank yet but several are still there early and late feeding. The meteorological winter started December 1st and ends March 1st and that is about what the actual winter is here but sometimes lasts until March 15th. We tell people the spring bite starts March 15th here because the weather is variable the first of March and cold fronts can destroy the fishing for a few days at a time but the night bite for stripers is almost always five days before the full moon in March when they go to the bank to simulate a spawn. We will see what happens this year with the diminished numbers of large stripers. Top water bite starts sometime in April but can also be variable and lasts through May.The walleye bite is the best in May and early June after their spawn in February. For some reason not nearly as many walleye take a run up the river to spawn as several years ago but the total number of fish has grown despite this and must be due to stockings. Missouri usually stocks more walleye than Arkansas and we benefit from this. More and more walleye fishermen are coming to Norfork than before replacing the striper fishermen. Stripers have been stocked in Norfork for many years and even though they do not reproduce it will be very hard to catch all of them but people that kill the small ones of 10-lbs. or less are trying hard to do this. Bass fishing is getting better and better and Norfork is getting to be a very good smallmouth fishery with many fish caught in the 4-lb. range. With the large variety of fish in Norfork it is hard to tell what you will catch and that is part of the fun.
The lake level is 553.23 and has dropped 2/3 inch in the last 24-hours with generation for about 4-hours and the rest shut down. They are holding the White River at about 10-feet to keep the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. The lake surface water is about 56 early in the morning and just under 57 in the afternoon if there is sunshine. We are to get warmer weather with highs near 60 later this week. We set out catfish lines and caught a couple of nice channels. They were not released as most of our fish are released. It is hard to beat cool, clear, clean water channel cat except for flatheads and I have a long list of people that would like some. Bass, crappie and bluegill were also caught. One walleye was caught fishing for bass but it was just a little short. Walleye are like crappie. Hardly any of them that are keepers are thrown back and they have a higher mortality rate where a lot of people throw back bass including me. The fish that I caught yesterday were most all in 30-ft. brush puiles on both the jig and spoon. The catfish were caught on live shiners on drop-shotted jugs. We fished in the morning, worked until late afternoon and went out again and did not have to go far. Blackburns brush piles are really paying off now and are at the right depth. We will help you when you get here if you like and your first boat stall is free. Not many people like paying for their first boat stall and you do not have to here. Blackburns is the family and fishing headquarters for Norfork lake.
It cools off fast after sunset but that is the best bite. Released under the dock last night.
The lake level is 553.29 and is rising slightly with no generation since yesterday afternoon. The White River at Newport is 10+ feet. The weather was beautiful yesterday with highs in the mid 50's with light wind and sunny. The high pressure has settled in and the fishing is getting better. I went bass fishing yesterday and had a very good time. I caught and released my limit of largemouth with the largest being over 21-inches. The surface water temperature was still 57 degrees and the water clarity was the same. I was spooning brush in 30-ft. of water and tapping bottom. I fished until dark and did not want to come in. When I cannot see my line good things do not happen for me. The bite was not fast but a fish about every 15-minutes was caught. Other guests caught bass and crappie also with some very nice crappie taken. The large bluegill continue to bite but the walleye have slowed. Some got into a school of stripers after looking for three days and killed all of them. They were about 10-lbs. It looks like they will not quit until they are all gone. Some White Bass are showing up and that is good but not very many and they used to be caught almost at will. Not now. The bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish population is very good here on Norfork. Many walleye just short were being caught and that is a good sign for the future. I am glad there is an 18-inch limit. It is really fun catching them and there is no need to go north in the spring for them when they are right here. I will go bass fishing again today and then catch some crappie for Bob Knight later in the week. It will be embarrassing if I cannot find any. The big ones are showing up again as the moon gets smaller. Bink predicted this. The lake in general is in excellent condition and the nice weather is bringing out more fishermen, especially on the weekend. Fishing overall is just fair but some very nice fish are being caught everyday.
The lake level is 553.27 and is a fraction higher than yesterday. They ran two generators for four hours and then shut them both down for 20. There is no effort to drop the lakes for the winter and the level of the White River at Newport is 10+ feet. You cannot let the government run anything. The lake surface temperature is hanging in there at 57 and the water clarity varies a little but mostly it has been that you can see your lure down 3-4 feet for several weeks with the creeks staining every once in a white and then clearing again. Some days you can see the fish under the dock and some you cannot but there are sure a lot of them down there. Some pretty good crappie have been caught out of Blackburns this week with some over 15-inches and they are thick and fat but not high numbers. I just keep three or four anyway to give to friends who cannot fish. It was a pretty good day yesterday but a little windy. It laid about 4:Pm. I fished one place for about two hours which had brush at from 17-21 feet. Several crappie and bluegill were caught on both the spoon and jig. A couple were very large in the 15-inch range and I did not want to leave. I know of no other lake in the country with larger crappie. Today I am going to try and catch a couple of big bass and leave the crappie alone. They deserve a break. Blackburns is certainly the premier fishing resort in the area and we work hard to put in good brush piles and will show you where when you get here. We catch fish. Your first boat stall is free here. You can launch and park in two places right near the dock. No need to go elsewhere to launch and we have plenty of trailer and vehicle parking and are not huddled up on a cliff. Crappie, bass and bluegill fishing is the best but a few hybrids and smaller white bass are being caught in open water. I have not seen a 20-lb. striper in months but a few in the 6-10 pound small ones are being caught. The big ones may or may not be there but the other fish sure seem to be getting bigger. I have caught a lot of stripers in my life and do not kill very many but none of the ones that I have cleaned have ever had anything but shad and crawdads in them. Mostly shad. Live bait fishermen use shiners when they cannot get live shad so they must work also. As long as there are plenty of shad in the lake I do not think they hurt the other fish population. They just do not survive the high water in the vegetation for long periods and low oxygen level in the late summer very well, especially the big ones. They are ocean fish. The high water was rare in the past but has become the norm in the last several years. The high water in the buckbrush does help the spring spawn for other game fish. We need normal water levels and high stockings for several years to get the stripers back. There is high fishing pressure for the hybrids now and I am concerned about their numbers in the future. Trollers with umbrella rigs are getting very good about catching them and none were stocked this year. Bink says that I need another fishing lesson since I have not had one for several months so I will go with him on Thursday and be on his " Live in the Boat" Radio Show at 8:45 AM on both 97.9 FM and on cable TV on channel 5 with Bob Knight, who is my favorite radio personality. It should be fun. Good weather for the next week.
Mike Eakle with a fist full of very nice fish caught yesterday evening on the spoon.
The lake level is 553.29 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running less than 1/2 the time. The White River at Newport is 11-feet.They have just started up both generators now but I bet that will not last long. They have not run both of them for months even though it is winter and a perfect time to do so. The surface water temperature was still right at 57 on the main lake yesterday when I went out and it was cloudy and cool with ambient temperatures in the 40's with no wind. The lake is not clearing much and you can see your lure down about three feet and more in the sunshine. The fishing was not great but some very nice fish were caught. Mostly bass, crappie and bluegill. Some red meat fishermen caught some White Bass that were big enough to keep yesterday along with some very small stripers but worked for several days and looked many miles to find any. They were getting discouraged and I am glad they finally found some before they left. It was not for lack of trying. None were picture fish. Normally they would be easily caught this time of year. I caught all of my fish on a 3/8th ounce Bink's spoon white with red throat on brush that was shallower than I had been catching them. They were feeding at 22-feet where they had been at 30+. It is really good that the Game and Fish replentished the old Corps of Engineers brush piles. It is really helping people catch fish and is appreciated. They are holding bass, crappie, bluegill and some walleye and small White Bass just outside them. The walleye are about 2-feet off the bottom and the White Bass are suspended at different depths around the brush but I am not catching as many walleye as I was a couple of weeks ago. I like winter bass fishing and the time is approaching when the water temperature gets into the low 50's but is not quite here yet as the weather is to be very nice with very little chance of rain for at least a week with a high pressure covering the whole area and highs in the 60's later next week. Maybe they will let a little water out but I doubt it. The fishing will get better the longer this high pressure hangs around and you can expect to see some big fish as the moon diminishes, especially bass. There were a few more boats out there yesterday despite the very cool weather. Things are changing daily and it is hard to go out there once a week and have a report that is worth anything. If you do not see any reports for several days it usually means they are not catching anything but does not mean they are not trying. It is great to just be out there and live in such a beautiful area where you can fish all year.
Scuba Steve Caught a few yesterday.
The lake level is 553.38 and is up a fraction with no generation for several hours and the White River at Newport is 11+ feet. I guess they are holding and hoping again for a drought. Their plan is hold it up high all winter, hold and hope all spring, not generate when it rains, let the level go up higher and higher in early summer and then open up the gates and flood everything downstream after the crops are planted and up and nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it. The surface water temperature was exactly 57 when I went out yesterday and the sunny skies turned cloudy about 3:30 PM. We got just a sprinkle of rain last night and the mixed precipitation did not happen as predicted. I thought it was too cloudy to get very cold. Fishing was a little slow but steady and I caught both bass and crappie. I saw four boats all evening and three were from Blackburns and one was a troller. I watched him troll from the bridge to Cranfield Island but saw him do nothing but loudly talk on the phone all the way. It was the only thing disturbing the peace and quiet and it was very nice out with the wind being just right for drifting down the shoreline and the temperature in the low 50's. I was using both the spoon and the grub with none working better than the other but caught fish on both. The winter fishing on the steep river channel banks and on channel swings seems to be here even if the water temperature is 57 degrees. It will get better when the water cools. I am catching less fish on the brush and more on the bank. The moon is starting to get smaller now and Bink reports he always catches the biggest fish five days before the full moon and smaller ones until that happens again. I guess that is why the smaller crappie are showing up now but I am catching some in the 11-13 inch range but not the great big ones approaching 16-inches like a couple of weeks ago. Several keeper bass in the 16-18 inch range are being caught but also not as big as a couple of weeks ago. The lake overall is in excellent condition and fishing is just fair.
Luke Bornhop with some very nice fish. Bigger than Mine.
The lake level is 553.38 and has dropped less than 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours. They stopped generating last evening for all night and have just started up one generator.They are holding the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. If there is any deviation in flood pool they can regulate the White River at Newport to 21-feet as of the first of the month but refuse to drop the lakes. 21-feet is below minor flood level for the White River and does not hurt anybody. Norfork is at a good level now but will not be when the spring rains happen and they will. How many times can they be tricked and not change anything? It is worse than Charley Brown kicking the football that Lucy is holding. He is fooled every year and so is our government. They are operating at rules established in the 1940's before computers and refuse to change anything. There are much better controls over flooding now than in the past. It is very sad and they should be ashamed of their incompetence. It was a very nice day with highs in the 50's with sunshine and light winds when I went out yesterday. The surface water temperature was 57+ in the sunshine and the lake was a little more stained than the day before and I could see my lure down about three feet. I saw only three other boats out there. Two were Blackburns customers and the other was a center console boat chasing birds. I do not know if he caught anything or not but he was surely moving a lot and not fishing much. I saw him going by about four times. I fished a main lake cut on brush and a main lake brush pile. First I was jigging a spoon and caught a couple of Bass and crappie. On the next place caught two keeper crappie and a nice warmouth as big as the crappie on the jig. It might have been the largest one that I have caught. The small throwback crappie were biting faster than anything and I was glad to see them. As I mentioned yesterday I have caught very few small crappie this year and do not know why they are showing up just now but they are. It is to be nice today for fishing and another front is coming through late this afternoon and we are to get some mixed precipitation tonight with highs back near 50 for the weekend. Out normal high is 50. Overall fishing is just fair but I am catching some good fish everyday with bass, crappie, bluegill being the best. Some fish are on brush, some are on the bank and some are in open water on shad.
They caught crappie also.
Corey and Molly Aeschelman with some very nice catfish. They caught some off the dock and some on jugs on live bluegill. Mark caught some also. Good to see them.
The lake level is 553.41 and has dropped less than an inch in the last 24-hours. They completely shut off generation part of the time, run about 1/2 generator part of the time and 1-generator a little of the time. They are missing a good chance to drop the lake and get it down so we have some surge capacity for the spring rains. I sure hope I do not hear that big spring rains have caused the lakes to be high next year. That lame excuse is getting old. The wind finally slowed last evening so I went fishing for a while. It was about 40-degrees and the water temperature was in the mid 50's depending on where you were. Some places it was 56+ and others less in shallow water. I saw no other boats. I spooned brush in Blackburns Creek for about an hour until dark and then came in and caught two crappie and a good bass. It is sunny and warmer today with much less wind. Another cold front is coming tomorrow but it looks to be fine for the wekend. Fortunately I have cold weather gear. Cold Decembers have been the norm for a few years but we will have several nice days. When the jet stream dips it allows cold Canadian air to drop into the southern plains and it just depends how far south it goes. If we get it almost everyone else gets it too. At least you cannot walk on our water or drill holes in it. I am done with that. I have 26-acres of cedar forrest and will start cutting trees for winter brush piles and dragging them to the dock to put in the lake soon. We freshen them up every year and they hold a lot of fish. I am starting to catch a few throw back crappie and that is a good sign. The spawn this year was weird for some reason and I am not sure how good it was but there are a lot of big ones. The bass population is very high and the walleye are getting more numerous every year. The catfishing is also good and the hybrid stripers are not bad but none were stocked this year and it will hurt the future if people keep killing them. I wish they would stock more. Big bluegill are everywhere. They are fun to catch and better to eat as are the Kentucky Bass. The White Bass are coming back from their low numbers and things look good for next spring fishing overall.
Blackburns Creek and dock.
Blackburns Creek on the left. Mallard Point on the right.Dock and creek to the main Lake.
Jack Bucknell with some decent Hybrid Stripers caught and released yesterday.
The lake level is 553.48 and is exactly what it was at this time yesterday. They quit generating yesterday afternoon and just stared up one generator. They are holding the lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. The lake surface temperature was 58.4 when I went out yesterday. It was a nice day but there were whitecaps out there. The incessant wind is getting tiring. It is cold and windy today with temepratures struggling to get to 40. It is to warm tomorrow back above 50. I caught bass and crappie, John and Luke caught the same and Mike and Jack caught some crappie and some Hybrid Bass in the 6-lb. range. They caught them just outside the Boy Scout Camp in 35-ft. of water with the Bink's spoon. The rest of us were fishing brush in 20-35 feet of water. We could not go where we wanted due to the wind but caught fish anyway. Everyone came in before dark. It was hard to stay in one place. The hybrids were all released to grow as were the largemouth bass. We caught no stripers as usual. The bass were on main lake river channel banks and the crappie were on brush just around the inside of main lake points on top of brush. We will see if the wind lays this afternoon.
Norfork Lake fun out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental. John Bornhop got into the action using the grub.
The first nice Ozark Bass that I have seen in a while.
Mike with some nice Bass
James and Luke with some good ones yesterday.
The lake level is 553.48 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The surface water temperature remains around 60-degrees and the lake is fairly clear and you can see your lure down about 3-4 feet. It is more clear in the creeks near the shore and off rocky banks. The fishing did not start up very fast yesterday but got better in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day with sunny skies and light wind. It is cloudy today and the high is only to get in the high 40's. The bass fishing with the grub is getting pretty good. Bink likes that green stingray grub with a 1/4 ounce lead head. It does not have much action if any but sure does catch fish. 60 degree water has not slowed the fish's metabolism down yet and they are still hitting the lure pretty hard. When the water gets down to the low 50's it will be time to slow your presentation way down. When you are spooning let it down slowly and just dabble it near the bottom and reel up slowly and do it again. When you are grub fishing cast near the shore, let the lure sink to the bottom and using your rod bring it up and take up a couple of turns and let it sink again. Just look for your line to twitch and set the hook. It works best when the wind is light and you can watch your line. I am using a spoon, Bobby Garland blue ice baby shad, slip float with minnow, and green stingray grub exclusively now depending on the wind and catching fish every day. Fishing is good just before the cold front and not so good after for a few days. Bass, crappie and bluegill fishing is still the best with one or two nice walleye being brought in. Some trollers and live bait fishermen are catching a few hybrids in the 6-lb. range but are looking a long time to get them. The stripers and white bass are mostly small. All of the fish that I am catching are very healthy. It is hard to believe November is over but December bass and crappie fishing brings in some very large fish.
Scuba Steve with a pretty good crappie.James Soltysiac with a nice walleye caught on the Bink's Spoon.
The lake level is 553.62 and has raised 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours. They quit generating all night and have just started up one generator. They are trying to hold up the lake as high as possible for as long as possible. It needs to drop 5-1/2 feet before spring but they just refuse to do so. The surface water temperature continues to stay at just above 60 and has for several days. It will drop with the cold weather moving in Monday. That will not hurt anything. It has to get just below 40-degrees for any meaningfull shad kill. A shad kill is very good for fishing but I prefer not to have one. The more bait fish the better as far as I am concerned. It was a beautiful day and the crappie started biting again. They never stopped but slowed a bit. Blackburns has several good fishermen in now and we will see what happens today. Some nice ones were caught yesterday and all of them were on Blackburns Brush piles. We like that. That is why we work so hard to put them in for you. They are at good levels and are producing fish. The game and fish replentishing the old existing brush that the corps had neglected really helped reduce the pressure on ours and helped the fishing. Crappie, bluegill and bass fishing were the best yesterday with a couple of very nice walleye also being caught. Some small white bass are also showing up but as for the rest of the temperate bass goes the hybrid fishing is best. Except for this year about four times as many stripers are stocked than hybrids but the hybrids take to the low oxygen in the late summer better and do not die off as bad. Neither one reproduces in fresh water lakes and are considered semi-put and take. If they would keep the lake below 560, continue to stock the numbers of stripers as in the past the population should come back from the low numbers. It will take a while as people continue to kill the small ones below 10-pounds and seem proud to do it. Some people just want them gone anyway. I do not and do not think they hurt the other fish population as long as the shad count remains high. They are fun to catch but do not dress out very well. The lake overall is in excellent condition and is at a perfect depth and clarity for fishing. We will see what the winter brings. Just keep the ice storms away.
Cool early morning and nice afternoon.
The lake level is 553.58 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The lake surface temperature was just above 60 yesterday afternoon and the water continues to clear especially in the creeks by the shore. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving day here at Blackburns after a chilly start. Bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill and a few small White Bass were caught. It was a fun day. The best fishing is still on and around brush from 15-35 feet of water on the spoon. I was also using a jig and caught a very large crappie and a few smaller ones on it. I like casting the jig past the brush and letting it sink into it slowly with a 1/16th ounce jig head. I switch back and forth from the 3/8th ounce Bink's Spoon fished straight down and the jig. If the wind is still I also use a slip float and minnow right over the brush and about 5-feet above it using a marker buoy to stay right on it. I am not into the self deploy trolling motors with remote control and anchor. I seem to do just fine with out them. I also know where the brush piles are located and do not use GPS. The people that depend on this stuff are lost without them like some stripers fishermen are when the seagulls migrate. The lake condition overall is excellent and the fishing is just fair but steady. It is about normal for the last of November. It is nice to have something normal for a change. The weather has held nicely but fronts have moved in and out continuously with intermittant wind. You just have to have a plan for where to fish with and without wind do not just go out and fight it. Better get out the heated gloves and sox and get them charged up.
Jack Bucknell from South Dakota with some nice bass caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday on Blackburns Brush Piles.
The lake level is 553.66 and has dropped 1-1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. They are holding the White River at Newport to just over 11-feet. I waited until the wind slowed until I went out yesterday and conditions were just about right when I went out. The ambient temperature was in the early 50's and the surface water temperature was just under 60. The water clarity was just about the same and I could see my lure down about 3-4 feet. I started spooning out of the wind in a main lake cut and caught some nice bass in about 20-feet of water on brush. The crappie fishing has slowed for some reason so I was determined to find some. I found a school on brush in 15-feet of water and caught only two but one was very large. I have caught almost 100 crappie at or just below 15-inches so far this winter. They are not monsters but very nice healthy fish. Norfork lake is a good crappie fishery. A few in the 17-inch range have also been caught. 14-inch are common but most are from 11-13 inches. I am finding very few under the legal limit of 10-inches unlike the walleye which about 75% are under 18-inches. One walleye was caught yesterday just under 18-inches and I had just released it when I had another one on right away about 15-feet from the bank in 15-feet of water. It was about the same size but broke off. I tell everyone to retie after each walleye or at least run your finger down the line and feel for nicks. I was too lazy to do so and it cost me but I would have released him anyway. Try and keep the walleye from going sideways and getting the line in the side of their teeth especially on light line which I highly recomment in clear water. Light line also gives your spoon, jig and grub much better action. Several very large bluegill were also caught on the crappie jig. Bass, bluegill and hybrid stripers are now the best bite with crappie and walleye and small White Bass next. The hybrids are not big but are in the 4-6 pound range. You have to look for a long time to find feeding fish and trollers are having to fish hard and sometimes for days to find any. When they do they bite fast and are then gone. Catfishing has also slowed but a few are being caught on live bluegill. Fishing overall is just fair and the lake is in excellent condition and some nice fish are being caught everyday. Spoon in or just outside those brush piles or cast a jig, grub or crankbait to the shore on high river channel wind blown banks. It has been very foggy early so be carefull out there. Do not run on GPS in low visibility. It is best to wait until the fog is gone after the sun comes out. My best fishing time has been about 4:PM until dark and on cloudy days just before a rain. We are having Thanksgiving dinner today for guests, friends and family but it will be take out. I wish this covid would go away but it is nothing to fool around with. Having big groups of people and family together is not safe for now especially in confined areas. I will get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Bink caught some too on the spoon in deeper water.
Released under the dock.
The lake level is 553.78 and has risen just a bit from yesterday. They quit generating last night and started one generator again this morning. We did get about 3/4 of an inch of rain last evening and night. It started about 4:30Pm and rained pretty hard at times. It gave me a warning with a little downpour and I came in just before it really stared to rain hard. The fish had just began to bite around 4:Pm and I was having fun catching and releasing smallmouth bass. They were hitting the small jig and grub about 8-10 feet from the shore on a high river channel bank. Again, when the lure dropped off onto the first ledge they hit and hit hard. I was only out for a couple of hours and did not try for crappie. I did spoon up a couple of nice bass though. The temperate bass were in the same places in about 40-ft. of water but I did not bother them. I left them alone to grow. We need more big ones. If the meat hunters keep killing all of the small ones we will never have a large number of big ones again. They need to learn how to catch crappie, Kentucky bass, bluegill and catfish for food. They are better eating anyway. Dock floors full of dead small stripers and hybrids are not impressive. Wait until they grow and more are stocked or the temperate fishery will be gone except for the White Bass. They will come back on their own if there is not another kill. Holding the lake level up so high for so long is not helping things out for stripers and hybrids either. It is good for bass, crappie and walleye spawn. The stripers are ocean fish and cannot take to low oxygen levels very well especially the big ones. Hybrids can take it better and more of them need to be stocked if they continue the current lake management practices. They fight really hard for their size and are really fun to catch. It is cooling off as the day goes on but should be very nice by tomorrow. I will try for a few crappie today as they have slowed down the bite or have moved. It is fun to find new places and is good to just be out there. Some very nice Kentucky Bass are being caught, mostly on the spoon. They are in deeper water for some reason. It is a little windy today with the front coming through but should be ok. I will let you know.
Caught and released under the dock last evening on the 3/8th ounce spoon.
The lake level is 553.75 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The White River at Newport is at 10+ feet. The surface water temperature was 60+ when I went out yesterday and has hung in there at or above 60 for quite a while. It is a little lower in the backs of the creeks where the water is shallower. The lake clarity is ok but not as clear as a few years ago. You can see your lure down about four feet. It is clearest near the shore on rocky banks. It has been reduced drastically from several years ago when you could see the bottom in 35-feet of water. Those days appear to be over. Too clear of water makes for tough fishing. It is good for fishing now though and so is the level where you can drive to the dock and step right on and most brush piles are at the right depth. They had been too deep most of the year. Crappie fishing was slow for me yesterday but I found the bass outside the brush in deeper water than they had been. Fish of several species were on the dropoff just outside brush in about 40-feet of water for some reason. Hybrids, Walleye, bass and a few small White Bass were all together. A lot of fish are feeding under the big moon at and after dark and it makes for harder fishing during the day. Some of the Kentucky bass were as big as the largemouth and the hybrids were nice sized also. I caught no keeper stripers. The shad are moving out of open water in the evening and going shallower near cover and the predator fish are right with them. Many schools of shad do not have predator fish with them though. You have to do a lot of hunting to find feeding fish in or around open water. I would not have found these if I had not been fishing deeper brush and just happened to check the drop off. If you can find brush near deep water that is right on the dropoff there is usually predator fish there. I released all of the fish on site except for two picture bass which were released under the dock after the picture. I do not have a selfie and do not want one. What I am impressed with though is the size of some of these Kentucky bass. Blackburns has several good fishermen in this week and we will see what happens. Thanksgiving has almost always been a good time for fishing in the years past but time will tell. The lake overall is in excellent condition. Many smallmouth bass are just off the bank on river channels and most are small but not all. Norfork is getting to be a good smallmouth fishery with many in the 4-lb range. Spoons continue to be the best lure overall but grubs on the bank for smallmouth is best. Some are using crankbaits with success. Crappie fishing has slowed a bit and bass and hybrid fishing is improving. I catch a lot of big crappie in December.
A very few big stripers and hybrids are being caught and we strongly suggest releasing them and not fishing for them in deep water. A big stripers is over 20-lbs and a big hybrid is 12-lbs. People that have not been here very long now think a big striper is 10-lbs and a big hybrid is 6-lbs. We need to get it back to where it used to be and quit killing small fish or we will not have any. Only white bass reproduce. I am releasing all temperate bass. Kentudky bass and crappie eat a lot better anyway.
Mike caught fish in the morning and Scuba Steve caught them in the evening.
The lake level is 553.86 and has dropped 1-1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running full speed. All of the area lakes are near or below top of power pool and they have cut back on the level of the White River at Newport to below 11-feet. We did get about 1/2 inch of rain Saturday night and it all soaked in and helped the very dry conditions a little. The persistent wind had really dried things. The surface temperature was 60.5 when I went out yesterday and it was a little windy but not bad. I spooned a brush pile and got some very nice crappie and a couple of bass and then checked out a steep main lake river channel bank with the grub. I would throw the grub right to the bank and use the rod to quickly let the lure drop off onto the first ledge about 6-8 feet deep and the smallmouth would hit it almost every time. I caught about a dozen and released them all on site. It was really fun and I would not have come in except it was getting too dark to see. The wind layed about 4:pM. The high rocky banks have much less dead wood than the creeks and you will not get hung up as many times. Do not mess around getting the lure to the ledge or the bluegill and warmouth will get it as they are right on the bank. Many fish are throwbacks but several are also keepers. The larger bass are coming off the brush for me and are with the crappie. Some shad are moving in shallow at dark and the small stripers, white bass, hybrids and walleye are moving in to feed on them. The moon is about 1/2 now and getting bigger and the temperate bass and walleye will feed until the moon sets and make daytime fishing more difficult. The walleye that I am getting on the spoon are all reaction strikes and they are not actively feeding durning the day. Schools of small white bass with a few hybrids mixed in are showing up just outside of brush at sunset. The ones that I am catching are small but I have reports of some larger white bass showing up after I come in at dark. I do not fish after dark anymore as I catch all of the fish that I need during the day when it is warmest but I do stay out until it is too dark to see my line. This is a good time of year and the lake is in excellent condition with the weather approaching 60 for the next several days. The closer it gets to raining you out the better the fishing. The first sunny day with high pressure after, not so good, but fish can still be caught. Crappie, bass and bluegill are still the best bite with walleye next. Spoon in or right around brush for best results. I like the 3/8th ounce Bink's spoon. I used it for the first time yesterday and it worked well in the wind if it is not too windy. I do not spoon in high winds unless in open water.
Caught on the Bink's Spoon.
The lake level is 554 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running at full speed. We are approaching the seasonal pool level of 553.75 where the C.O.E. surrenders some of the control of the generation schedule. When they get close to that number they typically quit generating in order to keep the level up as high as they can for as long as they can. They are already keeping the level of the White River at Newport below 12-feet and we will see if they almost dry it up like they did a month ago when we got the big rain. Drop it down to the 540's boys. It is dry here with a burn ban and we can take a couple of inches with very little effect. It looks like we will get some about tuesday. It was cloudy, cool with light wind and misting rain when I went out yesterday. Perfect conditions for fishing. It is to remain in the 50's for about the next week. I was heading out to my favorite brush pile when I went around Mallard Point about three docks and noticed a lot of shad in about 35-feet of water with some fish on them. I dropped a spoon and they were only small White Bass and small hybrid. I released them to grow and went on. The bass and crappie were biting immediately on brush in both 14-feet of water and 35-feet of water. A 3/8th ounce Bink's spoon was used right in the brush and the crappie were very nice in the 12-13 inch range. I later moved to a wind blown bank and took out a grub. The smallmouth were biting about 10-feet off the shore in about 8-feet of water just inside a main lake point and I caught two of them. I then moved a little deeper and switched back to the spoon on brush and caught a Kentucky and largemouth. It was getting dark so I came in. It was a good day for me. Other guests caught some good bass also. The fish are scattered throughout the lake and are either on the bank, in brush or in open water on shad. Crankbaits are working pretty well beating the banks but the buckbrush is mostly all dead from being flooded too long and there is lots of wood to get snagged on it they dive too deep. Work just around the inside of main lake points on wind blown banks, spoon brush and you will catch fish until the next cold front comes through and then it will slow but not stop. Check all main lake cuts with brush for crappie and bluegill and drop a spoon or jig. I saw a troller chugging the shoreline for a long ways but did not see him catch anything. He was out too far in too deep of water but I guess he was tired of getting snagged where the fish were. It is warming up a bit and about time for me to go out.
These were the best ones that Scuba Steve caught last evening. More too. Released several under the dock and shared a few. Dan Croslin with a nice big fat one.
The lake level is 554.15 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. It is approaching the magic number of 553.75 where some control is turned over to the power company and they usually slow generation way down at that point. We will see. It is time to start drawing the lake down but for some reason are reluctant to do so. It was a little cloudy and very warm yesterday with highs in the mid 70's and a light wind coming from the south. The surface temperature was 62+ and it was a perfect day to be out on the lake. Blackburns has several fishermen out there and they reported fishing was only fair but bass and crappie and bluegill continue to be the best bite with a few walleye and catfish also being caught. The red meat fishermen did better than earlier this week when they struggled. They caught some stripers and hybrids but all were small with the stripers all being less than 10-lbs and the hybrids in the 3-4 pound range. No picture fish but at least they released all of them on site to let them grow. That is good and I am happy some are showing up. The crappie I caught were on shallow brush in the 16-18 foot range on top of the brush. The bass were in the same place but a little deeper. The bluegill were right on the bank. I did not catch any walleye. It is to be cloudy and cooler today and tomorrow with sunny skies after that with a high pressure moving in. If you are catching bluegill on brush do not be discouraged. Where ever they are present you can be sure big fish are nearby. I was using the 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon white with a red head but am trying out the 3/8th ounce one today. I have not used it before. The lake has stained a bit near dirt banks with the wind slapping waves on the shore. There are bass where the water changes from brown at the wind blown bank to clear a little ways out in about 6-10 feet of water. Crank baits and grubs are working there. I am not catching much on the high river channel banks where the water is still clear. If you rig up a half dozen lines with live bait and drag them through enough schools of shad you will catch some fish. I prefer casting for them and do not fish open water much anymore. Today should be a good day. Fishing overall is just fair but the lake is in excellent condition and some nice fish are being caught every day. Blackburns has several fishermen coming in for Thanksgiving and we will help them get fish.
Caught on a live bluegill.
Some nice crappie caught yesterday.
The lake level is 554.33 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running at full speed. They are holding the White River at Newport at below 12-feet. The surface water temperature is 61 degrees and the lake is not quite as clear as it was but is still fine for fishing. Crappie, bluegill and bass continue to be the best bite with a few walleye and catfish coming in. The temperate bass fishing continues to be slow. People are fishing hard for them but are coming up short both in number and size. The fish are small and hard to find. The ones caught yesterday came from just north of Cranfield Island and in front of houses on Mallard point. I am glad to see some white bass showing up but they are small. The White Bass are starting to come back after the fish kill on them a couple of years ago. Bink caught a nice striper but reports there are not nearly as many as before. Especially the big ones. People are still taking pictures of dock floors of small dead hybrids and stripers that barely measure and are nothing to be proud of. They will quit only when they are all gone and that will be soon since none were stocked by the game and fish this year and they do not reproduce in fresh water. The limit needs to be dropped to two fish until the numbers and size improve. That is not the case for the other fish in Norfork which are high in numbers and are very healthy. November fishing is about normal otherwise with no particular pattern except that they turn on and off with the cold fronts. A few schooling fish are coming up just at dusk but are mostly bass and are back in the creeks. Fish are roaming and not staying put very long with a lot of bait fish out there. Fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill on brush and walleye on the side of brush is your best bet with spoons, with some fish right on the bank with grubs and crank baits. Work the wind blown banks and there has been a lot of that but there always is in November. We have had no rain for over a week and the wind has dried things out a lot. Fishing conditions overall are just fair. Many fishermen have turned into deer hunters and the boat traffic is low. It is to cool some soon and drop down to about normal ambient temperatures. The warm temperatures were nice. Blackburns is open all year and your first boat stall is free. Several are not.
Bass and crappie caught last evening.
Mike with a nice channel and crappie.
Dave is still catching crappie and bluegill.
A nice one fishing with Bink yesterday. This one is worth a picture.
The lake level is 554.52 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running full speed. They are still holding the White River below 12-feet at Newport. If they hold true to color they will slow generation down as the magic level of 553.75 approaches where they give up some of the control to the electric company. The surface water temperature was between 61 and 62 on the main lake and cooler back in the creeks shallow. It was a little windy when I went out yesterday afternoon but not bad. I tried catching some bass on the bank with little success until about 3:30 Pm and then caught a couple of good ones. I then moved back in a creek close to Blackburns and started brush fishing for crappie and caught five nice ones including one very large. About sunset some fish started surfacing next to where I was crappie fishing. It was a large school of mixed temperate bass and I caught and released four small white bass, one hybrid about four pounds and a small striper about 20-inches. All were released on site and none were worth a picture. Hopefully they will grow a little before someone kills them. Walleye fishing has slowed a bit but a few are still being caught but most are still short. Crappie, bass and bluegill fishing is still the best bite. Our striper fishermen are getting discouraged but are catching a few but most are also small. It is to be windy out there again today but it should lay by tomorrow. The fishing is getting better every day after the cold front came through last weekend but it is taking a while. Warm and windy calls for a crank bait for bass on the wind blown banks. It is to be in the 70's today but back to normal later this weekend which is about 55 for a high. You can still get a cabin here at Blackburns for $59/day with your first boat stall free. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 554.99 and has dropped less than an inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running less than full power. We did receive an inch and one half of rain Saturday night about 10:pm and it rained hard and the wind blew. There was some storm damage on docks and trees north of Blackburns and some hail north of that but Blackburns was fortunate and had no damage and are operating as normal. This was anticipated and precautionary measures were taken. Our normal high is 57 degrees and normal low is freezing but the highs are to be near 70 after today and the lows near freezing with the clear skies and a big high pressure hanging over the area. Coat in the morning, shirt in the middle of the day and jacket in the evening. The warmest part of the day does not last long and it cools very fast at sunset. The lake surface temperature is still in the early 60's depending on the time of day. The lake is in excellent condition and there are a lot of fish. Fishing was not the best yesterday but I caught one bass, one crappie and one channel catfish in about an hour of fishing. This was expected but I like to go out there every day even if the bite is tough. Sometimes you get surprised. Better than laying on the sofa. Blackburns has people here looking for real estate, out of town builders, fishermen and families just wanting to get away for a few days. They are taking advantage of the lowest prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. The children like to ride their bikes down the nearly flat 400 yards to the lake and our 18-stall boat dock and fish off the dock and others like to take a nice walk to the lake without going down or up a cliff. The big flat playground is nearly always busy. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. I caught no picture fish yesterday. Tome Kelly did report catching a 22-inch striper in Float Creek and released it immediately. Everybody needs to quit killing stripers and hybrids until their numbers come back. White Bass numbers are also low but they can take care of themselves. There is plenty of bait fish out there and many schools of shad are holding few predator fish. There were some fish coming up last evening but they were all bass.
Norfork Lake Fun out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.
The lake level is 555.19 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running a little less than full speed. The surface temperature is 53 degrees and the lake in general is in excellent condition. They are holding the White River at Newport to less than 12-feet. We are expecting a cold low pressure tonight with wind and a little weather. It should pass by tomorrow and then no rain for a week with highs getting near 70 for several days towards the end of next weel. Fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill continue to be good with walleye next. Dave and Mike caught some very nice crappie and bass this morning already along with some short walleye. We are releasing some of the crappie and all of the bass under the dock. The school under the dock is getting larger and larger every day and I feed them twice a day. I use chicken feed and floating catfish feed. The chicken feed sinks slowly and they get it on the way down and the catfish feed floats and they hit it on top water. Most of the turtles hibernate but a few remain under the dock unless it gets very cold. The best bait for everything continues to be the spoon and then the jig. A few are using slip floats with some success. Bink likes that green stingray grub for the bass. I use it when I am not close to any brush. Some are still trolling but with very limited success. It looks like the wind has a very good chance of getting here tonight so batten down the hatches. After that fishing may slow a bit but should get better every day until the next cold front gets here. Looks to be a good week ahead. Come on down to Blackburns. We have no duplexes so you can social distance and all cabins have big covered porches. Your first boat stall is free. We are open all year and have the best prices.
Dave Titus and Maggie with some of yesterday's catch.
The lake level is 555.36 and has dropped 1-1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running at less than full power. They are holding the White River at Newport at less than 12-feet like they are expecting a flood this winter. The surface water temperature was 53.8 when I went out yesterday and it was a beautiful day with a high in the early 60's. I go out when it is the warmest part of the day and come in when it starts to cool. Others go out when it is freezing and come in when it warms up. I caught bass, walleye, crappie and bluegill again with a couple of small white bass and a small hybrid mixed in. About one in three walleye are keepers. Every time I catch a walleye I retie because they have a tendency to nick the line. When I am too lazy to do so I almost always pay for it with the next fish breaking off. The striper fishermen are fishing hard trying to catch fish but are coming up short with just a couple a day and none over 12-lbs. I told them to switch to walleye, bass and crappie but they are determined. Those predicting the temperate bass to be great in November better try harder. I wish them luck but are encouraging them to release the fish they catch as there are so few of them. No sense getting them all. Let some grow. I saw some top water action last evening but they were bass and not very big. They were chasing very small shad. I fished both main lake and the backs of creeks and caught fish both places. it was a little better than yesterday and the fish were bigger. There is one brush pile holding giant crappie and I try to just catch one a day off it and release it under the dock. The school is getting bigger. Almost all brush is holding fish but not a lot. You have to catch a couple off one and then move. Every one in a while they start biting fast in one place and you can catch several but not often. The lake is clearing more every day and is at an excellent level for overall fishing. I am seeing a few chuggers (trollers) out there but not many. Deer season opens tomorrow and it will cut down on the lake traffic which is not very much anyway. This is a typical November for fishing. It is just very nice to be out there. Thank you for all of the happy Veterans Day wishes. They were appreciated. We are a veteran family here.
The lake level is 555.51 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 3/4ths. The surface water temperature was 64.4, the ambient temperature was 62, the wind was light and variable and the skies were sunny when I went out yesterday. The lake is still clearing and I could see no difference where I went except it is clearer nearest the shore on rocky banks where you can see your lure down over six feet in some places. I like it clearer for diving but not for fishing. This is about right and it has not been this clear for quite some time. The fishing was not as good for me yesterday as the day before but I still caught several keeper fish. 3-bass, one nice walleye, two small hybrid stripers about 13-14 inches long, three crappie and several bluegill were caight in about two hours. All were released on site. The walleye and hybrids were caught on a white with red eye 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon and the rest were caught on the 1/16th ounce jig. Overall the fishing was slow but steady. No particular pattern was noticed except the fish were in or near brush and the fish were caught anywhere from 10-ft to 35-ft. No large schools were found. One day a particular place is good and the next nothing. The one thing that I noticed was that the place where the wind was blowing into was the best fishing. This is usually true but has not been the last several days until yesterday. The wind has been variable and swirling but was mostly from the northwest yesterday. I saw four other boats out there and three of them were from Blackburns. It was a beautiful day and so is today. The longer the high pressure stays the better the fishing and it is best when it clouds up and the wind picks up and the next front starts to come through and then it starts all over again. For best fishing do not miss the cloudy days just before a rain when the low pressure moves in. Learn the difference between a low pressure and a cold front. This is a good time of year and the fishing pressure is very low during deer season. The normal high is 59 and normal low is 38.
The lake level is 555.65 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with less than one generator running. The White River level at Newport is just above 11-feet and they are doing a great job of holding the area lakes up as high as they can for as long as they can so there is little excess capacity for the spring rains. It has not rained in over a week. At least the level is perfect for fishing now that most of the tourists are gone. Sounds like a plan to me. The surface temperature was about 66 degrees yesterday but should start dropping slowly with the cool nights. The weather looks pretty good for the next week with highs near 60 and lows in the 30's which is normal. There is no particular pattern to the fishing except that many fish are roaming and not many are schooling. You can find two or three good fish on one brush pile with no big schools but fish are on most of them. I am catching fish in brush in 16-feet of water and also in 35-ft. of water. Bass, crappie, walleye and bluegill are all on the same brush with bluegill being mostly shallower. Some bass are on the bank early and late. Yesterday the slip float and minnow were the best bait if you could find brush out of the wind but jigs and spoons were also working but not as well. Everything was biting on the larger minnows. The big crappie were in 35-ft. of water on brush about 12-15 ft. down and good ones too. Blackburns had several fishermen out yesterday and all caught fish. The striper fishermen are having a hard time and are catching no large fish and finding no large schools. They are finding a few schools of White Bass in the Red Bank area as reported a week ago but they are also few and not very big. They report doing a lot of looking and not much finding and are starting to think they are just not there. This is usually one of the best months for temperate bass fishing before they get lethargic and slow way down in activity in December. Maybe some big ones will start showing up. I hope so as we have a lot of customes who like to fish for them. I usually go with Binks a few times a year striper fishing and really enjoy it. If anybody can find them he can. They are not in their usual places. I am concerned about the size and numbers and people killing smaller and smaller ones. We are paying for the people bringing in coolers the size of caskets full of big dead stripers. They are not doing it anymore. Maybe they will again. Blackburns still has cabins for $59/day and your first boat stall is free. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. We are open all year and have live bait all year on site.
Scuba Steve likes those walleye.
The small mouth are still biting. We like them and release all of them.
Caught on the Bink's Spoon Yesterday.
Jim Bornhop with a good one. More too.
The lake level is 555.78 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with less than one generator running. The surface temperature is 66 degrees and the White River level at Newport is about 11-1/2 feet. Same plan. Hold and hope. It was and is cloudy and warm with a little cooler weather coming in but not too bad. A lot of fish were caught here at Blackburns yesterday and all had fun. It is to get a little windy later with a front coming through. Crappie, bass, walleye and bluegill continue to be the best bite and striper fishermen that cannot catch stripers (of any big size) are turning into crappie and bass fishermen. They are trying hard to prove me wrong though and are killing some smaller fish. 10-lb. or less stripers are like the equivalent of catching a 10-inch crappie or a 12-inch Kentucky but they keep showing dock floors of dead ones like they are a big prize. I guess they will continue to do this until they are all gone. They do not reproduce in the lake and very few were stocked this year. None by the game and fish. It seems like the worse the striper fishing gets, the better the crappie, bass and walleye gets to make up for it. A lot of people like to catch them though and I hope they come back and thrive like they did before. There are plenty of bait fish in the lake for all game species. All of the fish that I am catching are very fat and healthy and there are may schools of shad with no fish on them. I am using the 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon, jig and slip float and minnow exclusively depending on the wind. I do not troll but do allow the boat to drift over the brush piles and then use the trolling motor to go the other way back across them. If it is still with no or light wind I spoon straight down or the slip float or both. I saw one seagull yesterday maybe that will help the bait fishermen. It is hard to believe November is almost 1/2 over already. 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 are open all year. Several are closed. Blackburns is a good place.
Dave Titus, John Bornhop, Tom Kelly and Mike Eakle all caught several nice ones. They were all fishing separately. Tom is still fishing Float Creek heavily.
The lake level is 555.88 and has dropped over three inches in the last 24-hours. They cut way back on generation a couple of hours ago and the White River at Newport is now below 12-ft. The water is still clearing nicely and you can see your lure down several feet. The surface temperature was 556 when I went out yesterday the the ambient was in the low 70's. We had several fishermen out from Blackburns and they all caught fish. Most everything is the same but cooler weather is coming later this week but not bad. Our normal high is 60 and low is 39. We have not had a hard frost yet. We usually get the first on in very early November. Crappie fishing is the best followed by bass, walleye and bluegill. I will try a little catfishing later today. All temperate bass fishing is slow. The lake in general is in excellent condition for fishing. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. We are to get a little rain later but not much.
All caught yesterday with many being released under the dock and in Tom Kelly's trophy pond.
The lake level is 556.20 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generators running continuously. The White River at Newport is now back to the stupid level of 12-feet so the level should continue to drop quickly until it approaches 553.75 where the C.O.E. are reluctant to turn over some control to the power company. It will then just drop very slowly. We have had no rain for a week. On this date in 2019 it was 555.21, in 2018 552.33, 2017 552.68 which shows why the lake gets high in the summer. They just will not drop it and nobody can figure out why. If they would drop it to the high 540's this winter and not stop generating every time it rains, it would surely go a long ways towards keeping the level below 560. That is where the trouble with access starts. This could be easily accompilshed while not having the White River go above 22-feet which is below minor flood stage. Nobody is avocating flooding out anybody down stream. People say the dam was only put in for flood control and the lakes have to take what is given to them but that was debunked when the minimum flow for the put and take trout in the river was implemented and took away 1.75 feet of flood capacity. I am pretty sure this law was to help the economy for the rivers. When water is let out of the dams, there is flow. When no water is let out of the dams they dry up. They are plastic rivers anyway except for the Buffalo which is free flowing. That is what happens when dams are built. They enacted a law which provided for flow to the rivers all year no matter how low the lakes get so why can they not do the same for the area lakes and do everything possible to not flood them out without flooding down stream. This could be done but not with the current rules of operation. Hold and hope is not the answer. We need to move into the 21st century. It was a beautiful day yesterday. Sunny and warm but clouded up a little in the late afternoon. The wind was light and variable and the surface water temperature was about 56 degrees and the lake is clearing nicely. There was a little color on the wind blown banks but you could see your lure down several feet on the rocky banks. The small amount of twigs and bark that was floating has stuck to the banks now with the latest level drop and fishing conditions could not be better. Everyone caught fish around here yesterday and several of them too. Some were very large. It was a perfect day for fishing. Crappie, bass, walleye and bluegill continue to be the best bite with very few temperate bass being caught and most of the ones caught are small. I was using a small jig and a spoon yesterday and caught fish all afternoon until I came in at sunset and was fishing Blackburns Brush piles. Blackburns still had cabins for $59/day with your first boat stall free. Can't beat that anywhere. Why pay more unless you just have too much money or do not have to work for it?
Released under the dock.
Tom Kelly with a good one caught and released in Float Creek yesterday. Tom is a good conservationist and a very good fisherman.
The lake level is 556.50 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running but not at full strength. The level is perfect for access, launching, parking and fishing. The surface temperature was 66 even when I went out yesterday and the fish started biting immediately in the back of a creek in 17-feet of water. I caught all of the crappie I wanted and a couple of nice bass and then moved out towards the mouth of the creek where some fish were showing up on the bottom near brush but not on it in 22-ft. of water. They were walleye and I caught three with two being keepers. I then moved up north of Cranfield Island on the west side by the walleye rearing pond on the two points and caught a striper, two White Bass and hybrid in 33-ft. of water. A school happened to come through and they bit fast and were gone. All of them were released on site as they are getting more and more scarce. If people do not quit killing them they will get more scarce and very few were stocked this year. We used to catch them almost at will and big ones too. The high water for too long causing a low ozygen level and people killing too many, especially small ones, are getting to be a problem. It has not hurt the bass, crappie, bluegill and walleye population any though and they are even getting better. I just fish for what is biting anyway. If more people were like Tom Kelly and released all of the fish they caught the lake would be better off every one could have fun. I keep some walleye, crappie, bluegill, flathead and Kentucky bass which are the best eating but mostly for people who do not or cannot fish anymore and really appreciate them. I have a small group of people that depend on be and I try to not let them down. The list is getting smaller now with several passing. The weather has been beautiful and is to continue to be so for a few more days. Blackburns is taking advantage of this and are doing a lot of improvements outside. The inside ones can be done in cloder weather. Debbie, Amy and Jennifer are working hard to make the place beautiful. My paint, stain and water sealer bill is quite large. Come on down and check us out. You will like what you see. We are open all year and have no price increases planned for next year again. Some places are closed for the winter so give us a call. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free.
The lake level is 556.73 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours. They started running one generator at full speed last night and the lake started dropping immediately. It may drop now that the White River at Newport is back down to 12+ feet and Table Rock is back to below seasonal pool. We have gone almost a week with no rain. Those are the two rules that they go by now for some reason. Newport seems to have survived the 20-ft. level with the last big rains with no flood damage of any kind. It shows the area lakes can be dropped with no problems down stream and the 12-ft. rule is stupid. Minor flood level is 23 feet. The surface temperature was 65+ when I went out yesterday and the water was not quite as clear as the day before for some reason. The overall fishing gets better the longer that this high pressure hangs around. It is to get windy again the first part of the week but this weekend looks to be wonderful. One of our guests went up to the Red Bank area yesterday and found the White Bass and Hybrids that were reported here but there were not as many as the day before. He was trolling and got a small hybrid(4-lbs) and a striper that was not 20-inches and a couple of White Bass. He picked up more bass on the shad than red meat fish. He was just glad to find some there but could not find any on the flats in front of the houses on Mallard Point. It is normally loaded with White Bass this time of year as is the mouth of Blackburns Creek but not this year. It was a beautiful day with light variable winds and highs in the mid 70's and sunny. I went to the back of a close by creek and started catching crappie immediately on both casting the jig over the brush and a slip float with minnow at about the same levels. They were big ones too. I usually keep about 1/2 dozen a day for the people that cannot fish anymore and release the rest. They were right in the brush at 16-feet. I then went to a main lake brush pile for bass and caught one on the first drop of the 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon. He now has a 3/8th ounce spoon and I have not tried one out yet. It should be easier to keep straight down in windy weather. If you allow the wind to move you you can expect many snags. Do not drag the spoon. Use your trolling motor against the wind to stay right on the brush and not drag your lure. This may not be easy with variable swirling wind which Norfork Lake is known for. I like the smallest spoon possible but it may require a heavier one in the wind. If it is too windy I do not spoon but cast jigs and grubs. If there is no wind I always spoon and also use a slip float with minnow on a #4 red Mr. Crappie hook. I like the shape of the true turn as it mostly catches them in the upper jaw and very few get off. This can be a problem in the winter when the mouth gets paper thin. If you do not use the net on these big ones you will hear a pop and they will be gone. Do not try and lift them over the side of the boat like they do on TV. When spooning it often feels like a hit when you are touching brush. If you set the hook in the wood it will be gone too. Just keep your line tight with no slack and set your hook after you are sure it is a fish. Bass often fight for a bit and then head for the surface to spit. You must set the hook again before they hit the surface or they will be gone also. I employ every effort to keep the bass from jumping but sometimes it is impossible. Just set the hook before they do. I have used a swim bait with the hook rigged weedless through the bottom of the body and had big bass on. I fought them and they come to the surface and spit and got off. When examining the lure it has not even pulled through the body of the soft plastic. You would think the weight of the fish would set the hook but it will not. Bass, crappie, and bluegill fishing is the best right now with Walleye next but about 3/4ths of them are just a little short. It is now a good combination of weather and fishing and Blackburns still has cabins for $59/day with a free boat stall. I wish deer hunting season would get started as there are too many fishermen out there and they are hanging on my brush piles. I am seeing more loons out there but no seagulls yet.
Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday.
The lake level is 556.87 and is about the same as it was yesterday with one generator running about 1/2 speed continuously. The surface temperature is 65 degrees and is clearing and is a good color for fishing and in general in excellent condition. You can see your lure down about 4-5 feet depending on what the bank is like. If it is steep and rocky it is much clearer. I have been fishing both brush piles and open water in front of brush on shad. Mixed species of fish are on the shad including crappie, walleye, bass, small hybrids and small white bass. Several schools of White Bass are around Red Bank landing but are mostly small. They are hanging in about 35-ft. of water and are not worth it to me to drive that far. I have a couple of good crappie brush piles in that area and check them out periodically. Spoons are working the best overall but minnows on slip floats are also working when the wind is calm mostly early morning and late afternoon. I am also using the small jig or grub, casting it over the brush and letting it sink slowly into it. The crappie are scattered everywhere and I can only catch a couple on one place and then they quit. Most of the fish are not in big schools but a few are. They are roaming looking for feed which is looking for cover. Some bass and bluegill are on the banks with the bluegill being right on the bank and the bass in about 8-10 feet of water in front of them. I am catching some very good smallmouth and fat Kentuckies. I release all of the smallmouth and largemouth under the dock and they seem to stay there as I feed them every day and can see them join the school and it is getting bigger everyday. The fishing overall is not the best but some of each species are being caught everyday. It is a mixed bag. Trollers are catching some now but are putting on a lot of miles to get them. If you troll something through enough schools of shad you will catch some fish but most schools of shad are not holding fish. There is a lot of bait fish out there but I have seen much more in earlier years. One year in December there were so many shad in front of Panther Bay Marina that the fish finder was blacked out for about a mile both ways. I prefer casting for the fish but to each their own. It is fun to feel that initial hit and setting the hook. It looks like there will be no November night bite for stripers again this year. The full mon is the very last of this month and it will be too late then. Blackburns still has cabins for $59/day and your first boat stall is free. Why pay too much unless you just have too much money? I do not.
Caught yesterday evening on the 1/4 ounce Bink's Spoon.
The lake level is 556.83 and has risen 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 1/2 speed. The surface temperature was 64.5 where I was fishing yesterday afternoon on the main lake and the lake is clearing and is a good color for fishing. I was heading to a brush pile near Cranfield Island and saw some shad and schooled fish just around Mallard Point about in front of the third dock on the main lake side in 35-ft. of water. I dropped a spoon and caught a couple of small White Bass and a small Striper and released them all on site. No picture fish. White Bass are not picture fish anyway. The brush pile that I was looking for was a little deeper than I liked with the latest water rise but there were fish on It anyway. Four crappie, a couple of nice bluegill and a short walleye were caight on the 1/4 ounce spoon and then they quit. I moved around the point to the inside and switched to the grub and minnow and caught two smallmouth bass. It cooled down and I came in. The weather was wonderful with highs in the 60's with light wind. It is to be warmer for the next few days. I am going to go vote and then hit it again. There are few boats out there during the middle of the week and there is peace and quiet. Please quit killing those small stripers and hybrids. They do not dress out very well anyway after the red meat is cut off. I hope the White Bass make a comeback. They are pretty scarce now but at least they reproduce in the lake. Stripers and Hybrids do not and few were stocked this year.
Sonny Eakle from Granger, Iowa caught several yesterday. These are the biggest.
The lake level is 556.78 and has risen about one inch in the last 24-hours. it stays stable when they run one generator and creeps up when they shut down or run 1/2 generator. The surface temperature has stayed fairly stable at 65+ degrees on the main lake and the water is clearing. Some guests caught several white bass about 1-1/2 pounds and were happy to get them after looking for them for several days. They also caught a very small striper and a hybrid but none were picture fish. The crappie fishermen did the best and also caught some bass with a few being smallmouth. Big bluegill fishing is very good right now and they are very tasty. Take a piece of bread with butter, slice of onion and a bluegill fillet and see how you like it. No red meat to cut out. The weather has been great but a little windy in the middle of the day. Cold fronts come through about twice a week and slow fishing but it picks back up the more the high pressure is here until the next one. This is a good time of year. The fall foliage has mostly blown off and you have your choice of light brown, medium brown and dark brown. It was a dud and not worth driving here for but the hillsides are always very beautiful here. When you come bring a coat for early morning and just before sunset and rain gear just in case. The middle of the day is very nice but does not last that long. It is nice to just be out there. The fishing is best on cloudy days after high pressure has been here for several days and just before the cold front and winds pick up then it starts all over again. Some fish can be caught almost anytime if you are not stuck on what you are fishing for and change with the flow and fish for what is biting. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. This is the time for us to work on improvements as there is no time in the spring when people are anxious to get out of the house in early March and no time then. Spring is very busy here and we have the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals.
Bink was on the crappie yesterday using his jigging spoon.
Tom Kelly with one fine bass caught and released. It was released on site. Tom is one good fisherman. He was using a plastic worm.
Norfork Lake Fun on Halloween at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental. Social distancing.
The lake level is 556.70 and has risen 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running less than 1/2 the time. The level has risen about 2-1/2 feet total since all of the rain last week. The lake is clearing rapidly and the surface temperature on the main lake is still 65-66 depending on the time of day. A lot of fish were caught yesterday with crappie being the best bite with bass second. I am seeing nobody getting any stripers except for one now and again. We are paying the price for people killing all of those small ones from 4-10 lbs. Just a few White Bass and Hybrids are coming in but they are small also. Some big bass are being caught and Kentucky Bass are the best bite. Big fat ones. They are fun to catch and great eating. The bluegill bite is still good with nice size. Catfishing is slow. They had a long time to drop the lake but refused to do it before the last rains. Now the level needs to go down about nine feet before the spring rains. The dam management rules need to be reviewed and moved into the 21st. century and the people running the operation need to be replaced. The incompetence is unbelieveable and someone needs to be held accountable. We had a fun Halloween here at Blackburns. We had trick or treating outside under the pavillion and the evening was beautiful. Norfork Lake Fun out of Blackburns Resort and Boat rental. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. The weather has been wonderful and should continue for the next several days.
I did not catch very many but they were good ones.
The lake level is 556.50 and has risen 6-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 1/2 the time. Do not expect the level to drop any time soon or very fast. The lake was still pretty clear when I went out yesterday but some small tree sticks and bark were floating on wind blown banks making fishing more difficult where I wanted to go. I went out early, came in and worked on the dock and went out again late afternoon. It was cool early, warmed up and then got cool again fast at sunset. I do not expect great fishing after a cold front and the first day of high pressure after that especially with a full moon. Stripers and bluegill are the only fish that I know that like a full moon and it was big and bright just after dark. I could see just fine with no lights on. I tried the same places that worked for me the day before with very little luck. The fish marked on the brush but would not bite very well. The same for the river channel bank. I caught a couple and then moved to a main lake cut and caught a couple more. Overall it was a slow day for me but I caught some. Things are changing every day and that is why if you want to write accurate reports you have to be out there every day. I will follow Bink's advice and work back in the creeks today. I have to test him out. The weather is to continue to be good for a few days and maybe the bite will improve. The longer it goes before the next cold front the better it should get. I am happy to just be out there with peace and quiet. It is very nice out but you need warm clothes both early and late. The warm part of the day does not last long. I do not deer hunt anymore and prefer to feed them but the season definitely slows the boat traffic of fishermen on the lake. I like that too. Blackburns still has the best prices for both cabins and boat rental on the lake and your first boat stall is free. Why pay more?
Mike caught several more. These are the biggest.
The lake level is 556.01 and has risen 1.2 feet in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 1/2 the time. It is rising much slower now. It has risen about 2-3/4 feet in the last four days and we have received a total of about 8-inches of rain in that period. It rained harder at times but mostly it was a slow steady rain and the ground was dry and the creeks did not run very fast and there is little mud in the creeks. So far it has not affected fishing much. The lake is still at a good level and the rain is gone and high pressure is here resulting in sunny skies and warmer temperatures. It is to reach 70's early next week again but there will be cool nights with the clear skies. Our first frost should occur tomorrow night. The moon is full tomorrow night and it should be very bright. I kept waiting for the rain to quit yesterday and it finally did about 4:PM and then I went fishing until almost dark. The surface temperature on the main lake was 65+ and the only thing that I saw that changed was the water was higher and the very backs of the creeks were a little muddy and the shore line with clay and mud banks was stained back up but not very far out. I went to the same places that I have been fishing and the fish were still there. I caught crappie, bass, bluegill and a short walleye and came in just at sunset a little after 6:PM. The time change goes into effect Saturday night and it will get dark about 5:30 after that but not very much with the moon. This weekend and next week will be a good time to come fish. Blackburns still has cabins for $59/day for two people with a free boat stall. If you thought big covered porches are not important the last four days should have changed your mind. People spent a lot of time under the porches and on the big dock waiting for the rain to slow except for the Katashuks who fish in anything. We will see what today brings and I will let you know. Things are changing and I will be out there everyday. You cannot go fishing once every week and write a report. If there are no reports, there are no fish being caught. If any stripers are to move to the bank to feed at dark this will be the time. Very few big ones are being caught. Bass and crappie are the best bite now. Bink says the rain will bring the fish back into the creeks and he is almost always right. I expect several fair weather fishermen out there this weekend.
The lake level is 553.37 and is about the same as it was at this time yesterday with part of one generator running continuously. The White River at Newport is now at 6.4 feet. There is a flash flood warning for southern Missouri today and we will see what it does to the level. It has more effect on Norfork's rise than a local rain. The Norfork River water shead is much more there and we tend to hold their water and not release it. They should be regulating the White River at Newport to at least 12-ft. now and dropping the lake more but refuse to do so. We are at a very good level now but it does not leave enough surge capacity for the spring rains which are sure to come. The lake surface tmeperature was 66 when I went out yesterday and it was cloudy with light wind. Fog was moving in. Almost exactly what it was the day before but I did not catch as many fish. Three smallmouth bass, three crappie, two kentucky bass, one short walleye,, a warmouth and several bluegill were caught on the jig and very few on the spoon. It was cool but not too bad with the light wind. I saw only two other boats out there all evening and both were from Blackburns. It was like having a whole lake to yourself. I like that. Several fish are now on or near the bank in the evening and some are on shad in open water at the mouths of creeks but are mostly bass. The fish on the brush had lock jaw yesterday for me but several were there.
For my friend Gus.
The lake level is 553.41 and has risen 2-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running less than capacity most of the time. We have received about 3-1/2 inches of rain total in the last couple of days and it is still raining. The creeks are running but not heavily but will if this keeps up as the ground is now saturated. That is good for trees and plants going into the winter. The White River at Newport has now dropped to below 6-ft. and they are already starting their philosophy of hold and hope and it is still October. The White River is a plastic river and has no water if they do not let any out of Bull Shoals or into it from Norfork and they are letting out very little. At least it is good news for the waders for the put and take trout on the river. They can barely float a boat though. I had a water temperature of 66 degrees when I went out yesterday and the lake is clearing nicely. You can see your lure down further every day and it is now about 4-ft. I stayed out until the rain got steady just after noon but caught several crappie. I did not stray very far from the shed and was casting a jig over brush piles. Eight keepers over 11-inches were caught in about two hours. It was cool and wet but the wind was not bad. The weather looks to be good again later this week and for the weekend but more rain until then. I will go out between showers and let you know. The lake in general is in good condition.
Caught on the Bink's Spoon this morning.
The lake level is 553.28 and is about the same as it was yesterday with little generation. The surface temperature was 66 when I went out yesterday and the water is still clearing and is a good color for fishing. The ambient temperature was 50 and the wind was light and it was cloudy. I went to a good brush pile and caught nothing and then worked a river channel steep bank with a jig and caught fish immediately and consistently. Bluegill were right on the bank with smaller bass and the larger bass and crappie were on the first shelf after the drop off in about 10-12 feet of water. I caught several keeper fish and then came to the channel swing and they quit. There was another brush pile approaching on the point so I checked it out and switched to the 1/4 ounce spoon. The big bass were schooled in 27-ft. of water and when I would catch one others would follow it up. It was fun and then they were gone. All fished were released. They must have been roaming. It is to rain for the next few days but it looks good for the weekend. The moon is getting bigger and if the stripers are going to bite it will be the full moon or a little after and that is the end of the month and the first part of November. We have some good striper fishermen in and they are trying hard and catching a few fish. The biggest one they have caught is 15-lbs. I sure hope the fish show up this fall and winter. We used to catch 40-lbs, then 30-lbs then 20-lbs and now 15 is a big one and not many of them. I sure wish people would stop killing the small ones but if they fish for them in deep water they die anyway. I will stick to walleye, bass, crappie and catfish and allow the temperate bass to grow. The White Bass should make a rebound by themselves as there is lot of bait fish with small shad about 1-inch long completely filling my dock stalls. There are several big schools in Blackburns Creek but nothing but bass under them. Usually there are hybrids and white bass all over the place. They may be just scattered but I am just not seeing them and I am out there every day. The bass fishing is about as good as I have seen it in years and the crappie is pretty good too as are the walleye. Big smallmouth are being caught. Fall foliage is not the best as the wind has blown a lot of leaves off the trees. The lake in general is in excellent condition for fishing and the cold fronts that are coming through about twice a week are not affecting fishing much. There are quite a few fishermen out there even during the week but especially on the weekends. I hope this covid thing gets over and the fish stockings get back to normal. Bink also had a good day yesterday catching several big fish. You can get his fishing report "Live in the Boat" on KTLO radio 97.9 FM at 8:45 AM or listen to it on cable TV radio Channel 5 on Thursdays with Bob Knight. It is a good source of information. Mark it down.
All caught yesterday fishing out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork Lake near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region.
The lake level is 553.32 and dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with little generation. The White River at Newport is now at 6.5 feet and is nearly dried up but they are still holding. The surface water temperature was 68 degrees and there were cloudy skies and cool conditions when I went out yesterday. The cold front had little effect on fishing for a change and a lot of fish were caught. I fished four different locations and caught fish on all four. We have a lot of people in and almost all of them had good luck despite the cool start. I fished from noon to about 4:30 PM and caught over a dozen fish and all were keepers. Catch included bass, crappie and walleye. Several bluegill were also caught. It was a fun day and I appreciated the light wind for a change. Today looks to be about the same with rain scheduled for the next few days after that. Go out and stay until it rains you in. This is a good time of year for fishing. I still am seeing very few temperate bass coming in but I see the black ducks are back the seagulls should be following. Then maybe the people with $2,000 fish locators can find schooling fish by following the birds and start catching some. I hope so. I saw several eagles and osprey out there fishing. They were doing quite well with several fish being shallow. Fun to watch. I am not sure they were watching the legal size limit though. There were three eagles in one place. Come on down to Blackburns. we will not charge you too much. One bedroom cabins are still $59/day for two people.
These are the biggest ones yesterday.
The lake level is 553.43 and is dropping very slowly with just a little generation. The White River at Newport is 6+ feet and dropping and is getting dry. They are holding the lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible for some unknown reason. They are at a good level now for fishing, launching and parking and day use and it is only the last of October. Good going guys. If they keep this up it looks to be another hold and hope next year. Take it down to 548 and then quit letting out water or hold it as stable as possible until the spring rains come. It has nothing to do with downstream flooding, just management. There is no flooding anywhere now arund here. The water is clearing nicely now and is about where I like it for fishing but needs to be a little better for diving. It was very warm and a little windy when I went out yesterday and the bass were biting in the Middle Pigeon area on main lake points. I caught a flathead on my throw line. I then moved back to the Blackburns Creek area and started catching crappie. Big ones too. The moon is getting bigger and a cold front is coming through now and we will see what it does to fishing. The highs are to drop from the mid 80's yesterday to the high 50's later this weekend. It is about 65 how and heading south. This is the high for the day. This has been the windiest fall that I have seen in a while here but has stayed warm until now and a lot of fish have been caught so far except for temperate bass. People are wondering if they are still here. I hope so but most of the ones being caught now are small. I know the late summer kill got a lot of them but dock floors full of small dead stripers have not helped things either and the low stocking level this year will not help the future. Many people just come here to catch them. I suppose the pressure will now go to the walleye since they are doing nicely. Not having my friend Harvey Hall out there has increased the crappie population. Big bluegill continue to bite and hundreds of them have been caught off my dock.
The lake level is 553.66 and has dropped a little more than one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 1/2 the time. The White River at Newport is 9-1/2 feet and they will let it dry up rather than drop the lakes. We need to get it down to at least 548 to make room for the spring rains. I hope the spring rains do not surprise them again this year. They are the only ones that seem to not know they happen. Hold and hope is their motto. The surface water temperature was 69+ when I went out yesterday and it was misting rain with very light wind. Perfect for me. I fished Blackburn's brush piles in about 25-ft. of water casting a jig past them and allowing it to sink into the brush. Again, crappie, bass and bluegill were caught. It was nice to have the wind gone. This is the time of year that I like to fish the best and am happy to be able to go. There was peace and quiet and very few boats. Some guests caught several walleye and reported they were shallow in 14-ft. of water in front of brush piles part way back in the creek. I was fishing main lake brush only. There is a lot of bait fish at the mouth of Blackburns Creek but I did not stop to check them out since it was getting dark. Good day.
Some of yesterday's catch.
The lake level is 553.78 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They stopped generating early this morning for several hours to hold the level up above 553.75 for as long as they could to keep from turning some of the generation authority to the electric company even if they have to nearly dry up the White River at Newport. We received an inch of badly needed rain last night and it is raining now. It is not good to go into the winter dry. We seem to get some about when we need it. The lake surface temperature is in the high 60's and the lake is clearing again after the turnover. It is cool today but to get back into the 80's later this week. Bass fishing is the best followed by bluegill and crappie with a few walleye being thrown in. Bink is catching some giant smallmouth, Tom Kelly is catching some big largemouth and Mike Eakle is catching mostly crappie and Kentucky bass. Main lake brush piles are producing the most in 25-feet of water with the jigging spoon being the best lure overall (1/4 ounce) with crappie biting on live minnows and jigs also. This is a good time to fish as it always is this time of year and will stay good for several weeks. A few stripers are being caught trolling but they are small and should be left alone. The numbers of big ones are as low as I have ever seen them and will stay that way if 5-9 lb ones are killed. Only a very few were stocked this year and they do not reproduce in fresh water. They are too small to keep anyway. I am seeing almost no White Bass and the ones that I do see are small also. Every once in a while a school of decent ones show up but not often. I sure hope they come back. They are fun to catch. White Bass are for people that cannot catch anything else and trout are for people that cannot catch White Bass. Ha Ha. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much and a free boat stall comes with each cabin. We allow smoking on the covered porches and you do not need an umbrella to smoke out side or get out of the sun.
More family fun at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental. Nice people.
The lake level is 553.91 and has dropped two inches in the last 24-hours. They have cut back on generation as they approach the seasonal conservation pool of 553.75. They always do. The wind finally quit after blowing like a hurricane all day. People were trying hard to have fun out there but it was difficult. Much fall foliage blew off the trees. It is cloudy with a chance of rain tonight with highs in the high 60's for a few days. We need rain badly. The normal high is 71 and low is 49. The surface water temperature dropped just below 70 yesterday and it was clearing but it got stirred up a bit on the dirt and clay banks. We will see what today brings. The bass are biting pretty well.
Tom Kelly and Roger Moody continue to catch big bass everyday. They are both excellent fishermen. All released under Blackburns Dock.
Kevin Reque, Nate List and Ryan McMallister are having some Norfork lake Fun here at Blackburns. Nice people.
The lake level is 554.32 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. 553.75 is the new seasonal conservation pool and we will see what happens when they get close to that. That is when they turn over some of the control to the electric company and they do not like to do that. We were to get a frost last night but it did not materialize. It got down to 39 but was still very cool for october. It is clear and sunny now but another front is to move through with wind tomorrow. Fishing conditions were very good yesterday especially early until the wind picked up and several good fish were caught. It usually dies about 4:30 Pm but held on until after 5 last evening. The lake is not clearing very much except for near the shore and the surface temperature was 71.5 when I went out in the morning. I caught my usual with several crappie, bass, bluegill and a short walleye in the mix. Fish were caught on every brush pile I fished and 25 feet of water suspended near the bottom was the most popular depth. All fish were hitting the lure aggressively but not many in one place. I would catch a couple and then they would quit and I would move on. It was a nice day and was good to be out. Wish you were here. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. Some very large bass are being caught but no stripers. Fall foliage is not the best yet and may not be this year. There are mostly browns but a little yellow and red is showing up. It is still very nice.
Tom Kelly is one good fisherman and always catches fish. Caught in Float Creek.
Mike Eakle and John Bornhop with nice crappie.
Chad Moody with a good one.
Caught fishing with Bink on the spoon.
The lake level is 554.59 and has dropped a little less than 3-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running at a littles less than capacity. The White River at Newport is at 10+ feet now and they are trying to dry it up while keeping the lake up as high as possible for as long as possible. The seasonal conservation pool is now at 553.75 and they are reluctant to get below that for some reason. Drawing the level down in the winter to make room for spring rains does not make any sense to them. It is very dry here and the rain fall for the fall months is way below average. We did get a little rain last night, about 1/2 inch and it is to get very cool tomorrow night with a chance of our first frost. It does not usually come until November. A lot of fish were caught yesterday despite the wind. Binks caught bass, John Bornhop and Mike Eakle caught crappie and bass, Chad Moody caught bass, Tom Kelly caught bass and Scuba Steve caught crappie and bass. Other guests caught bluegill and walleye. The lake surface temperature is still in the early 70's but should drop a little with this next cold front. The last one did not hurt fishing much. The water is still stained and is slow clearing. It started to clear but stopped for some reason. The wind blew a lot of leaves from the fall foliage and it does not look to be the best year for that. There are a lot of just browns. The lake is in good conditions for fishing but we will see what this next cold front will bring. I am seeing no temperate bass being caught and I am not sure of forecasts that cold weather will start them up are accurate. Maybe the migrating birds will help them find more fish when they get here. Some are lost without them. Blackburns still has one bedroom cabins for $59/day and your first boat stall is free. No duplexes and all cabins have covered porches. You can social distance here. You can drive or walk to the dock and step right on and launch right by the dock. We have a good setup. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide service
John Bornhop with some good ones.
The lake level is 554.76 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours. They have shut off the spillway release and are running less than one full generator. The lake did not clear anymore the last day and the creeks are stained again. The surface temperature is now 73.5 and it is windy. I caught several crappie this morning and released all under 11-inches but still kept about a dozen with a couple of nice Kentucky Bass. One short walleye was released. Bink reports catching three good walleye and a very large smallmouth today. He is spooning exclusively. I hear reports about people catching stripers and hybrids but have not actually seen any. Striper fishermen that cannot catch anything are now going crappie and bass fishing. One of our guest reports catching two walleye over 20-inches last night at dark on live bait on a main last point close to Blackburns. Bluegill fishing is good and some nice ones are being caught. John Bornhop is back and catching crappie and Bass and was very sorry to hear about Harvey. He went with him several times. Mike Eakle is bringing in Bass and crappie and Roger Moody and his son continue to catch bass but report several are under sized. Kentuck bass fishing is about as good as I have seen it in years. They are fat and healthy and good eating. I am glad they are in the lake. Bink is the only one that I know that is catching smallmouth. I am not. Catfishing is fair to poor on throw lines but some are pretty big. The weather is great if the wind would die down a little in the middle of the day.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service on the spoon.
The lake level is 555.09 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They have cut way back on generation and and the total including just a little spillway release is equal to about one generator. The level of the White River at Newport has now been dropped to just over 11 feet. The lake is clearing especially in the creeks where the turnover is over. I can now see several feet down off my dock. It was very windy from the north yesterday and you had to get out early and go out again late to get out of it. It is mostly gone now. It is beautiful out today. A lot of fall foliage was blown off but much still remains and it is changing more everyday. I thought it was going to be a dud because of the dry conditions but has turned out ok so far. Some good fish were caught but the wind kept the fishing time down to a minimum. It was a good day to work on resort improvements. We will see what today brings. We have several good fishermen out there. The surface temperature is still in the low 70's.
Rodger Moody is back and catching fish. He is one good bass fisherman.
The lake level is 555.32 and has dropped three inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running and just a little of spillway action. The lake continues to clear, especially in the creeks and near the shore where the water cools more rapidly. A small cold front is moving through now with the wind picking up and blowing a lot of fall foliage off the trees. There is no moisture with it but a bigger one is coming later in the week. Chances of rain are not good for the next week and we need it bad. A lot of fish were caught yesterday with bass, crappie, bluegill and a few walleye and catfish. Temperate bass fishing is slow and the trollers are putting on many miles for just a few fish. I am seeing few schooling fish in this part of the lake. Bass fishing is the msot consistent and the crappie are hit and miss. They get lockjaw for several hours and then bite for about 30-minutes. You just have to ride them out or go bass fishing and try later. I caught one walleye but it was just an accident spooning for bass in brush. I am using a grub tipped with a minnow, jig, slip float and live minnow, 1/4 ounce spoon, and 3-inch plastic worm on a jig head and switching back and forth. One day the spoon is the best and the next the Bobby Garland Baby Shad. The worm is usually best for Kentucky Bass. I am not catching very many fish back in the creeks with most of them being out on or on the sides of main lake points near deep water. Main lake cuts are also holding fish. The weather has been great but I do not need this wind. It should go down later this evening. It usually does.
Rodney Thornton from Coulterville, Illinois caught some good ones. That bluegill was huge. Good going Rodney.
The lake level is 555.58 and has dropped 4-inches in the last 24-hours. They stopped generation and cut way down on spillway releases this morning for several hours to keep the White River at Newport at 12-feet for no reason. Our seasonal conservation pool is now at 553.75. It used to be 552 but they took away 1.75 feet of flood capacity for the minimum flow to the rivers for the put and take trout and this increased the way they calculated % full to govern lake levels. The lake surface temperature is still about 73 degrees and the shallower creeks are starting to clear at bit after their turn. A lot of fish were caught yesterday and so far today. Bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and a few walleye are coming in. Fish are starting to hit the spoon again after a few days off. We were forced to worms, creature baits , jigs and grubs during the major part of the turn. It is not over yet but will be in a few days with two cold fronts moving through this next week. The last week in October and all of November look to be excellent fishing as usual. Blackburns is very busy with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. Your first boat stall is also free. People staying here are looking for real estate, having motorcycle tours, working in the area and fishing. There is a lot of interest in the fall foliage this year and I cannot predict how it will be. It is better than I expected already and looks to be a bit early this season. The road sides are changing more quickly than the hillsides. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental is your fall foliage headquarters for Mountain Home, Norfork Lake, North Central Arkansas and the Ozark Mountain region. Fall is wonderful here. Stay tuned for updates. The lake level is about perfect for cruising, parking, launching and fishing with Blackburns brush piles being at good depth and holding fish. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 555.92 and has dropped about 5-inches in the last 24-hours with a little more than one generator running and some flood gates augumenting. The lake is at a very good level now for fishing but the lake is turning. The fall foliage is changing rapidly and more reds and yellows are showing up. It is more color than I first thought would happen this year and more is still to come. The surface water temperature was a little over 73 degrees and you could see your lure down less than 2-feet when I went out a little after 2-Pm. I know that is the worst time to go fish but I like to see if I can catch them when it is tough. I spooned three different places with fish under me and caught nothing. I then moved again with more fish down near brush and they started biting about 4-Pm on the jig casted and allowing to sink into brush at about 20-feet. Four nice crappie and two bass were caught in about 1/2 hour and they stopped. A channel cat was also caught on the throw line. Fishing is not the best now but you can catch some good ones if you know how. I saw no top water fish.Trollers are having a hard time. Bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish are the best right now and are not at any particular depth. I did not see any fish surfacing. People following birds have a hard time when they are not here yet and have to find fish on their own. They will be back when it gets colder and will make it easier for them to find fish. The weather is nice and is to remain so for the next week and Blackburns still has cabins for $59day for two people in a one bedroom with larger cabins priced accordingly. Your first boat stall is free. Come on dow. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 556.34 and has dropped almost 5-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously and some spillway gates open part way. This shows what they can do if they want to. The main lake surface temperature is in the early 70's and the lake is turning everywhere. (It alway does in October). It will take a few days to start clearing. It does not look like we will have much effect from the hurricane but we sure could use some rain. The last two months have been very dry but we seem to get some when we need it. The best way to catch fish now is to use a small three inch worm on a jig head, twister tail tipped with a minnow or a Bobby Garland Blue Ice Baby shad and work the bank around wood. Do not use a heavy jig head or you will get hung up a lot. Spooning has slowed way down for me now but will pick back up again. The last of October and all of November look to be excellent for fishing with the lake at a good level and the turn over finished for a while. The full moon is the 31st and it will be interesting to see if the stripers (what is left of the big ones) go to the bank to feed near dark. A good place to look for them is in the late afternoon on the steep bank just south of the first dock at Cranfield marina in deeper water and then they move up stream to the area around the walleye rearing pond on the points at dusk. It just depends if the shad are there for them to feed on. The next full moon is not until the last day of November and that will be too late for them but not for other species. I catch a lot of fish in November and the time around Thanksgiving is always good. We caught bass, crappie and bluegill yesterday but not a lot with several smaller fish mixed in. You could see your lure down less than two feet in the area that I was fishing. Fish are really scattered and roaming now but some are feeding early and late shallow. There is plenty of feed out there.
The lake level is 556.75 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They did add a little spillway release to the one generator but have since slowed that down a bit. It is now equal to about one and one third generator. They are keeping the White River at 12-feet religiously. Three and 1/2 inches per day is fine but they need to keep doing it until it gets into the 540's and have been very reluctant to do this. It was very nice and warm with light wind when I went out yesterday and the fishing was slow but steady and I caught several bass, crappie and bluegill. I saw some fish surfacing just before I came in but after catching a couple of them found out that they were just small White Bass. No picture fish. It was good to see them as they have been almost as scarce as the big stripers. I am not interested in small White bass so I came in. The waning moon is helping the catfishing some but it is not great yet. The surface water temperature was 73 and the creeks are turning over and the main lake is starting. It will take a couple of weeks to finish and then the lake will start to clear. As I reported earlier November is a good month for overall fishing. There is a another full moon on the 31st and we will see if there is a night bite for stripers on the stick bait. This does not happen every year in the fall. They sometimes go to the bank at dusk to feed but not always and it has been less and less the last few years. It used to be much better. Fish the shadowy banks with a soft plastice for walleye before dusk though as they always bit during November whether the stripers do or not. You will see several come in. They have been biting pretty well all year with many throw backs being caught and some big ones. Right now bass, bluegill and crappie are the best bite with a few catfish and walleye. Blackburns has cabins for $59/day and fishing pontoons for $110/day plus gas and oil or a free stall for your boat.Fullly equipped bass boats start at $90/day. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
Released under the dock
The lake level is 557.08 and has dropped about 3-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running a little below capacity continuously. The surface temperature was 74 degrees and it was sunny and warm with light wind when I went out yesterday. I caught a good channel cat on my throw line right off and then caught a flathead on the spoon near brush and then went crappie and bass fishing using the spoon and then the jig. Both worked. Some real nice fish were caught and Blackburns brush piles are really paying off now. They are a lot of work but are worth it. I wish more people would put their own in instead of just using others. The game and fish have done a good job in restoring the old ones that had been neglected taking the pressure off mine which I have been putting in every year for many years. The weather is to be great for the next several day and it does not look like the hurricane will affect us much. As the moon wanes the catfishing should get better. A nice smallmouth was caught and immediately released. I do not kill smallmouth. Striper fishermen cannot catch much and trollers are having a hard time. It is hard to troll through brush and open water fish are hard to get now. The lake level is perfect for launching and fishing now. The water is stained and you can see your lure down just a couple of feet with creeks being even less. Crappie, kentucky bass, bluegill, walleye and flathead are the best eating and all are biting now but you have to know where and how. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much. You can save a minimum of $25/day here with the low cabin rates and your first boat stall being free. If you must pay more, just stay here and give the rest to disabled veterans.
Caught fishing out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental Yesterday. More too.
The lake level is 557.30 and has dropped about 3-inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The lake surface temperature was 73 degrees when I went out yesterday afternoon. The water was stained and you could only see your lure down a couple of feet and the fish were biting. The weather was beautifull with sunny skies and light wind with an ambient temperature of about 70-degrees. I started out casting a Bobby Garland jig over brush and letting it slowly sink into brush and caught a couple of nice crappie and a few bluegill in 17-ft. brush. They quit so I moved to another main lake brush pile and did the same thing and caught three more crappie. Next was a main lake point in 27-ft. of water and caught two nice bass on the 1/4 ounce spoon near the bottom. I came in after about two hours. There were very few boats out there and things were very calm. It is to be in the 80's for the next week with sunny skies. The moon is getting smaller and the fishing is getting better for me except for temperate bass of which I am not seeing any. Striper fishermen are having a hard time but that is not unusual for early October. Crappie, bass and bluegill fishing is good right now if you know where and how. Walleye have slowed a bit but some are still being caught. Catfishing is also slow. I never catch very many with a dropping lake and big moon. I was getting several very nice flatheads and a few channels but not now. They will bite again and then quit when it gets cold and the water clears. The bass and crappie will not. November and December is when I catch the largest crappie. Both them and bass will bite best right at sunset. This is a good time of year. Come on down we will not charge you too much. You can get a one bedroom cabin for two for $59/day and a free stall for your boat. The lake is at an excellent level for fishing, launching and parking right near the dock. Fishing pontoons with trolling motors start at $110/day plus gas and oil.
The lake level is 557.58 and dropping 3+ inches in a 24-hour period with one generator running continuously. We had a 67 degree water temperature in Blackburns Creek yesterday and a main lake temperature in the low 70's. The very backs of the creeks in shallow water appear to be turning as is the fall foliage on the roadways with the sumac getting some red and some brown. The hillsides are starting to get brown with a little yellow on the hard woods. The walnut leaves continue to fall heavily and the maple trees are turning red. This is about two weeks early. The weather is to be beautiful for the next week with highs in the 80's and sunshine. The steady wind has been relentless and hard to get out of and does not go down until late in the afternoon. This does not hurt fishing, especially bass fishing, but I just do not like to fish in it. It is hard to keep the spoon vertical in swirling wind. Several crappie and bass are still shallow (17-feet) on river channel banks on the main lake just at the drop off. Those 1/8th ounce Bink's spoons really work well at that depth especially when there is light wind. You get the best action on 4-lb. test but 6 is ok. I do not use any heavier than that unless the 3/4 or 1-ounce spoon is used and that is only for deep water in the summer. From now on I will use the 1/8th or 1/4 unless it is windy then I go to the 1/2 and go against the wind with the trolling motor to keep the lure as straight up and down as possible. Do not drag the spoon or it will not have much of a life expectancy. Bass and crappie are together. I am not finding very many open water fish but the prevailing winds are blowing the plankton to the bank and the shad are feeding on it and the bass are with the shad. They can be caught on crank baits. I do not use them much but mostly stick to jigs, grubs, spoons and creature baits. I will be using slip floats with live minnows over brush in light wind soon for crappie and bluegill and switch back and forth with spoons. My throw line for catfish is not producing very well. The lake should clear as the temperature drops and the turn finishes but I am not much concerned about that unless it gets too clear but that has not happened for several years with the policy of keeping the lake level high. It sure is at a good level now and I wish it would stay just like this for fishing. It has not been good for Scuba Diving this season with bad visibility all year.. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. We will not put you in a duplex or condo where you cannot social distance. All cabins are sanitized after every use and we are open all year.
Some of yesterday's catch. More too.
The lake level is 558.15 and is dropping 3+ inches in a 24-hour period with one generator running continuously. It does not need to drop any faster but they need to keep doing it instead of stopping at 553.75 which is the new 552 when the worthless minimum flow for the put and take trout took away 1.75 feet of flood capacity. The dams are now for flood control and trout protection. Just draw the lakes down to the mid 540's in the winter before the spring rains and get rid of the stupid 12-ft. rule for the White River at Newport. Nobody knows where it came from anyway. Minor flood stage there is 26-feet just keep it below that. The lake is at a good level now and you can drive or walk down a gentle sloping 400-yards to Blackburns Dock and Launch and step onto the dock with no steps and park and launch right there and pull right into your free boat stall. No going elsewhere to launch requiring two people. The water surface temperature is dropping with the level and the cool days and cold nights are well below normal. It is to be back near 80 next weekend. The surface temperature is now in the early 70's before the sun comes up. More fish are being caught now versus last week with bass, crappie and bluegill being the best. The lake was clearing but has not improved the last few days and it looks to be an early and gradual turnover. The cold weather does not drive the thermocline down as some report but the hot weather does. I have seen shallow northern lakes do a violent turnover and the water flips from the bottom to the top bringing much debris and trash with it. That is not what happens here because the lake is so deep and that insulates surface water temperature from changing very much in a short period. I have seen one year where the surface water temperature on the main lake did not go below 50 degrees. I have also seen it where the water froze from the back of Blackburns cove out to the main lake and I could not get my boats out of the stall. There was a massive shad kill that year when the main lake dropped to the mid to high 30's and the striper fishing was great on jerk baits. But that was when we had more big stripers than we do now. It got down to 40 degrees last nigh and is to warm only to the high 60's today. Normal high is 77 and low is 50. I finally found the crappie again yesterday after talking to Binks. He is always on top of things. He told me what to look for and there they were. Bass were with them. Several of both were caught. Some on a spoon and some on a jig. Normally I do not use a spoon in less than 20-feet of water but it worked yesterday. You can never quit learning and must keep an open mind and try new things. Some big fish were caught. This is a good time of year but I like all seasons. It is nice to see so many walleye. Several are undersized indicating a good crop next year. I would like to see more stocked to supplement the natural spawn. Come on down to Blackburns and we will not charge you too much. The fall foliage is definitely changing now and it looks to be an early peak but I am not sure how spectacular it will be. There are lots of just brown already. It will be beautiful anyway.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday. Those are some nice fish. Caught more too.
The lake level is 558.71 and has dropped 3+ inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. I had a surface temperature of 77 degrees yesterday afternoon but the ambient temperature was 90-degrees. The backs of the creeks are getting very stained like the beginning of turnover is starting and working it's way out. The walnut leaves are falling fast now but they are the first ones to go. The sumac leaves are turning red and it looks to be an early fall. The hardwood on the hillsides are also turning a little yellow but more brown than yellow. Fall foliage usually peaks here the very last of October but things seem to be happening early this year. I caught some good fish yesterday and spent time experimenting. The brush was not producing so I went to some known crappie places on steep banks and caught a few shallow. Nothing big. People are asking me why other people are reporting striper fishing is great and I am not catching any. I have only caught one small one in over a week and it was luck. A few calls were made and I could not find anybody catching very many if any. If there is no report for several days it does not mean that people are not going fishing it is just that they are not catching any fish. You can not go out for several days catching nothing and then find some fish and write a report. I have several good fishermen reporting to me that are out there almost everyday and striper fishing is tough. I roll with the flow and catch what is biting. I do like to check things out, put in good brush piles and let my customers have an upper hand and insight on what is happening. It is good for repeat customers of which Blackburns has many. If fishing is good I say so and if it is not I also say so. Bink caught several good ones yesterday including big crappie and walleye but almost always does. I caught no picture fish. One thing for sure Blackburns will not charge you too much and has the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals. If you are not staying at Blackburns you are paying too much.
The lake level is 559.04 and is dropping a little over three inches in a 24-hour period with the equivalent of one generator running continuous. The surface temperature was dropping and is now in the early 70's but should not today with the high in the high 80's. That is all to change tomorrow with the high to be low 70's with lows to be near 40. With the number of hours of sunshine being less and less per day now and overnight lows dropping so will the surface temperature. It is about where it should be for this time of year. I did catch a flathead on my throw line yesterday and a couple of nice bass on the spoon jigging brush piles in 28-ft. if water. I released them in Tom Kelly's trophy pond. It is fully stocked now but is getting fished more heavily. Fishing is not the best now and you have to work for what you get but some good fish are being caught. The lake is getting less stained and is a good color for fishing. Big moon, dropping lake level and cold fronts moving in and out are not helping things. There is some color, mostly yellow, showing up on the hillsides for fall foliage but not a lot. The sumac on the roadsides is not changing much yet but some ornamental bushes are. It is nearly a month for the nornal peak to happen. Blackburns is your fall foliage headquarters for Norfork Lake, Mountain Home, North Central Arkansas and the Ozark Mountain region. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and are open all year. Some are not.
The lake level is 559.33 and has dropped over 3 inches in the last 24-hours with the equivalent of one generator running continuously. The surface water temperature is also dropping with the cool nights and is now in the low 70's depending on when you check and how much sunshine there is. The lake overall is in good condition but fishing is just fair. Bass fishing and bluegill fishing is pretty good with crappie next and everything else not so good. Some walleye are coming in though but not as many as a few days ago. Barring any heavy rains the best fishing will be the entire month of November after lake turnover which is always sometimes in October. It has been happening gradually the last few years with no drastic changes except the thermocline goes away and the water is homogenous from the surface to several feet down with the fish having no special reason to be anywhere except for food and cover. That is where brush piles come in. Baitfish head for cover and big fish follow. The stripers will school and stay on the shad in open water as always but there are just fewer of them. At least fewer big ones with people killing so many small fish below 10-lbs. and very few being stocked this year will hurt the future. Fishing pressure is also increasing and more are learning how to catch them and where they are located. Norfork is still a very good fishing lake and has a great group of Biologists trying hard to make it better. Do not quit stocking those hybrids as they are the go to fish when the stripers get scarce.
Mike Eakle with a couple of nice bass
The lake level is 559.65 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with the equivalent of one generator running continuously. We did receive about 1/2 inch of badly needed rain last night and the wind got a little gusty for a bit. The weather is to cool for a couple of days, warm back up and then cool again. The lake is clearing slowly and the surface termperature is about 75 degrees depending on where and when you check it. The big moon, dropping lake level and cold fronts are almost stopping throw lines with live bluegill and are not helping overall fishing but some good ones are being caught everyday. Technique and persistence is very important now. Spooning brush is the best way to catch fish now except for the ones feeding on the bank both early and late are hitting plastic worms. I am also using a jig casted past the brush and allowing it to sink right into the brush is also working somewhat. Slip floats sitting right over the brush with live minnows is also working for crappie and bluegill especially in light or no wind but you have to set the depth barely over the top of the brush. I am using slip floats, spoons and jigs exclusively and catching fish everyday. I would use live minnows more but the ones that I am getting are too small and the wind is blowing almost everytime I go out. Blackburns still had cabins for $59/day with a free boat stall and pontoons with trolling motors and bass boats for fishing. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
We have a big group of young people in . They had fun catching fish off the dock and playing in the big pool. Nice kids.
The lake level is now 559.86 and has broken the 560 barrier and it is only the last of September. At least you can drive 1/3 mile to the dock and step on without going down steps and Blackburns brush piles that we put in last winter are all now in play and fish are being caught off them. I caught all of my fish yesterday in 28-ft. of water near the bottom on brush with a 1/4 ounce Bink's jigging spoon. You have to get down too them and that is the best way. Bink is responsibile for the proliferation of spooning in this area. Almost nobody did it 25-years ago and now even the hard core live bait fishermen and devout trollers are at least using this technique some of the time. It just works. Not to say other ways do not. Trolling umbrellas through shad works also but it is like reeling in an anchor. I am just not into netting shad in the dark, trying to keep them alive, trolling a half dozen rods with live bait at different depths for miles until schools of shad with fish under then are located. When they are you are handed a rod to reel them in and when multiple fish bite at the same the lines get all tangled. I have a hard enough time with one rod. I do not use planer boards or balloons either. To each their own. I caught crappie, walleye and bass yesterday in the middle of the day in just a few minutes as I had to get back in. It was a beautiful day and it was nice to be out in the sunshine. The water temperature was 78+ degrees and is still stained but clearing. The lake was pretty busy. It is too late for me to get into another business venture but the idea of equipping Bertha and Mable chaise lounge tubes with charging outlets and video game ports seems like a good one. They can then drag the children around and they can text and play video at the same time. Should be a good money maker.
Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday morning.
The lake level is 560.17 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The water is still stained green but is clearing just a bit with the old shoreline buckbrush starting to show. The fish that were at 25-ft near the bottom have moved out deeper and are at 35-40 feet at different depths and are in or around main lake brush, especially on points or around points. Vertically jigging a spoon is the best way to get down to them. Some bass and bluegill are near the bank early and late and can be caught on plastic worms. Crappie fishing is fair. They bite for a few minutes and then turn off for hours. I caught seven yesterday in about 1-1/2 hours casting a jig past the brush and letting it sink slowly into it. The surface water temperature is 79 in the afternoons after the sun has shined on it for a few hours. We are dry and have not had much rain for three weeks but the morning dew is keeping things green. An inch or two of rain would not hurt anything. The weather has been beautiful but a cold front is to come through Sunday night dropping the temperatures. The moon getting bigger, the lake dropping rapidly and a cold front will not help fishing any but some fish can still be caught spooning brush. Stripers are scattered and the schools are not big. Trollers are going a long ways to find mostly small fish. Look in big bays in 45-ft. of water to find some. Walleye are still holding in there and are with the deeper bass.
A tribute to my good friend Harvey Hall of Hard Times Crappie Guide Service and the best crappie fisherman that I have ever seen. He taught me a lot and I was fortunate to have known him and have him for a friend.
The lake level is 561.03 and has dropped a little less than 3-inches in the last 24-hours with a little less generation. The water temperature was 79 yesterday morning, the weather was cloudy, the wind was light and the fish were biting. We caught a couple of stripers out in front of the houses on Mallard Point in 45ft. of water but they were small, we released them and we moved to Float Creek. Walleye, crappie and bass were caught there, all on 1/2 ounce Bink's jigging spoons. A nice flathead was caught on a throw line using bluegill. If you catch bluegill on the jigging spoon hang in there, big fish are with them. Most of the fish were caught in about 30-ft. of water on or near brush and near the bottom. The bite slowed by mid morning. People caught some big bluegill off the dock. We were forecasted to get some rain last night but did not. It is dry here but Blackburns big flat play ground is green and the pool is open. Some color is starting to show up on the hillsides for fall foiliage but not much yet. Most is just caused by water being up in the trees for too long on the old shoreline stressing the trees. I watch the hillsides, the hardwoods and the road sides. Blackburns is your fall foliage headquarters for Mountain Home, Norfork Lake, North central Arkansas and the Ozark Mountain region. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. We have different sized stalls at our dock for different sized boats. No one size fits all.
The lake level is 561.27 and has dropped 4-inches in the last 24-hours with more generation. The lake surface temperature was 80.5 when I went out yesterday afternoon. I checked my throw line and got a nice flathead. It was baited with live bluegill. I then went to a Blackburns brush pile and caught three nice crappie on a jig. Moved to a main lake cut and caught two Kentucky bass. I saw some fish on the graph in 45-ft.about 30-ft. down and dropped a spoon and caught about a 5-6 lb. striper. The fish was released and swam away and I hope he made it. People are killing way too many small stripers in the 6-10 lb. range and are really cutting down on the big fish numbers by not letting them grow. Very few were stocked this year. Taking pictures of dock floors full of small dead stripers is not impressive. I came in after 1-1/2 hours and there was much less boat traffic than on Sunday and I only saw fishermen and pontoons. It was a very nice day but is cloudy this morning. We need rain bad and have not had any for almost two weeks. There was some 79 degree water back in the creeks and the lake seems to be clearing just a bit.
The lake level is 561.81 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with the same generation. They are keeping the White River at Newport below 12-feet to keep the lakes up as high as they can for as long as they can. They must like to do that so there is no surge capacity for when it rains. The surface temperature is about 80 degrees and the lake is still stained green and you can see your lure down just a few feet. The temperature will drop quickly in the shallow creeks as the nightime lows reach near 50. The stained water has not hurt fishing though and a lot of big fish were brought in yesterday and this morning. I went out for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and and it was about 70-degrees with a light wind. There were still several boats out there dragging stuff around and jet skis seeing how close they could come to docks and fishermen. I caught all of my fish on a Bobby Garland jig casting it over brush and letting it sink slowly with a little twitch. I was catching crappie when a nice walleye hit it and just about knocked the rod out of my hand. Some smaller stripers and hybrids are starting to show up but not nearly as many as there used to be. Too many in the 6-10 lbs have been killed by fishermen and the low oxygen is not helping anything either. Holding the water up so high and for so long in the vegetation depletes the oxygen. I am seeing some color on the hillsides indicating the fall foliage is beginning. It has not changed much in the last several days though. Our normal peak is the very last of October but nothing is normal around here anymore. Our normal high is 80 now. Carl Scott, Mike Eakle, Jack Bucknell, Tom Kelly, Binks and Scuba Steve all caught some good ones yesterday. I have some very good fishermen helping me with this report. Carl and Tom are worm fishermen, Binks, Mike and Jack are spoon fishermen and I use both the spoon and the jig. All are working. Bass, crappie, bluegill and walleye are the best but a few catfish and red meat fish are being caught. The people that cannot catch any stripers are turning into walleye and crappie fishermen. That is the beauty of Norfork. It has so many varieties. People come from other states to catch crappie when they cannot get stripers.
Bass fishing with Bink's Guide service.
Jack Bucknell likes Blackburn's Brush piles and the Bink's Spoons.
The lake level is 562 even and continues to drop 2-1/2 inches in a 24-hour period with the same generation, 1-1/2 generators for about 2/3 the time. They have now backed up the time when the lake will hit 555.75 or the top of the power pool to 18October from the middle of November. I would like to see a prediction when it will hit 548. Not likely. They like to keep it high in the winter and not draw it down. The surface water temperature was 81.5 when I went out yesterday afternoon and the water seems to be clearing just a bit. I went to the first brush pile in 25-ft. of water and caught two nice crappie on a jig. Moved back in another creek in 19-feet of water using the same jig and caught four more. I then went to a main lake point in 25-ft. of water on Blackburns brush pile using the 1/2 ounce Bink's Spoon and caught one more and a 19-inch walleye. Tom Kelly reports catching a 22-inch walleye but no picture. I did not take a picture as Jack Bucknell from South Dakota made my fish pale in comparison. I ended up taking seven crappie and the walleye to Tom Kelly's trophy pond. It is now stocked up and ready to go. Blackburns has several very good fishermen in now and they are all catching fish so far. Bink reports getting some nice stripers and white bass. I have not seen very many of these for a while. Big ones anyway. We do have a few cabin openings now for the first time since April so come on down. The price is right and you can get a cabin for $59/day for two people with a free boat stall. Cannot beat that any where on the lake that has a dock and swimming pool. Our pool is open and they are swimming in it now.
Phil Gallo with a nice 22-inch bass caught yesterday.
The lake level is 562.45 and has dropped 2+ inches in the last 24-hours with the same generation. The lake is still stained green and you can only see your lure down a few feet. We have a group of good divers in this week and they report the visibility is not very good but they got several nice crappie and that the thermocline is at about 30-feet or a little more. I wish the conditions were better for them but the weather has been perfect. The lake is usually more clear after Labor Day but the lake has just been held up too high for too long this year. We need some changes in lake management. Other fishermen did well though with some nice fish being caught. I caught several crappie yesterday but nobody wants to see the same people with nearly the same fish everyday. Bass, crappie and bluegill fishing is the best right now on spoons and plastic worms but a few walleye are still coming in. We have several good fishermen in now and are catching some big fish. The crappie that I am catching are from 11-13 inches and are on Blackburns Brush piles in 30-feet or less with most of them being right in the brush. The bass are on main lake points in or around the brush. Some are out in open water with the whites and stripers on shad. Flathead fishing has slowed down and gar are showing up in their place. The same thing happens in the early summer. Bink reports catching stripers, white bass and big largemouth today part way back in the creeks in 45-ft. of water suspended at 30-ft. on the 1/2 ounce spoon. He said it was a great morning for fishing but no walleye. He has moved off the main lake points and is back in the bays in deeper water but the fish are still at 30. The water temperature was 83 when I came in last afternoon. There were several boats out there in the beautiful weather. No rain is scheduled for the next several days. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. Several of our pontoons have trolling motors for fishing and are also included in the price.
Tom Kelly is one good Bass fisherman
Scuba Steve likes those crappie
Mike Eakle likes that Bink's Spoon
John Bornhop with a good one.
The lake level is 562.64 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation equal to about 1-1/2 generators about 2/3 the time. The lake is still stained and the surface water temperature is 80-degrees and dropping. Everybody caught fish yesterday with Tom Kelly fishing Float Creek with a plastic worm, Mike Eakle fishing Hensley's Creek with a Bink's Spoon, John Bornhop fishing near point 4 with both worms and spoons, Carl Scott from Houston is catching several fish near Cow point but no pictures yet and myself fishing in Blackburns Creek with a 1/2 ounce spoon. All were on Blackburns Brush piles that we put in last winter. They are just now coming into play as the lake drops. We work hard putting in brush for our customers. All are finding no fish below 30-feet of water. Some are in deeper water but are suspended above 30-feet. Some brush extends higher and fish are on top of it. Flathead fishing has slowed, crappie fishing is getting better, bass fishing is good and walleye fishing is just fair. Big bluegill are biting off the dock with crickets and worms. I did not talk to the Deans but they have been catching some nice bass. It is busy here at Blackburns with people taking advantage of the low rates on both cabins and boat rentals. If you are staying at a place where you are nearly the only customer, you are paying too much. You can get a one bedroom cabin with a covered porch and no duplex where you can social distance and a free boat stall here for $59/day. Trolling motors are free on fishing pontoons. Why pay more unless you just want to or have extra money? Blackburns Resort fun. Some color is showing up on the hillsides for fall foliage. It is getting dry again here.
Nice bass Bernie.
The lake level is 562.85 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours. They are really dragging this out. Fishing is not the best but some nice ones are being caught everyday and the weather has been perfect. We have several good fishermen in now and they report having a good time. It is to cool a bit next week with a cold front moving through. Striper fishing is slow but bass, walleye, bluegill, flathead and crappie are coming in everyday but not a lot of them. The lake surface temerature is still 83 and the water is still stained and not clearing very fast. Bernie Dean caught a nice bass yesterday. Everyone seems to be having a good time. We like that. It is good to have so many repeat customers and nice people. The big pool is open and still warm.
The lake level is 563 and is dropping a little over 2-inches in 24 hours with the equivalent of 1-1/2 generators running a little over 1/2 the time. Why the slow drop nobody can figure out. Some nice fish were caught yesterday by Mike Dean and John Bornhop. Bass and flatheads are the best bite now followed by crappie and bluegill. Walleye is good but most are short. The creeks are stained badly now and you can see your lure down just a very few feet on the main lake. Stick with those Bink Spoons on the main lake points in 25-29 feet of water near the bottom. Trollers are catching a few fish but putting on a lot of miles and burning a lot of gas. Fishing overall is just fair but some good fish are being caught everyday. The weather has been great with highs in the 80's and lows in the high 60's. It looks like the new hurricane will not affect us much if any so far. We need some rain again. The lake is still pretty busy and Blackburns is nearly full with people taking advantage of our low prices on both cabins and boat rentals. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. We invite you to shop prices before you book. Surface temperature is still about 83 degrees and perfect for swimming.
The lake level is 563.26 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours and the surface water temperature is about 83 degrees and is just right for swimming. They are discharging the equivalent of about 1-1/2 generators about 1/2 the time while keeping the White River at Newport to 11 feet to hold the lake up as high as possible for as long as possible and are getting better and better at it every year. The lake has cleared a bit since the holiday but not much but is a good color for fishing. Fishing overall is just fair but some good fish are being caught everyday. The dissolved oxygen is very low below 30-feet and most fish are above that in the 25-28 foot level and more still if there is brush nearby. I was fishing just main lake points but fish are scattered about everywhere but are at the same depth no matter how deep the water. I am picking up a few crappie working the Bobby Garland Baby Shad hard but not very many. They will be. The jigging spoon is working the best. The Gold one was working yesterday in the cloudy weather. It is now Flathead time part way back into the creeks in deeper water on throw lines baited with live bluegill. I am catching some big ones everyday and it will last until the lake cools and clears and then stop. They bite at a certain time in the spring and then again in the early fall. You must use live bait to get them as they will not bite anything else. Bluegill and shiners about 3-inches long are the best. I have no luck on gold fish. I have tried using them as other people say they work but not for me. I bait every other line with them and they are all still there the next morning so I quit using them. I have some luck with crawdads on channel and blues but not flatheads. Norfork lake flatheads are right behind walleye, bluegill and crappie as the best eating fish and are in there with Kentucky bass. Blackburns is now on their off-season rates and you can get a cabin for $59/day with a free normal sized boat stall. Cannot beat that anywhere. 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 have the best prices on rental boats. The big pool is open.
The lake level is 563.79 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with a little more generation now that the White River at Newport is below 11-feet. It looks like they will be forced to let more out as the rivers dry up so they have changed their prediction of when the level is to hit 555+ from 12November to 1November. That would indicate more generation. I thought they were trying to keep the lake up all winter so when the spring rains come the spillway gates could just be opened flooding everything downstream. They seem to like to do that. No sense taking the level down to the 540's in the winter allowing for extra capacity and increasing the flow the rest of the year to just below minor flood stage when needed that does not harm anybody. We need to keep that 12-ft. rule at Newport at all coats but cannot figure out why. Government. The surface temperature on the main lake was 83+ when I went out yesterday with the creeks higher at over 85. That indicates that the temperature is not dropping anytime soon. The creeks rise and lower more quickly than the main lake. The cold front that was predicted has been cut off and it is to remain above average temperatures for several days. It may get here in a week or so. The water is still stained green but is clearing a bit. It is good for fishing but not for Scuba Diving. There were still several boats out there yesterday afternoon and the lake was by no means deserted. I tried spooning brush on the main lake and caught one crappie, two bass and a couple of short walleye. I then tried the jig over shallower brush back in the creek in 20-ft. of water and caught a couple more crappie. I caught no fish below 30-feet. It was the early afternoon and I did not expect to catch much but wanted to check things out. I fished for about 2-hours and caught 7 fish with no picture fish. It was nice just to be out in the sunshine and not get swamped. I do not want this lake to become Lake of The Ozarks but the trend is there if you look at the last few holidays.
The lake level is at 563.93 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with very little generation. Now that the White River level at Newport is below the magical number of 12-feet maybe they will let out some water. They have done an excellent job of holding it up again this year. You cannot let the government run anything. The lake is clearing now after the big churn of the holiday weekend and the fishing is starting to pick up a bit. Bink reports some walleye floating down by the dam and the oxygen level reported by the Striper Club shows no oxygen below 30-feet there. This coincides with what we are finding here with no fish showing up below the 30-feet level. They may be in deeper water but suspend above the 30-foot level. Most fish being caught are at the 25-28 ft level on main lake points on or near brush. If you can find brush at this level on a main lake point there will be fish on it. I am using the Bink's jigging spoon exclusively. The 1/2 ounce many shad or the Arkansas shiner are working well. I use the 1/4 ounce ones when there is no wind but prefer to keep the lure straight up and down and not drag it so I use a heavier one in the wind. Go against the wind with your trolling motor to keep it vertical, snap it up three or four feet and let it fall on slack line. Most fish will hit on the drop. Jeff and Alicia Barber from Biggers, Arkansas caught some big fish yesterday on Blackburns Resort and Boat rental's brush piles. That is why we put them in.
Mike Eakle and James Soltysiac with some good ones caught yesterday on Norfork Lake on Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental's Brush Piles. Nice fish. All caught on the Bink's Jigging spoon. The lake can go back to the fishermen this afternoon and you can get a one bedroom cabin with a big covered porch and no duplex and a free boat stall for $59/day. Why pay more?
Caught yesterday fishing with Bink's Guide Service.
The lake level is 564.19 and is dropping about 1/2 inch per day with little generation. The lake is very busy and very rough with all of the boat traffic and is stirred up. The surface temperature is 84 degrees and the water is stained with little visibility. It will clear up again after this holiday is over and very much cooler weather is on the way. The fishing people are catching some pretty good fish despite all of this. Crappie, bass and walleye are still the best bite now. You can get a cabin for $59/day starting tomorrow with a free normal sized boat stall here at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 564.36 and is about the same as it was this time yesterday. They are only generating about five hours a day and are now predicting the level will be at 555 by 12 November which means generation will remain resrticted well into the fall. We will see if they drop the lake this winter. Nothing would surprise me about how they manage the lake anymore. There is no urgency since Table Rock and Beaver are back to normal. The lake is still stained and you can see your lure down only a very few feet and the surface temperature is in the low 80's. Fronts have been moving through several times a week turning the fish on and off frequently. I am waiting for low pressures to start in and then fish until it rains me out with good results. High pressure is moving in now and looks to stay that way through the long holiday weekend with nice weather predicted. It has rained on and off for the last four days with cloudy skies and cooler temperatures but that is to change starting today. Today will be my last day of fishing until Tuesday and I will turn the lake over to the Holiday crowd. The lake will clear then and boat traffic will go back to the fishermen. Mid September until mid October is usually an excellent time to fish Norfork. The lake will turn for several days then scattering the fish but not stopping the bite and then get better and better as November gets here. Thanksgiving is almost always a good time for fishing. Blackburns goes into their winter rates on Monday September 7th and you can get a one bedroom cabin with covered porch and no duplex for $59/day and a free normal sized boat stall. You cannot beat that anywhere near here. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. Walleye, bass, crappie and catfish are the best bite now but Bink is also catching some white bass. I am not but I am just fishing main lake points in 25-27 feet of water with a spoon. I am not much into trolling. 1/2 ounce Bink's jigging spoon is the best. Many shad or white with a black back are working well in or near brush. Go against the wind and keep your lure straight up and down snapping it up three or four feet and let it fall on slack line near the bottom. The fall foliage is starting to turn on the hillsides and it is not due to the high water and is much higher in the hills. Peak is usually the last part of October and I will keep you posted.
I do not put my picture on this much but nobody sent me any others yesterday. I know you get tired of the same people's picture.That is why I have several good fishermen report
The lake level is 564.58 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with no generation since last evening. They got lots of rain in Newport and Batesville but we got less than one inch of gentle, badly needed rain here in Mountain Home. We had received less than 1/2 inch all the month of August before that. It was cloudy and misting rain with a water surface temperature of 84 degrees and a gentle wind from the northeast when I went out yesterday afternoon. The lake is stained and you could see your lure down about three feet. The conditions were perfect for a bite so it did not matter how many light bulbs were out, playground toys broken or how many chains were pulled out of ceiling fans. I was going fishing. I went walleye fishing and caught two along river channel banks on the main lake in 26-feet of water but it was slow so I started spooning brush piles. We put in some nice brush this winter and the ones we put in the shallowest are in play now. I put on a Bink's 1/2 ounce Many Shad spoon and vertical jigged right in the brush. Catfish, crappie, bass and bluegill were caught right up until 5:pm in 26-27 feet of water. The bass, bluegill and catfish were taken to Tom Kelly's trophy pond and the rest were released immediately. Crappie and walleye are hard to keep alive in this weather even if they are iced down so they go right back in. Bass and bluegill fishing is very good right now, crappie and walleye are fair with several walleye, but not all, are short. If you are only catching short ones try just a couple of feet deeper. Bink is the only one I know catching stripers and there are reports of several dead ones floating near the dam. Some are people trying to release fish that come out of deep water and others are from lack of oxygen. I do not fish for them this time of year. Fishing is getting better and better especially in the area of the lake around Blackburns. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. No dragging or pulling anything behind any of our rental boats except for the ski boat. Our friends at the marinas have boats for you to do that. Ours are for cruising, swimming and fishing only. Sorry. You must be a guest to rent a boat from us.
Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service.
The lake level is 564.66 and is dropping an average of 2-1/2 inches per day with generation about 3/4ths the time. They are holding the White River art Newport to 12-feet religiously despite the very dry conditions. They have had all summer to drop the lake but have refused to do so but they see fit to drop Table Rock to below the power pool to protect Branson. Anytime the government is involved the corruption begins. It is all about the money. The lake is clearing a bit but is still stained green. The surface temperature is in the mid 80's and has been pretty stable lately. We are to get a couple of inches of rain on Friday due to the hurricane but should be able to take that easily with the dry conditions. It just depends on how fast we get it. It should be mostly gone by the weekend. Striper fishing is not the best right now but walleye, bass and bluegill fishing is pretty good. Blackburns has a couple of cabins available for this weekend but will be very busy again for the holiday. Come on dow. We will not charge you too much.
If you see yourself on here make a comment. All of these fish were caught close to Blackburn's Dock in the last few days.
The lake was stained green when I went out yesterday and the surface temperature was 85 degrees with a level of 565.54 now and a drop of 3-inches from the day before. You could see your lure down a little less than three feet. The thermocline is less than 30 feet now and should not drop much further. It rarely gets below 32 feet. The fish that I am catching now are either right on the bank or near the bottom at 25-27 feet. The ones on the bank are on the inside of main lake points and the others are right on the points at that depth range near any structure. At this rate of level drop Blackburns Brush piles shoul be back in play in three weeks and fishing should be really good. I will be fishing brush piles exclusively then with the Bink's spoon. After that I will include slip float with minnows and the Bobby Garland Baby Shad blue Ice in color. I will use the little grub casting it over the brush and letting it sink slowly when it is windy and right down in the brush with the live minnows when I can stay right over the brush. I know where the walleye, crappie and bass will be as the lake approaches normal level. I had some guests catch some nice catfish on jugs and trot lines this weekend on lice perch. Tom Kelly is catching bass and crappie on Float Creek with his worm and spoon. Mike Eakle is on the walleye on main lake points on the Bink's Many Shad 1/2 ounce spoon in 23-28 feet of water. Bink is out with some Blackburns guests today and we will see how he does. He has been catching some good ones regularly including temperate Bass or what I call red meat fish. Bluegill are biting well on crickets and worms off docks and near willows on the main lake. Fishing is not the best now but is getting better and will continue to do so until the lake turns sometime in October for several days and then get good again. The turn will not stop the bite, just slow it down and scatter the fish. It will be improtant to know where the cover is at the right depth then. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much.
The lake level is 566 33 and has dropped a little less than 3-inches in the last 24-hours. Blackburns has our complete original road to the dock open now as well as the boat launch but you still have to park on the road by the dock and walk down some stairs to get on. Things are much better than before and getting better. At 560 we will get out main parking lot back and things will be back to normal as well as many of our brush piles for fishing. It has been very slow coming with the resistance to let out water by the COE. We are very dry here again and we should have been back to normal months ago. We need a rain bad. Walleye fishing has been the best with bass next and then a few crappie. The thermocline is at 28-feet and the lake is stained both in the creeks and the main lake. Spoon main lake points at 23-27 feet for about everything mentioned above. Tom Kelly is catching some good bass on his worm near the bank and Mike Eakle is using the 1/2 ounce Bink's many shad spoon exclusively. Bink is catching some stripers also on his spoon but not a lot. I have been too busy with rental boats and my fishing time has been very limited. It is very busy here at Blackburns and we like that. People are taking advantage of the best prices on the lake here on both cabins and boat rentals and the great weather despite the drought. All of our cabins are individual with no duplexes and you can social distance. All have big covered porches to get out of the weather. The big pool with slide is open. Your first boat stall is free here unless you bring a pontoon or a boat with a tower but we do not have boat stalls for one day rentals. Trolling motors on some pontoons are free and are included in the price. Sorry we no longer allow towing anything from any of our rental boats except our ski boat so if you need to do so our friends at the marinas will rent you a boat for that. Our boats are for fishing, cruising and swimming only. You can stay here and rent from them and drag anything you want. We are looking forward to the fall fishing and bookings have never been better. Come on down. You will be welcome and we will not charge you too much.