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

Don Choc from Festus, Missouri shows off some nice ones. Welcome to Blackburns. Image title

The lake level is 553.68 and is rising slowly with 1/2 generator running for several hours. It came up 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours. Power pool is 553.75 and it will be interesting to see how the lake is managed then. I suspect they will keep it just above that for as long as they can. We usually get nearly 5-inches of rain in November. The lake surface water is 67 degrees and also dropping slowly. It should go faster with the very cool nights later this week after another cold front comes through. We are to get our first frost either wednesday or thursday night. It sure was beautiful today, sunny with a high in the upper 60's. but the wind started to pick up this afternoon. Blackburns has people working on the new Burke's store where Stage used to be, people looking for real estate, people that have not been here for a while, and others fishing. It is a good group. Bink took out Don and Diane Choc from Festus, Missouri and they has a good time. They are very nice people and are welcome. Diane has been here before and this is Don's first time. Hope he likes it. They caught crappie, stripers and bass and are out fishing on a pontoon rental boat today. The lake is still turning and is a little off-color. The fall fishing will start soon. Some people are catching a few red meat fish but are working hard to get them. They fish all day for two or three fish and sometimes two days. They are not jumping in the boat.  It will get better soon. Time change is the first Sunday in November which is the 7th and the full moon is the 19th. Fishing usually gets good by time change. We will see. There are a lot of creek minnows on the bank. The lake will be clearing by then. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. 

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

Caught on the spoon fishing with Bink's Guide service yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 553.61 and has risen 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with little generation. It is amazing how steady they can keep the level if they want to. Rules only seem to matter if they are trying to flood us out. It is a good level now though and I would like it to stay here all of the time. The lake is still turning over with the lake surface temperature dropping every day and is now 66-67 degrees in Blackburn's area. It is lower up river where the water is shallower. The wind is also dropping the surface temperature and stirring up the water. The visibility is worse in the creeks but they will also clear more quickly. The color has gone from stained green to just a darker color and bubbles are coming up in the shallower water. We are to get our first freeze in the middle of next week and the cold fronts just keep coming through bringing with them wind. It is to be nice today and tomorrow with highs in the 60's. Some White Bass abd Small Hybrids are schooled and have moved out in front of and around Mallard Point to the west. They always do this every year at this time but the schools are much smaller. The White Bass are decent size but there are not many of them. They will spawn in february and march and it is a shame to kill them as they are trying to make a comeback but some people need the meat. I saw no evidence of a fish kill this fall and I do not know if it was because the big fish are gone or most of the vegetation has already died with past floods and did not create a heavy oxygen demand. One thing for sure there was little effort to drop the lakes until the summer was over. I am still catching crappie, bass, bluegill and catfish on main lake points on brush but they are scattered and spread out all over the lake. No big schools. I have not caught a walleye in over a week and longer than that for a keeper.  The catfish are still on the same brush as the crappie but on the bottom. Let your spoon touch bottom and you will be surprised what you catch. It could be about anything. Fishing overall is just fair but you can catch some if you know where and how. Bink is out with some of Blackburns guests this morning and we will see how he does. I bet the red meat fish have slowed and he will be on something else. He takes about 100 guided trips out of Blackburns a year and the vast majority have a great time. I know I do when he takes me out to sharpen my fishing skills. It is usually this time of year but he has not called me yet. The fishing will get better as the lake cools and clears and that is coming soon. I would like to see a warm cloudy day with little wind but will take what I get. I went to the grocery store, filled my car up with gas and bought oil and a battery for a boat and cannot believe the price increases. They are big and everywhere except for Blackburns where you can get a one bedroom cabin for $59/day and a two bedroom for $77/day with three and four bedrooms priced accordingly. We will hold the prices as long as we can and your first boat stall is free. Stay at the best place and get the best price. Cannot beat that. November is shaping up for a good fishing month so far and is right on schedule. I really like smallmouth fishing and it is starting. Leave some of those white bass for spawn. No sense catching huge stringers of fish no matter what the legal limit is. I will miss Bob Knight. He was one good person and I did business with him for 27-years and listened to him on KTLO everyday. He had a vast amount of knowledge on many subjects.  

Norfork Lake condition, fishing and fall foliage report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

Caught fishing with Bink yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 553.55 and is exactly what it was over three weeks ago. It is back on it's way to the power pool of 553.75 and they are doing nothing about it. I guess there is no need for electricity any where in the Southwest region. We got another 0.7 inches of rain here at Blackburns yesterday but the creeks did not run.  I sure hope they do not say the rain caused the high water this year and the dams are just for holding water. This excuse will not fly anymore. They have had ample chances this fall to drop the lake. The lake surface water in Blackburns creek was 67+ degrees last eveing when I went out and the lake is starting to turn over. It is a little late but not too much. It is the same for the fall foliage. It is starting to turn a little but most of the colors are brown and rusty yellow. Even the sumac, which is usually red on the road sides, is mostly brown.  So far it is a bust for brilliant colors but the area is still beautiful this time of year and it looks better on sunny days of which we have not had very many lately. Everytime a little color shows the wind blows it off. It is to be nice with highs in the mid 60's this weekend and then get cool with lows in the high 30's. We have not been near a frost yet. Blackburns is in a valley just above lake level and it gets several degrees cooler at night than on the hill sides but is also protected from wind and storms. People used to come down to Blackburns in the old days to get out of storms and severe weather as it is well protected on three sides. Bink is still on the red meat fish and has been for about three weeks. They have moved out to a little over 50-ft. of water close to shallower water. The Striper club had a fishing tournament and not one fish was caught. That should tell you something. Either they are not there or they should quit trolling and start spooning. A few good sized White Bass are mixed in with the hybrids and small stripers but not very many. Their numbers are way down but not the crappie, bass, catfish, bluegill and walleye. There are a lot of fish in this lake but the fishing will be at the mercy of the cold fronts and turnover for the next several days. Some good fish will continue to be caught though just not as many unless you can find schools of roaming fish that are feeding then it is good for a while. I do not fish open water much anymore but several do especially when the seagulls come back and then they can follow the birds.  They get used to that and are lost when the birds go away again and are forced to find them on their own. I watch them over and over flying down the lake, see a school of shad on their screen, stop and back up and then hit the spot lock, and then look and look for the fish and then go on. The crappie that I am catching are not the big ones but are about 11-12 inches long and the bite is sporatic. They will not bite for two hours and then start for about 5-10 minutes. I probably fish some places too long but prefer to go to brush where I know there are fish and wait them out and seem to do pretty well. Crappie are easily spooked, expecially the big ones. Use clear 4-6 lb. line, either monofilament or flourocarbon and take off all of the hardware. Sometimes you can get away with colored or braided when the water is stained but there is no sense it using it here. It you use clear you will be ready. Crappie are very line shy in the clear water and we are approaching the time of year when it will get the clearest. The light line is still very strong and allows the lure to work better. Heavy colored line will greatly reduce your catch on Norfork Lake. Your trolling motor will also spook them. Go against the wind and use it just as much as you need to to stay on the brush or drift over it and use it to go back around and do it again.  Blackburns brush piles are at perfect depths now and there are fish on them including Kentucky Bass, Crappie, bluegill and catfish. Walleye fishing has slowed for me but should pick back up later this month as will the smallmouth bass. This is a good time of year and the boat traffic is very low. I like it. 

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

John Bornhop with a nice Hybrid.Image title

The lake level is 553.37 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with less than 1/2 generator running for a few hours. Again, there is no effort to drop the lake. We have received over 2-inches of rain here at Blackburns since yesterday and it is still raining with no signs of stopping. The creeks are not running yet. It is cool and the wind is to pick up and get stiff again later today. These cold fronts and wind just keep coming through this time of year and that is why November is our rainiest month. It is getting a little early start this year after very dry weather this summer. The ground is getting saturated and if there is rain in the Norfork watershed in Missouri the lake will rise more quickly, especially if they refuse to generate. The surface water temperature is just under 70 degrees here on the main lake and it will start to turn over soon. The more quickly the ambient temperature drops the more quickly it will turn. The last few years it has been gradual but always seems to at least get started or even finished by the end of October. The water will clear after it finishes barring any big rains and the good fishing will begin. The full moon in November, which is the 19th, is typically a good time for striper fishing. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out this year. Last year the night bite for them feeding on the bank just at dark did not happen but it has many years in the past. This used to be a good time to catch the very large ones. I would go out on the shadowy banks in the evening and fish soft plastics for walleye and then switch to a stick bait as dark approached with good results. Things sure do change. The March night bite on the bank during spawn is not even happening much and it used to be the best time except for the top-water bite starting in April. I remember seeing acres of stripers, hybrids and white bass surfacing in April in Panther Creek in the mornings. Not so now. The best top-water bite now on Norfork is the bass with a few temperate bass mixed in.  I sure hope the stripers make a comeback and they would if they would not keep the water so high all summer and people would quit over-fishing and killing them.  I hope game and fish do not quit stocking them but they could. Walleye fishing is picking up nicely and there are a lot of fish just short of the 18-inch limit and should reach that length next year. It was cool and rainy when I went out yesterday and not much had changed. Fishing was fair with crappie, bluegill, catfish and Kentucky bass baing the best bite. I caught some for Tom Kelly's trophy pond, delivered them and went back to plumbing and moving in new furniture. We cannot wait for spring to make improvements here at Blackburns as the season gets very busy early in March and we are making a lot of them. We have installed kitchen cabinets, counter tops, air conditioners with heaters and many new mattresses, furniture and recliners. The people at Furniture  Depot are very nice, have high quality furniture, a good inventory and very good prices. I recommend them highly. We are trying very hard and are committed to holding the $59/day cabin rental price in the off-season but it is getting very difficult. Very difficult. We just do not want to charge our customers too much. You should just not do that to your friends. By the time most people fill up with gas and buy food there is just not much left and we want them to come here on vacation. We have been here for a long time and do not need much and spend almost all we make on improvements when we can get the stuff. Several resorts on Norfork are for sale but Blackburns is not. We want it to stay in the family for years to come and are proud of it.

Norfork Lake condition, fishing and fall foliage report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

There is some fall foliage color but not a lot and it is starting to get late and the wind will not help anything. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.25 and is the same as it was yesterday with 1/2 generator running for a few hours. No effort to drop the lake. The lake surface water was 70.6 yesterday on the main lake with vsibility stained and you can see your lure down just a few feet. Not much has changed but it is now cloudy and there is a good chance of rain for the next two days with more wind. It was calm earlier but is picking up now. One guest reported catching eight fish with most of them crappie with a few nice bluegill. Open water temperate bass are showing up as predicted after a very slow September and early October. Bink has been on them for about three weeks. I do not fish for them anymore with the reduced numbers and want them to grow for a few years and will stick to crappie, walleye , Kentucky Bass and catfish. The lake will start turning over soon and the fish will scatter for a couple of weeks. It still looks like Thanksgiving will be good fishing. I am ready to catch some of those big smallmouth which will be going to the bank then and the large crappie. The lake is at a good level and good color and is in excellent condition for fishing. Tomorrow at 8:45 AM on KTLO Radio 97.9 FM and on cable channel 5 is the" live in the boat" radio show with Bink's Guide Service. I am anxious to hear what he has to say and if he is still on the fish. 

Fall Foliage report for Mountain Home, Norfork Lake, Ozark Mountain Region and Northern Arkansas by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Image title

The color is starting to change a little with the cool nights. It is not spectacular but is better than I first thought. We may get some good color yet if the wind does not keep blowing it off. It is a couple of weeks later than normal but peak is not usually until the very last of October. This is my burning bush that was brown two days ago. Stay tuned.

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

Brian Stevens from Lake Station, Indiana shows off some good ones fishing Blackburns brush piles yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 553.25 and has risen a little less than 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with 1/2 generator running sparingly. They now have the White River at Newport at a little over 4-ft. and it is drying up. They only follow the generation guidelines when they want to. One more day of nice weather and then rain chances again with another low pressure coming in. The surface water temperature was 71.5 yesterday and is dropping very slowly. The fish were biting a little better yesterday with crappie, Kentucky Bass, bluegill and catfish being the best bite. Trollers are starting to pick up red meat fish as predicted with some nice sized White Bass being caught. They are making a comeback but slowly. Many are small. As I have said before we need the White Bass when other fish are hard to catch. White Bass are for people that cannot catch anything else and trout are for people that cannot catch White Bass. That has not been the case for a couple of years. Bink reports the fish are pushing deeper during the day. They were at 30-ft. then 40-ft. and now 50-ft. and still going deeper. He is using his 1/2 ounce jigging spoon. The fish are in the same places just out a little more. He has been on them for several weeks. Nothing is in a feeding frenzy or hammering anything but schools of mixed fish are continuously moving in and out the the same area and will bite if you drop the spoon right on their heads. He is catching all of his fish on the main lake and nothing in the creeks. I am still spooning and jigging brush from 25-32 ft. of water and catching crappie, bluegill, Kentucky Bass and catfish all in the same area. If you see baitfish near brush there are predator fish with them. More different species are on shad in open water now than before with the absence of the big stripers not hogging all of the food. I have never caught so many catfish on spoons than this year and they are fat and healthy. Anytime you find schools of bluegill you can bet there are catfish somewhere close. I am still not catching very many largemouth bass because I do not troll around in open water where a lot of them are now. They will move to the bank later as the water cools and more will start to show up. There are plenty of them in the lake. Big smallmouth will start biting soon. It is very peaceful out there now that the big fishing tournaments are over and the wake boats and jet skis are gone. The cold fronts just keep bringing the wind and you about have to get out early and go out again in the evening to get out of it. The lake will start to turn soon and how long it takes to do so will depend on how fast the water cools. After that is over and the water clears the fishing will get better again. It is usually in the process or finished by now but the temperature has held in the warm weather. Blackburns still has $59/day cabins and your first boat stall is free. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.    

Norfork Lake Condition and Fishing and Fall Foliage Report.

The lake level is 553.22 and has risen one inch in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation for three days. The White River at Newport is at 5-ft. We did receive 1-1/2 inches of rain last night but very little wind. Most of the severe weather went north of us again and we have been very fortunate all year. Others were not so fortunate. It was very windy with big white caps and not a good day to be out on the lake. It was better early but got worse as the day warmed with the cold front coming in. Steven Meador and Joey Penzo weighed-in five fish and won the Bass Cat Invitational with 13.29 pounds. It was better and the bass always seem to bite better in the wind. I do not like it though. Hope they have the tournament on Norfork again soon. The rumor is in three years. The lake has been very busy all of the month of October and it is hard to believe it is almost over. The surface water temperature was 72.5 and the water is stained on both main lake and in the creeks. The ambient temperature is to remain cool for several days and the lake should start it's turnover soon. We are right on schedule for a good month of fishing in November. The fall foliage turned a little color but the wind keeps blowing off the leaves. I thought it might be a complete dud but it might slavage some yet. My burning bush turned red almost over night. I though it was going straight to brown. It is still beautiful here on Norfork Lake no matter how brilliant the colors and Blackburns still has cabins for $59/day and are open all year. We will shut some down as the weather cools and the business slows but that has not happened yet. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and especially welcome Police and Veterans. We like them here.  

Norfork Lake 2021 Bass Cat tournament 2nd Day Results and weather by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

The second day for Bass Cat is in the books. B. Chapman and D. Wooter lead the pack with 162.65 inches total for two days but that does nothing but qualify them for the fish-off tomorrow. A total of only 96-inches made the cut of 25. They all start equal tomorrow and that does not seem fair to me but that is the way it is. Rules are rules.  688 total fish have been caught so far  A storm hit about 3:45 Pm and we got 2.3 inches of rain here at Blackburns with hail in just a few minutes. The creeks are running hard and the backs will be brown by tomorrow for fishing. Should not affect the main lake. More weather possible tomorrow and I hope it holds off until the tournament is over. We did not get much wind here but other places did. Scuba Steve's blog is the place to go for up to date information. We try and stay on top of things.I caught several nice fish before the storm and put them in Tom Kelly's trophy pond. It is ready for fall fishing. I still am not catching any big largemouth bass. 

Norfork Lake Condition, fishing and fall foliage report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental(click here for comments)

Scuba Steve with the best ones he caught yesterday on the spoon. Released under the dock. Image title

The lake level is 553.03 and is the same as yesterday at this time with 4-5 hours of running one generator. They are really reluctant to let it drop past 553 and it has taken weeks to drop 0.75 feet after the Power company took over control of generation in late September. They will have to completely shut down all day to stop it today but nothing the government does would surprise me. The surface water temperature was 74+ when I went out yesterday afternoon after the Bass Cat Tournament closed for the day. It was a beautiful day with very light winds and I was able to use the jigging spoon and keep it straight up and down in brush without losing any spoons. The lake is getting more and more stained every day.  The fishing was not fast, none were in a feeding frenzy, I did not lose any fish but did catch a few pretty good ones to be released under the dock. It was very nice to be out and most of the boats were off the lake. It rained last night and there were variable amounts around the area. We recieved 0.9 inches here at Blackburns. Some got almost none. They are predicting strong storms on Sunday and Sunday Night with high winds. We will see. I will tighten up my dock cables, triple tie my boats and hope for the best. I do not like wind. We have missed everything all year and it would be a shame to get it now at the end of October. Ambient temperatures are to get near 80 followed by another cold front. Today is nice though and I take it one day at a time. I do not know if 85.75 inches that is leading the tournament is good for a fishing tournament or not. I have caught 20-inch bass with big heads that were long and skinny and did not weigh much and 18-inch ones that were fat and weighed more. I understand the non-contact rules for Covid but an outside weigh-in worked for other tournamnets with no super spreader but I am not an event organizer. I have had both my vaccines and the booster and have put it behind me. I wish them good luck today and hope the weather works for the top 25-tomorrow and am glad they are here and hope they come back. We have a lot of friends with Bass Cat boats. If clean boats made for good fishing they would catch 40-50 pounds a day and I would get none.  Fall foliage has not changed much and the wind tomorrow will not help it any. We have not been near a frost yet and they are still making chlorophyll. There is still time but it is running out.

Day One Norfork Lake Bass Cat Tournament

There was no actual weigh-in but remote no contact  measurements. D&F Harris are leading with 5-fish measuring 85.75 inches. Beeks and Edwards are second with 85.25 inches. 105 out of 240 boats checked in fish with 44 of them catching only one fish. A total of 294 fish were caught. No big bass mentioned. The biggest I saw was 19.75 inches. Scuba Steve

Norfork Lake condition, fishing and fall foliage report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

Dave Titus with some of yesterday's catch. One crappie was very large and he also caught some nice bluegill. Image title

The lake level is 553.06 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with about 5-hours of running one generator. Since the lake reached the power pool of 553.75 in late September they have dropped the lake about 3/4th of a foot with many chances to drop it much more. If they keep it at this rate we will pay for it in the spring and they will say rain caused the high water. This excuse is not going to fly anymore. We need better management. Maybe the people managing the border can manage the lake. The surface water temperature was 72.5 when I went out yesterday afternoon and it was a little windy but not bad. The condition looks good for the Bass Cat Invitational which starts today and finishes on Sunday. There are 237 boats entered. The Phoenix two weeks ago, the Cystic last week and the Bass Cat today all have had about the same number of boats. It has made for a busy October for Norfork Lake and is a very good time to hold tournaments especially this year when the lake has not started to turn yet and has been at a very stable level. The fishing is  not the best but good fishermen are catching fish but it is not easy. I caught some very nice crappie and a few Kentucky Bass in the 2-1/2 pound range along with several very large bluegill. Just what I was after to take to Tom Kelly's trophy pond. They all swam away quickly. Those Kentucky bass are fat and healthy.  They had eluded me for a week or so but are back. Other people here at Blackburns caught some good ones also but the Bass Catters pre-fishing are pretty much tight lipped. We will see how they do today. The weather looks good for the next couple of days and then a chance of rain on Sunday and Monday with a storm possible. It is to get very windy later and that should make for some better largemouth fishing on the windblown banks. Me, I will be spooning and jig fishing brush as usual attempting to catch bass, crappie, bluegill and an occassional walleye. I release almost all of my fish and do not try and catch huge stringers of fish. Leave some for posterity. The fall foliage is not doing much with the rain and no frost as of yet. The wind this weekend will not help things any but we will see. You will be the first to know. Fishing overall is just fair and could be a challenge for the bass fishermen. I wish them well. 

Norfork Lake Condition, Fishing and Fall Foliage Report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns resort and Boat Rental(click here for comments)

Kenny Stengel from Lansing, Illinois with some of yesterday's catch. One of those crappie is very big. Image title

The lake level is 553.11 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 4-hours. The White River at Newport is now 4+ feet. The surface water temperature was 74+ when I went out yesterday and again it was a beautiful day. A little windy but not bad. I again tried to go part way back in a creek to get out of the wind and again the fish were not here. I am getting almost all of my fish on the main lake except for some bluegill. I caught bass, crappie and bluegill and released them under the dock. No big fish. The dock school is getter bigger and the children are having a good time catching them. This has been the best fall for big bluegill in several years. The temperate bass are moving to the wind blown banks at night to feed and then going out and suspend at 50-ft. after sunrise. Some are small but some also are in the 8-10 lb. range. There are not nearly as many as in the past and not very big but some are still there. I guess people will keep killing them until they are all gone. They will get scarce again when it gets cold. The Bass Cat invitational starts tomorrow and then again on saturday with the top 25-having a fish-off on Sunday. There are drastic rule changes due to Covid. You have to have a smart phone and take pictures of them instead of the regular weigh-in and you will qualify acording to length. I do not qualify even though I have a Bass Cat because my flip phone does not take pictures. I have a Hummingbird 4-ID fishfinder but have been meaning to upgrade it Since 1989 but am too poor. A $800 phone is out of the question. I prefer to spend my money on resort improvements and the place is looking good. We are full and mostly are Bass Catters taking advantage of the location, launching and parking facilities and not least the best price on the Lake. We are happy to have them. This has been the busiest October ever here at Blackburns and we appreciate it. A small cold front came through and we will see what it does to the Bass Fishing. It did not affect the temperate bass fishing this morning as Bink is really on them. He is dropping a spoon on their heads and catching a lot at 50-ft. down. I suspect live bait and crank bait trollers will start catching some also. I am catching mostly Kentucky Bass instead of Largemouth and most of them will not qualify for the Bass Cat tournament as all fish have to be 15-inches. Few of the ones that I am catching are over that. That rule may hurt the poundage for the tourny. I am just not finding any big largemouth and smallmouth like a few weeks earlier except in open water on shad and I do not fish that way. Dragging stuff is not my way of doing things. I am addicted to the fish hitting the lure and setting the hook. Anything else is anti-climatic for me but I am not a meat hunter. I have no idea what the poundage will be this weekend but my guess would be about 14-lbs/day. There are a lot of good fishermen out there but I do not think beating the bank will win this unless it gets very windy and some largemouth are on the windblown banks on crankbaits and I suspect the winner will not be from too far away from here. Liability seems to be a big driver in the rules for this tournamnet. They should be letting out a little more water from Norfork soon. 

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

Scuba Steve with some of yesterday's catch. Image title

The lake level is 553.15 and has been within 1/2 inch of this level for nine days with one generator running for three hours. It would be nice if they would keep it stable in the spring for the spawn but fat chance of that. Hold and hope is the name and flood us out every year is the game. A lot could be done to prevent this if there was an effort and a reasonable plan. The lake surface water temperature was 73+ degrees when I went out yesterday and it was a bit windy as usual in the afternoon. It is calmer early before it warms and later in the evening after the heat of the day. The weather has been beautiful and the fishing is picking up a bit before the lake turn. We had divers in and they said the visibility was good in some places and poor in others. Poor mostly off mud banks and better off rocky ones. They found mostly crappie off brush and a few walleye but they were mostly short. No catfish. The theromocline was strill about 30-32 ft. with cold water lower than that. The lake turnover is almost always in October but the surface water temperature has to drop lower than the top of the thermocline for the layer to invert and we are not there yet. Crappie and bluegill fishing is the best now but trollers are catching some temperate bass as predicted but are dragging lures or live bait a long way to catch something. Some are near the bank at dark and before sunrise. Many species of fish are in open water on shad in the absence of numbers of large stripers competing for them.  If you are spooning brush in about 30-ft. of water it is hard to tell what you will catch. I am still catching small white bass accidently but very few larger ones. Blugill and crappie are on main lake brush with a few Kentucky bass. A few largemouth are on the bank but not many.  They are mostly in open water on shad and beating the bank is not producing much except smaller bass which are on minnows and fry just outside the dead buckbrush. It should get better for a few days before the turn if we do not get a big cold front. Bluegill like this full moon and they are biting and big ones too. It is nice to just be out there in the sunshine. Drop a small spoon in the brush and learn how to not get it hung up. Keep it straight up and down and do not drag it. If it is too windy change to a jig, go against the wind and use your trolling motor only as much as you need to to stay put. Turn off the spot lock. They wander around too much over the best areas. Crappie are easily spooked. If you cannot hold drift over the brush and use your trolling motor to go around and drift over again. Drop a marker buoy. If you see an unattended marker buoy just leave it alone. It belongs to someone and he will be back. Blackburns still especially welcomes Veterans and Police. You have a sanctuary and friends here.  

Norfork Lake fishing, fall foliage and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

The lake level is 553.16 and has been the same for the last 4-days with less than three hours of running one generator. The White River at Newport is now less than 5-ft. and is about ready to dry up. November is our rainiest month. They need to take it down to 547-48 and hold it there for as long as they can without flooding anybody out. That seems to be a simple and good plan but is too complicated for the government. The creeks are stained green but are clear near the bank and on the main lake you can see your lure down about 5-ft. The shallower creeks are cooling faster at night but are also warming more quickly in the afternoon sun. I am still getting a main lake surface water temperature of 72-73 degrees in the afternoons and the ambient temperature is to remain in the 70's and get even in the high 70's later this week. Trollers are starting to pick up some stripers that are left in shallow water on planer boards with big live bait as predicted earlier with the full moon and after a cold front that blows the plankton to the bank and the shad will follow. They can also be caught from late evening to morning on stick baits. This usually happens in November and may continue into the full moon next month. Nobody can predict when this will happen or if it will happen. It used to happen every year but has not most of the last several due to the absence of most of the big stripers. A 30-40 lb. striper used to be big and now they are bragging about 10-15 and there are few of them. Every striper needs to be released until they make a comeback and people need to quit fishing for them deep. Big schools of large white bass are also scarce but a few are showing up as all of the temperate bass are schooled up together along with the bigger largemouth. Some crappie, walleye and catfish are also with them. Several fish are coming to the light under my dock at night. I am still fishing brush piles and the fish are biting anywhere from 18-32 ft. of brush at various levels of suspension. I am catching no picture fish but some pretty good ones.  Big bluegill are biting as well or better than anything and people are having a lot of fun carching them. They also eat well. There are a lot of minnows and fingerling sports fish back in the creeks near the bank and under docks and the Kentucky bass are after them but not many largemouth. The smallmouth were starting to show up but not many now for some reason. They will as there is a good population of them also. Norfork is a good bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye and catfish lake but not all species bite all of the time. There are getting to be too many gar. I wish the Bass Catters good luck friday and saturday. Blackburns is full of them with people taking advantage of the $59/day cabin rental and the first boat stall being free along with launching on site and ample boat and trailer parking with electrical. We are also very close to the take-off point. We are glad to have them back. They should just stay here. We like them. The fall foliage is not changing much and we will keep you informed. Again, I do not expect a brilliant color this year but It could change. Now browns and yellows. The sumac is even going straight to brown with little red. This is not a good sign.   

Norfork Lake conditions, fall foliage and fishing report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.(click here for comments)

The lake is in great condition but not much fall color yet. It has been foggy early.Image title

Keith and Don with some of yesterday's catch.Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.17 and rising very slowly with absolutely no generation for the last three days. The government is managing the lake about like they are managing the border. The water temperature drops all night with the lows in the early 40's and then warms back up in the sunshine with temperature is the 70's and is hanging in there in the mid 70's. The weather has been absolutely beautiful. Crappie and bluegill fishing is the best followed by Kentucky Bass and Catfish. I had thought the trollers would be picking up a few red meat fish by now with the full moon on Wednesday. Bink found some a few days ago but said it was not easy and it was the first time he had found schools of good sized fish in a long time. If he cannot find them nobody can. He knows where they should be this time of year. There has been no evidence of a fish kill this fall.  I am catching some white bass but they are very small. At least there are some coming back. All of the temperate bass are schooled up together but there are not a lot of them. Hybrids are doing the best. The fish that I caught yesterday were on big brush in 25-30 ft. of water about 12-ft. down right on top of the pile. They were a little over the 10-inch limit but not very big. Keith and Don Katashuk caught some larger ones. There were 212 boats in the Cystic tournament Saturday and I am a little disappointed in the resuts. At least it was better than the Phoenix the week before. Only 65 boats weighed in fish with a total of 216 fish weighing 473 pounds. The big bass was 4.8 pounds. It is still not bad for October. Typically the first of March and starting in the middle of October are the toughest time for bass fishing on Norfork and will continue until the lake turns and clears. November is a good month and Thanksgiving is always a good time to catch fish and April and May are better. Blackburns Has cabins for $59/day with your first boat stall free. You can launch right here, step on the dock and park your trailer in ample trailer parking. We are not huddled up on a hillside with everything jammed up. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. There is not much color for fall foliage yet after the rain and many leaves blew off in the wind. We will see what the next two weeks bring but do not get your hopes up too high. It is always beautiful here though. My burning bush is showing a little color but my Maple is not. 

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

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Don and Keith Katashuk with some nice ones.Image title

The lake level is 553.15 and has been the same for three days with very little generation. None today. The white River at Newport is 6-ft. The surface water temperature was back to 75 degrees this afternoon with an absolutely beautiful day. Sunny, light wind and 75 degrees. Blackburns had several fishermen out today and they did better than yesterday. Crappie and bluegill fishing is the best now followed by bass and catfish. Walleye have slowed down. Nothing is great but some are catching fish. The lake is in excellent condition for fishing and stained a little gree. More in the creeks. I though the Cystic boys would do a little better but 16-lbs is pretty goos for the middle of October. Better than the Phoenix last week. The lake is maintaining temperature so far and just dropping very slowly despite the very cool overnight lows. The sunshine helps. There should be no turnover before the Bass Cat next week and they should do well. Norfork is one busy lake. I caught some decent crappie and bluegill today with some throwback bass and it was nice out in the warm sunshine. Better than staying in the house and watching the kneelers with there political views on the back of their helmets. I miss baseball now that the Cardinals surrendered. The Dodgers were better anyway. Blackburns still has one bedroom open for Bass Cat. Call Debbie at 870-492-5115 before you pay more elsewhere. We have it all and at the best price. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.  Don and Keith Katashuk caught more fish than anybody here last week. Nice people. 

Cystic Fibrosis Bass Tournament Norfork Lake

It took 16 lbs. and change to win the tournament today. It went 16,15,14,13,and 12. They did much better than the Phoenix last week. It was well run and is a good cause. Next friday Bass Cat Invitational. Norfork is a busy lake. 

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

The lake level is 553.14 and has risen just a bit with one generator running about 5-hours. The drought is over. We received a total od 3-1/2 inches of rain yesterday and so far today total and it is still raining. It was very dry and the creeks have not run yet but are about to. They are still holding the White River at Newport to 5+ feet and are evidently hoping the lake will get high again since they are doing nothing to stop it. Things sure have greened up and we have had enough. The cold front is following and the full moon is the 20th and it could make for some challenging fishing conditions for the Cystic Bass tournament tomorrow. It is to be sunny and cool. Those boys are up to the tough fishing conditions. I caught fish yesterday but no keeper bass. The fish were biting in the afternoon but it was very cloudy and I did not venture too far from the shed. Several very large bluegill, short bass, small white bass and a few crappie were caught. There is not much better fish to eat than a Norfork lake Bluegill and they are big. A thick slice of buttered bread, pepper and a slice of onion is all you need except for maybe a pale beverage. One sandwich is my limit (not).  It got black from the west just before 4PM and I came in about 5-minutes before it poured. They ask how I can do that almost every time and I do not carry a phone. I do not even know what an ap is. I have not moved into the 20th century yet and have no plans to do so.  We got an inch that time very quickly but not as fast as this morning. Fishermen went out again later and caught some fish before dark. The water surface temperature was 76 degrees even yesterday. We will see what the rain has done to it later. I could see my lure down 5-6 feet on the main lake and less in the creek.  Open water fishing is getting better and needed too. Overall fishing is just fair and is mostly feast or famine. Feast when you find some schooled fish and famine when you do not. Some are acting like they are loading the boat when in actuality are sometimes fishing for days to get some.  No report for days usually means no fish until they are finally found. It is not easy at this time and bass are moving out from the bank and brush to the open water on baitfish. It is good to see some white bass but there are not a lot. I wish there were more like it was. Big largemouth are scarce for me and crappie are getting about as bad. Red meat fish are starting to show up as predicted but I do not fish for them much. We will see how much the lake rises. I do not know how much rain was in the Norfork watershed in Missouri. Local rain does not raise the lake nearly as much. Things are a changin and we have not even had turnover yet. November looks good so far. The crappie that I am catching are deep near the bottom in over 30-ft. of water. Blackburns still has one cabin open for Bass Cat so call Debbie at 870-492-5115 before you have to pay much more someplace else. It will be fun to see the total fish caught tomorrow for the tournament and it is for a good cause. A very good cause. The lake is starting to rise more quickly now.

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 yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 553.10 and is the same as it was at this time yesterday with 3-hours of one generator. They are doing a great job of holding the lake up as high as possible for as long as possible. That way if we get a big rain we will be nearly flooded again. For some unknown reason they like to keep it that way. It is at a good level now though. You can drive right to Blackburns Dock, launch there and step on, put your boat in a free boat stall and park your trailer in the trailer park. No need for two people or to go elsewhere to launch. Can't beat that and all at the best price on the lake. Some charge for boat stalls. We do not unless you bring the Queen Mary. Our one bedroom cabins are now $59/day and we are open all year. If the place that you normally stay closes for the winter you can stay here and resume paying more when they open back up. Bink found open water schooled fish yesterday as I predicted and did well. All temperate bass were together including some nice White Bass. That is a good sign. Some of the hybrids approached 6-lbs and the largest striper was nearly 10-lbs. Many were smaller. He had the boat in 65-ft. of water near a drop-off and the fish were suspended at 40-ft. I asked him if the schools that kept coming by were the same one or different ones and he thought they were different. He was using the 1/2 ounce white with red head spoon and vertical jigging. Some trollers should start catching some fish soon if they can find them. They are not easily found but he knows where the fall fish are historically located and where to start looking. I do not fish open water much but many do. It is a good way to catch some when other fishing slows, especially white bass. I wish there were more of them but at least some larger ones are starting to show. The ones that I am catching accidently are small. Bass fishing remains tough and the crappie have also slowed. Big bluegill are very good. For the last several days I have been going out for about 1-1/2 hours in the afternoon and catching about one Kentucky Bass, one or two crappie, four or five bluegill and an occassional walleye. Very few picture fish. It was more than double that a little over a week ago. Schooled fish are showing up around Robinson and Cranfield Islands but there are not a lot. Overall fishing is fair at best but good if you hit the right place at the right time which is usually about 7:15 AM. I am finding no top-water fish at this time. When I see schools of shad many of them have no big fish dogging them. Some do. Many bait fish continue to be on the banks part way backs in the creeks but the bass with them are hard to catch, at least for me now. It will get better. Much better. Surface water temperature is 76+ and will drop starting later this week end with highs to be in the 60's after the cold front. A big cold front. Lows are to be in the low 40's and we have not been anywhere close to that so far this year. Bring a coat. Blackburns has one cabin still open for Bass Cat. Give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115. 

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

The lake level is 553.11 and is exactly the same as it was at this time yesterday with almost no generation. It has been a couple of weeks since they hit the power pool of 553.73 and they have not even come close to dropping the lake a foot despite the extremely dry weather. We have a good chance for rain the next few days and then much cooler weather and clearing skies for later this weekend. The lake surface water temperature was still 77 when I went out yesterday afternoon and the lake was in good condition The best bite is now early in the morning at about 7:30 AM and tapers off fast. The afternoon bite is poor. Overall fishing is just fair at best. It is a typical October. I caught four nice bluegill, one bass and one crappie in the afternoon in about 2-hours of fishing and I tried hard. The fish that I did catch were in shallow water at about 20-feet on or near brush. I tried all different depths. Some of our fishermen are getting discouraged but I cannot help them much. Get out early and graph brush piles and keep checking them out until you find schools of crappie. Bass will be with them and mostly Kentuckies. I am catching keeper largemouth only occassionly. Maybe the cloudy weather will help but the cold front and wind will not make things much better. Most of the fall foliage has blown off the trees and the next wind should finish them off even though it is over two weeks before the normal peak season. The colors look to be a dud so far. My burning bush and maple are not even bright red and are mostly brown. The cooler weather will drop the lake temperature on it's way to turnover but it has a few degrees to go. It will be a challenge for the Cystic fishermen this saturday but tough fishing brings out the best. If it were easy everyone could do it. Thai is why there are guides of which I am not one. I do not like to fish under pressure just for pleasure and that is what it is to me.  There is enough pressure in this world. 

Norfork Lake Fishing Report, Fall Foliage Report and Lake Condition By Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.(click here for comments)

The lake level is 553.11 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 9-hours starting in the early afternoon. The White River at Newport is 6+ feet and dropping. It was very windy all day yesterday with white caps and hard to fish. At least the first few feet of water got aerated that is for sure. It is calm now and was very foggy early but that is gone and the ambient temperature was 50-degrees earlier but headed for 80. It looks to be a beautiful day with increasing rain chances as the week progresses. Another inch would not hurt us at all. I went out in the afternoon and the fishing was a little better and the lake was almost void of boats unlike last week but there were a few of us out there. They will be back later this week with the Cystic and next week with the Bass Cat. The surface water temperature was 77+ this morning and should start dropping with the cooler days and much cooler nights. It was too windy to spoon so I just used the jig and drifted back and forth over brush. The fish were in 19-25 feet of water down about to the top of the brush and I caught several very large bluegill and a couple of 12-13 inch crappie. They all were released under the dock and swam right into the big school. The creeks were just as clear as the main lake. I know where and how to get out of the wind but the fish are just not biting there. I am sticking to main lake points with brush and fishing in 19-32-ft. of water. It was too windy to tell if there were any fish surfacing. I did not catch any bass but Rodger Moody did on a crank bait. October and early March can be the most iffy Norfork Lake fishing and this year is no exception. It will get better. If the Missouri boys cannot catch very many bass this saturday nobody can. I am seeing almost no red meat fish being caught except for a few small white bass in 45-ft. of water suspended. I expect fewer striper guides on the lake next year and the ones left will work hard for their money. Some are turning into crappie and walleye fishermen or changing lakes.  There will be some 5-8lb. fish show up soon and a very few over 10. The full stocking resumed this year so let us let them grow and release the ones caught and get the big ones back like they were. It will take several years of no prolonged high water. When you see pictures of stripers with their mouths open they are not being released. If they are released they would not save them up and would take only one fish picture at a time and release them immediately. They do not make it very long in the live well. Blackburns has one cabin still open for the Bass Cat tournamnet so give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115. We will not charge you too much. All cabins are individual with plenty of parking and electrical outlets. You can launch right here. You can get food delivery here or cook out. We have it all and at the best price. A lot of leaves were blown off yesterday and did not do the fall foliage any favor. 



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

Craig DeHoet caught a few more yesteday.Image title

The lake level is 553.24 and has dropped 1-inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 9-hours. We did receive about 1/4 inch of badly needed rain last night but missed any severe weather again. We have been fortunate all year. A little dry is better than storms. They have been all around us. Southwestern Power Administration has been more reluctant to drop the lake than the Corps of Engineers but they are both run by the government so we should not expect much and we do not get much that is for sure. It is at a good level now though but not much surge for a big rain. If it could stay at one level this would be it for me. Blackburns Brush Piles are at perfect depths. It was windy yesterday and it continues today with the cold front moving in and the wind will shift to the west. It is to get into the high 60's for a high later this week. Most of the time the surface water gets into the high 60's before the end of October and the lake has turned making for good fishing in November. We will see what this October brings. The fishing has not been the best for a few days now and the surface water is still in the high 70's. People were in my pool yesterday. The wind is blowing off a lot of fall foliage and it does not look to be spectacular this year again. I am spoiled after living in Maine and witnessing the colors in that state, New Brunswick and other New England states. Arkansas can be good though but not every year. The colors here are mostly brown. yellow and just a bit of red but the lake side and country roads are always beautiful in the fall no matter how brilliant the colors. The wind will not help the fishing conditions and the cold front will not either. I am already getting several complaints about fishing and the turnover has not started. The turn does not bother me much since I fish mostly brush piles and fish do not stray too far from cover and food. I assume the shad will follow the plankton, which are unable to propel themselves and are at the mercy of the wind and most game fish will follow the shad. The rest will stay in cover with this year's bluegill, bass and creek minnows. Those are the ones that I will be looking for. When you find schools of shad near brush you usually have really found something no matter if the lake is turning or not. The best time for fishing in the fall is when the lake has turned and the water has cleared again which again usually happens in November. That is why I say November is a good time to catch big fish.  The full moon in November is the 19th and that should be a good time to catch the stripers that are left. It is not always so like in the early spring when they move to the bank at dark to spawn. In the fall they just follow the shad to the bank to feed. This does not always happen but attracks a lot of fishermen when it does or used to. Many striper fishermen are going elsewhere or switching to crappie and walleye. I am still catching fish but not as well as a week ago. I just enjoy being out there but do not like the wind. You can usually get out of it in certain creeks but the fish are not biting in the creeks very well. Go to the wind-blown banks and throw a crank bait.  The big question is: On Sunday Novemver 7th does the happy hour time change? I do not use the clock much. I did find a school of white bass but they were small in 45-ft. of water.

Norfork Lake Fishing report and Lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

Craig De Hoet with a couple of yesterday's catch. He is from Woodward, Iowa. Image title

The lake level is 553.33 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 1/2 the time. The surface water temperature is 78+ degrees and the main lake remains fairly clear and the creeks a little stained. Tne last of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship people left the resort this morning and we were happy to have them. Nice group. Most liked the lake but were disappointed in the fishing. A total of 34 lbs. and 15 ounces three day total won the top prize of $61,000 worth of stuff. I expected more fish but the overall fishing was not nearly as good as a week ago. I forgot to ask about the big bass but it is not a part of their results.  Crappie fishermen still caught fish but not nearly as many and said they were all caught early and quit early. Nothing later in the morning. The places where I had been catching fish were empty and I had to work for everything I caught which was not very many. The warm weather is still bringing out the pleasure boats, pontoon boats dragging children and jet skis on the weekends. They better hurry and get them winterized before the cold weather gets here.  I hope the storm does not hit here tonight but we could use some rain. It does not look good for Oklahoma and Northwest Atkansas but that could change. I will triple tie everything down and tighten up the dock cables and hope for the best. It is very nice out today and several are out fishing.

Norfork Lake fishing Report and Lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

The lake level is 553.45 and has dropped 3/4th inch in the last 24-hours with about 7-hours of running one generator in the afternoon. The White River at Newport is 6+ feet and dropping. We are to get some rain tomorrow night and hopefully the severe weather will miss us. It looks to go to the west so far.  We can use the rain. I waited until the bass boats were going in for the day before going out yesterday afternoon but there were still several pleasure boats out there and the wind did not lay like I had hoped it would. It was sunny with temperatures in the mid 80's with a surface water temperature of 78-degrees. The water looked like it had cleared a bit but it always looks clearer in the sunshine. I could see my lure down about 6-feet. I talked to Rob Grovengoed who was coming in with several nice crappie and he reported catching them on a Blackburns Brush Pile in 18-ft. of water. He is a good fisherman. I wanted to see if I could catch some bass after the big boys went in. The 2-lb. Kentucky bass had been biting very well for me for several weeks and I expected the same. Not. I fished with both the jig and spoon from 3:PM to 4:30 hard and only caught two.bass and a couple of nice crappie. They certainly had slowed down. Maybe that is why the leader of the Phoenix Bass Leagure only has a two day total of 24-02. I had expected more. Some reports of local people catching big largemouth were contrary to my results of only catching a few ot them along with very few smallmouth. Most of mine were Kentucky Bass. I did not go to the weigh-in but I suspect most of the fish were Kentuckies with the low totals. I had thought the top-water bite would also have been better but maybe the fog had some influence on that. All of the fish that I caught were in 26-ft. on brush with none in the deeper water. All of my fishing spots had boats on them earlier and that also may have been a factor. Just the finalists are out today with many people leaving that did not qualify. It should be a shootout with all others following the leader closely. It will be interesting to see what the big bass is. It will take only a couple of nice largemouth caught to win if things stay as they were yesterday but it could be much better with the high pressure being around for a while now. That is why you have to be out there everyday to write an accurate fishing report on Norfork. Things change quickly. The Missouri boys take over next saturday for the Cystic and I expect higher totals. Those guys know how to fish Norfork no matter what the conditions.    

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

The lake level is 553.51 and is about what it was at this time yesterday with reduced generation if that is possible. Keep that lake level as high as possible for as long as possible boys, and you are doing a good job. Just one big rain from being too high again with plenty of chances to drop the level. November is our rainiest month. The White River at Newport is at 7-ft. Go figure. The lake surface water temperature was 78 degrees when I went out yesterday and the wind was light. It is foggy this morning with calm winds. It is to get very warm later this weekend with storms predicted for Sunday night and rain chances continuing into next week. We could use another inch. 12-LB. 12-ounce leads the Phoenix first day. Several more had 12-lbs. Good luck Blackburns Guests. 

Norfork Lake, Northern Arkansas, Mountain Home, Ozark Mountain Region Fall Foliage Report by Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

The dry conditions caused the leaves to start dropping and changing color earlier than normal but the recent rain has slowed it down a bit. It does not look good for spectacular color but it is always beautiful here in the fall. The roadsides are changing to red with the sumac but the deciduous oaks are turning brown and dropping leaves already with walnuts and maples dropping quickly now. My big burning bush which is usually brilliant is not ready yet. Usually the very last of October is peak but I am not sure about this year. The leaves really start to fall quickly and then quit. Any wind will not help things. I will let you know as the season progresses. There is yellow and browns on the hillsides but not a lot. It is to warm to close to 90 this weekend. You can come to Blackburns, rent a pontoon and cruise the lake or let us help you with a driving tour. Southern Missouri is usually about a week ahead of us. in Northern Arkansas and the Ozark Mountain Region. Blackburns is your fall foliage headquarters for Norfork lake and the Mountain Home area. 

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 Yesterday on the spoon. The bass were hitting top-water early.Image title

The lake level is 553.54 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running for about 9-hours. We did receive just at one inch of badly needed rain in the last day and a half total and it really greened things up. The lawn turns black with the dry weather and then turns green again right after the rain. We seem to get some right when we need it but not enough. It is good to go into the winter with some ground water. It never warmed up yesterday and the lake surface water dropped to 77-degrees but it is to be a nice weekend with highs near 90. It was very foggy early this morning but it has burned off now and the weather is gone. A lot of fish will be caught by the Phoenix Bass Fishing League today with the overcast skies early. The top-water bite should have lasted for an extended period of time. I will go out after they quit and weigh in. The crappie were biting pretty well yesterday as were the bass. I was using a small jig and then moved out deeper than the brush and marked some fish suspended about 10-ft. up from the bottom in 50-ft. of water. I switched to the spoon and dropped it right on there heads and caught a 5-lb. hybrid striper. I released him and dropped it again and caught about a 20-inch striper. I do not fish for red meat fish anymore so I moved after releasing him. We need to let them grow. I do not try and catch any of them intentionally. They need to grow and make a comeback in Norfork. I was very pleased to catch my usual bass and crappie and put them under my dock. The school is getting big again after getting fished heavily. White Bass are not nearly what they have been in the past. They usually can be caught almost at will this time of year but I am seeing very few. They are the go to fish when nothing else is biting but not now. It they are not catching them up north near the border now they are just not there or in very high numbers. I am catching nice crappie and bass on brush in 30-32 ft. of water near the bottom every day.  Some big bass are being caught on steep banks when the worm drops off the ledge into deeper water near 40-ft. I am seeing no fish more than 40-ft. down. Come on down to Blackburns and we will not charge you too much. You can still get a one bedroom cabin for $59/day and a two bedroom for $77. Three and four bedrooms are priced accordingly. A free boat stall comes with your cabin and all have big covered porches where you can set out in the rain and out of the sun and rig your poles. There are no duplexes and every cabin has outdoor plugins. Why pay more? I got my covid booster shot yesterday and everyone here has been vaccinated. I certainly did not do it because the government told me to but because I though it was the best thing to do. 

Norfork Lake fishing, fall foliage and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

Scuba Steve with some of yearteday's catch released under the dock. Image title

The lake level is 553.61 and has dropped 0.4 inches in the last 24-hours with about four hours of one generator running in the afternoon. They are making no effort to drop the lake and are missing a good chance. It is very cloudy with rain all around us but none yet. There is a good chance and we need it badly. If we get some we will see what it does to the fall foliage. The last two times more color was added but it is still mostly brown and yellow. I do not anticipate a very spectacular year but it is always beautiful here. It is to clear out and be a very warm and sunny weekend. We are loaded up with Phoenix Bass Fishermen. They are very tight lipped about fishing but sure do spend a lot of time polishing their boats. I guess if I spent that much I might also but not likely. I spent $2,500 for my Champion Boat ten years ago and forgot to polish it yet but it catches a lot of fish. It is not pretty but it can cook and rides nice also. You will see a lot of them on the lake next week for the Cystic. I went out yesterday in the late afternoon to check things out and tried a brush pile close to Blackburns. The fish were in 30-ft. brush near the bottom and I was using the Blue Ice Baby Shad on a 1/16th ounce jig head, white with red eye. I caught three nice crappie and three keeper bass and came in about an hour. One bass was tagged. All were released under my dock. Those Kentucky Bass are really fat and healthy. One largemouth was about three pouds. The wind finally layed about 5:PM. We will see what this low pressure coming in does to fishing. I expect not much. There are a lot of boats out there for October but I saw no boats pulling overweight children around on chaise lounges or jet skis. The warm weekend might bring some of them out though. The lake overall is in excelent condition and the surface water temperature was 78+ degrees and the water is stained just a bit but very clear near the bank. 

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

Dylan and Wade Clevenger from Park Hills, Missouri with some good ones. They should be in the tournament. Good fishermen. Image title

The lake level is 553.64 and has dropped about 1/4 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 4-hours. They are letting out about the same as is coming in from the river and holding the lake up as high as they can for as long as they can. They must not need any electricity anywhere. The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship is set for Norfork Lake October 7-9 and there will be 400 boaters and co-anglers competing for $60,000 in prizes. They will take off at 7:AM on Thursday from Buzzard Roost Marina. The 7:AM starting time will let anglers get out just at first light and get into the top-water bass bite which is getting better every day. This is good for the economy and for area resorts. Blackburns is full this week with regular customers and the rest tournament fishermen pre-fishing. The crappie and bass moved back into the 32-ft. brush yesterday with some just outside a little deeper. The surface water temperature is still 77-78 degrees and dropping very slowly. We are to get some badly needed rain tonight and tomorrow and then sunny for the next several days. Both the main lake and the creeks are still stained a bit with the water clearer near the bank. Spoons and top-water lures are still the best with plastic worms coming in next. I am seeing very few red meat fish being caught. There is no peace and quiet on this part of the lake with boats everywhere. There are some big names in this tournament. Blackburns has plenty of boat and trailer parking, electrical outlets, two boat launches and the best resort with the best prices. . We are not crowded up on a hillside and are close to town, ding and shopping. Cystic next week and Bass Cat the next. Come on down. We will not charge to too much. You can even get pizza and sandwiches delivered to your cabin. 

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

The lake level is 553.66 and has risen just a bit since yesterday with one generator running about 3-hours. This would be an excellent time to drop the lake with the dry conditions and November being our rainiest month. The fall foliage is changing and there is a little more color everyday with some reds mixed in. It is not spectacular but the little bit of rain we received helped. The lake surface water was 77-78 yesterday afternoon and is dropping slowly. I went to where the crappie were abundant the day before and they were gone. Tried another place with the same results. I found some on another main lake brush pile and they were on the bottom at nearly 40-ft. along with some bass. That is where the very bottom of the thermocline is and there is some oxygen there. The thermocline starts at 32-ft. and that is where they were. I was getting some fish shallower on brush in 24-26 ft. but not yesterday. The wind was blowing and it was hard to spoon points. One day does not make a trend but I had been catching fish almost at will. When I went out in deeper brush I caught a few crappie, bluegill and a Kentucky Bass but not too many. They were all released under the dock and I watched them swim right into the school. I could see about 4-ft. down in Blackburns Creek and about 6-ft. down on the main lake. It looked like the water had cleared just a little from the day before. Tom Kelly also reported catching bass on the bottom at 40-ft. We will see what today brings. It is very busy here with several good fishermen in and we will see how they do. It would not be much of a challenge if you could just go to the same place and use the same lure everyday. Things change and that is what makes it a challenge. Bass fishermen are starting to catch bigger fish and the top-water bite is getting better. The weather looks to be good for several days. Try a plastic worm on steep dropoffs just as they drop off the ledge. The walleye ghosted me again for the third straight day but I was mostly looking for crappie. The walleye sometimes go out into deep water and suspend this time of year. I know fish bite in the wind but I still do not like it. 

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

The lake level is 553.64 and has risen one inch in the last 24-hours with almost no generation. It has been cloudy for three days but we only got 1/2 inch total of rain. There was a storm that went just north of us yesterday afternoon but none here. It rained a little last night but all is gone now and it looks like good weather for the next several days. A little has changed as far as fall foliage is concerned and a little red is showing with the brown and yellow with the sumac and burning bushes getting a little red. The rain, as little as it was, helped the dry conditions. I went out for about an hour yesterday and again caught Kentucky Bass, Crappie and Bluegill. I turned all of them loose under my dock. The school is getting big again after hundreds were caught the last couple of weeks. People are catching bluegill, crappie and catfish off the dock every day. There is good news for tournament bass fishermen. The larger smallmouth and largemouth are biting now and they should do well. The top-water bite , which was producing mostly small fish, now has some larger ones with them. Others are catching them also on the spoon and plastic worms. People just keep catching catfish on spoons. My fish were all caught on brush ranging from 25-32 ft. near the top of the brush and on the bottom just around it. I was usuing both the spoon and jig. The top-water fish can be in any depth of water but seem to still be suspended in the 30-ft. range. A lot of creek minnows and bluegill and bass fry and fingerlings are on the bank early and late and predator fish are feeding on them. I am still not catching much back in the creeks and I keep trying when getting out of the wind. I have not caught a walleye in two days. Blackburns has a lot of good fishermen in and more are coming. There was a 78.8 degree water temperature at 4:PM and the water remains a little stained. I am not seeing any temperate bass being caught of any size but there was a report of some white bass being up in Udall a couple of weeks ago but I have not seen any. Blackburns Still has cabins for $59/day and your first boat stall is free. Why pay more? Our pool is still open and there were several children in there yesterday.  

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

Tom Kelly with a couple of yesterday's catch on a plastic worm on the bluffs near Float creek. All were released. Tom is an excellent fisherman and a conservationalist. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.56 and has dropped 1.2 inches in the last 24-hours with nine hours of one generator running. It has remained cloudy again but still not much rain as of yet. We are still very dry. The leaves are falling much more rapidly now from the walnut, maple and oak trees. It is earlier than usual. No color except for yellow and brown. It could change but there is not much chance of it being very spectacular. The hillsides around the lake are changing also but not much on the roadsides.The sumac is not even turning red. It is just too dry. We received just over an inch of rain for the entire month of September. The fishing remains mostly the same except for the smallmouth and bigger largemouth are showing up and it is just in time for the October fishing tournaments. I hope they do well. I like them in the fall after all of the spawn is over. It is much better than in the spring even though they release all of their fish unprotected nests do not last very long with the abundance of bluegill in this lake. The surface water temperature is still 79 in the afternoons and the water remains stained a bit in both the main lake and creeks and is a good color for fishing. I saw some top-water fish yesterday morning and threw a baby spook at them. They were mostly bass but a few very small stripers were with them. About 1in 4 bass were keepers and none of the stripers. They were stockers and about 8-inches long but I was glad to see them. I have not seen a White Bass in several weeks. Usually I get them in early October just outside the brush suspended about 10-ft. from the bottom in 30-ft. of water. This year nothing. Some of the striper fishermen that cannot catch anything are now turning into crappie fishermen. We will see what happens in Novenber when they usually start to show up again. If there are no stripers feeding on shad on the bank after dark in the full moon in November again it is not a good sign. I had hoped some were just hiding, but if they are they are doing it well. I am seeing none of them on shad in open water except the very small ones. I was catching 5-6 pounders accidently but not now.  Bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill remain the best bite. The Kentucky bass population is excellent and they are with the crappie on brush. They are in there for eating and the largemouth and smallmouth are in there for releasing. I went to the Norfork Lake Master Plan public workshop yesterday at the college. It was very well organized and informative. They had three proposals with one that they recommended. The top one was much more drastic and was presented as an alternative to the middle one which was more realistic. The third one was to keep it as it is. There was nothing bad about any of them concerning anything except how the different parts of the lake shore is managed. It changes how different parts of the shoreline are categorized which really reflect how they are actually now. Some of the assumptions made in 1980 which was when the last plan was enacted did not come true. Some areas developed more than others. Most of the changes just made for more wildlife areas while reducing high use areas. Nothing in there was about docks or lake level management. As far as I am concerned there was nothing to worry about in this proposal. It was done professionally but was definitely slanted towards the middle proposal which I also think was the best. Everyone knows that I am not a fan of how the lake level is currently managed but this had nothing to do with this. The people were very professional, courteous and informed. I am glad I went. We have one opening for Bass Cat later this month and are currently full here at Blackburns. We like that. Thank you. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.  No, we are not for sale but about everybody else is. 

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 yesterday. Both top-water and spoons are working. Image title

The lake level is 553.67 and has dropped a little less than an inch in the last 24-hours with just over one generator running for 7-8 hours. They are doing a great job of holding the lakes up as high as possible for as long as possible. It has been cloudy for the last couple of days with very little rain so far. It looks like tomorrow is now the best chance. They just keep moving it back. It was thursday, then friday, then saturday and now tomorrow. We are still very dry. The cloudy weather has kept the fish biting for most of the day. The surface water temperature is dropping slowly and is now 79 in the afternoons. We have about 1/2 of the day with sunrise to sunset and it is getting less by one to two minutes a day and the lake does not have much time to warm in the afternoons. The water is still stained green just a bit in both the main lake and creeks with the creeks being more. The best bite continues to be for crappie, bass, catfish and bluegill. Temperate bass fishermen are having a hard time and are catching very few. The ones they are catching are small. Some have given up and others are turning into crappie fishermen. The walleye bite has also slowed especially for the larger ones. I am getting more fish on main lake points outside brush just where it drops off into deeper water. They are staying close to the 32-ft. level though but are not always in it. Open water fish on shad can be at any depth up to 100-ft. of water but suspended at varoius depths. If you find them drop a spoon on their head. They are mostly bass. Some are surfacing and can be caught on a top-water lure. If they stay fairly shallow stay with the top-water bait and call them up. When they go deeper switch to the spoon. Creature baits and worms are working for bass near the bank. Many bait fish are there. I am still fishing for Crappie and Kentucky Bass and am catching several every day on both the spoon and jig. Yesterday was a good jig day. Blackburns has a lot of brush piles at the right depth now. Come on down. We will not charge you too much. If you are staying where you are nearly the only customer you are paying too much.