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Winter Crappie

It is sunny today with a high to hit about 40 degrees. The lake level is 553.14 and dropping slowly with a few hours of generation a day. They are generating heavily now. The lake is pretty clear and you can see your bait down to about six feet but it is clearing rapidly and the water near the bank is very clear. I have found out scuba diving that does not mean very much when you get out in deeper water. The surface temperature is 39 degrees and steady and the lake in general is in excellent condition. I am heading out crappie fishing in a few minutes and caught some good ones yesterday in the snow. There were no other boats out and it was peaceful. Most people were watching a 60-minute Ballgame and three hours of commercials. I like it better outside than on the couch. It was surprising to me to find how deep the fish were. The smaller ones were on the bottom in 45 ft. of water and the large ones were in the same 45 ft. of water but down 16-ft. Spoons were best for the bottom fishing and minnows on a slip float for the suspended ones. I caught some good bass in the creek in 28-ft. near the bottom on brush with a 1/4 Ounce Bink spoon, white with a pink back. It is very sunny today and I will try a gold crappie spoon. I like the way it reflects different colors in the sunshined water and so do the fish.

Snowy with some sleet today

It is about freezing now and temperatures are not supposed to get out of the 30’s for the rest of the week. The normal high is 43. The lake level is still dropping slowly and is now at 553.03 with heavy generation for a few hours a day. I guess the big news is that ice is forming around the edges of the creek banks and starting the move out a little. Blackburns dock is back in the creek in protected water and it has only frozen in once in 20-years and it only lasted a few days. It could happen if it does not warm up. We usually get several very nice days in February. I went crappie fishing yesterday afternoon and started out with a minnow on a slip float but it was very slow. Then switched to a spoon and caught several and a good bass in deep brush near the bottom. When the sun goes down I always switch back to a minnow and was just about to quit when the big boys started to bite. I caught several in the 15-16 inch range and it sure was fun. I will get a picture when I clean them a little later. Not much boat traffic. It is wonderful to have such a nice lake to yourself. This snow sure clears the water fast.

Big Crappie Biting

Caught them on both the spoon and slip float and minnow. Started biting just at sundown. Do not like the sofa. It is not warm but I have plenty of clothes. Had a very good dinner. Will try again today. Crappie like these are hard to find anywhere else.

Warm Weather

If you are getting another fishing report it is from the living room sofa. I saw no other boats and I went quite a ways. It was very still with glass-like conditions and very clear water. I could see my grub to down 10-feet. The water near the bank is also very clear. I could see the bottom from a boat stall on Blackburns Dock 16-ft. deep. Several of the creeks entering the lake from the south are iced over but there is none anywhere on the main lake. There has been no generation for the past 24-hours and the level is 552.41 and rising a little. The ambient temperature got into the middle 30’s and there was a little snow melt and the south facing hillsides are starting to clear. We are to get some more snow tomorrow and then in the 50’s next weekend. I caught two bass on the main lake and moved to brush on a creek and caught a few crappie for dinner. The bite was very slow and I dropped my glove in the water so I came in. I was just happy to be out and fishing the lake I love and watching the wildlife. I saw plenty and everything was very quiet.

Warm Weather in February on Norfork Lake

It is to Hit the 50’s Thursday and Near 60 for Sunday. Bink and I are going out Thursday morning. We will be on KTLO radio for his weekly live in the boat show at 8:45 in the morning at 97.9 FM. I am anxious to see where he takes me as I have only been crappie and bass fishing all winter. I will take three baits only: Jerk bait, green stingray grub and Binks Spoon. It is time to get out the jerk baits. The surface temperature is 37 in the creeks and 38 on the main lake. Most of the ice on the creek shores is gone and will be by Thursday. The lake level is 552.17 and dropping slowly with several hours of generation daily now. The snow that is left is melting slowly with temperatures barely reaching freezing in the middle of the day. The country roads are still not good but the main roads are clear and it is clear to Blackburns Resort but we are only 1/2 mile off Highway 62. The school busses are still on the snow routes as of today. Blackburns Dock received no damage from the early December Ice and is ready for your visit. Spring fishing looks to be good. The fish are there. If you are not staying at Blackburns Resort you are paying too much.

Warm Weather Here - Snow and Ice Gone

The surface temperature in Blackburns Creek is 40.5 now and rising. All of the Ice that was near the bank in the back of the creek is gone. The lake level is 552.18, rising slowly and the lake is in excellent condition and clear. You either have to go deep on the main lake or in the creeks for some stain. The fish I caught yesterday were 45-foot deep just up from the bottom on the main lake and part way back in the creek on brush at 28-feet. Minnows for the crappie just at sunset 16-feet down and spoons the rest of the day. I am heading out right now. Bink fished hard yesterday and caught just a few fish. He is using the grub and small spoon about the size of the dying shad. Jerk baits are not working yet.The live bait striper fishermen are going to have a hard time this early spring. The fish we are catching are just full of shad to the point of spitting them up. I did not clean out my live well after filleting my fish and the dead shad just about choked me when I opened up the door. With this warm weather keep a small crappie minnow net in the well and dip them out. I had at least two dozen of them in there and only caught six fish. The fish are not in a feeding frenzy and are not jumping in the boat. It will take warmer water to get them off the bottom where all of the sunken shad are located. They do not have to move to get all the feed they want. You can still catch some good fish on brush where they are schooled using minnows and spoons if you get out early and again just before sunset. I am doing it everyday. Blackburns Resort has the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals and do not charge for regular sized boat stalls. You do not have to pay extra elsewhere unless you just want to. No price increases on anything again this year. I just bought a 18-ft. Nitro Bass Boat for rental yesterday. It is fully equipped, has a 115-HP Engine and will be ready for rental after Danny from Independence Marine gets finished going over the whole boat and checking out everything. I am in the process of taking all of the rentals boats to him to check out. He is the best mechanic in the area and my friend. It will rent for the same price as our other larger Bass Boats. I will post pictures in a few days when I bring it home. Nice Boat. Blackburns is full starting later this week. People are anxious to get out of bad weather. Call for your reservation to prevent disappointment on getting the cabins and boats of your choice. We are the first to fill up. Be glad to have you. If you are staying at a place where you are the only customer you are probably paying too much.

36 degrees in the afternoon so I went fishing!

The lake level is rising just a bit with some rain today and is 550.62. This is a very good level but is usually lower this time of year. The surface temperature was 42.3 in Blackburns Creek and 43 plus on the main lake. I spooned brush with the 1/4 Ounce Bink’s Spoon and caught some crappie and bass. Some bass are still suspended in open water on shad but some good ones are also on brush near the bottom in 25-ft. of water. Big Crappie are on the same brush nine feet down and smaller ones are deeper near the bottom. I am not much into trolling open water with a half a dozen rods hanging over the side with live bait but each to their own. It is to be warm the latter part of the week and it will be a good time to visit Blackburns and get in some winter fishing. I will be out there. Wish you were here.

Sunny and Cool with a high of 36

The lake level is 550.62 and has stabilized with several hours of generation in both the morning and evening. The total rise was 1.8 feet with 4-inches of rain in a three day period. The lake is in good condition and is clearing rapidly. I will try it out this afternoon. We are fortunate to have a lake that does not freeze over and has no closed seasons.
Tom Darr just finished the new roof on the Honeymoon cabin #3 and it looks great. It now has a new air conditioner, bed and bedding, two new flat screened TV’s, carpeting and you will like it when you get here. I am getting calls about our price sheet not being updated for 2015. I will get to it but there are no increases on anything again this year. Blackburns continues it’s policy of continued improvement without increasing rates. If your’s are getting raised elsewhere give us a call at 1-800-635-0526 for a reservation. Please compare. We will not charge you too much. We still do not charge for initial boat stalls or for trolling motors on pontoons. All cabins are individual with no duplexes and all have covered porches. Wish you were here.

Rainy day and night

We received three inches of rain in the last 24-hours and the creeks were running hard but have slowed now. The lake level has risen exactly one foot in the same period and is now at 549.71 and they have not generated since yesterday morning. The backs of the creeks in the lake are muddy. The surface temperature is still 47 degrees. Fishing should not be affected much if you stay out of the brown water. We are to have more sun and cooler weather next week and it may slow fishing a bit until the high pressure has been around for a couple of days. You can spoon open water fish on shad and catch hybrids, bass and white bass. I will check out brush later today.

Lake is dropping

The level is 548.69 and is at the lowest level this winter. The surface temperature is 47 and the lake is pretty clear. You can see your lure down about 10-feet. The lake overall is in excellent condition. It has been cloudy and rainy for several days with little sunshine. It has been in the high 30’s for highs and high 20’s for lows which is not too bad. The weather is to warm a bit for the next few days but still cloudy. It rained most of the day yesterday but give us a break in the afternoon for fishing until past dark. We have received 1.3 inches in the last two days. John Bornhop has been fishing day and night despite the rain and says he did not come here to stay on the porch. He is catching some good fish too. Bass, white bass, stripers and crappie in the morning and big crappie in the afternoon. He is getting to be very good at spooning which is the best way to catch fish. We are always glad to see him. I caught some good bass just at dark near the bank on the old river channel steep banks near brush. There were a lot of shad in 18-22 feet of water but few fish under them. I do not have good luck spooning in the dark and switch to a grub and minnow.

First Measurable Snow

We just do not need any Ice, but it looks like it will go south of us. But the snow will not. It was 62 yesterday and I was out putting in brush piles. We sure have some good ones and are just about finished. Fishing should be good soon. Striper fishermen are having a hard time now and should be following the birds (joke) but bass fishing is good. The lake is clear and open water fish are roaming and hard to find. It does not matter since it will be too cold for me to fish starting tomorrow. The ice fishermen can have the cold weather. I had enough of that when I lived in Maine and Minnesota. Our surface water temperature is still 45 degrees but that should drop if it snows much. The lake level is dropping fairly quickly with continuous light generation for over two days and has dropped to under 549 to 548.93 and is still higher than it usually is this time of year when they typically lower it in anticipation of the spring rains. It usually starts to rise in the last part of February. We will see. It is in good shape now. It will not be long before the night bite for stripers will start as they go to the long shallow banks to simulate a spawn. There are some very good ones close to Blackburns resort and Boat Rental. We have a lot of customers who love to fish for them. Bink says March 15 and he is usually right. You can fish for walleye on shadowy banks with soft plastics before dark and switch to a stick bait at dark for stripers. The walleye will have spawned by then and moved back down stream to the deeper water. The walleye population continues to grow on Norfork with about a half of million stocked in 2014 by Missouri and Arkansas combined and many short ones already there. The size minimum is 18-inches with a limit of four. I got most of my big ones in late May last year but they bite well in late February and early March part way back in the creeks as do big crappie and stripers on jerk baits in the morning. When the surface temperature hits 50 in the creeks the fishing will open up. Make sure your stick baits run true. I like Husky jerks best 5-inches long suspending some with light bottoms and light green tops for moonlit nights and clear water and some with green bottoms and black backs for cloudy weather and stained water. Put on some clear 6-8 lb. line on your spinning reel and take off all of the snaps, swivels, leaders and spider line and come on down. We will not charge you too much.

Lake at 549

We received a little rain last night and this morning but not much. The ambient temperature is about 50 and it is cloudy. It is to cool tomorrow and then back in the 50’s for Tuesday and Wednesday. There were some good fish caught between the bridges yesterday spooning including stripers. They have been there as usual this time of year for several days. The big ones do not move very far to feed and wait for the shad to come to them and the shad are following plankton and the wind. I found some shad while on my way to a crappie spot last evening and they were in 70-feet of water but could only catch White Bass. If the shad come near brush and cover you can catch some big crappie and bass.The bass are liking shiners right now. Spend more time looking than fishing unless you troll and rely on luck. Both work. All of the fish I am cleaning are full of shad and not much else. There are few minnows on brush. It is hard to believe it is February already and I have a lot more improvements and brush to put in before March. We have had a mild winter except for one cold spell when it dropped into the teens for several days for lows and in the 30’s for highs. There is no frost in the ground and the water surface temperature is still in the mid 40’s. Now is the time to book your spring fishing trip. We will be ready for you and not charge you too much.

50 degrees and lake like glass

I went out to spoon bass on new brush piles about 4: PM and stayed until dark. I did not move very far away from the shed. Caught several bass on the 1/4 ounce Bink’s Spoon. The fish were in 25 feet right in the brush. The lake level is 549.81 and exactly what it was yesterday with a water temperature of 46 degrees. The level is 3-1/2 feet lower than this time last year and that is good. Water is pretty clear but the creeks change almost daily. I am not fishing very far back in the creeks. Moon is big and up in the evenings not the best for bass fishing in clear weather. Tom Kelly said he had a hard time finding open water shad. Must have moved. I saw the fish Paul Ahrens caught and threw mine back in. That boy can catch some bass. Back to putting in brush next week. Rain tonight and tomorrow morning. I will be fishing while others are watching commercials. To each their own. Wish you were here. We will not charge you too much.

Putting in Brush Piles today

In the 60’s with a south wind. Jerry Harris: we put in a big ole tree on your favorite spot. The creeks are clearing but are still stained in some places. The lake level is the same as it was yesterday. There are a lot of boats fishing between the bridges and they are catching White bass, Hybrids and Some Stripers. Paul Ahrens from St. Louis is here and really catching some big bass. He caught his limit both yesterday and this morning. He was fishing south facing banks away from the wind in 25-feet of water. Welcome back Paul. The wind is to shift and the temperatures are to drop a bit with rain for Saturday evening and Sunday. We will see. Not bad for the end of January. Paul picked the best weather. Bink caught some good fish yesterday too. I was busy putting in trees until dark.

60 Degrees Yesterday

Gus and I started putting in brush yesterday and will continue today. Have to suspend fishing operations for a few days. This is important for you to have good places to fish. We have some excellent places and will add a few more new ones. The Norfork Lake Chamber had it’s annual meeting Sunday and Jeremy Risely, the area fish biologist, was the guest speaker. Jeremy was born here, is a good fisherman, and has the area lakes in his interest. They are experimenting with synthetic fish attractors and are monitoring several on both lakes and adding more and making improvements on them. He also said they were resuming the natural habitat program and start replenishing brush piles next year. Both of these are good news for us anglers. He said there were 203,220 fingerling Black Crappie, 22,210 Yearling Blue Catfish, 8,460 Catchable Channel Catfish, 22,000 Yearling Channel Catfish, 48,185 Fingerling Hybrid striped Bass, 134,865 Fingerling Striped Bass and 200,000 Fingerling Walleye stocked in Norfork Lake in 2014. Not bad. It sounded like they were working hard and doing a lot of monitoring to help the overall fishing. He said there was no plans to stock Yellow Perch in Norfork as they are not doing so well in Bull Shoals. The fish numbers in Norfork Lake are about what he wants them to be. Everything sounded pretty good. The lake level is 549.96 and dropping steadily with heavy generation. This is the first time in several weeks it has dropped below 550. We are at a very good level for the end of January but they usually keep it lower in the winter. I have been catching some good bass everyday.