Norfork Lake Condition and Fishing Report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

Pat and Karen Whener and Jim Bornhop with some of yesterday's catch. Image titleImage titleImage title

The lake level is 553.51 and has risen 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The surface water temperature was 66 degrees in the beautiful sunshine and light winds when I went out yesterday afternoon. I had to catch a few bluegill and crappie for my friend who is a shut in and he loves bluegill and crappie. So do I.  I fished two brush piles for a total of about 2-hours and caught a mixed bag of 8-fish including 4-each very large bluegill and four not so large crappie. No picture fish but I had already posted a huge bluegill that I caught earlier in the week. My flip phone does not have a camera but I forgot to take it with me anyway. I also do not have a selfie stick and do not take pictures of myself with a fish held up by my face. I have never even seen a selfie stick but am trying to move into the 20th century. The seagulls are about ready to migrate back to Norfork. People buy $3,500 fish finders with down imaging, side imaging and live scope, $3,000 trolling motors with transducers, spot lock and that self deploy and then follow the birds. Better yet add a couple of $1,500 power poles and then beat the bank and do not use any of them except that they can put the trolling motor in without having to do anything. See how the self deploy works after you take off and forget to put it back up a few times. I do forget my marker bouy quite a bit and have to go back for it. If you do this you better hurry to go back to get it beacuse people pick them up quickly even though they know they do not belong to them. If you see these just leave them alone.  It is good to add a few hand painted crank baits at $25/each and then they are ready. I just use my old X-135 to find brush piles with fish, a plastic marker buoy to mark them and put on a $4.00 1/4 ounce jigging spoon and go against the wind with my trolling motor to stay on the brush. If the rope breaks on my trolling motor I just use my finger to slide the little silver rod to release it. I have actually had fishermen cancel a trip and go home because their trolling motor would not self deploy. My point is that you do not have to spend a fortune to catch fish. I paid $2,500 for my boat 10-years ago and I still like Champion boats.even though they have not made them now for a long time. My fish locator was given to me by a guest that upgraded and I bought my trolling motor for $200 used from a person who also upgraded. 24-volt trolling motors are good but I have no use for a 36-volt. Three batteries are enough for me to keep going let alone four. My old 175-Hp 2-stroke Mercury motor goes pretty good and it does use a lot of gas but I do not have to go far because we work hard to put in brush piles close to Blackburns. We own 28-acres of cedar forest and just cut them and drag them to the launch. A tank of gas lasts me about 2-3 weeks if I go out every day but I take off slow and barely go on plane and then go about 30-miles an hour. If I was in a hurry I should have started sooner and I use my trolling motor most of the time and do not troll with my big motor or have a kicker motor. All of this being said I do catch quite a few fish and do not spend much money and go too far but have a good time. We fish all year long here at Blackburns but often wonder if people paying $70-80,000 for a boat still have payments during the winter when they put them away. The lake did not clear any yesterday and may have had a little less visibility. The fish that I caught were in 18-28 feet of water and near the bottom on the 1/4 ounce white with green back and a black circle. One bass was caught but immediately released. Fishing overall is just fair now but the lake is in good condition and at a good level. Blackburns still has $59/day cabins and your first boat stall is free.