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

Caught yesterday on the spoon. Image title

The lake level is 558.74 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/3 generators running continuously. They took the White River at Newport down to 8-ft. to try and keep the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible but are bringing it back up now. It clouds up at the heat of the day about 3:PM everyday but not much happens. We are still very dry here. It looks to be mostly sunny and warm for the rest of the week and good weather for the holiday weekend. Blackburns is full then but have openings for just after that when the prices drop to $59/day for a one bedroom cabin. The lake traffic will slow way down then and fishing will get better and the peace and quiet will get a lot better. This is an excellent time for a visit and the lake is in good condition. Get out that 3/8th ounce spoon, white with red head, and drop it in and around brush piles in 30-35 ft. of water. Several different species of fish are there and are being caught everyday. I am too busy to get in much fishing, as I am sure most resort owners are, but get out for about an hour after the work is done and spoon for a bit and am catching fish everyday. Mostly walleye, crappie, bass and bluegill with a few catfish thrown in. That is all I fish for anyway. Most all fish are released under my dock and the school is getting very big.  I guess if I had more time for fishing I would not be doing my job very well. My time will come this fall and winter. In the mean time I have several good fishermen reporting to me everyday. I know you do not want just my picture on there all the time but I do not take selfies anyway. I am ready for fall fishing. I do not look for a striper kill this September and sure hope there is not one. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.

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

Mike Eakle with some of yesterday's catch released under the dock. He knows where Blackburns Brush piles are located. Image titleImage title

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The lake level is 559.03 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/3 generators running most of the time. It looks like we will miss the storm all together. We did receive a very little rain yesterday afternoon. It was spotty with some areas close getting a pretty good shower and almost none here. We are to get a little more this afternoon and then mostly sunny throught the holiday weekend with highs in the high 80's. The lake looks to be in excellent condition for boating, swimming and fishing. Blackburns remained full until this morning with several boats rented. We have just a few in now and will reload starting thursday for the weekend. They just keep coming. Usually there is a slow period between when school starts and Labor day but not this year. More and more launching, parking, swimming areas and camping spaces are opening up everyday for day use areas and things should be about normal. It is just too bad that it has to happen at the end of the summer but the high water sure has not hurt the resort business. It has been as busy as I have ever seen it in 27-years. We have all had our Covid shots here and sanitize every cabin after every use. All cabins are individual with no duplexes and no common porches. All of our cabins have covered porches to get out of the sun and rain. You will have no trouble social distancing here. Our winter rates start next week  and you can get a cabin for $59/day for two people with 2,3,4 bedrooms priced accordingly. You can save hundreds of $ by staying here. Our big pool remains open until it gets too cold to swim and your first boat stall is free unless you bring the Queen Mary and require me to pull out one of my rental pontoons of which we have 11. I do not have much time to go fishing but am catching fish everytime I go. Bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill and catfish are all biting if you know where and how. We work hard putting in brush piles for our customers and they are starting to pay off now and will be better after the holiday. Spooning in brush in 30-32 feet of water is still the best early with some nice bass being caught near the bank in the evening.The holiday boat traffic will churn up the lake but it will clear again soon after they leave and the fall fishing will start. I am ready for that. People are catching fish everyday now though. 

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

Mixed bag caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 559.31 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours. They quit generating yesterday for 16-hours and have just started again. It looks like the track of the hurricane is going to go east of us and we may miss everything except a few showers tuesday. It looks like it will hit the Houma, Louisiana area, go through Monroe and skirt southeastern Arkansas and turn east through Tennessee. We have friends in all of those areas and wish them well. This is not going to be good especially areas that have just been devastated. They have had big rains and the ground is saturated and expect many trees to uproot causing power failures for extended periods of time. It is expected to start in an hour or so. Everyone not affected should count their blessings but can expect gas prices to rise quickly. Off-shore oil comes right through this area. I had 89 degree water in Blackburns creek again yesterday with just a little less on the main lake. It looks like the heat will diminish with highs to be in the mid to high 80's for this week. The heat has been relentless this month and it usually subsides about the middle of the month but not this year. The lake is in good condition for fishing, boating and swimming and looks good for the upcoming holiday weekend. Fishing remains the same with most species being caught and most on the spoon. The lake is full of fish and fishing will get better and better as the water temperature drops. We will see what the generation schedule is with the hurricane but I suspect it will be slowed way down. We will be ok unless we get a big rain but can take quite a bit with the dry conditions as long as it does not come too fast. We are in good shape now but are on the borderline. 

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

The lake level is 559.40 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generators running continuously. They seem to be alternating continuous one day cutting back a few hours the next in orger to keep the White River at Newport at 12-feet while dropping Bull Shoals as fast as they can. They need to do that as it has been very high all year and has been used as a holding pond to keep Table Rock low and protect Branson Landing. We have dodged heavy rains ot they weould not have been able to accomplish that and we all would have been high until winter. As of now the hurricane seems to be going east of us and just affecting northeast Arkansas. This could change but we could get some rain out of it next week. Tennessee, which has gone through some terrible rain, looks to get much more. I wish them the best. We are dry and could take a couple of inches with no trouble. I had an 89-degree surface water temperature in Blackburns Creek yesterday and 88 on the main lake. Our normal ambient high is 86 and drops fairly quicly as we get into September. I am finding several nice bass on the banks part way back in the creeks on bait fish which are everywhere. The rest are mostly on or near brush in the 30-ft. range. Very few are in deep open water. They have all they need in 30-ft. Oxygen, thermocline, cover and feed are all there. Creature baits and spoons are the baits of choice. Plastice worms are also working.

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

The lake level is 559.71 and has dropped about 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with several hours less generation than the day before. It is very dry here and we could use some rain but the oncoming hurricane does not have to move very far west to give us more than we need. We are right on the edge and should get some rain out of it next week. It is for reasons like this that the lake needs to be dropped to a level that allows for some rise. They have had all summer to accomplish this and we are now just getting most day use services and campgrounds back. It is a good thing we have had a dry late spring and summer or it would have never dropped with the current management policy. There needs to be a review of the minimum and maximum water releases from all of the area lakes. Just hold and hope is no plan. There is a difference between just holding water and flood control. The ambient temperature has moderated a bit with highs now in the low 90's and then get into the 80's next week as it should. The surface water temperature is about 87-88 degrees now and has been about the same for several weeks. It looks to be a very busy holiday weekend but the day use areas are in much better condition to handle it. I will be glad when it is over and hope everyone stays safe. More and more wood is showing up, especially near the shore on main lake points. Stay out in the middle and do not cut inside main lake points. Some of them go way out there before getting into deeper water. If you are anchoring and swimming around a boat make sure you are in about 20-ft. of water so you do not jump into a bunch of brush. A lot of it has line and hooks broken off. The fishing remains the same with shad moving shallow in the early morning and evening. The brush piles that were just right in depth are getting a little shallow now so you might want to look for some different ones that are still in 30-35ft of water no matter how shallow the tops are. There are few fish below 35-ft. When the water cools this will change and 25-ft. will be a good depth. Watch for pop up storms in the heat of the day about 3:PM from the west. If it gets black from there stay close to the dock so you can get in quickly. The evenings have been very nice with light winds. The fishing will get better and better until the lake turns over and that will be sometime in October. There are several big Bass Fishing tournaments all month and it will be interesting to see how the fishermen handle it. Some of them could have a hard time if all they do is beat the bank. I will bet on the Missouri boys from the West Plaines area. They know how to fish this lake. Especially for bass. 

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


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The lake level is 559.93 and has dropped a little over 3-inches in the last 24-hours. It has taken four days to drop the last foot. It is dry and we are needing rain again. Patton from Scuba Doo Dive shop put in some new dock cables for me yesterday and did a great job. If anybody needs some long steel cables in pretty good shape give me a call and you can have them. I replaced with stainess steel. We continue the policy of continued improvement here at Blackburns. People ask "at your prices how are you not full all of the time"? I answer "we mostly are". Others prefer to have high prices and stay nearly empty on the off season. Blackburns prefer to have low prices and stay nearly full. My background taught me to sell until you are turning people away and then raise prices not raise prices until the business goes away. I had one person tell me his business was down 10% last year so he raised prices 10% to make up for it. That is not our policy. We have mostly repeat customes and they are our friends and we do not want to charge them too much. It is hard to have friends when they are overcharged.  Blackburns continues to be the best value in the Ozarks and we know that. It is not because of any reduction in quality. We have everything here. Some smaller places with just a few cabins have to charge a lot in order to make a living or work outside the resort. We do not. We have great employees  and have to keep them busy all year and not lose them in the off season and start all over each year. It works for us and allows us to make things better. We are open all year and stay busy through November and then slows down but never stops. People come here for jobs, looking for real estate, waiting for deals to close, building a house, visiting relatives, fall foliage, fishing and just hanging out and most do not want to stay in motels and like the peace and quiet of our 28-acres in the country but very close to town, dining and shopping. They like to sit on their covered porch and watch the wildlife and birds in our bird sanctuary and fish off our dock or rent a boat. Fishing is excellent in the winter. As far as fishing goes it has not changed much. The lake is dropping, the moon is waning, the surface water is still 86-87 and is pretty clear for this time of year. Spoon those 30-ft. brush piles and work the bank in the evening with soft plastics. Bait fish are everywhere near the bank and big bass are coming in to feed on them. Early morning fishing is the best from about 6-10 AM. The walleye and crappie that I am catching have been in the same places for several weeks and have not moved and are staying where the oxygen is good near the thermocline where they can move into cooler water. Fish are not roaming and you can fish out a good brush pile if you keep pounding it. Catch a couple and leave some for seed. Smaller stripers are being caught trolling along with a few hybrids and white bass but it is hard to troll brush. I have never had so many both game fish and bait fish under my dock before. I feed them and the turtles and they are telling all of their friends.    

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

The lake level is 560.21 and has dropped over 3-inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generators running most of the time. More and more access and parking are opening up every day and we should be normal by the Holiday barring any big rains. This does not mean we are at a normal water level though and are still about 8-ft. high of where we should be this time of year.  Surface water temperature is 86-87 degrees and appears clear from the surface but visibility is not good under water. If you are scuba diving stay on rocky points on the main lake. Fishing remains the same with the high pressure and sunny skies and waning moon. Live bait trollers are still killing limits of small stripers while cutting their own throats. They are getting smaller and smaller but nobody seems to care. I guess they will just move on to another lake and clean it out also when finished with this one. I am only finding crappie on a few brush piles but they are nice ones. I try and limit my catch to three or four and then move on and bass fish. Bass and catfish stay alive much better for release than crappie and walleye. Keep spooning the 30-35 ft. brush piles and then move back in the creeks with creature baits in the evening for bass. Listen to KTLO 97.9 FM at 8:45 AM on thursdays (tomorrow) for "Live in the Boat" by Bink's Guide Service for a lake condition and fishing report in real time. He will let you know what is happening and give you the tip of the week straight from the Lake. He fishes only atrificial bates and you do not have to get up at 4:AM and try and net shad, keep them alive in hot weather in a round tank, have a half dozen rods in rod holders, down riggers, planer boarts, balloons and troll all over the lake. Just get a 6-1/2 ft. medium heavy rod with 8-lb. test clear line, a good baitcaster or spinning reel and a few spoons and head out. You will catch more and more fish as your spooning technique improves. 

Norfork Lake fishing report 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 title

The lake level is 560 74 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generators running continuously. It took four days to drop the last foot. The lake was pretty busy on the weekend but slows way down during the week with school started. Several are trying to take advantage of the sunny weather even though it is now hot again. They like the last of summer but the lower boat traffic. The lake and a swimming pool are the best way to beat the heat. The lake is in excellent condition for boating and swimming and several campgrounds and beach areas are opening back up and more should be available by Labor Day unless we get a big rain and conditions remain the same as they have for several weeks. Big rains have happened all around us and we have been very fortunate to have avoided them. Whie being very dry we have received just enough to keep things green. Everything is in good condition here and we would welcome your visit. Two weeks from today the last summer holiday will be over and fall fishing will begin with most boats being fishing boats. The time around Thanksgiving is always a very good time to fish Norfork Lake. The morning bite remains the best but some fish are starting to feed on shallow shad in the late afternoon and evening. A mixed bag of fish are being caught and overall fishing has held up despite the hot weather. Spoon in and around those 30-35 ft. brush piles on both main lake and secondary points touching either the bottom or top of brush. Cast the spoon if you see fish coming up and hop it back to the boat keeping it from sinking as much as possible.  

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

Mike Eakle with his two biggest ones caught yesterday. Image title

Thhe lake level is 561.07 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with much less generation. The lake remains in good condition for boating and swimming. It looks clear from the surface but the visibility is not so good under water especially on mud banks. There remains significant boat traffic on weekends with the summer weather continuing with no sign of going away with hot temperatures to continue at least all week. It is to be sunny and hot with highs in the mid to high 90's all week withj little chances of rain. The large crappie are biting pretty well for this time of year as are bass and bluegill. A few walleye, hybrid stripers, white bass and small stripers are also coming in. They just keep killing those small stripers and bragging about it. Many fish continue to hang out in brush in 30-35 feet of water near the thermocline during the day and bass are still coming in shallow to feed on creek minnows, bass and bluegill fry and shad in the evening. Bait fish are everywhere and nothing is hungry. Spoons are the best bait but you can get some bass trolling a big old bomber deep diving cranbait in the middle of the creeks like East Pigeon and Briar and letting it bump the bottom. Big bluegill are biting on crickets over brush and under docks. I am having very little luck using jigs and live minnows on crappie for some reason and am catching almost everything on spoons right in the brush,  

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

Caught earlier this afternoon. The school of fish under the dock is getting bigger and bigger. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 561.22 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generators running continuous. The surface water temperature is 86 degrees and just right for swimming and boating. I went out in the middle of the day for an hour and fished one brush pile in 30-ft. of water and caught four nice crappie, a kentucky bass and a short walleye all on the Bink's Spoon. Most of them hit on the drop right at the top of the brush. It was cool and cloudy today but has cleared off this afternoon. It is to be sunny and very warm for the next week. We received a few showers the last coupole of days but they did not amount to much except to keep everything green. Things are getting back to where day use areas are starting to open up and the lake should be in excellent condition for the Last Holiday of the season. Summer is still here though and shows no sign of going away. I usually catch more crappie on the Bobby Garland jig this time of year but not now. Also live minnows on slip floats are not working for me so I just stick to the 1/4 or 3/8th ounce spoon. 

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

First walleye.Image title

The lake level is 561.60 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with reduced generation. It looks like we will get to below 560 for the holiday and the launches and parking will be much better by then but the level is still too high. The surface water temperature was 86 degrees when I went out fishing for about an hour yesterday early afternoon. I figure if I can catch fish in August in the heat of the day I can catch them most anytime. I caught four nice crappie and stopped fishing for them because they were coming out of over 30-ft. of water and would not release. My friend in town wanted some so he now has them. I moved to shallower water and caught two nice bass and a walleye and came in. All fish were caught on the 1/4 ounce white spoon. I did try the crappie jig and slip float with a live minnow and caught nothing.  The rest of the fish were released under the dock. Not much has changed as far as fishing goes but I had expected striper fishing to get better with the full moon approaching but have not seen very many caught. Catfishing has been a little disappointing this year but will get better as the moon wanes and the lake drops slower. They always slow down generation when the power pool is approached so they do not lose some of the control to the power administration. They are both government so it really does not matter much. That level is 555.75 and has changed in the last few years and nobody knows why or how but it has gone up from 552. 555.75 is a good level but is only one big rain from getting too high again. They seem to like to keep it that way for another unknown reason. I would like to know how the % of flood storage is now calculated but again nobody seems to know and there is no accountability. The boat traffic has slowed way down on the lake now that school has started but a very busy Labor day is expected. Come on down to Blackburns and we will not charge you too much and we especially welcome Veterans and Police. Peace and quiet and the fall fishing season starts September 7th as well as Blackburns off-season rates where you will be able to get a 1-bedroom cabin for $59/day with a free boat stall. Not bad.  

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

Caught yesterday on the Bink's Spoon in 30-ft. of water. Image title

The lake level is 561 78 and has dropped almost 4-inches in the last 24-hours with about 1-1/2 generators running continuously. The surface water temperature remains in the mid 80's and is perfect for swimming and boating. It is to get warmer amd warmer until this time next week when it is to get in the high 90's again. It has been cool and cloudy the last couple of days. The thermocline is about 30-feet, the best oxygen is near 30-ft. and some of Blackburns brush piles are at 30-ft. and I wonder what depth and where to fish? Drop a Bink's 3/8th or 1/4 ounce white spoon in and around brush piles and you will catch bass, crappie and walleye. Let your spoon drop to the bottom , crank up about one turn and snap your spoon up about 3-4 feet and allow it to drop on slack line. Wait until your lure goes all the way down and the line is straight down before snapping up again or the spoon will hook itself on the line. Learn what it feels like when your line is fouled on the spoon or you will be wasting your time. If it does just reel up and shake your lure a few times and it will straighten itself out.  Do not allow your spoon to drag sideways or drift. Go against the wind with your trolling motor to keep your line straight down. If you try and troll with a spoon it will have a life expectancy of about 10-seconds. When you are spooning in brush sometimes the brush feels just like a bite but do not set your hook until you are sure there is a fish on it. The treble hook will keep the fish on there as long as you do not allow slack in your line. Then set your hook. All of this you miss if you just troll a crank bait plus you will miss a lot of fish. I am not seeing any shad in open water any deeper than 35-ft. no matter how deep the water is. Crappie all die when brought up from this depth and I quit fishing for them after catching three or four. Some very nice ones are being caught and I am catching very few throw backs otherwise I would not fish that deep. There is still a bass bite in the evening when they go near the bank to feed. I am using a soft plastic with no weight on a worm hook. There are a lot of bait fish there. Come on down to Blackburns Resort and Boat RentaL We will not charge you too much and our big pool with slide is open. Compare prices before you make a reservation and then give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115. Summer is not over yet. 

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

Susan Elyea from Gassville fishes off Blackburns Dock. Image title

The lake level is 562.05 and has dropped a little over 3-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 3/4ths the time. It has been a cool cloudy day with light rain but not much so far. It is really greening things up. Summer is not over and it is to get into the high 90's again later next week. I guess I will believe that when I see it but it could happen. The weatherman is never wrong. The Striper Club sent out a diddolved oxygen report and it showed good oxygen at 15 and 30 feet. That explains why many of the fish are at those depths. I do not expect much of a striper kill this year for two reasons. First, the dissolved oxygen has remaind good all summer and they did not go deep like normal. Most of the BOD is gone from the lake and a lot of the wood has died from previous high water years resulting in less decaying wood.  I am actually surprised of the amount of green buckbrush still left after the water has receded. Second, the most susceptible fish to a kill are big stripers and they are mostly gone. I like to be positive and this could be a good year for striper growth and the stocking program has resumed. It would be much better if people would quit killing the future by taking the small 5-9 lb. fish. Old habits are hard to break and very few people seem interested in having the big ones return. Kill a 5-lb. striper and cut out the red meat there is just about 1-lb. left. The larger crappie have been biting pretty well lately and even the trollers are picking up a few. They are in about 29-32 feet of water near the bottom and are biting the spoon best. They all die when coming out of 30-ft. of water especially when it is so warm so I quit after three or four and leave the rest. Taking pictures of huge striingers of any fish just make people look like gluttons. Walleye and bass stay alive better and I have been catching several of both and releasing them under my dock. The school keeps getting larger and larger. The children just love fishing down there and have a lot of fun. The surface water temperature was 85 this morning and the lake remains clear looking down from the surface but the visibility is not good at the thermocline and just above it. Find brush in about 30 ft. of water and drop a spoon. Many fish are there and you could catch about anything. 

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

Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 562.70 and has dropped about two inches in the last 24-hours with several hours less generation. The cooler weather has dropped the surface water temperature a couple of degrees to about 84 and the water is still clear. Spooning is the best now with walleye, bass and small stripers in the 6-7 pound range being caught still in 30+ feet of water near or in brush. Not much has changesd except the overall fishing is still just fair but some nice ones are being caught every day but not a lot. The early morning bite is the best but some crappie, bass and bluegill are being caught in the evening in front of brush near the bank on soft plastics with no or very light weights. There are a lot of baitfish there and the gamefish are moving to them as the sun goes down and the shallow surface water cools a bit. After the early morning bite the fish move back into the cooler deeper water as the suns comes up. We have received 35.35 inches of totasl moisture so far this year with an average of 45.30 for the year. They certainly cannot blame heavy rain for keeping the lake levels up as high as they have for so long. We received about three inces of that last week and it all sunk in as we were so dry and could use some more. The grass has really greened up after the last rain and Blackburns big yard looks beautiful again. We still have a couple of cabins open for the Labor Day and a couple of pontoons for rent. We had a group cancel yesterday. Call Debbie at 870-492-5115 as they will fill quickly. No sense paying more elsewhere unless you just want to or have too much money.

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

The lake level is 562.91 and has dropped over 4-inches in the last 24-hours with continuous generation. It is the fastest drop of the season but it still took almost four days to drop the last foot. It is amazing what can be done if they want to. It does not need to drop any faster but should have started much sooner. This 12-ft. rule for the level of the White River at Newport is stupid when the minor flood stage is 23-ft. They need to drop the lake to the mid to high 540's in the winter and let more out when they can in the spring and summer and not just hold. Nobody is asking to flood anybody out down stream but to manage the level better and not just hold water up until it is nearly going over the spillway. All lakes should have the same priority and not just keeping Table Rock low and protecting Branson Landing. It did not bother them to take away 1.75 feet of storage capacity for the minimum flow law that made it madatory to release water into the rivers for the put and take trout. This also forces discharge no matter how low the lakes go but that has not been a problem for many years. All they have to do to keep the lake from getting too low is quit discharging. The inflow from the Norfork River is ample to take care of the Mountain Home city water supply. That does not sound like flood control to me but it does help the rivers from drying up and promotes economic activity. They did an economic study of the benefits from the rivers to justify the minimum flow law and the same needs to be done to ascertain the economic benefits from the lakes. I suspect it might be much higher. Bass fishing is picking up as is crappie. Catfishing is only fair but some nice bluecats are being caught. Not nearly as many channels are coming in as in previous years.  Bluegill fishing is good with some very big ones being caught. Some stripers are being caught but they are getting smaller and smaller with people still killing limits of them. Taking pictures of small dead stripers is like holding a sign saying I am trying to eliminate striper fishing on Norfork.  Walleye fishing has dropped off a bit but Bink is still catching them. September fishing looks to be excellent so far once the last holiday of the summer is over. The surface water temperature is 86-87 degrees. 

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

Scuba Steve with some of the best ones caught yesterday. All were released under the dock.Image title

The lake level is 563.20 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with about 18-hours of generation. I do not know what to report about last night's rainfall. The weather watcher on Mallard Point reported 0.8 inches. KTLO radio reported over 2-inches and Tom Kelly reported 3-inches at Rolling Meadows about three miles away.  My rain gauge has been accurate for several years and I dumped it yesterday morning and had 4-inches in it this morning. That is all I can say. The creeks did not run but the road was partially washed out to the dock. All I know for sure is that it was a blessing and did not hurt anything. We needed it so badly but it rarely happens in August. I had to check out a boat yesterday about noon so I took two fishing poles with me. One had a Bobby Garland Blue Ice on a 1/16th ounce jig head and the other had a 3/8th ounce Bink's Spoon white with red eye and a black dot on the back. I went to a close brush pile known to hold crappie and cast the jig for about 20-minutes with no takers. The water was 28-30 ft. deep and the brush came to about 10-15 feet from the surface. We put several trees in there last winter from my property which borders the corps property. I then switched to the spoon right in the brush near the bottom and caught three nice crappie and two bass and came in after a little over an hour. There was nothing dramatic and the fish were not in a frenzy and my pole was not bent double and I did not lose any big ones but caught some nice ones.  We are so busy here at Blackburns that I cannot go fishing for very long and still run the business properly even though I have the best employees ever.  My time will come later after things slow down, if they do. We have been very busy since March with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rental in the area. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and especially welcome Veterans and Police. I have had a few encounters with the police but do not blame them and am smart enought not to resist arrest and pull a gun on them. Things work out better then for everybody.    

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

The lake level is 563.40 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with the same generation. We received 0.6 inches of badley needed rain here last night and it could rain more today and tomorrow. It was spotty and there was none downtown. It has cooled down with temperatures to get into the high 80's for a few days before a warm up again. It looks to be a busy weekend here on the lake with several people taking advantage of the last of summer before school starts on Monday. There is one more holiday in about three weeks and then the fishermen can take over the lake again. The lake level remains high but more and more land is showing everyday. 560 seems to be the magic number where most places have all services back but it does not leave any room for rain and could come back up. Just Ask Olatha, Kansas who just got over 8-inches yesterday. Glad it was not here. The clean up on the campgrounds will take some time and they are not in a hurry to do that with the summer ending and then just flood themselves out in the spring. I camped in a tent when I was in the Boy Scouts, again when in the service, bought a pop-up camper later and a motor home after that and a resort after that. No more camping for me. I am not much into pulling trailers anyway. I have 30-boats and rent one when ever I go any place else which is not often. Everything I want is right here on Norfork Lake but we have about all of the boat traffic we need here and do not need to try and get more people to visit. I would not live on Lake of the Ozarks if you gave the whole place to me and I could not sell it. I am all for some growth but this place is about as big as it needs to be. There will be more fishing boats out there now that the excessive heat has broken, the lake has dropped and the brush piles are coming into play for the fall. The fishing looks to be very good if things keep up as they are. Norfork Lake is clear and is full of healthy fish and they have plenty of baitfish to eat and game and fish is doing a good job of keeping it this way. Normal stockings have resumed after covid stopped them last year. We have all had our shots here at Blackburns.   

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 title

The lake level is 563.67 and has droped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with the same generation as yesterday. They are holding the White River at Newport at below 12-ft but the lake is dropping fast enough. It would have been nice to do this Four months ago. We have dropped almost 10-ft. from our high of 573+ earlier in May and have had below average rainfall since then.  We are very dry and may get some rain later this week and the hot spell may break. We could take a couple of inches of slow rain and not hurt anything. November is our wettest month. Trollers are dragging umbrella rigs from 30-40 ft. down no matter the depth of the water around Thumb point and catching some small stripers in the 6-7 pound range and a few hybrids about as big. These fish are only 3-5 years old and are babies.  They are killing as many small fish as possible to keep them from growing and replacing the big ones that are gone. A lot of people want stripers gone from the lake and this is a good way to do it. I am not one of them.  I liked it when I used to catch 20-pounders almost at will and several 30-pounders but those days are gone.  Bass sizes are getting bigger in Norfork lake and a six pound largemouth and four pound smallmouth  are getting more and more common. I do not know if the demise of the big stripers has anything to do with it but walleye are now replacing stripers as the go to fish but crappie are not far behind. There has always been a large number of cat fishermen here and I am one of them. Walleye, crappie, catfish and Kentucky bass are what I fish for most of the time. I release all largemouth and smallmouth bass. Most bass fishermen do this. The lake looks to be at a good level for Labor Day so far with most facilities back close to normal. Clean up will not be completed at most campgrounds but more of them will be open. Holding the water level high for long periods of time does not do anybody any good.  Try spooning in and around brush in 30-ft. of water in the morning for walleye and crappie and pound the banks in the evening for feeding bass. Catfish are showing up everywhere. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much. 

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

The lake level is 563.93 and has dropped a little less than 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 3/4ths the time. This is a pretty fast drop and it took four days to drop the last foot. It is very hot and dry but this should break a little this weekend with a 40% chance of rain and temperatures to drop about 10-degrees. Our normal high now is 90 degrees and has dropped one degree from it's high of 91. More and more brush is showing up on the shoreline and both the creeks and main lake remain clear. The surface water is now in the high 80's and is still rising again with the ambient temperature approaching 100 degrees. The lake is in good condition for both boating and fishing. The grass is turning brown and we really can use some rain. We could take a couple of inches of slow rain with no problem.  The dog days of summer end today and they are just about right on that, maybe just a couple of days off. I have to move my dock out again with the dropping water. It is important to not let your floating dock get grounded on the shore. Keep it floating or a wind will break off your walkway or bend or break your dock. We need the lake to drop four more feet to have normal services and no steps to the dock. At this rate it will happen before Labor Day unless we get a lot of rain and that does not look likely. Bass, bluegill, and catfish are being brought in everyday. 

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

The lake level is 564.23 and is dropping quickly with generation about 3/4ths the time and has dropped over 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. There were several boats out there yesterday with people getting in some boating before school starts. We have a group of good fishermen in and they are catching some nice catfish. Bluecats are the biggest but several smaller flathead are also coming in. I like them the best. Others are getting a few crappie but more large bluegill. Some Kentucky bass are sporatically coming up but it is not predictable. Several fish are suspended in the 30-ft. range no matter how deep the water because of the oxygen level and proximity to the thermocline. The only fish that go very deep in the dog days of summer are stripers and some walleye but I do not fish deep then because they all die when brought up and you do not know how big they are. I hope there is not a striper kill this year but we will find out shorly. Spoons are the best bite but you can also catch some if you drag a diving crankbait across them. If you are a troller (I am not) you can drag a deep diving crankbait part way back in the creeks and let it bump bottom in 25-30 ft. of water for bass.  Most threadfin shad are pretty small. Bass and bluegill fry from this year's hatch are growing rapidly and are numerous as are the creek minnows. There is plenty of feed out there. We will see what the White Bass population actually is when the water cools. We need them to make a comeback.  It is to stay hot and dry for the next several days but should get a little better next week. It is that time. Walnut leaves are falling rapidly which is an indication summer is about to start winding down. The surface water temperature is about 87 in the mornings and 88-89 in the afternoons. The main lake remains clear and the creeks are stained just a bit. Overall it is in good condition for boating and fishing. The fishing outlook is good for the fall. Blackburns remains very busy with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. If you have more money than you need you can stay here and donate the difference to Disabled Veterans.  

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

The lake level is 564.44 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation a little over 2/3rds the time. The hot weather is back and is to continue through this weekend and it is raising the lake surface temperature again to the high 80's. The creeks are clearing for some reason and a lot of the green stain is gone but that changes almost daily. The main lake remains clear. The dropping water is exposing more snags everyday and more of the brush near the shore is showing up. We just has a customer trying to get home late in the dark and tore the bottom off his pontoon. If this happens to you call Harold's welding. I suggest not being out after dark as the lake is changing everyday. The prop repair man is doing a brisk business and those fish finder transducers are not cheap. I will not fish a strange lake after dark anymore but seldom leave Norfork. No need to. The fishermen here are catching bluegill, crappie, bass, catfish and a few walleye. Several fish are about 30-35 feet down no matter the water depth. Look for cover.

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

Mike Eakle with some of yesterday's catch fishing Blackburns Brush piles. We work hard to put them in and they are paying off now. Image title

The lake level is 564.81 and has dropped a little over 3-inches in the last 24-hours with the same generation. The surface water temperature is 86 degrees and the water is clear for this time of year. There is still quite a bit of boat traffic out there especially on weekends but the number of fishermen is increasing. Most of the fishing is also about the same with one exception. The crappie are schooling more and have moved to the brush piles with the dropping water and are in a little less than 30-ft. of water. 1/4 ounce spoons are working the best but Bobby Garland jigs and slip floats with minnows are also catching some. They are in their normal places but have moved in a little earlier than before. September looks to be good crappie fishing but it is pretty good right now. Bluegill fishing remains very good as is the size. Most crappie are over 10-inches but not very many big ones yet. There will be. The lake turnover in October does not affect crappie fishing much and it gets better as the water cools. We typically get a little bumb in the lake level in November, which is our rainiest month of the year and they keep the White River at Newport still at 12-feet. Winter is the best time to catch the giant crappie and I only fish brush piles for them and bass at that time. Thanksgiving is usually prime time for both. Main lake points and just around the points in and next to brush in a little less than 30-ft. are all holding fish. It is very dry and we need some rain badly. The weather is to get well into the 90's this week but typically cools off after the middle of August. We will see. We need the lake to drop five more feet to get back to a good level but that does not allow for any rain. A level of about 548 going into the spring would be nice but fat chance of that. They like about 555 so we are just one big rain from getting right back to where we were. Just holding water is not flood control but nobody seems to care and are getting used to mismanagement. it is a good thing we have been dryer than normal this summer or it would take them until winter to just get it down a bit. It has not hurt the fish population any though and for most species it is as high as I have ever seen it. Blackburns still has the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals so come on down. We will not charge you too much. Veterans and Police are especially welcome. 

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

The lake level is 565.08 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 2/3rds the time. The same amount of generation is dropping the lake faster now as the level gets lower. It needs to drop about 5-1/2 feet to get most places back to a near normal as far as facilities are concerned. It will take a lot of work to get the campgrounds and swim beaches back into shape even when they are out of the water. They have just been submerged for too long. Cranfield, Bidwell and Panther Bay are the best beaches in the area with the best facilities when the water level is normal but just dropping the level does not make that happen. It takes a lot of work for the clean up and restoring the electricity and they are not in a hurry to do that especially after the summer season is over and school has started. Most of the time in the last several years they just let the level go back up in the spring anyway. Walleye, bass and bluegill fishing remains the best with a few catfish, hybrid stripers and small stripers being caught. There is a lot of competition for your lure with bait fish being everywhere. Creek minnows, bass and bluegill fry and shad are in high numbers. Nothing is going hungry. I started putting some brush piles in at lower depths the last few years with the new policy of holding the water level up so high and they are paying off now with some of them at about 30-ft which is perfect and at or near the thermocline where a lot of fish are located. Spoons, Bobbly Garland jigs and live minnows on a slip float are all working. Dragging diving crank baits and live bait around is catching some fish but you have to go a long ways to catch much and some days nothing. Overall fishing is fair and the lake is in good condition with a surface water temperature of 85 degrees. Some big bass are part way back in the creeks near the shore on baitfish in the evening. Morning bite at about 6:AM is the best. 

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

Caught on the Bink's Spoon.Image title

The lake level is 565.32 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 2/3rds the time. The main lake is clear and the creeks are stained a little green and the surface water temperature is 85 degrees with a thermocline in the high 20's and near 30 with cold water below that. The visibility is poor at the thermocline but there are quite a few fish at or near it.  Bass, bluegill and walleye are the best bite with a few nice sized hybrid stripers being caught and some catfish. The dog days of summer end next wednesday and the fishing should get better after the water cools. Some small stripers are with the hybrids. When you see a picture of someone holding a striper with it's mouth open it is almost always dead and not releaseable. Fish from about 5:45 AM to 9:30 AM, take the middle of the day off and go out again about 5PM. The morning bite is the best. We need the lake to drop about six more feet to get parking and access to be back to normal but that does not allow for any rise at all. Typically November is our wettest month but it can be our best fishing month. We catch a lot of fish here at Blackburns at Thanksgiving and you can get a 1-bedroom cabin for $59/day with a free boat stall. We still have two cabins open for Bass Cat tournament in October so give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115  before they are all gone and you have to pay much more elsewhere. 

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

The lake level is 565.63 and has dropped 3-1/3 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 2/3rds the time. The lake surface water temperature has also dropped with the cooler weather and is 85 degrees. It is to get hot again Monday. The walnut trees are starting to drop a few leaves and the days are getting shorter. You have to get out there at about 5:45 AM for the early morning bite. Kentucky bass is the best bite now followed by walleye and bluegill. Catfishing is not as good as it usually is for this time of year and I do not know why but some are being caught. It is hard to run limb lines now with the lake dropping everyday. I like to keep the live bait just under water and they have to be moved every other day. Throw lines and jugs are the best way now. Drop shot the jugs so when the weight touches bottom you are still fishing. Catfish do not like dropping water and full moon. When you have both of these it is just best to fish for something else. Flatheads will bite nothing but live bait and they are my favorite. Bluecats and channels will bite about anything. Some people are still fishing deep and killing stripers. If they fish here regularly they will be sorry but that is all many know how to fish. A 30# one used to be pretty big but now a they brag on 10-15# and there are few of them left. Most are in the 5-8# range. I wish they would drop the limit to two until they come back if they ever do. The stockings are back to normal but it depends on the kill late this month and next. I hope we do not have one but do not know what the oxygen levels are as I have no dissolved oxygen meter. The old shoreline has been flooded so many times for so long in recent years that most of the vegetaion and buckbrush is already dead and may not eat up all of the oxygen to decompose as if it was alive. We will see if people start seeing floaters later. I suspect there are many more that sink than float. It is sad when this happens. Over fishing does not help any either. Hybrids are still doing well though and I wish more of them were stocked. White bass fishing is getting better and needed to. They reproduce on their own. Norfork Lake has a high crappie, bass and walleye population and the fishing outlook for the fall looks very good. If the amount of fry in the brush is any indication the future looks good also. The water starts to get cool in the high 20's feet deep and gets cold at about 32-ft. where it is in the low 60's. The thermcline is a little gradual with a mud line just before and into it where several fish are located. Let you spoon touch the bottom at thirty feet and reel up a couple of turns as you get a little deeps for suspending fish. Bass are still coming to the old shoreline in the evening to feed on the bait fish in the cover. Big ones too. I have seen and caught more big bass this year than any year that I can remember.   

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

The lake level is 565.91 and has dropped a little less than 3-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 2/3rds the time. They quit all night and start up again in the morning. It took a little over 4-days to drop the last foot. The high was 573.11 in late June and has dropped an average of two inches a day drop since then. It is going faster now with the bowl getting smaller but the generation time is about the same most of the time. We have received below average rainfall since then. Bink reports being out everyday for the past several weeks and is catching a mixed bag of fish using the jigging spoon in the area of the thermocline at around 30-feet. Bass, walleye, good sized hybrids, white bass and small stripers are all being caught. He is using the 1/2 ounce Many Shad and Arkansas Shiner spoons and is using no other baits. He has caught several today as we speak. He is the only one that I know catching big walleye. Bluegill fishing is very good off docks, around willows and main lake cuts on the 1/8th ounce spoon using 4-lb. clear line. Crickets are also working but the spoon is also picking up some crappie. The lake surface temperature has dropped a bit to about 87 but will go back up with ambient temperatures to get near 100 by Monday. Blackburns big pool with slide and baby pool is very busy and is the center of the action. Volleyball, soccer, table tennis, shuffleboard, basketball, teather ball and horseshoes are all going continuously. It is fun having a big, green, flat playground and not huddled up on a hillside. You do not need tents here as all cabins have big covered porches. We have a couple of openings for next week so give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115. The children will have a lot of fun and meet new friends. Yes we allow fishing off the dock and have a lot of fish there and the children can feed them and the many turtles. Blackburns is the fun place and especially welcome law enforcement and veterans. You will be welcome here and we will not charge you too much. Most of our customers are repeat and are considered friends. 

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

Dave Titus with a nice bass released under the dock.Image title

The lake level is 566.14 and has dropped 3-1/2 inches in 24-hours with more generation. They started earlier and stopped later. The lake is 7-feet lower than it's high of 573.11 on June 22nd. It needs to drop another 7-feet to be at a manageable level and 12-1/2 feet to get to power pool. Below 560 we start to get normal launching and parking back but leaves no room for any rises.  We have had below average rainfall since June and they have done a very good job of holding the level up as high as they can for as long as they can. We have had wonderful weather for the last few days but that will end by the weekend with highs to get back in the high 90's. The days are getting shorter and at least it does not stay as hot for as long. When the overnight lows are only about 75 degrees you can expect it to get hot. The surface water temperature has dropped to the high 80's and the lake is in very good condition. There is still time for a stay at Blackburns before school starts. People ask me many times what are the best eating fish from Norfork lake? Walleye, crappie and bluegill are the best followed by Kentucky bass and flathead catfish. Everything else is still good out of this clean water, but not as good. The lake stays clean most of the time because of the rules concerning the land around the lake and continuous inflow of clean cold water from the Norfork River and when there is generation clean water is coming in from the north and exiting from the dam. The other is the buffer zone surrounding the lake. There are no row crops, cattle confinements or houses with septic tanks causing pollution of pesticides, herbicides and other wastes. Also there is no clear cutting of trees just for a lake view causing erosion. All of these things make the area lakes special. I do wish the dam at Dawt Mill was still there on the Norfork River. People are catching several nice bass and big bluegill here with just a few walleye and Hybrid stipers coming in. In years past there were always big stripers caught in August but none so far this year that I have seen. I do not fish deep in summer though. Come on down to Blackburns where you can social distance, cook out and have food delivered and 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)

Rum Binkley can teach a lot of us how to do a better job of Spooning. She can do it with a rod in both hands and hardly ever misses a fish. Image title

The lake level is 566.39 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24 hours with generation about 60% of the time. The lake surface temperature has dropped just below 90 degrees again with the cooler nights. It has to be really hot to keep it above 90 degrees but ambient temperatures in the mid 90's are coming back again late this week and early next week. This is normal for late July and early August. They are typically the two hottest weeks of the year. I do not complain about the hot weather as I have had my share of cold weather living in Minnesota and Maine. Cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing does not interest me anymore. Neither do black flies and mosquitoes and the absence of these is one reason why I live here in Northern Arkansas. The Purple Martins have left the area for the year and I miss them already. I love hearing and watching them and they keep the flying insects in check. We keep getting more each year and I keep adding houses. Blackburns is an official Arkansas State Bird Sanctuary and have many birds and houses of all kinds. Their feed bill is more than my grocery bill but I do not mind. Blackburns is full again this week with several boats rented but have a few openings for next week. There is still time for a short vacation before the children start school so come on down. We will not charge you too much.  Fishing has not changed except the top-water bite is scarce now and you cannot depend on it. Spoons are the best bait  and trollers are having a hard time. I do not do trolling and do not get much kick out of dragging several lines with rods in holders  using either live bait or crank baits. They miss too many fish and you do not feel the bite or set the hook at the right time. I can barely drive one rod without getting into trouble.  You can lose fish jigging the spoon also if you do not know the right technique. Drop the spoon to the bottom, crank the spoon up two feet per reel turn, depending on the datio, most are 2-1, to the desired depth. Crank your drag down tight. Snap your line up three to five feet and allow it to drop on slack line. Do not snap it up higher than you can set your hook even if they hit at the top. Many beginners do this. Set the hook good as stripers have a hard mouth. I have had several big fish come loose in the net when the line went slack even after I tried to set the hook and brought them in. After the hook is set loosen the drag quickly, keeping your thumb on the reel and then adjust as to the size of the fish. You cannot do this with the rod in the holder and this is why trollers miss so many fish and good spooners do not. It does take some practice but is worth it as we spoon for much of the year. It takes more practice to not lose spoons when fishing in brush but I will go into that some other time. I seldom lose spoons unless I hook another line than has been broken off and is still hung up in the brush. That is very hard to get out especially when the guy that lost his lure in the first place used heavy line or braided line. I never use braided line on Norfork even in stained water. I just put on 4-lb.clear flourocarbon on my crappie reel, 6-lb on my bass and walleye reel, both bait caster and spinning, and 8-lb on my bait caster for striper and hybrids. I feel more confortable bringing in a big fish on a baitcaster for some reason. Bink uses a little heavier on his bait caster and I used to but most of the big stripers are gone. I seldom get broken off, amost never. I only use a swivels on spoons to keep the line from twisting and no snaps. Everything else I tie directly to the lure. Re-tie after each walleye. Also Northerns but we do not have them here. Blackburns continues to be the headquarters for Veterans and Police and especially welcome them here. 

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

The lake level is 566.61 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. They quit all night and generate all day. The shallower brush piles are starting to hold some crappie and Kentucky Bass and they are hitting small spoons Under docks and the old shore line before the water rise is holding a lot of baitfish. Small shad a little over an inch long are everywhere as well as bluegill and bass fingerlings. There is plenty of food for the game fish. Bass fishing is still the best both early and late but more and more crappie are being caught. The only stripers that I see caught are very small. Walleye fishing has slowed a bit and catfishing has not been as good as in previous late spring and summer.  The hot weather has broken for a while with the cold front. We were to get rain last night and this morning but got very little. I had 0.2 inches. It is cloudy now but is clearing out. It is to remain in the 80's for several days with temperatures to get back into the 90's by weekend and hot again next week.  Average rainfall for both june and july are a little over 3-1/2 inches each and we have received about 1/2 of that. It is dry and the grass is starting to turn brown. August and january are our driest months and November is our wettest. I had a lake surface water temperature of 92-yesterday in Blackburns creek. It does not usually get higher than that ever. The lake in general is in good condition for both fishing and boating.