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

Illinois Bass caught fishing with Bink's Guide service yesterday. That is a big one.Image title

The lake level is now 557.15 and has dropped a little over one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. They have got the White River ar Newport down to 14-feet now and are not letting much out. Let the hold and hope begin. We are to get more rain tomorrow afternoon and significantly more on Friday night before the next front leaves. We can expect a lake rise but it is pretty dry and we can take some but not a lot and they will surely quit generating when the rain begins like they always do. They like to magnify the effects. The lake surface water temperature has dropped below 60 again with the cold nights but we can expect it to start rising again early next week with ambient temperatures to get into the mid and high 70's with lows in the 50's. A lot of fish are wanting to spawn bad and many male crappie and bass are on the banks making nests. I have not seen any schools of fry that have been hatched. The best bait right now is a creature bait, either a crawdad or 3-inch worm on a jig head thrown into the buckbrush. Some are using paddle tail grubs. I am using a twister tail tipped with a live minnow. It is a beautiful day today with a high in the early 60's and sunny. It is to cloud up this afternoon. The lake in general is in good condition and the clarity is just right for fishing. Things are on hold just a bit now with the fishing needing a little warmer water for the top water bite and spawn to get in full swing. It got down to 33 degrees in town last night and several degrees colder down here in the valley near water level but it was not quite a record. The normal high is 72 and low 47 and it will be good to get back to that. People are catching fish everyday though.

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

Fish of the day released under the dock.Image title

The lake level is 557.25 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The White River at Newport is now 15-ft. and it keeps lowering as does the discharge. It was a cool and blustery morning yesterday and got worse as the day progressed. There were a few rain drops and then a few snow flakes with a strong north wind by afternoon with dropping temperatures. The cold front came in with a vengence and the skies cleared by evening and it got cold with a low of 29 this morning. It was a record low. Global warming was not a problem. The high pressure has settled in now with sunshine with lighter winds but still breezy and cool with highs to only be in the 50's. It is to be in the high 70's again by later on in the weekend after another cold night tonight. Another low pressure is to move in later in the week with a good chance of rain before the weekend. The lake is dropping, the water temperature is dropping and the fish do not know what to do or at least what I think they should be doing.  I went out to a known walleye point and caught no walleye but some big crappie on the spoon in 17-ft. of water near the bottom and they were full of eggs. I have not a clue on why they were on the main lake in deeper water. No wonder trollers are catching them. Another thing. Where are the big schools of shad? Before and after the shad kill in February they were everywhere. Then they were in the backs of the south facing creeks with the south wind being predominate and had a lot of fish on them. They were coming in under my dock in March and filling the stalls and attracting crappie, bass and catfish. Now I have none except some big gizzard shad around my underwater light. I did have a big school of bass about 4-5 inches long come in under the dock yesterday and I also do not know where they came from. They had to be last yesr's hatch but did not grow very fast. With the large amounts of shad and the warm summer I would have though they would have been larger. They could have been Kentucky's but I could not tell. Everything is just mixed up this spring. Black crappie spawn first and the black crappie that I am catching are still full of eggs. They like to spawn just a little deeper than the light penetrates and just out of the clear water. I do not know how they can do this with the creeks going from clear to green overnight and then back again with the changes in generation, wind and boat traffic.  I do not kill very many fish but I am finding no spawned out anything except for walleye. There are very few big White Bass compared to two years ago but the few that I am catching are still full of eggs and they should have finished spawning by early March at the latest. Largemouth Bass eggs hatch in two days at a 72 degree water temperature and five days in 66 degrees and we have not reached that yet and the temperature is going in the wrong direction. The big bass that were under my dock pre-spawn feeding on bluegill left for a few days when the water warmed and are now back. It is hard to figure out what is going on if you are not out there every day. It is fun to figure things out. Maybe I should just tie on a lure and drag it all over the lake until I catch something. It does not work for me but to each their own. Things they are changing but a lot of fish are being caught. The one thing that is not changing is the price at Blackburns. You can still get a cabin for $59/day and your first boat stall is free here. We do not promote smoking but if you do you do not need to bring an umbrella to go outside. All of our cabins have big covered porches and all are individual with no duplexes. Duplexes are ok if you are lonely and need close company with your neighbor but other wise not so good. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. 

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 557.35 and has dropped an inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously now for several days after both being run for a couple of weeks before they cut way back. The White River continues to drop and the discharge flow reduced while holding the area lakes to a very small drop. Newport is now 15+ feet heading to 14. I still remember what happened the last of April in 2017 and that time is approaching.  Southern Missouri is to get some snow tonight and we are to get cloudy this afternoon with a dropping temperature and then clear off with heavy frost tonight and a lighter one tomorrow night. It could devastate the fruit trees and ornamental shrubs and bushes but is not unusual. Most of the fish continue to be back in the creeks and many have not spawned yet with the cool weather and a surface water temperature hanging in there at just below 60 or just above for several weeks. The water in the shallower creeks is varying a lot with the rollercoaster weather. It warms quickly in the sunshine and drops with the clear nights and cool temperatures. Bass and crappie want to spawn bad and a few more are doing so everyday but the majority have not. The bigger bluegill are starting to move in under the dock but are not nearly ready to spawn yet. They need about a 10-degree warm up. People are now bragging about slaughtering big bass and that is certainly something to be proud of. Not. Most good sportsmen do not kill bass, at least largemouth and smallmouth, but some people still do. Remember the possession limit is just twice the daily limit and that is five. They are not stocked here like stripers and hybrids and are not considered put and take like trout and red meat fish. What we need the most are more carp and gar meat hunters. Several Striper Fishermen have turned into crappie fishermen by necessity. It will be hard for them to troll for crappie when they move to the brush and then plan three will have to be implemented but I wish them luck. 3-inch swim baits, 2-inch grubs, jigs, creature baits are the best lures now and gitzits for sight bed fishing are best for bass. Spook puppies and spitin image are the best for top-water. Walleye are biting both spoons on the main lake points and in the brush with the bass. The lake is clearing with the the stable level and is an excellent color for fishing. The overall Norfork lake condition is good as is the fishing. The warm weather will come. Taking things easy is not hurting much. Listen to "Live in the Boat" with Darrel Binkley of Bink's Guide Service Thursday mornings at 8:45 on KTLO radio 97.9 FM or on TV cable channel #5 for a what is happening right now report. 

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

Dave Titus with some of yesterday's catch. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 557.45 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. They are dropping the White River at Newport quickly and also dropping the discharge while drastically cutting the lakes dam discharges. Newport is now at 16 feet heading for 14-feet and then 12-ft on May 8th. The idea is to keep the area lakes one big rain away from high water instead of creating a little capacity and then hold and hope and then open the flood gates after the crops are planted downstream. They have been able to accomplish this goal in most of the last several years so it must be what they want. When asked about this all they have to say is the dams are doing what they were built for to hold water. My question is why not hold a little less in the winter so you do not have to hold so much in the spring and summer? At least they have Table Rock at power pool so Branson Landing does not flood again They got enough flak from that a few years ago. It is all about the $. The other lakes are several feed above power pool. It is to be a nice day today with a high near 70 but then the cold weather moves in Tuesday night with freeze warnings. This is not unusual for this part of April. Cold fronts move in and out a couple of times a week from February through April. Look for a couple of nights with lows in the 60's for the top-water bite to really take off. The post spawn bass will be really hungry and will come up almost every day. Now it is just mostly on clear mornings at sunrise. A lot of bass are still full of eggs and have not spawned yet but some crappie have but not nearly all of them. Pigeon, East Pigeon, Briar Creek and Float Creek are good places to start. Grubs tipped with minnows, Bobby Garland jigs and 3-inch swim baits are catching a lot of fish on the bank in the buckbrush. Spring walleye fishing is as good as it has been in several years with more keepers showing up than the last couple of years. Some are on the bank with the bass and crappie in the creeks and some are on the main lake points in 14-16 feet of water on the spoon. Pretty much all of the fishermen here at Blackburns are catching fish. About 1/2 of the people here are fishermen. Others are building houses, constructing businesses, looking for property or just relaxing and enjoying nature. The forest canopy is filling out fast and many plants and trees are blooming and it is a beautiful time of year. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. You can save anywhere from $30 to $60 per day here with no diminished quality and in most cases better. A lot better.  

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

Scuba Steve is the winner of the 27th annual Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental Invitational with over 18-lbs. He has won every year. Image title

The lake level is 552.52 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running full time. The level of the White River continues to drop and has fell another foot to 17-ft. and heading towards 14 now and 12-ft. the 15th of May. Do not expect much if any drop if we get any rain and a rise if we do. The lake is clearing nicely with the slow drop but the surface water temperature is staying the same or dropping a bit in the backs of the creeks with the cool weather. It is to get very cold about Tuesday night with a chance of frost and the daytime high is to struggle to get to 70 for the next week. It will take just a couple of warm days and nights with the lows in the 60's to bring the shad near the top in the creeks and really get the top-water bite going. It should be here by now but we could go right into summer anytime after next week. There is a little early action now but not very much and not very long. The bass fishing was pretty good yesterday and the fireworks tournament was won with over 15-lbs with 75-boats entered. Blackburns guests said they finished about in the middle of the pack but lost a couple of big ones in Pigeon Creek which would have placed them right up there. The bass that I caught were all full of eggs and out from the bank a bit in deeper water. I do not sight fish during spawn but a lot of people do. The bass and crappie spawn are not in full swing yet but more and more are in some stage of it every day. Both bass and crappie will continue to spawn into June especially Kentucky Bass. Spooning for walleye is improving on main lake points in 14-18 ft. of water in front of brush. I am just not catching very many White Bass but the ones that I am catching that are of any size are full of eggs but that is not unusual.  I do not target them but they are fun to catch on top-water. More should start coming in soon if it ever warms up and it will. They are just like the stripers and there are not many big ones left or at lest what people that have been around here for a while would call big ones. Bass, crappie, catfish and walleye are the best bite now but bluegill are starting. They spawn when the water temperature gets into the 70's on sunny warm days sometime in May and then move in under my dock and are a favorite of the children fishing here. I feed them and they are in there by the hundreds and big ones too. The ones under there now are only about 4-5 inches long but there are lots of them and draw a lot of big fish including catfish and pre-spawn bass. If you want to feed the fish use chicken feed because it sinks slowly and also floating catfish food. If it is windy the floating stuff will float away but the chicken feed will not and they hit it going down and the catfish eat it off the bottom. When there is light wind the bass, crappie and bluegill will hit it on top. This is a time of transition and you have to be out there everyday if you want to stay on top of it. Norfork Lake is full of big healthy fish and we all want to keep it that way. It is being managed well and the stockings are to be realized as before the covid junk hit here and maybe we can get back to normal. We at Blackburns have either had their shots or in the process of getting them and hope you do too. We need all of our customers and have lost a few due to covid. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.