Last evening when I went out was the same as today. The creeks are clear next to the shore and stained in the middle. Main lake is also stained and you can see your lure to about 6-feet down. I saw more dying threadfin shad on the main lake but not too many. They are just a little over two inches long and very shiny. The bass were working on them just below the surface but all I could catch were smaller ones just at or just under minimum. Did not stay out very long. Just wanted to check out a boat and conditions. I am trying to get all of the boats ready for you to rent. Danny Hall from Independence Marine just completely overhauled the Ranger Motor and it sure runs nice. He is the best. The surface temperature was 38.9 and the level is 547.43 and dropping steadily with several hours of generation daily. Our normal high is 55 and low is 33. It is to be 40’s tomorrow and Monday and 60’s Tuesday and then snow again on Wednesday. Spring-like conditions are to be here next weekend. The lake usually rises in March, April and May and the current level has a lot of capacity to handle it. I seeded my whole yard before the snow and if snow helps grass grow, I will have a bumper crop. We do not have much snow but it just will not go completely away. Thanks to my brother David Street I am able to feed the wild animals with the Iowa corn he brought me and they are hungry. If you like to watch wildlife this is the place. Deer, turkey, rabbits, squirrels, road runners are at the feeders and the birds are everywhere. They like black oil sunflower seeds and I go through a bunch of it. I buy niger thistle seed for the finches and have dozens of them. Suet works best for woodpeckers and they are eating a cake a day. Downey, red bellied, red headed and Pileated are all on my porch everyday. It is a good thing we did many improvements on the resort with the warm early winter because there will not be much time for it now. We are booked very heavily for the last half of March already and if you want to get out on the water please call 1-800-635-0526 for a reservation to avoid disappointment or having to pay too much elsewhere. Be glad to have you. The Norfork Lake Chamber of Commerce, which I heartily support, will have a booth at the St. Louis Boat and Sports Show starting Wednesday. Come see what Norfork Lake has to offer and call Blackburns Resort and Boat rental to get the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals. A free boat stall is included with your cabin up to 10-feet wide. You do not have to go elsewhere to launch your boat and all cabins are individual with no duplexes and all have covered porches so you do not have to go be in the rain when you go outside to smoke or rig your lines. We sell fishing licenses on site. I will go out again tomorrow.
I started out in Blackburns creek on Brush piles at 22 feet and had no luck spooning. Moved out to main lake and found some deeper brush. The lake has dropped three feet since I put the new brush in and some are just a little shallow now. I have them at several depths to take care of this all during the year. The shallow ones will come into play as the water warms. The level now is 547.76 with continuous generation at various rates. If you have not checked your dock for a while better get on down there. The level normally starts to rise about now and we are at what I think is a good one. I get nervous going into the spring too high. When the sun set the fish began to bite. I caught three good bass, two crappie and a giant bluegill and they quit just before dark and I came in at 6:30. Nice evening. Released fish on my new brush under the dock. The main lake is much more stained than before as are the creeks. Good color for fishing. What I did see was a few lethargic threadfin shad near the top. It does not look like a big kill right now but should be good news for bass fishermen. Most of the snow is gone except for the north side of stuff. The surface water temperature was 40.8 Try again today.
The surface temperature continues to drop as does the level. It has dropped 2.19 feet in the last month and they are generating almost continually at different rates. We got thunder and lighting last night but not much rain. The ambient temperature is to be in the mid 40’s today. It is not there yet but it is melting rapidly and the small amount of ice on the trees is gone. We are doing better than most and the back roads are clearing up. The main roads have been clear from the start. It sure is not what we are used to for the end of February. We have some fishermen in and I have not talked to them today. Fishing has been pretty tough with just a few crappie and bass being caught. I have not been out for two days with several cabins being rented and a boat and blading snow. This cold weather is hard on boats. It is usually in the 50’s by now but not this year. I can deal with 40 but not 30. We could use some global warming.
It is exactly what it was last year at this time with the hard winter but it has not been so cold for nearly as long when we had Ice in the creeks. It will take several days to see the effects on the shad which get lethargic in the low 40’s and die under. They go to deeper water and do not have enough strength to keep from being drawn through the generators especially with heavy generation which we are seeing on Norfork Lake almost every day now. They will move to the creeks in shallower water later as it warms faster. We had a heavy shad kill last year and it almost destroyed fishing for several days with such an abundance of easy feed. A small kill or with temperature just low enough to stun them actually helps fishing as you can throw lures that look like threadfin shad with good results. A large kill helps spring fishing after the dead ones are cleaned up by predator fish and there are less bait fish to compete with. That is why Norfork had so good of Hybrid and White Bass fishing this year. When you saw schools of shad this year they almost always had fish under them. Even bad fishermen could catch fish if they had a good locator and knew how to read it. Shad can reproduce very rapidly in a large lake and need a kill regularly to keep numbers in check. Cold weather can wipe out a small shallow lake and will need to be reintroduced. They are not native to Norfork Lake but actually like warm water. We had too many. Before last year’s kill I could see acres of wall to wall shad several feet deep at the Mouth of Blackburns Creek and around Robinson Island making fishing very difficult. They would black out your fish finder. I am not sure how many float when dead or how many sink but they do both. The ones that are just stunned are usually the ones near the top. Bink lives just below the Norfork Dam and will let me know when shad start coming through. When they do get a small stick bait and go look for shallow shad near the Bluffs. You will be the first to know. Lake level is dropping and is at 548.43 with heavy generation. I like this level for the end of February.
Cold today and tonight with 50 and rain for later this week should get rid of most snow. We got 3-4 Inches with sleet underneath. The water surface temperature is 41 and has dropped 4-degrees and is what it was this time last year. We could possibly get a small shad kill and you would have never thought that with the mild winter up to now. The lake level has dropped to 548.72 with a pattern of generation in both mornings and evenings. It is 3-feet lower than last year at this time and that is good. We can take a big rain without raising the lake too much. When I went out last evening the creeks have stained up again and the bass have moved deeper in front of brush piles in 45-ft. of water And I caught them on a spoon. No big ones but several 2-lb. Kentucky Bass and two Crappie. They are not moving very far or very fast. I am not either. I did see one other boat out there but things are not crowded. Fortunately I was able to plow out our road from the Highway 62 to the dock with my Kawasaki Mule and blade. At least our guests can get to town. They are not fishing but looking for property to buy. The county showed up to plow the road on the second evening after the snow. Thanks, the sand helped with the road freezing again after sunset. Hope I did a good job winterizing. Tonight will tell. I will go out again before the front comes in on Saturday. It does not look like spring will be coming early or the spring Striper bite. You will be the first to know.
We just do not need any Ice, but it looks like it will go south of us. But the snow will not. It was 62 yesterday and I was out putting in brush piles. We sure have some good ones and are just about finished. Fishing should be good soon. Striper fishermen are having a hard time now and should be following the birds (joke) but bass fishing is good. The lake is clear and open water fish are roaming and hard to find. It does not matter since it will be too cold for me to fish starting tomorrow. The ice fishermen can have the cold weather. I had enough of that when I lived in Maine and Minnesota. Our surface water temperature is still 45 degrees but that should drop if it snows much. The lake level is dropping fairly quickly with continuous light generation for over two days and has dropped to under 549 to 548.93 and is still higher than it usually is this time of year when they typically lower it in anticipation of the spring rains. It usually starts to rise in the last part of February. We will see. It is in good shape now. It will not be long before the night bite for stripers will start as they go to the long shallow banks to simulate a spawn. There are some very good ones close to Blackburns resort and Boat Rental. We have a lot of customers who love to fish for them. Bink says March 15 and he is usually right. You can fish for walleye on shadowy banks with soft plastics before dark and switch to a stick bait at dark for stripers. The walleye will have spawned by then and moved back down stream to the deeper water. The walleye population continues to grow on Norfork with about a half of million stocked in 2014 by Missouri and Arkansas combined and many short ones already there. The size minimum is 18-inches with a limit of four. I got most of my big ones in late May last year but they bite well in late February and early March part way back in the creeks as do big crappie and stripers on jerk baits in the morning. When the surface temperature hits 50 in the creeks the fishing will open up. Make sure your stick baits run true. I like Husky jerks best 5-inches long suspending some with light bottoms and light green tops for moonlit nights and clear water and some with green bottoms and black backs for cloudy weather and stained water. Put on some clear 6-8 lb. line on your spinning reel and take off all of the snaps, swivels, leaders and spider line and come on down. We will not charge you too much.
The first of the week they are predicting snow of 1-2 inches. We will see, but I do not like the low temperatures. It has been a very mild winter so far but is not over yet. I do not suggest a fishing trip for Monday through Wednesday. I was planting grass seed yesterday and saw big buds on the Bradford Pears and the Lilacs have leaves. This will not help them any. At least no Ice and no frost in the ground. The lake level is still dropping slowly at 549.43 and they have resumed their pattern of heavy generation in the mornings and evenings. I had a surface water temperature of 45.9 in Blackburns Creek last evening and the water is clear. Some of my new brush piles are holding fish already and that is good. We will finish off the job when it warms up. We put in a new love seat with a built-in recliner in cabin #5 yesterday and it joins a new easy chair put in a few weeks ago. Looks good and is very comfortable. Debbie painted the pool deck and about everything else including all of the newly renovated porches. I do not believe the Resort has ever looked better. You will like it when you get here. I am spending every penny I have on it. I would not mind a little snow to get my grass seed started. March and April are booking up fast already. People with a long winter are ready to get out on the lake. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
So far we have had an excellent winter with not enough snow to cover the ground. They started generating heavily this morning and the lake level is 549.43 and dropping just slowly. The water is getting clearer every day. The best fishing right now is for bass with all three varieties being caught. The surface temperature has been in the mid 40’s for some time and has not started to rise yet. The warm days warm it up a few degrees and the cool clear nights cool it down a bit, especially in the creeks. I am fishing banks next to the main lake part way back in the creeks with grubs and spoons near brush and catching some good fish everyday. Most fish are following shad now but some are on brush. We have been working very hard to get the resort ready for your trip. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.
We put a new sofa in cabin #1 and Debbie Stained the dock floor. We rebuilt the pavillion rails and supports and put on a new gutter. Things are shaping up well. I have been mostly getting boats ready for spring. I have been using the Nitro all winter and everything is well on it so far. Good boat. Bink has been using the Fisher for several weeks until he gets his new one. I am putting new trees under the dock today. It is busy here and we start to fill up around the 7th of March so there is not much time left. We appreciate our hundreds of repeat customers. The lake level is 549.55 with no generation for two days. The surface temperature is still 45 degrees on the main lake with several degrees of variation back in the creeks depending on the ambient temperature and sunshine. I went to the weigh-in for the Winter Bassathon and they did pretty well with several boats bringing in over 15-lbs. They have one more tournament on Bull Shoals later this month. Those guys are good bass fishermen. The lake is in excellent condition. Wish you were here.
It was our first one of the year and did not cover the ground. It is to be sunny and near 70 for this weekend and nice for a whole week. We almost finished putting in brush piles yesterday and have some good ones. John Bornhop was great help and he now knows where they all are including a few new ones. We will show you when you get here. We are saving a couple to put in later. I did not fish yesterday but there were several boats huddled up under the 62 bridge when we went by but did not see any fish caught. The lake level is 549.54 and still dropping with morning and evening generation. The water is getting very clear so when this happens check out the creeks and try to find stained water for bass. With the very warm weather coming the creeks will warm up much faster than the main lake and there will be fish there. I am ready for the springlike weather and hope it holds. We rebuilt the porches on 12 and 14 and installed a new wall heater and ceiling fan in 14 yesterday. Debbie is painting everything and Blackburns resort and Boat Rental continues to be the best value in the Ozarks. Come visit. We will not charge you too much.