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

The lake level is 552.76 and has risen two inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. They are holding the White River at Newport to eight feet and letting the lakes rise. There can be no excuse that spring rains are responsible for the lakes getting high when they have had ample time to lower them. It is like they want the water high so they can close the campgrounds and flood the farmers after the crops are planted down stream. I went out yesterday and spent most of my time checking things out after all of the ice went away. The water temperature was 42.5 to 43.5 on the main lake depending if you were in the sun or not. The water has stained up again and you can see your lure down only about 2-feet unless you are near the shore. There is moss growing on the rocks near the shore and makes it hard to keep your lure from fouling if you are fishing there. The prevailing south wind had blown the shad up into the creeks facing south and there were a lot of them. The ones that are stressed cannot resist the wind like normal and cannot move to warmer water on their own. The birds were scarfing up dead and dying shad near the surface and they were everywhere. The wind had changed directions and came from the north west with the new cold front coming in but was not enough or had not been doing it long enough to move the shad. I went into echo point creek and it was full of shad in about 40-ft. of water 20-ft. down. The schools came almost to the surface. I spooned into the shad with no luck but did not have a stick bait on the boat. There were just too many bait fish stressed to make it very likely to get a bite. I tried a grub and minnow which is my go to bait when fishing is tough and still nothing but moss near the bank. I went back in and got a couple of 5-inch suspending rogues and a 6-1/2 foot medium heavy rod with a baitcaster reel. You need the rod a little stiff to get the right action on the lure. I went to a steep river channel bank that had dead or stressed shad on or near the surface and staying as far as I could cast to the bank, did so and cranked the lure down a few feet and let it set for several seconds and then jerked three times and let it set again. The idea is to simulate a dying shad and make it more appealing, bigger and  easier to get than the shad.  You are in competition with a lot of other baitfish so this will not be easy. You should pick up bass, stripers, hybrids and walleye in this manner. The stressed shad will continue to die for several weeks after they are first affected by the cold even when the water warms and this method of fishing will be effective as long as you see stressed shad or even if you don't. I caught a couple of bass and had to come in at 4:pm. No picture fish. Some people just left and fished hard and only caught a couple of fish. It was a nice day and it was good to be out after all of the so called by some, beautiful weather, was over. It was not so beautiful when the propane company came and filled my three tanks. If the electric company does the same I will have to cut down on food to pay the bill but I will not raise resort prices on anything and Blackburns continues to have the lowest price on both cabins and boats in the area and plan on keeping it that way. I wish everyone else would follow my lead. It would make it easier on everybody. Some have raised their prices again and will raise them again in March for the so called spring rate. We do not do so until Memorial Day. You can save a lot by staying here or just stay longer with the same money.  Compare before you book. The stripers that are left will move to the banks on the flats to simulate a spawn just before the full moon in March at dark and can be caught on the same stick bait but fished a little different. They always do just before the top water bite starts. I do not kill stripers or fish for them deep so I do not know their egg situation but their timing and places are pretty much the same every year.