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

The lake level is 553.21 and there is just enough generation to keep it stable. They could drop it if they wanted to. Many things are different this year than in the past. It is impossible to predict when things are going to happen. The surface temperature is still about 50 degrees and has been for many days. These cold nights have been keeping it from rising. I will not write a report on what I think will happen but what is happening. First the river ran brown for several days this fall and I have never seen that before except after a big rain and only for a couple of days. They kept the lake level up very high all year and did not drop it until late summer. In the winter when the lake gets very clear usually, did not happen. It would start to clear one day and turn very green the next. There is moss in the water and that happens very rarely on Norfork. Also there is foam on the bank, which is a sign of pollution, and that also very rarely happens. The receding water left a lot of BOD and debris on or near the bank and it sucked the oxygen out of the water resulting in a fish kill for several big stripers. Now, with the lake level back to normal, we have our choices of green water, yellow water, or brown water depending on where you are located on the lake. Brown water is a result of the big rains we had in February that took two weeks to reach the Red Bank and Cranfield area to past the 101 bridge. This has stayed here for at least two weeks with no generation to move it on downstream. This happens many times but usually clears out in three or four days. Not this year. The crappie were biting great until the brown water got here and then they moved off the brush and got scarce. The bass were with them and they left too. There is some good water color in several creeks but no clear water. What is happening now is some smaller bass are on the bank, mostly Kentucky, with largemouth also scarce, and some white bass are biting in the brown water, but not many. Big smallmouth were biting well but also have slowed. Some small stripers are biting near the bank on a Bink's spoon cast to them and hopped back to the boat. Some are also caught trolling a live shiner but you have to troll a bunch to catch a couple A big one is 10-lbs. Hybrids are biting better but they are usually with the white bass this time of year. It will be interesting to see when the stripers move to the bank to simulate a spawn this year. Full moon is again this month on the 31st. It was also on the 1st. I am not predicting this either but it will happen. People talk about the big walleye run up the river but I see only a very few caught and they are mostly undersized. I usually catch several in the winter but have only caught a few and they were undersized.  Not worth the trip up there. Crappie have eggs but I am not seeing blood in them yet indicating a near spawn. I do not know if they will move to the brush before spawn or just go into the creeks and spawn and move to the brush to feed on other bait fish after. Now many of them are in open water on shad and there are a lot of shad. The big ones will spawn first and move to the brush after. That is when you can catch several very large crappie. After the smaller ones spawn they will also move to the brush and dilute the number of big ones. You will catch more, but not very many giant ones. Fishing is not great now but the lake in general is in good condition and Blackburns has some very good fishermen in and are working hard to catch some. Things will change fast when they start. You can still get a one bedroom for two for $53/day and a free boat stall. You only have to pay more somewhere else if you want to or have extra money. Stay here and give the extra to the disabled Veterans or donate it to cure cancer.