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

The lake level is still rising and is 553.18 with no generation and we received 1.2 inches of rain with more to come. There is very little wind, no storms or lightening just a slow gentle rain. This is good going into the winter to keep the ground moisture high. The low pressure is good for fishing and you can catch white bass and a few hybrids almost at will. I wish people would keep the white bass, which are almost at an unlimited number and put the small stripers and hybrids back. Our supply of big ones is dwindling because of two things: First there seems to be a kill-off of stripers in the heat of the summer every year due to lack of oxygen. We see the ones floating but have no idea of the number of fish sinking. The second is that fishermen are getting more adept at catching the red meat fish. It used to be that most striper fishermen trolled live bait but that has changed.  First there was the increase of using the umbrella rigs, which are very effective, most of the time and second the use of the jigging spoon has increased dramatically and is even more effective. You can stay on the school of fish with the spoon and not troll over them and come back and try to find the schools again. With the umbrellas and spoons you do not have to get up in the dark and net shad, have special bait tanks and aerators to keep the shad alive, and buy expensive trolling equipment like down riggers and cannon balls. I alway felt like a clown watching baloons and saw them all over the lake. In those days Gerry Sperry and Jim Nichols were known to catch big stripers almost daily with 30-lb fish not uncommon. I took over the Norfork Lake fishing report in about 1999 after the death of Sperry, who had done it for years, at the request of Gary Cooley who was an internet innovator at that time.   There was no other report then. Now several people write reports so I quit, except for my blog, which is to let our many customers here at Blackburns know what is happening at the resort, lake and area. One or two week old reports are not any good anyway and are now just used for free advertising.  It used to be the norm to take pictures of many dead fish lined up on the dock floor or on large stringers with the sign on them because it took a good guide to get them. Now fishermen are more savy and the fishing pressure has increased for the hard fighting stripers and hybrids. I wish they would cut the limit to two fish. Catching stripers in the 5-9 lb. range is no accomplishment but killing them for meat is destroying the future.  The fish started biting for me at 4:pm last evening as the rain decreased and I caught some very nice crappie and bass and all were released. We will see what today brings. There were a few boats out there in the rain yesterday and the weekend brings on more fishing pressure. We have a very nice lake and it is in good condition now but I am concerned about the level going into the rainy season. We should be 5-6 feet lower but there seems to be no inclination to do so.