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

The lake level is 553.92 and is dropping very slowly with generation about 1/2 the time. The spring rains are to start later this week and continue through most of the weekend with about three inches possible. The only ones that are surprised with this are the Corps of Engineers who are holding the area lake levels up as high as possible for as long as possible and implimenting their hold and hope policy. They will probably stop all generation when the rain starts like they usually do to maximize the rise. Hold, hold and hold is their name and open up the gates and flood everything out downstream is their game. They have to want this to happen or they would not do it year after year with no adjustments. Fortunately we are getting dry again with no rains for a while and below average precipitaion for this whole year so far with a burn warning. We can take a couple of inches of local rain with not much harm but we do not need heavy rain in Missouri in the Norfork River Basin. The lake level should be at 548 or less now, about six feet lower, and there have been ample times to achieve this. The weather was beautiful all weekend and it is to continue to be about perfect until about Thursday. The wind was about 5-10 from the south when I went out yesterday and a little gusty. The predominately southerly wind for several days had blown the shad back into the south facing creeks and they were everywhere near the shore in about 12-20 feet of water and some schools were from the bottom to the top of the water column blacking out the fish finder. The water was clear in some areas and stained in others but was mostly clear near the shore. I found no brown water. I talked to Binks who is fishing the south end of the lake in Big Creek and he reported finding exactly the same thing down there with the same surface water temperature of about 49 which is exactly what I found. It really did not matter where I checked it was the same wheather far back in the creeks or on the main lake. He was spooning and jerk baiting like I was and caught a few bass but nothing to brag about. The same for me except that I have this one brush pile on the main lake facing south that is good for one or two crappie but no more. Mostly one. Out in deep water on the main lake is mostly barren of fish. The shad are lethargic and easy for the predator fish to catch and they are stuffed. They certainly are not hungry. Normally these slow shad would be easy prey for the big stripers and they would clean them up quicly as in the past but the big stripers are almost gone and this difficult fishing could last longer than normal. People are now taking pictures of 8-10 pound stripers and bragging on them like they used to do with a 30-pounder. I guess they will continue killing them until they are all gone. Bink says it will change quickly when the water warms and the shad quit dying and I hope he is right, he generally is. I think it will be more gradual and take more time but he has been here longer than me and knows more than I do. He has seen it all several times and catches fish when nobody else does and that is the measure of a good fishermen.  Newbies coming here when the fishing is good and they catch a lot of fish and all of a sudden they think they are a guide. If you need advice on bass fishing check with some of the old time Lake Norfork bass fishermen. They have seen it all and pretty much catch fish all the time. Go to some of the local fishing tournaments and talk to them when they weigh in.  Several of them will be in old Champion boats with new stuff hanging on it. I had lost my confidence yesterday and decided to spoon in the shad until I caught a good fish. I dropped it down to the bottom and gave it small jerks and let it sit while reeling in very slowly towards the surface. I caught a shad almost every drop and they varied from about two inches to almost four inches in lenght. Some were very large for threadfin. I did catch a couple of crappie and about a three pound bass and came in. It was about as slow as it gets but the weather was great and it was nice to get out. Now back to work. It is really looking nice here at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental and you will like what you see when you get here. Especially the price. Some are raising prices not only for the year but raising later again this week again for the season. We are not doing this and there will be no price increase on anything again this year despite insurance and lumber prices skyrocketing. It is hard to hold prices but we are doing it. It is for our regular returning customers of which we have many and appreciate but new customers can take advantage of it also. Why pay more unless you just have too much money? If you must pay too much just stay here and give the difference to disabled Veterans. They need it more.