Steve "Scuba" Street's BLOG

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

The lake level is 566.75 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. They quit in the evening and start back up in the morning. They are running Bull Shoals hard and there is no wade fishing on the White River. It is very dry here but it is supposed to rain tonight and a chance tomorrow morning with dry conditions and much cooler after today. It is hot today and near 100. Blackburns had several good fishermen in last week and they did well. They mostly fished for bass but caught a few crappie and walleye also. We will see what the next batch brings. The surface water temperature is right at 90 and that is normal for the last day of July. The water remains clear and several fish are at or around the thermocline at about 30-ft. The old shoreline before the water rise is getting closer to the bank and there are a lot of bait fish in the shallow water drawing predator fish about sunrise and sunset. The high water has made for an abundance of bait fish including small bass, bluegill and shad. They are everywhere where there is cover. September with the cooler weather and lower water will make for some good fishing. I have to go down and move the dock out. That is different for a change. It has been a long time since I have had to do that. Blackburns remains very busy with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. We have many repeat custmers and do not want to charge them too much. 

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

Some of Terry Sim's catch the last couple of days. All fish were released. Image titleAnother tagged fish.Image titleImage title

Double.Image title

The lake level is 566.99 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation the same at about 60% of the time but the bowl is getting smaller. Seven more feet and we will be at a manageable level with parking back. At this rate we will be there in about 33-days if we do not get much rain. It took six days to drop the last foot.  Bass fishing continues to be the best right now with a few walleye, crappie, catfish, white bass, bluegill, small striper and a few hybrids coming in. Go out early, take the middle of the day off and go out again in the evening. The heat wave looks to break by Sunday with highs back in the 80's. It has not stopped the Sims family from Louisiana from catching some nice fish. They are catching good ones evey day. Nice people. We here at Blackburns are always glad to see them. Fishing remains about the same with the surface water temperature still rising, it is about 90, lake level and thermocline both dropping. Several fish are right at or just around the thermocline which is in the high 20's. There is cold water at 30-ft. Blackburns has one opening starting tomorrow with a cancellation due to covid yesterday. We were full again.  All cabins are sanitized after every use and all are individual so you can social distance while not on the lake. We have all had our Covid shots. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.

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

This guy did not stay at Blackburns and Paid too much. He also paid for his first boat stall and stayed in a duplex with no covered porch. Image title

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

Terry Sims from Monroe, Louisiana caught a double tagged bass last evening fishing near Blackburns Resort and Boat rental. $110. He releases all fish and is a good sportsmanImage title

The lake level is 567.22 and has dropped about 2-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. They have been quitting generation all night for several days to hold the White River at Newport to below 12-feet for some unknown reason. That way they can hold the lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. The lake water surface temperature is approaching 90-degrees with the hot weather but it is to break Sunday with highs in the mid 80's with scattered thundershowers. It is to be 100 here today. It happens every year at this time. I am seeing baitfish from this spring's hatch about 2-3 inches long everywhere. The shad are also making a comeback. Game Fish are coming up on bait for a few minutes at sunrise most days but not for long. They are mostly bass but a few hybrids and white bass are with them. I am pleasantly surprised about how well our fishermen are doing during the last of July both early morning and late evening.

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

Caught on the Bink's Spon yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 567.41 and has dropped about two inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. The White River at Newport is below 12-ft. and was below 11-ft. yesterday. The lake surface water is in the high 80's and rising with the hot weather. It is to get to 100 degrees tomorrow and continue for the rest of the week. We keep getting scattered pop up showers about every day in the heat of the day at about 3:30-4:30 PM and some have some wind and causing white caps for a few minutes and then they are gone. Fishing is the same. The thermocline is dropping, the water is heating but the clarity is about the same. Some bass are chasing shad early near the surface part way back in the creeks and feeding near the bank late evening. Walleye are on main and secondary points in 30-35 ft. near the bottom on the spoon. Bluegill are under docks and shallower brush on jigs, crickets and red worms. I am not seeing as many catfish being caught as usual. It may get better as the moon gets smaller but they do not like dropping water. When you find schools of crappie they are mostly small but the loners on brush can be very large. Dog days of summer are here. 

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

Caught on the Bink's Spoon. Image title

The lake level is 567.59 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. They are holding Table Rock at below power pool, dropping Beaver Lake slowly, Norfork a  little more and Bull Shoals quickly while holding the White River at Below 12-feet. Bull Shoals is much more above power pool than the rest of the lakes and needs to be dropped but there is no reason to hold for so long in this dry weather. We should all be back to normal by now with proper management. July is almost over and the weather is hot with highs to be near 100 for later this week. This always happens the last of July and first of August. At least we can swim in the lake, in the pool or get out of it in air conditioning to beat it. When it is cold there is not much you can do. Fall will be here before you know it. I am not a fan of winter but the fishing on Norfork Lake can be the best in winter. That is when I catch the giant crappie and bass. Thanksgiving and after makes for some good fishing and the big boats are off the lake and the fishermen are the only ones out there. Peace and quiet. The lake level is usually about right for the brush piles to be in play after being held up all spring and summer by the incompetant lake managers. My Dog Toby is very smart and could do a better job. The lake surface water temperature is in the high 80's and should reach 90 by next week. The water remains clear on the main lake and a little stained in the creeks but is overall in excellent condition. We need the level to drop about 8-feet to be at a good level and at less than 2-inch drop/day it will take until mid September to get there if it does not rain much unless they quit holding and that is not likely. It could go faster if it stays dry. We will see what August brings. Fishing is the same except the thermocline is dropping, the water temeptature is rising and the fish are going deeper but the bass are still feeding in the buckbrush on the spring spawn which is now about 3-inches long for bass and bluegill in the late evening. Spoons during the early morning and saltcraws and worms late evening.  

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

Caught yesterday fishing with Bink's Guide Service. Image title

The lake level is 567.74 and has dropped about 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. There were a few campers at Cranfield Campgrounds yesterday but none of the other facilities were open. The beach is still flooded and it needs a lot of cleanup. During normal times it is one of the best beaches on the lake with a nice playground and bathrooms. The launch with courtesy dock, ample parking, handicapped fishing dock, pavilion and play ground are just around the corner. It is also close to town. It is almost a crime to keep it flooded all summer most years. We do need different lake level management but still they keep coming. It would be interesting to see what happens to tourism if levels were at a good level meaning between 552 and 559. The lake surface temperature is rising with the hot weather and will continue to do so for at least the next week. It is to get close to 100 ambient temperatures later this week. The water temperature is now 87-88. The main lake is clear and the creeks are stained a little green and just right for fishing. Bink reports catching a lot of fish yesterday but they switched to the 1/2 ounce Arkansas Shiner spoon from the Many Shad. It is white with a brownish head and I use it a lot. It depends on the time of day, water clarity, amount of sunshine and depth as to which spoon they like the best. One of my favorite for all around use is the white with blue back. For size I use the 1/8th ounce for 20-ft. or less, the 3/8th ounce from 20-25 ft., 1/2 ounce for 25-35 ft. I fish crappie a lot and bringing them up any deeper than that kills all of them regardless of size. I do not fish deep for stripers in the summer but the 1-ounce spoon gets down there faster. The lighter the line the better for the spoon action. I seldom us more than 6-lb. and always use clear line, either flourocarbon or monofiliment. Flourocarbon has worse memory and monofiliment stretches more. Flourocarbon is getting better every year. I never use braided or colored line and only use a swivel on spoons to keep them from twisting. Never a snap. The less hardware the better in this clear water. The big fish in this lake are line shy. I even do not use a clear light leader on heavy line. It is like your lure is tied to an anchor rope. Try using 4-lb. flourocarbon clear line tied to a 1/16th ounce white with red eye jig head and a Bobby Garland Baby Shad Blue Ice crappie jig and cast it past a brush pile and let it sink into it and see what happens. I think your crappie fishing will improve.  

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

Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday. 1/2 ounce Many ShadImage title

The lake level is 567.87 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with gneration about 1/2 the time. It has taken over six days to drop the lake the last foot even with the dry conditions. They are doing a great job of holding the lake level up and now have the White River at Newport below 12-ft. to continue to do so. We are still over 14-ft. above power pool which is 553.75. It ised to be 552 before the minimum flow law took away 1.75 ft. of flood capacity for the put and take trout on the rivers to help economic activity at the expense of flood control.  It needs to get to below 560 to get parking, launching, swimming camping and marina access back to normal. At this rate it will take until the middle of september to do so if it does not rain much. The lake surface water temperature is rising with the hot weather and is now between 87 and 88 degrees. It should hit 90 by the end of next week. It always does in early August. Some fish are continuing to bite with the late evening bite for bass on worms and saltcraws and the early morning for walleye, bass and white bass the best on spoons. A few hybrids and stripers are coming in but not a lot. Trollers are not reporting which means they are not catching much. If they were there would be pictures of dock floors full of dead stripers. Blackburns has several good fishermen in now but most are catch and release. Catfishing is slow but will pick back up after the moon wanes. Bluegill fishing is good and big ones too. Most crappie coming in are small with a lot of throw backs. The lake is in excellent condition but still high. It is a typical late july but the water is much clearer than in previous several years since they started holding the level up so high for so long in the name of flood control when it is not flooding.     

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

Caught fishing with Bink yesterday. Nice one.Image title

The lake level is 568.05 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with no generation since last evening. Not much has changed except the full moon and dropping water levels has slowed catfishing down and helped the big bluegill fishing. Mix this with high pressure and overall fishing is not the best. Walleye continue to bite on main lake points in 30-35 feet of water near the bottom on the 1/2 ounce spoon and bass are feeding on crawdads in the late evening near the shore in their normal summer places. A few white bass and largemouth are coming up early for about five minutes if the shad are shallow. It is just a matter if you happen to be on the right wind blown banks.  There is no per say top-water bite like in early may. Go out early, take the middle of the day off and go out again in the evening for best results. If you happen to see fish come up and you have no top-water lure handy cast your spoon just past them and hop it back to the boat keeping it from dropping too fast. A 3/8th or 1/2 ounce works the best. One ouncers are too heavy and sink too quickly. Bink is on the walleye and is using the 1/2 ounce many shad spoon in a little over 30-ft. of water near the bottom. We continue to be very busy here at Blackburns with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the area. Sorry we do not allow dragging anything behind our boats, except our ski boat and it has a three day minimum, or taking them out after dark. Neither of these were working out for us. You can stay here and rent boats from a marina if you want to do that. They do not mind. Otherwise we have 30-boats to rent but you have to be staying at Blackburns to rent one. It is a Corps Of Engineers rule not mine. 

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

Image title

The lake level is 568.19 and has dropped about 1-1/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 1/2 the time. They are doing a great job of holding the lake up as high as possible for as long as possible and if they work harder on this they can keep it up until past Labor day. That would be an accomplishment considering the dry conditions. Think what they could do if we got rain. They might be able to continue until next year. We received a nice shower yesterday afternoon with a pop-up of about 0.2 inches and it was just enough to keep things green. The smoke from Oregon is keeping things looking foggy and cloudy looking. As reported before, you can expect the hottest time of the year with temperatures to reach almost 100 to be the last week of July and the first week of August and it looks like we will not be disappointed again this year. It is to get into the high 90's later next week. It has been a very confortable summer so far this year with just enough rain to keep the grass growing. Our big flat playground here at Blackburns is still very nice as is the whole valley.  Bass, walleye and bluegill continue to be the best bite now with crappie and catfish following. Just a few red meat fish are being caught. The water surface temperature continues to be about 85 degrees and the thermocline is about 27-28 ft. Trollers are dragging live bait and diving crank baits and catching a few early bass but not much else. Spooning is the best now during the day for walleye, crappie and bass and casting worms and saltcraws to the steeper banks with ledges in the late evening is good for bass. Crappie fishing has slowed especially for the big ones. The lake overall is in excellent condition but the public launching and parking on the weekends is congested with the high water. During the week it is fine. One more holiday left and the fishermen can have the lake back. The summer has gone fast but there is still a lot more to come. Not long before school starts. It has been the busiest year ever so far here at Blackburns.

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

The lake level is 568.30 and has dropped about 2-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. The surface water is 85 degrees and appears clear from the surface but there is a mud line at the thermocline at 27-28 feet. This is typical for the end of July but the lake is much clearer than in previous years. Bass in the late evening on worms and salt craws and walleye on 1/2 ounce jigging spoons in 30-32 feet of water near the bottom near brush are the best bite now but bluegill on crickets on shallow brush and under docks is not far behind. Several crappie are being caught but most are small. The live bait trollers are catching some small stripers. The Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a third fishing tournament for October this year on Norfork Lake. The Phoenix Bass Fishing League will have their tournament on October 7-9 and typically have nearly 200 boats followed by the Cystic Fibrosis tournament on the 16th and Bass Cat Invitational on the 22nd-23rd. These are great times to have tournaments with the spawn being over and the lake should be a lot closer to normal level with much better launching and parking facilities. It is better than the spring and a lot of fish will be caught. The lake will turn over during one of these times but it will not hurt bass fishing much. It has been gradual for the last several years and it is not like northern shallow lakes where they turn violently and debris is floated to the surcface and turn muddy killing the fishing.  We just have the thermocline invert and the water is nearly homogenous with equal oxygen, visibility and temperature down several feet. It does scatter the fish a bit as they have no reason to be in any special place except for cover and food. This is an excellent time for spooning brush piles and not just beat the bank. Many other fish will come shallower and follow shad in open water. When you can find baitfish near brush there will be fish there. Blackburns has already received several calls and reservations regarding all of these tournamnets and fishermen are taking advantage of our prices and proximity to Town, dining and shopping. It looks like the busy season will continue through October. We have cabins for $59/day then and you cannot beat that anywhere. All are individual with no duplexes and have covered porches where you can social distance. Launching is available here with plenty of parking and charging facility for your boats. We have the best place with the best price. 

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

The lake level is 568.64 and has dropped about 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. The surface water temperature is still in the mid 80's and the water is clear and is in excellent condition for boating and swimming. The best bite right now is bass in the late evening and walleye in the morning. The walleye are in their normal summer locations and are in and around the thermocline near the bottom. They are roaming and are mostly in pairs. Look for brush in about 30-ft. and fish all around it with a jigging spoon. The east side of flooded Robinson Island in the big rocks is an excellent place. Try main lake points and just around them on the inside first. Crappie are there also and are biting Bobby Garland Jigs and live minnows on a slip float. Fish the main lake willows and boat docks for big bluegill with crickets and very small jigs and spoons. The 1/8th ounce Bink's Spoon works well.  The live bait trollers continue to show off dock floors full of dead small stripers and they are getting smaller and smaller with the larger ones getting more and more scarce. They are killing themsevles out of business about like buffalo hunting but stripers and hybrids cannot reproduce in our lake and are all stocked. I want striper fishing back like it used to be when 20-pounders were common and 30-pounders were not uncommon. It will never happen with over-fishing and continued high water for extended periods of time. Maybe the new bloodline brought back from North Carolina with help. I hope so. The biologists are trying hard. 

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

Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 568.77 and has dropped a little over an inch in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. We did get a small shower yesterday but not much. They are doing an excellent job of holding the area lakes up as high as they can for as long as they can. It has dropped a little over four feet since it's high earlier but we are now about 2/3rds through July and school will start soon. I had a water temperature of about 84 degrees yesterday and the water was clear with a thermocline in the mid 20's. It usually gets to a little over 30 by August but not much lower. Blackburns has a mixture of families, people looking for real estate, people just wanting to get out of the city, boaters and fishermen. It is a diverse group but a big one. Out pool is about the busiest place on the lake but it is big enough to handle several.  The weather has been great with just a few pop up showers but the chances for rain will diminish starting today and it is to get in the low 90's again near the weekend. Good boating and swimming weather for the rest of the week. Bink is still on the walleye and the bass fishermen are doing well in the evening. Not much is changing with water temperatures remaining the same and the water clarity continues to be good. Public launching and parking remains congested on weekends but is not bad during the week. There were a lot of boats out there between the bridges yesterday and it is the busiest place on the lake. It can also be the windiest. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much.

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

Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday morning.Image title

The lake level is 568.87 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with just a little less generation.  It has taken a little over four days to drop the last foot. We received a little more rain yesterday and brought the two day total to about 1.2 inches. It was enough to keep everything green and not affect the lake level much. Blackburns has the biggest green level playground with many activities for the children in the entire area. They can not only look at it but use it. If you miss your basketball shot it does not roll down a cliff. Our big pool is 30x60 with a baby section and a slide and is next to the pavilion with shuffleboard and ping pong. No need to bring a tent with you for cover against the sun and rain because all of our cabins have big covered porches and you can have social distancing as all cabins are individual with no duplexes. All cabins are sanitized after every use.  Our 18-stall dock is in a sheltered cove good for kayaking and fishing.  You can launch right here and park your boat in a free stall and then there is plenty of room for trailer parking. No need to go elsewhere to launch requiring two people. Make sure you check to make sure the place you stay has a dock, pool, launch and boat rental. Many do not. Blackburns has all of the above and still has the best prices. We have several good fishermen in and it will be interesting to see how thay do fishing. Most of our guests have just been boaters with families lately. We like them too. Bink is still on the walleye and catching some everyday. Crappie fishing is just fair and stripers are a little slow. Several of the crappies are small. The old shoreline before the water rise is in about 18-ft and there are a lot of fish there in the evening feeding. Before and after that they move out in or in front of brush in 30-33 feet of water suspended at the thermocline which is about 26-27 feet. Spoons are the best lures then. Minnows on slip floats dropped just above the tops of brush piles are best now for crappie. Big bluegill at hitting crickets off docks. Bass and walleye fishing is the best at this time. The lake in general is in excellent condition, just too high but much better than a few weeks ago. 

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

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service. That is one good picture. Image title

The lake level is 569.05 and has dropped 1-3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with generation about 80% of the time. We received about 3/4 inch yesterday morning about 10:30 AM and it rained hard for several minutes and then quit. It was badly needed and really greened things up again. It all sank in and settled a lot of dust. We are below average rainfall again so far in July. The lake is in very good condition and the main lake is clear with the creeks stained a little but also clear near the shore. The surface water temperature remains between 85 and 86 degrees. More wood is showing up everyday near the bank with the dropping water level and people are still hitting stuff with their boats going too close to shore. The floating debris is almost gone. When dragging those overweight children around on chaise lounges it is best to stay in the main channel. I guest skiing is a lost art and requires too much effort but you do not see much of it anymore. Fishing remains the same and is normal for the middle of July. Walleye and bass fishing is the best with some stripers being caught and killed fishing deep. They are still getting smaller and smaller. The striper guides are going to have to learn how to catch bass, walleye and crappie or go out of business if they keep this up or try to convince people that a 6-9 pound striper is big.The high water and low oxygen levels in August and early September are not helping things any either. Typically we get the hottest time of the year the last week of July and first week in August when the ambient temperatures get to near 100 degrees and the lake surface water gets to 90 degrees. So far we have not been near that. The Norfork Lake Striper Club has a dissolved ozygen meter and give periodic reports on levels. It is good information and lets us know what to expect as far as striper kills are concerned. Some places near the dam go to zero or nearly so and the fish there move north, go dormant,die or all of the above. It is not a pretty sight to see them floating. Some of this is also caused by fishermen trying to release small ones after being brought up out of deep water. They may look ok and swim away but will die later due to the stress of being caught and the water temperature near the surface. The answer is to not fish in deep water. I do not know the % that float or sink but I suspect the sinking ones are a lot more. The Game and Fish did resume normal stockings this year after being unable to last year due to Covid. It will take a few years to get the big ones back even if they would quit flooding the lake every year and holding it up all summer. I wish they would change the legal limit to two stripers and hybrids total. What is legal is one thing and what is good conservation is another. All of the species of fish that reproduce in Norfork Lake are doing well except the White Bass and they are starting to come back after the kill-off a couple of years ago.  They used to be plentiful and were the go to fish when people could not catch anything else but not anymore. They will be back though. A lot of things have changed the last several years with the lake level management refusing to adapt to the changes. They still think it is 1960 but that is what happens when you let governmnet run things. They move slowly. Very slowly. The exception here are the biologists at Arkansas game and Fish, especially local, that care a lot about the lakes and fisheries and work hard to make them the best they can. I really appreciate them.

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

The lake level is 569.49 and has dropped a little less than 3-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 80% of the time. They could have done this all along if they wanted to without hurting anybody. The surface water temperature is 84-85 degrees and has been fairly stable for quite some time. The main lake is clear and the creeks vary from clear to stained almost daily. Any debris is mostly stuck to the bank now with the dropping water but now some wood that was submerged is starting to surface. The lake has dropped about 3-1/2 feet from it's high earlier this summer. The lake overall is in good condition. Scuba divers are getting both crappie and walleye. Bink is really on the walleye in just over 30-ft. of water on the bottom with a jigging spoon. Trollers are getting some stripers but they are getting smaller and smaller. Overall fishing is just fair but some are being caught everyday. We are to get rain starting tomorrow and continuing until early next week but not a lot. We sure can use it. The weather has been beautiful and people are having fun. Blackburns big swimming pool with slide is the busiest place in town. Everyone here at Blackburns has had their Covid shots but if you have not you can social distance here as all of our cabins are individual with no duplexes or common porches. You do not have to get close to anybody. Veterans and police are especially welcome here. 

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

Caught yesterday fishing out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental with Bink's Guide Service. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 569.74 and is dropping a little more with generation most of the time. The surface water temperature is 86 degrees and the weather has been beautiful. It is to get warmer for the next couple of days and then another good chance of rain for the weekend continuing until early next week. The last time this was predicted we got nothing. It is very dry here and we have received below average rainfall for the last two months. The main lake looks very clear from the surface but there is a mud line right around the thernocline which is normal for this time of year. A lot of fish ar at this depth of about 26-feet. It is a good place to look for walleye, bass and crappie. Others are deep, schooled and suspend about 60+ feet down in 100ft. of water.  People are still fishing for the deep stripers and killing all of them. Several in the 8-9 pound range are being caught. It would be good if this water level would drop soon and allow the bigger ones that are left to grow for next year. The ones being caught now are getting smaller and smaller. This is being caused by over fishing and high water levels for extended periods of time causing very low oxygen levels. Maybe the new strain of stripers brought here from North carolina by Game and Fish will help them survive better. They are doing the best they can. Bass and walleye are the best bite now with a few big crappie and bluegill being caught. Catfishing is fair on live bluegill on drop-shotted jugs and throw lines. 

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

The lake level is 570 even and has dropped two inches in the last 24-hours with about the same generation time. It took over six days for the lake to drop the last foot. At this rate it will be late October before we reach the new power pool of 553.75. It was 552 before the worthless minimun flow law for the put and take trout on the rivers took away 1.75 ft. of flood capacity and changed the way the percent of flood storage is calculated resulting in less being discharged. It may go faster as the lake draws down the bowl resulting in quicker drops with the same amount of generation. This is all predicated on the assumption that we do not get much rain. It has been very dry the last couple of months.  One big rain in the Norfork river basin could change all of this. Never the less the lake is in good condition for boating and swimming and mostly just campgrounds, swim beaches, launching and parking being affected.  It makes it tough for the day users but people staying at resorts not so much. Some resorts have more parking than others and better launching facilities. During the week things are not so crowded. Blackburns still has two cabins available for Labor day weekend . We were full but had cancellations. We are normally the first resort to fill up with people taking advantage of the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals. Many of our guests are regular customers and we do not want to charge them too much. Veterans and Police are expecially welcome here. The lake remains clear with a surface water temperature of 85 and most of the debris is sticking to the windblown banks with the dropping water level but it is still a good idea to check out the area carefully before you drag children through it. A few logs are starting to appear that were once submerged. The lake is down about three feet from it's high earlier. Fishing remains the same with a thermocline at about 25-ft  with several fish at or around this level. Spooning is the best fishing technique but bass fishermen are catching some good ones in the evening on salt craws. 

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

Blackburns new friends caught some good ones fishing with Bink's Guide Service this morning. We will see what the rest of the group does tomorrow. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 570.12 and has dropped a little less than 2-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. The surface water temperature is 85 degrees and the water appears to be clear from the surface but the visibility is not good at the thermocline at 25-feet. Divers are getting some nice walleye though.  Some bass are schooled up on shad in open water and are the best bite now, followed by walleye and a few stripers and crappie. Bluegill are still under docks and around willows on the main lake. Spoons are the best bait but trollers are catching some also. I do not troll and I like to feel the initial bite and set the hook, not just pick up a rod out of the rod holder. I can barely handle one rod at a time but do not miss very many fish. If I drug around 6-8 lines I would have everything messed up. The weather has been very cool for July and is pleasant. It is to get hot again later this week but not a lot of chance for rain. The lake is in excellent condition for swimming and boating and Blackburns has another group of nice people.  We like that. 

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

The lake level is 570.35 and has dropped about 1-3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. The new news is we missed the storm and rain. We got nothing. It went way south of us and left us dry. I went down and triple tied all of the boats, tightened up the dock cables and lowered the bimini pontoon tops and am glad I did not need to. There is a good chance of pop up showers today but it is much cooler. It is to get hot again later this week with highs in the mid 90's. 90 is the normal high for this date. We need some rain badly. The lake is in good condition and clear despite the high level with a surface water temperature in the mid 80's. It is usually 90 by the first of August. The thermocline is at 25-ft. and the visibility was not the best there. There were some fish that came up this morning after the low pressure moved in and were sporatic so still keep a top-water lure handy. If not, throw that spoon at them and hop it back keeping it from sinking rapidly.  Striper fishing was a bit slower for the bigger fish but some were still caught about 50-60 feet down. Many other species are in 30-ft. near brush. Bass are still coming to the old shoreline to feed in the evenings. Some very large crappie are being caught on the spoon also in 30-ft. This is not the best time for fishing but you can catch some good ones if you know what you are doing. They are catching a lot of nice bluegill off the dock with a few crappie and catfish. 

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

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday.Image titleImage title

The lake level is 570.55 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. We are to get rain late this afternoon and tonight with wind. It could be significant. We need the rain but they can keep the wind. It is getting dry and dusty. The normal high is now 90 degrees and the surface water temperature is still in the mid 80's with clear water on the main lake and the creeks varying from day to day from very clear to stained a little green in the shallower water. The old shore line from before the spring level rise is now at about 18-feet and you need to be deeper from that when swimming from a boat to prevent jumping into brush. All beaches are well under water and there is no sense going very far from where you are staying to swim or boat as there is not anything different to see and you will just burn up high $ gas. No alcohol regular gas is now over $3 per gallon in town and much higher at marinas. I like to use premium unleaded no aclohol in my boats but wow does it cost a lot just since the election. People are excited to get out on the lake when they first get here and run all over the lake and drag everything they can hook up to. Then they fill up with gas, get a big suprise, and then go into coves and tie up and swim around the boat. It happens over and over. I still advise to not boat after dark especially in high water. I am not allowing any of my rental boats to be out after dark or drag anything. If you want to do that, other boat rental places may allow it and you can stay at Blackburns and rent boats somewhere else. We certainly do not mind. It is best to check prices first so you do not allow wants to exceed budget. Not much has changed as fishing goes but the fish are going deeper as the thermocline drops and the water warms. It is a typical July. I have to go to the dock and tighten the cables and triple tie the boats. They are saying 100% for the rain chances and it is clouding up already. Some nice fish are being caught everyday but there are not a lot of fishermen. Most are families enjoying the lake and our big pool with slide. 

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

Caught yesterday fishing with Bink's Guide Service.Image title

The lake level is 570.71 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with a little less generation. If it does not rain much and they keep up this stupid lake management we should be at normal levels by October. Then they will not draw it down in the winter and we can begin high water again with the spring rains. Hold and hope. Sounds like a government plan to me that really wants launches, parking, campgrounds and swimming areas covered with water and then blame it on rain. The only thing that makes things work now is a drought. This is not going to change until people really start complaining to their congressmen. There are some people that this does not bother much and continue to support the current rules. It is not a matter of whether you flood out the farmers or the lake, it is a matter of smart management. My dog is smart and could do a better job.  I am so tired of people saying that is what the lakes are for to hold water. The lakes are for flood control. Smart flood control. They give you a choice of how do you want your steak, raw or burned, and have people take sides. It should be medium. The government just reacts to problems by saying they will do a study and then three or four years later they start the public comments to test the waters. This is how they do everything. We are years away from any changes if we start now. I am not sure why the creeks go from very clear to stained overnight with no changes in weather. The main lake is consistenly clear and has been for several months and the creeks change almost daily but it does not hurt anything. Some days I can see near the bottom at my dock which is in a little over 30-ft. of water and some I cannot see down 3-4 feet. There are a lot of fish under there though. Fishing has not changed with the stripers deep and the walleye in 32-ft. of water on main lake points. Crappie are under docks and on mainlake dropoffs near any wood. Bass move into the old shoreline in the evening. Big bluegill are also undwer docks and under main lake willow patches. This is all normal. Water surface temperature remains at 85 degrees. The lake overall is in good condition.  

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

The lake level is 570.85 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. It took 8-days to drop the last foot with almost no rainfall and dry conditions. The bowl is getting a little smaller and the level should drop more even though they do not generate more. The lower it gets the faster it drops. The very top is the hardest part especially when there is no effort to drop. The surface water temperature is 85 degrees and the lake is clearing after the holiday traffic. It is as clear as it has been in years. If the lake level gets into the 550's it looks to be very good fishing in the fall when the brush piles get back to the right level. I started putting in brush piles shallower a few years ago when they changed the water level management and started keeping the lake flooded all spring and summer.  There is a limit to how effective this is when the level of the old shoreline is in 20-25 ft. of water and there is cover everywhere. I like to put in cover on main lake points on rocky banks with no buckbrush where the fish can get to deep water quickly. Walleye and crappie like that. Stripers are mostly on shad but also like just outside brush on drop-offs. Stripers are now in deep water, over 100-ft., suspended 60-80-ft. down and can be caught on 1-ounce spoons. Walleye are on main lake points in 32-ft. of water near the bottom and are also biting jigging spoons. The Game and Fish made a run to North carolina and brought back 220,000 fingerling stripers to stock. One third of them have gone in Norfork. Maybe these fish will be more suitable to high water and low ozygen level in the summer. I hope so. Those guys really care about the area lakes and do a great job. A lot of people like to catch stripers and come here just for that. It would be nice to have the numbers of 20-30 pounders back to where they were. Instead, they just continue to kill smaller and smaller ones and convince people they are big when they are not. I do not fish for them in the summer when they are deep as all of them die and releasing them does no good. Crappie are showing up under docks in the shade as are big bluegill. Some big crappie are just off steep banks on the main lake at the drop-off. It is a typical July for fishing. Bass are coming into the bank in the evening to feed on this year's spawn and can be caught on spinner baits, swim baits, salt craws and crank baits. Plan on losing some lures in the brush. 

Cabin Opening

Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental has just now a two bedroom cabin open for the week 0f July 17-24 due to cancellation for health reason. It is only $588/week for four persons. Hurry before you pay way too much elsewhere. Prime time. We do not get these very often and have been booked full for weeks.  Call Debbie at 870-492-5115 for details. 

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

Caught yesterday fishing with Bink. There are still a few left but people just keep killing those small ones and bragging about it. Image title

The lake level is 571.03 and has dropped a little less than 2-inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. They are holding the White River at Newport to below 12-feet when it should be at 14-ft. Minor flood stage there is 23-ft and they are protecting nobody from anything but are doing a great job of holding the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. At this rate we will be at 561 or better by Labor Day and still be 7-8 feet above power pool by then if we do not get much more rain. We have been fortunate to have had below normal rainfall for several weeks and it is getting dry and dusty. Bull Shoals had a drowning and Norfork had a bad wakeboard accident yesterday so be carefull and do not go out after dark and check out the area before you start dragging people with your boats. There is still some debris but not a lot. The water is clearing quickly after the holiday churning and is in good condition with a surface temperature of about 85-degrees. The weather is to get into the low 90's today and mid 90's later this week. Typical July. Normal high is 89 and low is 67. The lake traffic is still right up there and most of the better resorts are full. At least the ones with docks and swimming pools.  The town traffic is very busy and you can avoid most of it by staying home from between a little after 4:PM and 5:30 Pm. They are peddling those little cars very fast along 62 and the bypass during those times just like the big cities. It certainly is not like it used to be. I do not think we need to recruit any more tourists or more people to move here. I used to know almost everybody in town and now can go into Walmart and not see anybody I know. What a change. Highway 62-412 was a 2-lane road by Blackburns corner and I hardly had to stop for oncoming traffic before pulling out. Now it is five lanes and sometimes requires a long wait. The was no bypass and all traffic, including big trucks, had to go through town. Traffic is getting bad despite all of these so called improvements. My property tax has increased three fold and sales tax has increased dramatically. I guess that is progress. I am not sure I like progress very much but there is no better place to go. Things will get better come late fall and winter when I can fish every day. That makes things better. A lot better.  At least for me.

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

The lake level is 571.19 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. They are holding the White River at Newport at below 12-feet despite the dry conditions. The lake is clearing already after the churning on the extended weekend. It will be fine in a couple of days. It is to get hot starting tomorrow and will be typical July weather. The lake surface water temperature is in the mid 80's and the normal ambient high is 89 degrees and we will be ahead of that for the next several days with just a little chance of pop up showers in the heat of the day. Blackburns is full of nice people and it looks to be a good week. Only one more holiday to go and then the fishermen can have the lake back. The lake is getting busier and busier every year and the boats are getting bigger and bigger. 

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

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service.Image title

James with some nice White Bass. They are starting to make a comeback and I am glad. People like to catch them and they are not stocked. Image title

The lake level is 571.35 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. The White River at Newport has dropped to just below 11-feet and nobody knows why they continue to hold the area lakes up for so high for so long for absolurely no reason. It is dry here and nothing close is anywhere near flooding. Someone needs to be held accountable and be removed from their position. It was as busy as I have ever seen it on the lake this weekend and continues to be so. It will be over by this evening and we can expect another onslaught for Labor day with all of the calls for boats and cabins coming in. Everyone seems to have money and willing to spend it. The Mountain home ecomony is flourishing and sales tax revenues are setting records every month. Town traffic is like a big city.  I cannot imagine what it would be like if the water was not high and the campgrounds were all open and the gas prices were not so high. They have gone up about $1.20 per gallon since the election.  People are making the best of it and having fun despite these headwinds.  There is still some debris out there so be carefull and boating after dark is not recommended but mostly the lake is in good shape and will clear again after the boat traffic slows down this evening. Fishermen going out in the early morning are still doing pretty well. Stripers, hybrids, walleye, crappie, bluegill and catfish are all being caught every day. The surface water temperature is still just over 84-degrees and should rise as the ambient temperatures rise into the 90's later this week and the weather looks good so far. Our pets have come out from under the bed finally and I am glad the fireworks are over for another year. They do not like them and are scared and they lasted well into the night. I doubt the people shooting them had to go to work this morning. We do.  

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

James and Mike caught some good ones yestersay. Bink is now on the walleye.Image title

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The lake level is 571.51 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 70% of the time. They have now dropped the White River at Newport to less than 12-feet and have done a great job of holding the area lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. They have now held them past the 4th of July and are going for labor day. Great managers. We should put them in charge of the post office. If we keep getting lower than average rainfall they may have to completely dry up the White River to keep holding. You would think they need electricity somewhere in the southwest power administration's grid. Guess not. It is a plastic river anyway and has no flow except for the mimimum flow for the put and take trout, which took away 1.75 feet of flood storage, if they quit generating. We need the government to take over more stuff. The town and lake is more crowded than I have ever seen it in 27-years. Trucks and trailers were parked all the way to highway 101 from the Panther Bay boat launch. I hope the peole ramming the jet skis clear back in Blackburns creek right in front of the dock are safe. I was afraid they would hit the no wake buoys as they went flying by. The people that went out fishing yesterday before the onslaught did well on spoons and swim baits. Walleye are showing up as predicted as are stripers, hybrids, crappie, bluegill, catfish and bass. Check out the points in front of middle pigeon and east pigeon creeks in 20-25 ft. of water. The water surface temperature is still about 84 and the water is cloudy after being churned up by all of the boats. It will clear up again about July 7th. The weather has been beautiful and Blackburns has a very nice group of people in again this week. We have been culling them for 27-years now and almost all of the not so nice ones have moved on and replaced. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.  

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

Here we are the 3rd of July already. The town filled up last night and many more are coming today. Traffic is congested and everything is very busy. Launching ramps are crowded with limited parking and jet skis and big boats are everywhere. I thought Lake of the Ozarks had all the big boats but some are now migrating to Norfork. It is like they are playing tag with no wake buoys and seem to see how far back in the creeks they can go and how many docks they can wake. Everyone seems to have a lot of money and are willing to pay the high gas prices, at least for the first day until they remember how much it costs to fill up and then there will be a lot of them tied up together in the creeks with the music playing battle of the bands. Looks like fun to me but I am too old and will stick to just fishing and surrender the holidays. The lake level is 571.64 and has dropped about 1-1/4 inches in the last 24-hours with generation about 60% of the time. They are doing a great job of holding the White River at Newport to 12-ft. and keeping the area lakes as high as possible for as long as possible. Campgrounds are very limited with water over most of them. It is best to stay at a place where you can launch your boat and keep it in a dock stall until ready to leave or rent one that comes with a stall.  The weather looks to be great with light winds and temperatures in the low to mid 80's and sunny. I hope everyone has a good time and stays safe. We will see what Monday brings.  If you are in a fishing boat and see a big boat with steep sides and a tower on top turn and get away from it as soon as possible. They will swamp you. They make big wakes.  Things are changing here at Mountain Home and Norfork Lake. I hope it is for the best. Business is good but that is not everything. 

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

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Caught yesterday fishing with BinkImage title

The lake level is 571.74 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with generation about 70% of the time. We received about 0.8 inches of badly need rain yesterday and it was cloudy and came slowly and all of it sank in with no wind. We were a little below average for rainfall for the month of june and there is no reason  to keep the area lakes up so high for so long. They must just like it that way. Just a couple of feet drop would do a lot of good but they refuse to do so. Fishing was a little better with the clouds  and cooler weather yesterday. The surface water temperature is still in the mid 80's and it looks to be very nice weather for the holiday unlike Memorial Day. If the number of phone calls for cabins and boat rental is any indication, it will be very busy on Norfork lake. The traffic in town is already building and it is like a big city at around 5:Pm. Not much has changed with regards to fishing and the main lake is very clear and the creeks vary day by day but are mostly clear. The boat raffic will churn things up and drop clarity, especially on mud and gravel banks. Diving conditions will get better after the holiday and things have a chance to settle out again. I am ready for the 4th to be over already. Better get out there early and get a stall somewhere to park your boat or otherwise you will be going a mile to park your trailer and a long wait to launch. Things will be better Monday morning.