Steve "Scuba" Street's BLOG

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

Dave Titus is back and catching crappie. Image title

The lake level is 553.41 and has dropped about an inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running about eight hours. We missed the heavy rain that was predicted so far and most of it went south out of Norfork's watershead. I measured about one inch total in the last three days and it all sunk in with no runoff. It is not over yet but nothing serious should happen tonight and it is to clear and warm back up early next week to the 50's. The surface water temperature is about 48-49 depending on when and where you check it and is about normal for this time of year. When the surface temperature drops below 40-degrees the threadfin shad start to stress and the fishing gets easier. This does not happen every year and I prefer it not happen. I like a good steady supply of both gizzard and threadfin shad and do not think there can be too many. Too many does make fishing much more difficult but that just creates a challenge. It is fun to catch fish when nobody else can and the game fish have all they want to eat all of the time and all fish are healthy and fat. We have a good supply of shad on Norfork lake now. The local wildlife biologists indicate normal stocking will resume this year and that they have requested 154,000 striped bass, 44,000 hybrid striped bass and will be operating the walleye nursery pond this year. They almost always get what they request and this is very good news and a great start to getting the big striper population back on track.  What we do not need is high water for an extended period of time in late August or early September causing low oxygen and fish kills on the larger stripers. Otherwise we will become an 8-10 lb. striper lake. We are almost there now. They might be able to sell that to some pilgrims but people that have been here and experienced the great striper fishing in the past are not buying it. I sure hope it comes back. I would like to see the limit dropped to two fish per day instead of three and outlaw trolling umbrellas and promote catch and release until they come back. Bass fishing continues to be good on grubs on steep banks near deep water. Crappie fishing has slowed but some nice ones are being caught and the hybrid stripers are hanging in there. I am glad we have them. They take stress better than stripers. The White Bass are making a comeback and needed to. Catfish are still being caught. December can be out coldest month here and we will see what 2021 brings. I am looking forward to it. There are a lot of fish in Norfork and I am catching some evey day. 

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

Tom Kelly with a couple of nice bass released under the dock.Image title

The lake level is 553.52 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with about 4-hours of generation. We are to get three inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday and it would have been nice if the lake was lower before this. They have had weeks to do so but refuse. The surface water temperature is just about 50 degrees and has dropped slowly. The weather was nice yesterday with little wind and all people caught fish. Everybody released their fish under the dock and none were killed. There are a lot of them under the dock now. The water is still stained a little but not bad. Good for fishing. Bass, crappie, bluegill, white bass and a small striper about 9-lbs were caught.  They were mostly on or just outside brush at 20-40 ft. and hitting the spoon but some nice bass were caught on the grub near the bottom in 30-feet. It was nice to have light wind and calm waters.The days are getting longer now and that is good. We are getting a lot of work and improvements done around Blackburns getting ready for spring. You cannot wait for it to warm up as it gets very busy here in March. We will see what heavy rain does to fishing but it is dry and should not raise the lake much unless we get a lot in the watershead north of us and they completey shut off generation like they usually do when it rains. It should be ok but if we were at 548 and it raised 5-feet we would be where we are now after the rain instead of 558. They like to keep us one big rain away from causing trouble. It must be fun for them. Otherwise they would not have to do it. The lake right now is in excellent condition for fishing.  

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

James Soltysiac with a couple of big fat ones caught yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 553.62 and has risen one inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. They just keep holding for no reason. The surface water temperature is near 50 and the water is stained a bit and just right for fishing. It was a little windy yesterday but not bad. It was easy to get out of it. There was a good bite for bass, crappie and walleye on brush anywhere from 18-ft. to 40-ft. on the spoon. Blackburns has several fishermen in and they all caught fish. All of our cabins were full with people taking advantage of the lowest prices in the area and free boat stall. We are open all year. Bass and crappie fishermen are really catching some nice fish.   It has been warm for several days and is cooling some with rain scheduled for Wednesday. Maybe the clouds will cover the big moon. Blackburns people are busy making improvements and will have no price increases next year. You will like what you see when you get here and we will continue to be the best value in the Ozarks. We have a lot of repeat customers and do not want to charge them too much. Your first boat stall will continue to be free unless you bring your own pontoon. We have 11 of them to rent with several of them being fishing pontoons. It is hard to believe it is almost January already and spring will be here before you know it but we have a lot of fish to catch before then. 

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

One very nice crappie caught on the Bink's spoon yesterday in the 65+degree weather. Caught bass and Hybrids also.Image title

The lake level is 553.53 and is still rising slowly with one hour of generation. It does not look like the level gauge on the White River at Newport is working properly but there is not much water there. Why they are keeping all of the area lakes up this high in the winter is anybodies' guess. Most likely a lack of foresight. It most certainly is not because of rainfall. The lake is at a good level for fishing now though with brushpiles at perfect depth. There are still some people out there targeting the big stripers that are left and catching and killing very small ones less than 10-lbs. I guess they will not quit until they are all gone. I sure hope covid does not inhibit stocking this year. If we have high water and low oxygen again this year striper guides had better take up crappie and bass fishing  I had to make a quick trip up north and visited a friend in Kansas City and he took me fishing. The lake was very near and was called Hillsdale Reservoir. It was not great big but nice sized. It was just a little over 50-ft. deep and the surface water temperature was in the mid 30's. We caught walleye, crappie and white bass but no largemouth. It was the first time that I had fished anything but Arkansas area lakes in several years and was fun. Nice lake and was not crowded but I would not drive that far to fish it.  I do miss the fly in trips to Northwest Ontario for walleye that I used to take almost every year before i moved here but do not miss the black flies and mosquitoes. Having none here was a major reason for me relocating 25 years ago.  It is great to be outside at dark and not have a cloud of mosquitoes and black flies on you in the summer. We here on Norfork Lake are very fortunate where you cannot walk on our water or drill holes in it. The surface temperature was 50 on the main lake when I went out yesterday afternoon. I caught crappie and bass and even caught one keeper walleye. All of Blackburns cabins are full now but we will have one opening starting tomorrow. Several fishermen are in but also construction people and others visiting family. The weather has been beautiful with above average highs most of the time with a few cool days mixed in. The water is stained a little but a good color for fishing. Fishing overall is just fair with bass fishing being the best. A few hybrid stripers are being caught in the 5-lb. range and some crappie. Every once in a while a walleye is being caught but not nearly as many as earlier. There were a few trollers chugging around yesterday but I did not talk to them to see if they caught any. I am not into trolling. Most people were bass fishing. Bink caught some nice ones. 

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

I just had some people just cancel a vacation this week because they had a trolling motor that would not self-deploy and it was the holiday and they could not get anybody to work on it. I asked if it could be manually deployed and they did not know. I do not know much about self-deploy but I remember when I was deployed overseas and I did not like that very much. People do not have to know anything about fishing anymore just buy your way into it. What you need is a live scope to find the fish and a locator with 3-D side imaging and gps that puts your boat in auto pilot and has a remote and automatically take you to a desired location. The trolling motor must self-deploy and have a so called anchor or spotlock that keeps you in one place all the time even if the wind is blowing. A remote is also necessary so you do not have to get out of the boat seat or have to pull the trolling motor in or out of the water. Then you can locate fish and drag an umbrella through them until a fish bites.  They need to take it a little farther and have self-deployed rods and reels into a rod holder that automatically reel in fish with a robotic arm that swings them into the live well that automatically sets water temperature and oxygen level. The fish locator must find the fish automatically and interface with the trolling motor to stay on it no matter where it goes and sets the boat speed so the umbrella is constantly on top of the fish. This way the so called fisherman does not have to do anything except sit in tha captain's seat take a video of his catch so he can brag about it. He does not have to know anything except make them bite and nobody has figured that out yet but some are much better than others. I catch a lot of fish and do not have any of these things. I still use a marker buoy to mark brush piles and let my line out to the bottom and reel it in one turn for 2-feet to set my depth depending on my reel ratio. Nothing compares to the initial bite, setting the hook, bringing a fish in on light line, catching fish when nobody else does and letting them swim away. I will never cancel a fishing vacation because my trolling motor will not self-deploy. There must be a manual way to get them down. My goodness.  Trolling for fish is hit and miss anyway. It is like carpet bombing.  I use mine to stay in and out from the bank or on top of brush without using my big motor. I fished for years with neither a trolling motor or a fish locator and did quite well and nobody even heard of remotes. We had to get up to change the channel. Knowing when to go, where to go, what to use for bait and how it is presented will always be the most important. 

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

Two of several caught yesterday and released under the dock.Image title

The lake level is 553.51 and has risen a little less than an inch in the last 24-hours with about two hours of generation. The new news is that they have dropped the White River at Newport to 3+ feet and they can barely launch a river boat there. It looks like they will run the river completey dry before they drop the area lakes for the winter. They are determined to keep them up as high as possible for as long as possible in order to make them flood next spring and early summer. This is worse than incompetence. The ambient temperature was in the low 60's, surface water temperature 53+, visibility was about 5-feet and the wind was from the south at about 10-15 MPH when I went out yesterday and the fish were biting. I saw no other boats on the lake. I was catching bass, bluegill and crappie fast and then the wind shifted to the northwest, increased in velocity with big white caps and it got black in the west. It took just a few minutes for the storm to blow through with some heavy rain and then the sun came out. The temperature dropped about 20-degrees and the fish stopped biting. I mean completely stopped. I ducked into an empty dock stall until it was over, fished about thirty minutes until sunset and then came in. I ended up catching about 10 crappy and a half dozen bass and a couple of very large bluegill. Still no walleye. It is to get very cold tonight  and cool tomorrow and then warm again the day after Christmas. This cold weather should really help the bass fishing but the moon getting bigger and will be full on the 29th and the high pressure just getting here might not help things. One thing you can be sure of is the cold fronts do not help anything but fishing gets better and better until the next ones gets here. Cloudy days with a light south wind, no moon and the lake rising slowly are my favorite. The days are getting longer finally. The lake overall is in excellent condition. I am not seeing as many schools of shad as I was.

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

Caught yesterday on the 1/4 ounce Bink's Spoon in 30-feet of water on brush. Image title

The lake level is 553.44 and is stable with very little generation. They are holding all of the area lakes up except Table Rock which is still dropping and keeping the White River at Newport almost dry at 7-feet. Why? Nobody knows and there is no accountability just incompetence. It is a good thing it has been dry. It was windy on the main lake yesterday and is again today with cold weather coming for Christmas and then warming again right after. The surface water temperature is hanging in there at about 54 degrees and the lake is stained a little but you can see your lure down about 5-feet if it is a light colored one. The lake in general is in good condition and fishing is just fair with bass and crappie being the best bite. A few temperate bass are being caught but very few have any size and people are fishing hard and long to find them. Sometimes two or three days to find one feeding school. I sure hope this Covid goes away so the game and fish can get back to their regular routine of stocking. With the increased fishing pressure, fishermen learning how to catch them trolling unbrellas and live bait, and low oxygen kills in late summer the big ones are rapidly decreasing and getting smaller. I have been catching several spooning just outside brush piles but most are under 20-inches. We can get the big ones back with good stockings and no high water for several years. I am releasing all red meat fish no matter the size and not fishing deep water for them. It does not look like we will get back to where we were for several years but I would like it if we could. I caught crappy yesterday and will try for bass today. Walleye are eluding me as of now but I have released litterly hundreds of them this year so I at least know some are there. The undersized ones numbers are high but more and more larger ones are being caught every year. A cold front is coming through and we will see what it does to the fishing with the moon getting bigger. At least the days are now getting longer and that is good. Blackburns has two cabins not rented now and would welcome your visit. Better than setting on the sofa and you can social distance and not get near anyone. Your first boat stall is free and all cabins are individual with no duplexes and all have covered porches. 

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

The lake level is 553.48 and has not changed very much in a couple of weeks with little generation and they are holding the White River at 7+ feet and it is almost dried up and the area lakes are being held as high as they can for as long as they can so there will be high water again this spring and summer. The surface temperature was 54 again when I went out with Bink's yesterday. You could see your lure down about 5-feet. The lake clarity is about the same whether you are near Blackburns or in Big Creek.  We were checking out different places and different methods of fishing. We went to a steep bank part way back in a creek near deep water used the grub for bass and caught a few and then tried spooning brush anywhere from 17-40 feet of water and caught more bass. It slowed and we went to open water fishing in about 35-40 feet of water and found some scattered fish but no big schools. Sometimes they were near the bottom and sometimes 25-feet down. We did not want to fish deep water and kill any caught fish. We caught two stripers, two white bass and a hybrid in about one hour. One fish was a striper on one side and a hybrid on the other. I have not seen very many of those. We released all fish all day immediately after catching and did not get any picture fish. It was a beautiful day with a high near 60 and variable winds from about 5-10. Pretty good for near the end of December. The shortest day of the year is now over and we are headed in the right direction. After January 1st. spring is on the way. We talked to some people trolling for stripers and they said they had been fishing for three days and had caught one fish over 20-inches and one hybrid. I still have not caught a walleye for over two weeks. That was really what we were looking for except for when bass fishing. I will try for some crappie today. It is to cool Christmas day and then warm again. I am not catching a lot of fish in brush like I was earlier and the fish sometimes bite on a spoon and sometimes not but that is not new news. It happens this time every year. The water temperature needs to drop about 3-4 degrees to really get the winter bass going well. They are only fair now but bass are the best bite on the lake presently. 

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

Caught and released under the dock yesterday. This was the biggest.Image title

The lake level is 553.48 and is stable with no generation for almost 24-hours. It has been in the 553's for a month and it looks like that is where they are going to keep it and not draw it down again this winter. Maybe it will change if they need electricity in the Southwestern Power area and it does not rain much but it seems that they want the water level high going into the spring if they possibly can and blame high water on the rain which everybody knows will come except for the Corps. Their motto it still hold and hope and then open the gates. The surface water temperature is still almost 53 degrees and has only dropped 10 degrees in the last month and has dropped very slowly but steadily. It is now at winter bassin temperature and there were several boats out there yesterday taking advantage of the mild temperatures and no wind. Several people caught fish and everyone here at Blackburns caught several. The people still fishing for stripers in deep water also caught some fish on live bait in the 8-10 lb. range and seemed proud to do so. I guess they will be happy when they are all gone but I will not be. It has not been that long ago when a few 40-pound stripers were caught and a 30-pounder was common and now they are killing and taking pictures of fish less than 10-lbs. It is not impressive. You cannot pretend that bringing up fish that are 50-60 down will survive. Just do not fish for deep fish until they come back. There will be plenty of top-water fishing in a few months and they can be released. Learn how to catch other fish until then.  I Iike the fact that Norfork has so many different varieties of fish and brings in fishermen from all over with different wants. When one species is not biting very well you can catch others. That is a good attraction for the area.  20-years ago it was hard to catch a good walleye and now they are common and the numbers are on the rise. It was about in 1998 when diving was much more popular than it is now on Norfork that there was a year-long fishing tournament at the dive shop. Only one keeper walleye was speared that whole season. Now with the reduced visibility due to the high water and dive shops closing due to low numbers of divers, the ones left on Norfork are doing much better now with the increased fish population and would come back if the visibility came back. We need several normal water level years and the resumption of fish stockings to bring back the striper fishermen and scuba divers and the elimination of Covid to bring back the people in general.  The overall fishing on Norfork is just fair-good and bass fishing is the best with crappie and bluegill next. Some red meat fish are being caught but they are trolling miles to find them with Hybrids about as big as the stripers. I am glad we have them. I have not caught a keeper walleye in a week and am out there every day. 

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

People ask about Black Nosed Crappie. Here is a couple of views showing the black lines from the front of the dorsal fin to the nose.Caught yesterday.Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.43 and is the same as it was yesterday at this time. They are generating just what is coming in from the river and nothing more and keeping the White River at Newport at a little over 9-feet. Nobody can figure out why they are doing this and are not likely to find out since there is no accountability. The surface water temperature was just under 54 and the ambient temperature was about 50 when I went out yesterday. The wind came up in the afternoon when the front came through, layed down after then and is supposed to get windy again later. You can get out of it sometimes but the wind blows through the old river channels no matter which way it is coming from and that is where I like to fish this time of year. It makes it hard to see your line and tell when you have a bite for bass, especially in the winter,  and when that happens I switch to crappie fishing. At least you can drift back and forth over the brush piles with your jig. I found some Arkansas Black Nosed Crappie, caught a few along with some small white crappie and came in. When you get into some small crappie it seems that is all that is biting there and the ones that are the same sized are schooled in the same place. The sides of the mouth are paper thin or thinner and you will lose the big ones if you are not carefull or happen to hook them in the top of the jaw. They will not live if you catch them in much if any water that is over 20-feet down. I saw on TV where people fishing salt water had this device that took the fish back to the same level that they were caught from and released them right away before the bends kills them. This might work for our catch and release people that are fishing deep water. Crappie caught in 25-35 feet of water look like their eyes will pop out and never make it so if I am not keeping any fish I simply do not fish deep water even though it may cut down on the numbers caught. It is cloudy with light winds and a temperature of about 50 now and a good time to go fish. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental is set up for fishing and is your go to fishing resort. We have different sized boat stalls for different sized boats and your first boat stall is free and have two fish cleaning stations. All cabins have big covered porches and there are no duplexes.  We are out there almost everyday and will let you know what is going on on the lake before you get here.

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

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The lake level is 553.42 and is the same as yesterday with very little generation. All of the area lakes are either stable or rising slowly except Table rock which is dropping so they can protect Branson Landing from flooding next spring. The surface temperature was exactly 54 and the lake looked stained but you could see your lure down about five feet when I went out yesterday. It was sunny with light winds and a very nice day. I saw four boats out there and three were from blackburns. Fishing was slow but everyone caught fish. Mostly crappie. They were in 30-ft. of water on brush. The sides of their mouth are paper thin and you have to bring them in very slowly and use the net. I use true turn or Mr. Crappie hooks to try and catch them in the upper jaw but it does not always work. I like the #4 red ones. Jig heads are usually straight hooks and there is not much you can do about where you catch them. We are catching mostly black nosed crappie for some reason now and were catching the big white ones. Most of the black nosed ones are stocked which shows how important the stocking program is. I sure hope it gets back to normal next year after the covid vaccine gets to everybody. Bass are not stocked and seem to have a good population with several big ones. We are getting more and more 4-lb.smallmouth and several people are now releasing them. Releasing big fish is better than stocking little ones. More and more people are realizing the low numbers of big stripers and are starting to release the ones they are catching instead of taking pictures of dock floors full of dead small ones and bragging about them. This is good and should help the numbers and size to improve in the next few years if they do not let the water level get too high and hold it there all summer and the stocking program resumes and increases. Until then I will keep no red meat fish and not fish for them in deep water. Venting them does not work. They will go down after doing so but die anyway. Crappie are another species that cannot take coming out of deep water either. 20-ft. is about the max for them. I quit fishing for them in deep water after I have caught all that I want to keep and that is not very many. We have a good population of big crappie in Norfork and I want it to stay that way. I caught no picture fish yesterday but Mike did. 

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

We kept the catfish. The bass go under the dock. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.43 and is just about what it was at this time yesterday with generation for just a few hours. They are making no effort to drop the lakes. Five of the last six years they have allowed the lakes to get high in four of them they did not drop the lake in the winter. In 2018 they dropped it to 545 and it stayed at normal level all year with several feet of extra capacity. 2017 was nobody's fault with the huge rain in March. That was a horrible year for everyone. It just took too long to get it back down.   When they let it stay at over 553 all winter there is only a few feet of surge left until problems start. Parking, road access and launching starts to be affected at about 560 for several places. One big rain can do that. 565 is manageable but inconvenient. Keeping the White River at Newport this low does not help anybody. Minor flood stage there is 23-feet. You cannot let the government run anything. They need to disband the Corps of Engineers and hire good managers to oversee private companies to run things. They do not clean rest rooms, paint, or do any maintenance any way. It is all contracted out. They do not even manage the gates at the campgrounds. As far as I can see they ride around in new pickup trucks. They flood out their own campgrounds and open spillway gates almost every early summer. Spillway gates do not generate any electricity and the water is wasted. Closed camgrounds do not generate any revenue.  The whole operation is just managed very poorly. The lake now is at a very good level and could remain so if we have a drought. That is about the only way. They quit generating every time it rains to maximize the effect. Who ever come up with the 12-foot rule at Newport should be strung up and they are not even getting to that level now. It is now just over nine feet and was under eight a couple of days ago. It was very cool with a cold wind when I went out yesterday. The surface water temperature was in the low 50's and the ambient temperature struggled to get to 40. It is now time for winter bassin'. Look for high river channel banks with deep water near and a ledge a few feet from shore. Cast your 3-inch grub as far to the banks as you can cast. Bink uses a 1/4 ounce jug head and I use a 3/16 but I fish closer to brush than he does and do not want my lure to sink as fast. There is just more wood close to the bank where some fish are and I do not get snagged so much. Keep the lure sinking as much as possible and let out line if you need to. Nothing else. Watch your line and look for the twitch and set the hook. You will not feel the bite. If you do not set the hook he will jump and spit and be gone. Use a net and do not try to pull them up over the side like they do on TV. The same thing goes for crappie. If they are hooked on the side of the paper thin mouth they will go pop and also be gone. Very few crappie jump but some do. Fishing this time of year requires special skills and more fishermen get shut out. The cat fish continue to bite for some reason. All three different kinds. I am out there everyday and there are very few other boats. It is nice to have the lake to yourself. I like that. I fish for what is biting and do not enjoy chugging around for hours looking at my graph for open water fish, finally find some, have a fast bite for a couple of minutes and then they are gone by the time you get your first fish in. I have not seen a decent striper in a month and it is a good thing we have hybrids. If people do not quit killing small stripers under 10-lbs we will not have any left. Those are even too small. Let them grow.

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

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The lake level is 553.45 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with generation for about six hours. It was cold yesterday with highs in the low 30's but there was little wind so it was not too bad. It is a little better today but not much and the wind is about 5-10 from the north and cold. There is a high pressure moving in and it looks to warm up quite a bit later this week and next week and to reach 60. The electric sox work well but it is hard to cast with big gloves on but I have lived in a lot colder places than this. It is easier to spoon straight down with a bait caster. The last few years it seems that December has been our coldest month rather than January. I will be glad when the days start getting longer instead of shorter and that is only a few days away. The surface temperature is dropping and is now about 54 depending on where and when you check it. I have a report that the Bass Cat Invitational has ben moved to October but the exact dates have not been published. it has not been held here for several years and it will be good to have them back.  They should just stay here at their home but business is business. The Mountain Home Chamber should work on this. I found a brush pile with a lot of crappie on it and caught a few and came in. It was in about 20-ft. of water and the brush came to about 10-feet from the surface and the fish were right on top of it. I was using the 1/8th ounce spoon straight down. There were no other boats out there. I also caught another nice catfish on my throw line. It only has five hooks but is producing well. We will see what today brings. The lake is in excellent condition but needs to drop about five feet going into the spring. Things seem to work out a lot better when they do that and it does not hurt anybody.

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

Caught on the Bink's spoon and released under my dock. Caught some crappie and bluegill also but not high numbers. Image title

The lake level is 553.54 and has dropped about one inch in the last 24-hours with two generators running for about six hours. The White River at Newport is now a little less than eight feet and was below seven. The surface water temperature was 55 even when i went out yesterday and I saw no other boats all the time I was out. It was cool but very little wind and I spooned two different brush piles and caught bass, crappie and bluegill. The cool weather will not raise the water temperature any time soon but it is to get near 60 next week.  The fish were all in about 20-feet of water and right on top of the brush. I did not catch high numbers but some very nice fish. Our striper fishermen went home and caught a few hybrids and small white bass but were disappointed. They fished hard and were very determined. I was sorry for them but I do not know if they will come back or not. I showed them what I was catching but that is not what they wanted. The stripers that they did catch were about 5-pounds. The hybrids were just a little bigger. I am catching some bass that big. The Game and Fish are reporting that some fish are getting a fungal disease or water molds on Norfork. I am fishing and catching fish everyday and have not seen any. I have in the past though. The ones that I am catching are very healthy and fat. I think it has something to do with how they are handled after catching and releasing but am not sure. The tagged one that I caught last week was very healthy and had obviously been caught or netted before. It is cold with the high to barely reach 40 but it will be ok if the wind does not blow. The lake in general is in excellent condition and fishing overall is just fair but some nice ones are coming in every day. One bluegill that I caught yesterday was very large and fun to catch. Sandwich size. I turned the bass and crappie loose under the dock. The catfish are still biting and that really surprises me. They are usually in open water by now especially the flatheads.

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

The lake level is 553.67 and is up 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They have not generated for several days and the White River at Newport is at 7+  feet and almost dried up. They just started generating but I bet that will not last long. Why will they not drop the lakes in the winter? Nobody knows. There needs to be some accountability. The lake is at a perfect level for fishing now with brush piles at good levels and parking and launches the same. The lake surface water temperature is dropping with the weather cooling and the cold precipitation falling into it. We did not get much, about 1/4 inch total.  It started as sleet, changed to big snow flakes, went to rain, and then alternated from snow to rain everytime it started to accumulate. There is just a little on the north hillsides now and should be gone by noon. It is just to get into the lower 40's today but it is sunny out and not windy. I went out for a bit yesterday and caught a few but no picture fish. It was pretty miserable but it could have been worse if the wind had been blowing. I worked on the dock and went out between rains but there were not many betweens. Bass crappie and bluegill continue to be the best bite and the lake is clearing. We are to get a little more weather later this week and then warming up again. I have my cold weather gear all out and charged up and ready to go. Some years I do not even need it but it looks like it may be necessary this year. As long as there is no ice and the wind does not blow everything will be fine. This is one fine place to live. It is time for winter bass and crappie fishing for me. 

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

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The lake level is 553.53 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is now 7+ feet and is about to dry up and they still will not let any water out. Something is wrong here. The lake surface water temperature is dropping and should continue to do so with the much cooler weather. This will not hurt the fishing at all. It is now in the mid 50's depending on where you take it. The creeks cool faster in the winter and warm more quickly in the spring. The water is stained a bit but you can see your lure down at least 5-feet. The mixed precipitation has not arrived here yet but looks like we will get something. Some snow will obviously drop the water temperature. I would like it to get to about 52 degrees and stay there. The fishing was a little better yesterday with people that had not caught anything for three days catching a couple of decent hybrids. They were about to give up. Another striper fisherman went crappie fishing and caught a couple. It is very good that we also have the hyrids. We do not need another extended high water year again. It is good for other species of fish though. It provides good cover for the spawn and they have a much better survival rate than on a low water year with no cover. The main thing is to not have big vatiations in water level quickly during the spawn. It works out well if the water gets into the buckbrush and the level stays constant in the spring but most of the buckbrush is dead now and is decaying. We split wood for most of the day but still found time to go out and catch a nice catfish, a couple of bass and a few crappie just before dark. A striper was undersized and a white bass was very small but at least a few are showing up.  It is cool and cloudy today with some weather coming our way. Time to charge up the gloves and sox. 

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

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The lake level is 553.41 and has raised 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is now at 8.5 feet and dropping. It is unbelievable that they would dry up the river and not let any water out. This is an example of how badly the dams are managed. We did receive about 0.65 inches of rain yesterday. It is cloudy and much cooler today with a high in the 40's. The lake surface temperature was 56 when I went out yesterday and is about the same today and you could see your lure down about 5-feet.  The fishing continues to be just fair overall but some nice fish are coming in every day. Bass, crappie, bluegill are still the best bite with catfish, walleye, hybrid stripers and a few very small white bass also being caught. Our striper fishermen fished all morning and most of the rainy afternoon to catch one hybrid striper and no stripers. We are scheduled to get mixed precipitation late tonight and early tomorrow morning and then clear up again. I will believe it when I see it but they could be right, but not often.  They were right yesterday but the timing was off. I guess it is time to get out the cold weather gear but not having to until the middle of December is not bad. I fished brush in 30-35 feet of water and caught bluegill and crappie and then switched to the grub on a river channel bank next to deep water and caught several bass but no picture fish earlier today. Mike caught a nice catfish off the dock after the rain at dark. I have commercial fished for catfish on several rivers and also on lakes and have never seen a channel much bigger than this. A 10-lb is a big one and this one is larger than that. Much larger. You cannot predict what you can catch on Norfork but we have about everything except muskies and northerns. I like that. I also like that you cannot drill holes in our water or walk on it and there is no closed season. 

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

Norfork Lake has some big fish. Released them all under the dock. Image titleImage title

Went out in the light rain and came in about 1-1/2 hours later just before it started to rain straight down. Good thing all of Blackburns cabins have big covered porches in this kind of weather. I do not smoke or avocate smoking but going outside with an umbrella is not necessary here.  Caught fish steadily until I came in. Fun.

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

This is mostly what we caught and released yesterday. Bink is one good bass fisherman.Image title

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

Scuba Steve caught and released a tagged fish. It was reported to Game and Fish. It was still almost exactly where they tagged it several months ago. Image title

Some very nice fish were caught and released fishing with Bink's Guide Service. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.28 and has risen about an inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. The white River at Newport is 9-feet and it was 8-feet earlier. More is coming in from the rivers than they are letting out. I guess they are preventing water from flooding out the crops in the delta. We are to get some rain today and we need some with none for almost two weeks. The lake in general is in excellent condition with a surface temperature of over 57. The weather is to cool a bunch starting this evening but not bad for almost the middle of December. it was not the best day as far as fishing goes but it sure was beautiful out. It was sunny a couple of hours ago but has now clouded up and looks like rain is not far away. Catfish, bass, crappie and bluegill continue to be the best bite with a few walleye and hybrid striper being caught but not too many. The bass fishing off steep river channel banks continues to improve. Some are on the first ledge and some just out in deeper water. Stay as far from the bank as you can cast and let your lure drop to the bottom and bring it in just slow enough to keep it dropping as much as possible letting out a little line if needed.  Several nice Kentucky bass can be caught in this manner with a few largemouth. The St. Louis Boat Show has been cancelled for this year and I have not received any confirmed dates for the Bass cat Invitational which could be the first weekend in April but not approved yet. I have missed seeing our Bass Cat friends for a few years. 

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

The lake level is 553.23 and is still rising just a bit with about one hour of generation. The White River at Newport is at 9+ feet and dropping. It loks like they would rather dry up the river rather than drop the lakes. The water looked stained today but you could see your lure down a little further at maybe 5-feet. I went with my friend Darrel Binks today to be on the "Live in the Boat radio Show", what a privilage. He wanted to check and see if the bass were on the winter spots on the green grub and they were. He fishes for what is biting but is probably the best bass fisherman that I have ever fished with. He caught most of the fish but had to take me in early to take out some other paying cuatomers. It was a beautiful day. The sun came up and burned off the fog and got very warm with light wind. The surface temperature was 57. I left at 11:30 Am and went back home to fish on my own. I checked my throw line and jugs and caught some very nice fish and then went out to Catch some crappie. We talked to some trollers and they said they caught three stripers but only one would measure. That means 20-inches or about 3-lbs. Not so good. Here is the deal. People that are making their living on stripers are trying as hard to catch them as they can but in doing so are depleting the future for the present.  I remember when this same thing happened on Beaver Lake. The guides were catching big fish, and lots of them, several years ago and invested in big center console boats to take out six or eight people and all caught their limit until a big striper was about eight pounds. It has come back a bit but all of those guides are gone. The same thing has happened to Norfork but for different reasons. High water and depleted ozygen along with increased fishing pressure and the fishermen getting much better at finding and catching fish with better electronics has done the same thing to Norfork. Things have to settle down with the lake not getting so high for so long, covid has to go away so the stocking has to get back to normal and this has to happen for several years. The fishing pressure will take care of it's self when people cannot catch very many. Meat hunters are meat hunters and do not care about the future but what they can catch and kill now. Nothing is forever. In a positive note bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, catfish all have excellent numbers and hybrid stripers are still ok but not nearly as many of them are stocked. White bass are coming back from their kill a couple of years ago and will take care of themselves. This is a beautiful lake with high numbers of fish. People that are fishing for several days to catch a red meat fish and trying to glorify it are not helping them selves just depleting what is left. It is not a measure of fishing ability but just how many they want to kill and deplete until there are none left to try and mis-represent the fishing for today's business. Tell it like it is and change tactics. 

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

Listen to KTLO 97.9 FM or Cable channel 5 on TV for "Live in The Boat" with Bink's Guide Service at 8:45 Am tomorrow. He has invited me to go with him. It should be fun. 

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

The one on the left is over 12-inches. Image titleImage titleImage title

The lake level is 553.23 and has risen just a fraction from yesterday at this time and they have not generated since last night. The White River at Newport is at 9+ feet and it looks like they would rather let it dry up than lower the lakes for the winter. I though when they lowered Table Rock to below normal they would let some out of the other lakes but I guess not. Hold and hope is the name and open up flood gates in the late spring is the game. What a plan. Flood gates do not generate any electricity. The surface water temperature was 57 again yesterday and does not look to drop anytime soon with the very warm weather. The new news now is the catfish bite. I have lived here for over 25-years and have never caught very many catfish in December. When it gets cold they slow way down on feeding and leave the creeks. Not this year. There have been warmer than normal years when the water temperature has not dropped below 50 and the bite was not this good then. They are part way back in the creeks and hitting on live shiners on both jugs and throw lines. Some nice ones too. We caught all three species of catfish including flatheads, blue cat and channel cats this week alone and they are still biting. I do not care who you are but it is fun chasing a jug down the lake with a big ole catfish on it.  The very large crappie are also coming in every day on brush anywhere from 17-feet of water to 40-feet. Dave Titus is back and is catching them everyday. A couple of walleye were also caught and some smaller bass just over 15-inches. This is the third day for the striper fishermen and they are getting very discouraged with none over 5-lbs. They are catching a very few hybrid and white bass but no picture fish. White bass are not picture fish anyway. The old saying is that white bass are for people that cannot catch anything else and trout is for people that cannot catch white bass. Not my saying but it gets a smile out of some. At least they are not put and take. They are just starting to come back after their kill a couple of years ago.  The overall lake condition is excellent and there is a high number of fish in the lake in general. I know of no other place where you can get crappie of this size. There seem to be more and more of them in open water on shad than before. I guess it is the lack of competion from other fish and the good number of bait fish. Trollers are catching more of them accidently than in past yeas. This certainly is a good place to live and I enjoy going fishing everyday and feel very fortunate. 

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

The two biggest fish caught at Blackburns yesterday.Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.20 and is about the same as yesterday with only about two hours of generation. Maybe they will let a little out after they get Table Rock down to below normal to protect the Branson Landing at all costs. It is not about any rules just the $.  We are not to get any rain until Friday with very warm temperature in the 60's starting tomorrow. It was very nice out yesterday with a high of near 50 and light winds and the fish were biting. We caught catfish, bass, crappie and bluegill and a few open water fish not worthy of a picture. The White Bass were small and the hybrids were about 4-5 pounds with no stripers. They were released to grow but we kept the catfish and a couple of crappie for a neighbor. It is very foggy this morning but should give way to sunny skies soon. The lake surface temperature is about 56 and has been stable or dropping just a bit for several weeks. The lake tries to clear but then stains up some but also has been about the same and you can see your lure down about 3-4 feet. It was more clear a little over a month ago but is still very good for fishing and the lake in general is in excellent condition. The open water fish are hard to find with people fishing two or three days and catching nothing and then finding a school and have some fast fishing for a few minutes and then they are gone again. There are lots of schools of shad with nothing chasing them. The water temperature has not dropped enough for the winter bass to stay on the bank yet but several are still there early and late feeding.  The meteorological winter started December 1st and ends March 1st and that is about what the actual winter is here but sometimes lasts until March 15th. We tell people the spring bite starts March 15th here because the weather is variable the first of March and cold fronts can destroy the fishing for a few days at a time but the night bite for stripers is almost always five days before the full moon in March when they go to the bank to simulate a spawn. We will see what happens this year with the diminished numbers of large stripers.  Top water bite starts sometime in April but can also be variable and lasts through May.The walleye bite is the best in May and early June after their spawn in February. For some reason not nearly as many walleye take a run up the river to spawn as several years ago but the total number of fish has grown despite this and must be due to stockings. Missouri usually stocks more walleye than Arkansas and we benefit from this. More and more walleye fishermen are coming to Norfork than before replacing the striper fishermen. Stripers have been stocked in Norfork for many years and even though they do not reproduce it will be very hard to catch all of them but people that kill the small ones of 10-lbs. or less are trying hard to do this. Bass fishing is getting better and better and Norfork is getting to be a very good smallmouth fishery with many fish caught in the 4-lb. range. With the large variety of fish in Norfork it is hard to tell what you will catch and that is part of the fun. 

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

Caught yesterday.Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.23 and has dropped 2/3 inch in the last 24-hours with generation for about 4-hours and the rest shut down. They are holding the White River at about 10-feet to keep the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. The lake surface water is about 56 early in the morning and just under 57 in the afternoon if there is sunshine. We are to get warmer weather with highs near 60 later this week. We set out catfish lines and caught a couple of nice channels. They were not released as most of our fish are released. It is hard to beat cool, clear, clean water channel cat except for flatheads and I have a long list of people that would like some. Bass, crappie and bluegill were also caught. One walleye was caught fishing for bass but it was just a little short. Walleye are like crappie. Hardly any of them that are keepers are thrown back and they have a higher mortality rate where a lot of people throw back bass including me. The fish that I caught yesterday were most all in 30-ft. brush puiles on both the jig and spoon. The catfish were caught on live shiners on drop-shotted jugs. We fished in the morning, worked until late afternoon and went out again and did not have to go far. Blackburns brush piles are really paying off now and are at the right depth. We will help you when you get here if you like and your first boat stall is free. Not many people like paying for their first boat stall and you do not have to here. Blackburns is the family and fishing headquarters for Norfork lake. 

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

It cools off fast after sunset but that is the best bite. Released under the dock last night.Image title

The lake level is 553.29 and is rising slightly with no generation since yesterday afternoon. The White River at Newport is 10+ feet. The weather was beautiful yesterday with highs in the mid 50's with light wind and sunny. The high pressure has settled in and the fishing is getting better. I went bass fishing yesterday and had a very good time. I caught and released my limit of largemouth with the largest being over 21-inches. The surface water temperature was still 57 degrees and the water clarity was the same. I was spooning brush in 30-ft. of water and tapping bottom. I fished until dark and did not want to come in. When I cannot see my line good things do not happen for me. The bite was not fast but a fish about every 15-minutes was caught. Other guests caught bass and crappie also with some very nice crappie taken. The large bluegill continue to bite but the walleye have slowed. Some got into a school of stripers after looking for three days and killed all of them. They were about 10-lbs. It looks like they will not quit until they are all gone. Some White Bass are showing up and that is good but not very many and they used to be caught almost at will. Not now. The bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish population is very good here on Norfork. Many walleye just short were being caught and that is a good sign for the future. I am glad there is an 18-inch limit. It is really fun catching them and there is no need to go north in the spring for them when they are right here. I will go bass fishing again today and then catch some crappie for Bob Knight later in the week. It will be embarrassing if I cannot find any. The big ones are showing up again as the moon gets smaller. Bink predicted this. The lake in general is in excellent condition and the nice weather is bringing out more fishermen, especially on the weekend. Fishing overall is just fair but some very nice fish are being caught everyday. 

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

These and several more were caught yesterday. Am I holding my hands out too far?Image title

The lake level is 553.27 and is a fraction higher than yesterday. They ran two generators for four hours and then shut them both down for 20. There is no effort to drop the lakes for the winter and the level of the White River at Newport is 10+ feet. You cannot let the government run anything. The lake surface temperature is hanging in there at 57 and the water clarity varies a little but mostly it has been that you can see your lure down 3-4 feet for several weeks with the creeks staining every once in a white and then clearing again. Some days you can see the fish under the dock and some you cannot but there are sure a lot of them down there. Some pretty good crappie have been caught out of Blackburns this week with some over 15-inches and they are thick and fat but not high numbers. I just keep three or four anyway to give to friends who cannot fish. It was a pretty good day yesterday but a little windy. It laid about 4:Pm. I fished one place for about two hours which had brush at from 17-21 feet. Several crappie and bluegill were caught on both the spoon and jig. A couple were very large in the 15-inch range and I did not want to leave. I know of no other lake in the country with larger crappie. Today I am going to try and catch a couple of big bass and leave the crappie alone. They deserve a break. Blackburns is certainly the premier fishing resort in the area and we work hard to put in good brush piles and will show you where when you get here. We catch fish. Your first boat stall is free here. You can launch and park in two places right near the dock. No need to go elsewhere to launch and we have plenty of trailer and vehicle parking and are not huddled up on a cliff. Crappie, bass and bluegill fishing is the best but a few hybrids and smaller white bass are being caught in open water. I have not seen a 20-lb. striper in months but a few in the 6-10 pound small ones are being caught. The big ones may or may not be there but the other fish sure seem to be getting bigger. I have caught a lot of stripers in my life and do not kill very many but none of the ones that I have cleaned have ever had anything but shad and crawdads in them. Mostly shad. Live bait fishermen use shiners when they cannot get live shad so they must work also.  As long as there are plenty of shad in the lake I do not think they hurt the other fish population. They just do not survive the high water in the vegetation for long periods and low oxygen level in the late summer very well, especially the big ones. They are ocean fish. The high water was rare in the past but has become the norm in the last several years. The high water in the buckbrush does help the spring spawn for other game fish.  We need normal water levels and high stockings for several years to get the stripers back. There is high fishing pressure for the hybrids now and I am concerned about their numbers in the future. Trollers with umbrella rigs are getting very good about catching them and none were stocked this year. Bink says that I need another fishing lesson since I have not had one for several months so I will go with him on Thursday and be on his " Live in the Boat" Radio Show at 8:45 AM on both 97.9 FM and on cable TV on channel 5 with Bob Knight,  who is my favorite radio personality. It should be fun. Good weather for the next week. 

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

Mike Eakle with a fist full of very nice fish caught yesterday evening on the spoon.Image title

The lake level is 553.29 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running less than 1/2 the time. The White River at Newport is 11-feet.They have just started up both generators now but I bet that will not last long. They have not run both of them for months even though it is winter and a perfect time to do so. The surface water temperature was still right at 57 on the main lake yesterday when I went out and it was cloudy and cool with ambient temperatures in the 40's with no wind. The lake is not clearing much and you can see your lure down about three feet and more in the sunshine. The fishing was not great but some very nice fish were caught. Mostly bass, crappie and bluegill. Some red meat fishermen caught some White Bass that were big enough to keep yesterday along with some very small stripers but worked for several days and looked many miles to find any. They were getting discouraged and I am glad they finally found some before they left. It was not for lack of trying. None were picture fish. Normally they would be easily caught this time of year. I caught all of my fish on a 3/8th ounce Bink's spoon white with red throat on brush that was shallower than I had been catching them. They were feeding at 22-feet where they had been at 30+. It is really good that the Game and Fish replentished the old Corps of Engineers brush piles. It is really helping people catch fish and is appreciated. They are holding bass, crappie, bluegill and some walleye and small White Bass just outside them. The walleye are about 2-feet off the bottom and the White Bass are suspended at different depths around the brush but I am not catching as many walleye as I was a couple of weeks ago. I like winter bass fishing and the time is approaching when the water temperature gets into the low 50's but is not quite here yet as the weather is to be very nice with very little chance of rain for at least a week with a high pressure covering the whole area and highs in the 60's later next week. Maybe they will let a little water out but I doubt it. The fishing will get better the longer this high pressure hangs around and you can expect to see some big fish as the moon diminishes, especially bass. There were a few more boats out there yesterday despite the very cool weather. Things are changing daily and it is hard to go out there once a week and have a report that is worth anything. If you do not see any reports for several days it usually means they are not catching anything but does not mean they are not trying. It is great to just be out there and live in such a beautiful area where you can fish all year.  

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

Scuba Steve Caught a few yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 553.38 and is up a fraction with no generation for several hours and the White River at Newport is 11+ feet. I guess they are holding and hoping again for a drought. Their plan is hold it up high all winter, hold and hope all spring, not generate when it rains, let the level go up higher and higher in early summer and then open up the gates and flood everything downstream after the crops are planted and up and nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it. The surface water temperature was exactly 57 when I went out yesterday and the sunny skies turned cloudy about 3:30 PM. We got just a sprinkle of rain last night and the mixed precipitation did not happen as predicted. I thought it was too cloudy to get very cold.  Fishing was a little slow but steady and I caught both bass and crappie. I saw four boats all evening and three were from Blackburns and one was a troller. I watched him troll from the bridge to Cranfield Island but saw him do nothing but loudly talk on the phone all the way. It was the only thing disturbing the peace and quiet and it was very nice out with the wind being just right for drifting down the shoreline and the temperature in the low 50's. I was using both the spoon and the grub with none working better than the other but caught fish on both. The winter fishing on the steep river channel banks and on channel swings seems to be here even if the water temperature is 57 degrees. It will get better when the water cools. I am catching less fish on the brush and more on the bank. The moon is starting to get smaller now and Bink reports he always catches the biggest fish five days before the full moon and smaller ones until that happens again. I guess that is why the smaller crappie are showing up now but I am catching some in the 11-13 inch range but not the great big ones approaching 16-inches like a couple of weeks ago. Several keeper bass in the 16-18 inch range are being caught but also not as big as a couple of weeks ago. The lake overall is in excellent condition and fishing is just fair.

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

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Luke Bornhop with some very nice fish. Bigger than Mine.Image title

The lake level is 553.38 and has dropped less than 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours. They stopped generating last evening for all night and have just started up one generator.They are holding the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible.  If there is any deviation in flood pool they can regulate the White River at Newport to 21-feet as of the first of the month but refuse to drop the lakes. 21-feet is below minor flood level for the White River and does not hurt anybody.  Norfork is at a good level now but will not be when the spring rains happen and they will. How many times can they be tricked and not change anything? It is worse than Charley Brown kicking the football that Lucy is holding. He is fooled every year and so is our government. They are operating at rules established in the 1940's before computers and refuse to change anything. There are much better controls over flooding now than in the past. It is very sad and they should be ashamed of their incompetence. It was a very nice day with highs in the 50's with sunshine and light winds when I went out yesterday. The surface water temperature was 57+ in the sunshine and the lake was a little more stained than the day before and I could see my lure down about three feet. I saw only three other boats out there. Two were Blackburns customers and the other was a center console boat chasing birds. I do not know if he caught anything or not but he was surely moving a lot and not fishing much. I saw him going by about four times. I fished a main lake cut on brush and a main lake brush pile. First I was jigging a spoon and caught a couple of Bass and crappie. On the next place caught two keeper crappie and a nice warmouth as big as the crappie on the jig. It might have been the largest one that I have caught. The small throwback crappie were biting faster than anything and I was glad to see them. As I mentioned yesterday I have caught very few small crappie this year and do not know why they are showing up just now but they are. It is to be nice today for fishing and another front is coming through late this afternoon and we are to get some mixed precipitation tonight with highs back near 50 for the weekend. Out normal high is 50. Overall fishing is just fair but I am catching some good fish everyday with bass, crappie, bluegill being the best. Some fish are on brush, some are on the bank and some are in open water on shad.  

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

They caught crappie also.Image title

Corey and Molly Aeschelman with some very nice catfish. They caught some off the dock and some on jugs on live bluegill. Mark caught some also. Good to see them. Image title

The lake level is 553.41 and has dropped less than an inch in the last 24-hours. They completely shut off generation part of the time, run about 1/2 generator part of the time and 1-generator a little of the time. They are missing a good chance to drop the lake and get it down so we have some surge capacity for the spring rains. I sure hope I do not hear that big spring rains have caused the lakes to be high next year. That lame excuse is getting old. The wind finally slowed last evening so I went fishing for a while. It was about 40-degrees and the water temperature was in the mid 50's depending on where you were. Some places it was 56+ and others less in shallow water. I saw no other boats. I spooned brush in Blackburns Creek for about an hour until dark and then came in and caught two crappie and a good bass. It is sunny and warmer today with much less wind. Another cold front is coming tomorrow but it looks to be fine for the wekend. Fortunately I have cold weather gear. Cold Decembers have been the norm for a few years but we will have several nice days. When the jet stream dips it allows cold Canadian air to drop into the southern plains and it just depends how far south it goes. If we get it almost everyone else gets it too. At least you cannot walk on our water or drill holes in it. I am done with that. I have 26-acres of cedar forrest and will start cutting trees for winter brush piles and dragging them to the dock to put in the lake soon. We freshen them up every year and they hold a lot of fish. I am starting to catch a few throw back crappie and that is a good sign. The spawn this year was weird for some reason and I am not sure how good it was but there are a lot of big ones. The bass population is very high and the walleye are getting more numerous every year. The catfishing is also good and the hybrid stripers are not bad but none were stocked this year and it will hurt the future if people keep killing them. I wish they would stock more. Big bluegill are everywhere. They are fun to catch and better to eat as are the Kentucky Bass. The White Bass are coming back from their low numbers and things look good for next spring fishing overall.