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Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Brian Deardoff with the fish of the day. He says he will try for bass and crappie later. Image title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Scuba Steve with the fish of the day yesterday released under the dock. Image title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Mike caught a flathead on a live bluegill in Blackburns Creek yesterday. That is a good sign. Image title

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. 

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Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday. Image title

Cabin #11 with three bedroom, two bath and big screened porch after renovation. Image titleImage titleImage title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday. The hybrids can take the high level low oxygen water better than stripers. Image title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Fish of the day.Image title

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.  

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

John and Luke Bornhop.Image titleImage title

Float Creek Eagles.Image title

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Luke Bornhop with the fish of the day. Caught more too. Those are some nice crappie.Image title

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

The Moody Brothers with some of yesterday's catch.  Good fishermen and better friends. Image title

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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.   

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Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday. Image titleImage title

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.  

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Mike with some of yesterday's catchImage titleImage title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Fish of the day yesterday by Scuba SteveImage titleImage title

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Dave Titus with some nice ones yesterday. Image title

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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.  

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

Look at the size of those crappie. Mike caught them yesterday on Blackburns Brush piles. Image titleImage title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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.  

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

This is what the new siding on our cabins looks like.Image titleImage title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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.

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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. Image title

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. 

Norfork Lake fishing and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental (click here for comments)

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.