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

The lake level is 556.02 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generators running less than 1/2 the time. They are trying to keep the lake levels up as high as they can for as long as they can and have almost let the White River at Newport dry up. It is now at 7-feet. I know of no rule that says regulate the White River at Newport to 7-feet in September but rules do not matter unless they want them to. We are at a good level now but are just one big rain away from being too high again and it is happening all around us and we have been lucky to avoid one. We are still very dry and can take a couple of inches if it does not come too fast. The surface water temperature is 82-degrees and dropping very slowly and the lake is in excellent condition. Fish are not "stacked in" anywhere but the same places seem to be holding some fish. The old phrases that I do not use like "on fire" "stacked up," "in a feeding frenzy" are not the case here now.   I am catching some everytime I go out but some days are better than others. I keep trying my usual Bobby Garland jigs, grubs tipped with minnows and slip floats with minnows and they just are not working. About the only thing that works for me is the spoon. You have to drop it right on their heads and get reaction strikes because they sure are not hungry with all of the bait fish around. All of the fish that I am catching are very fat. The walleye usually slim down this time of year after being deep and lethargic all summer but not this year. They have remained relatively shallow near the thermocline and have all of the oxygen and food they want. The same thing with the temperate bass. I do not expect a significant striper kill this year because of this and the fact that most of the ones that usually die after a high water year (the big ones) are already gone. I will be the first one to admit I am wrong if dead stripers start floating all around the lake. I hope it does not happen. The people that are still fishing for them are dragging umbrellas, live bait and Rapalas and are having a tough time. Spooning for walleye was doing well but not so much now. The big ones have moved but I have not gone looking for them as I am happy to just catch crappie, bass and catfish close to home. I go through a tank of gas in about a month and my old boat sucks it up pretty good. Fishing is just fair but steady and the best places are main lake points and secondary points with 30-ft. brush. Give a place that marks fish a chance and do not just fly in there, fish for 10-minutes and fly back out. Fish are spooky. Let them calm down. Use light clear line and 1/4 or 3/8th ounce spoons and coast into the brush slowly and minimize the use of your trolling motor. If you put your trolling motor on anchor and have it struggling to stay in the same place and running all of the time the fish will spook and not bite. I cannot afford that feature anyway. I spend all of my money on resort improvements.  It might work for deeper fish that are feeding in open water on shad later in the year when the water is choppy but not now. Take it easy and give the places holding fish a good chance to start biting. I can always tell when a person will not catch fish when they say "I threw everything in my tackle box at them and they still won't bite". You have to use what works and stick with it and try about one different thing at a time if it does not work. If you keep changing when they start biting you will have the wrong thing on. You do not need a big tackle box for Norfork. Just the right stuff. I switched to the 1/8th ounce spoon and 4-lb. test line in 34-ft. of water and started catching more fish this morning in brush and did catch one keeper walleye. Top water fish were coming up but mostly small bass. I cast the spoon at them. I will try the spitin image for a bit tomorrow. It works better for bass than the spook.