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

The lake level is 553.12 and has risen 2-inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. They are holding the White River at Newport at 8+ feet and I have reports from below Calico Rock that it is nearly dry there. There can be no logical explanation for this except there may be some mechanical problems on all of the generators on the area lakes and they are rusted shut from lack of use. It is about March now and the spring rains will begin. Holding the lakes up so high this winter gives them a better chance of holding and hoping and shutting the generators down everytime it rains and being able to open the flood gates and flood everything out down stream after the crops are planted. They can inflict more damages that way. There has to be better ways to manage things but you cannot expect much. I got a bill yesterday in the mail and it was delinquent before I received it and had been in transit for 16-days. The Post Office is about the same as dam management. You cannot expect much from anything run by the government. They cannot even keep the worthless minimum flow siphon working on Norfork Lake. The lake surface temperature is not rising much with the cool weather and is in the low 40's. It was to get up to near 50 yesterday but was lucky to break 40. It was to quit raining yesterday afternoon but drizzled most of the day. It was not the best day. The water is still stained. I talked to umbrella trolling fishermen and they are struggling to say the least. Live bait is not working either but that can be expected when this happens. The best way to catch anything now is the jerk bait and the jigging spoon but they are not setting the world on fire. I am going out for just a couple of hours after work and am lucky to catch a couple of bass. No picture fish. I cannot get a crappie to bite and they are on shad like almost every fish in the lake. The bait fish are moving slow now and are easily eaten.  Every fish that I am catching are stuffed full of shad and spitting them out. There has been no generation for days and therefore no current. Most of the dead shad are sinking rather than going through the generators like normal. When they do generate a little just below the dams are full of them and predator fish and birds are feeding like crazy but that has not happened in several days with nothing coming out of the generators. Healthy shad are always schooled but the stunted and dead ones are at the mercy of the wind which is often variable and swirling and scattering them out. There are still at lot of shad left and they are filling the creeks facing the prevailing winds part way back. Some of the damaged ones will continue to die even after the water warms. You have to use the spoon or jerk bait and simulate a dying shad as best you can to catch much. The game fish are not on the brush now unless a school of shad happen to go into it. This shad kill has happened several times since I have lived here and things will get better but it will just take time. Bass will be the best bite for a while and more and more walleye and big crappie will start showing up hitting that jerk bait near the bank until the stripers and walleye move to the banks north of Cranfield Island near the walleye rearing pond and also on the flats just north of the dam at dark. Then use the same lure as a stick bait and again stay as far from the shore as you can cast a 5-inch suspending Rogue or Thunder stick and crank it down three or four turns and with your rod tip down retrieve very slowly just fast enough to have steady action. Check your lure out before dark to make sure the action is correct and it is not pulling to the side. If it is adjust until it is working properly. If you do not you will be wasting your time and say the fish are not biting and you will be correct. When this bite is over then the top water bite will begin in early April and get good about the middle of the month. Learn how to walk the dog with a spook for red meat fish and a spittin image for bass. All of these things happen every year and the only variable is when. High water does not affect fishing much except if there is mud and trash when it rises too fast. Then there is a problem. When this happens I start catfishing. I like catfishing too.