Steve "Scuba" Street's BLOG

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Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountains Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

John Bornhop with a very nice one fishing brush in 32-ft. of water on the Bink's Spoon. Image title

The lake level is 553.35 and has risen just a bit with two hours of running one generator in the last 24-hours. The White River is now at 1.46 feet at Newport and they cannot launch a boat there. December starts tomorrow and they have shown no signs of dropping the lake for the winter. It is a good thing it has been dry or it would be higher. Maybe their plan is to drop it later to an unreasonable level to prove a point. How do you want your steak, raw or burned? I will take mine medium at 546-48 in the winter and from 552-559 in the summer. The surface water temperature was 59 again when I went out yesterday and it was sunny and nice with the wind coming from the southeast and a high in the mid 60's. The crappie fishing was not as good and I had to work harder to catch them but I did. Again, the fishing was slow until about 4:PM and then picked up and then stopped again just at dark. I cannot see in the dark anymore anyway. Bass fishing is picking up but not where it should be yet. It will be. They are there. Crappie, walleye, catfish, bluegill and Kentucky bass are all in the same place on brush from 25-40 feet either on the bottom or suspended at various depths. Crappie are coming up shallow late evening as are bass. Work the windblown shoreline part way back in the creeks out to about 15-ft between the brush and the bank. I am using a 2-inch white twister tail grub on a 1/16th ounce jig head tipped with a crappie minnow from about 4:30 PM until dark. You do not have to tip the grub but you will catch twice as many fish if you do. Open water fishermen are trying hard but only catching a few fish. Normally temperate bass fishing is very good now until it gets cold but not so much this year. Some are being caught though. I watched the video on Black Bass management and prescribed fishing regulation changes for Norfork Lake. I really like winter bass fishing and feel that it is as good as it has been for years and I compliment the Game and Fish for making it happen. As far as regulations are concerned, I do not keep any largemouth or Smallmouth Bass and do not have a problem with the 15-inch limit. Many people do not keep bass anymore and I do not think the regulations affect the population as much as several years ago when meat hunters killed everything they caught like the walleye and striper fishermen do now.  Kentucky Bass are for eating and there are plenty of them. Taking the size limit off them does not bother me but they can be caught more easily when the black bass get scarce. Many people want to catch fish no matter what species they are. Bluegill (bream) are big and plentiful this year and people are having a good time catching them. They are also the best eating. While catching bass over 5-lbs. is good for tournament fishing and hard core bass fishermen a lot of people just want to catch fish. When they cannot catch any they are not happy. It is really fun watching children catching crappie and bluegill off my dock. They get so excited. I do not think there is an over abundance of bass in this lake and too much competition for food especially with the absence of the large stripers. I am sure they will do what is best for the lake and that is what the local Biologists want. I just like to see people catch fish, big ot little.

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozarks Mountains Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

Craig DeHoet with some nice ones.Image title

The lake level is 553.35 and is exactly what it was at this time yesterday with about two hours of running one generator. They have now dropped the White River a Newport to a little over 2-feet and are letting it almost dry up in order to keep from dropping the lake for the winter. If they have a plan is is greatly disguised. I suspect they want to hold it up all winter and then when the spring rains come hold and hope again, blame it on the rain and say that is what the dams are for when it gets high. That is getting old. It was a beautiful day again yesterday when I went out in the afternoon. The other resort fishermen mostly went out in the morning and caught some nice fish including bass, crappie and walleye. I caught my self imposed limit of five crappie, a few very large bluegill and then went bass fishing and caught some nice Kentucky Bass just off the bank in about 12-ft. of water. The fish again started biting well at about 4:PM and quit just before dark at about 5:PM. It was slow before that. Right at sunset is the best time for me. We are to get warm weather with highs in the 60's to early 70's for at least the next 5-days with sunny skies and I like that. It was in the high 50's yesterday and the water temperature remained at about 59 degrees and it looked like it stained up at little but not much. When I came in there were huge bass, crappie and bluegill under my light on the dock. I feed them chicked feed pellets which sinks slowly and floating catfish food and they were swarming around it. It was fun to watch them. There were few boats out there in the evening but several in the morning. It was foggy this morning but it burned off just before 8AM. I have more plumbing to do today and then will hit it again this afternoon. There will be no price increases here at Blackburns this year and we remain the lowest priced major resort in the area but that has not stopped the improvements. Our repeat customers like that and we have a lot of them.You will like what you see when you get here and we will not charge you too much.      

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountains Region by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

James Soltysiak with a few of yesterday morning's catch. He caught more in the afternoon.Image title

The lake level is 553.34 and has risen just a bit in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is still at 3-ft but is up from 2-1/2 feet yesterday with December approaching and still no effort to drop the lake for the winter. The lake has been within 1/2 foot of the power pool for weeks. We need the government to run more things. It was a beautiful day yesterday and the fishing was excellent for myself and Blackburn's several guests. The fish that usually show up for Thanksgiving came forth and were only a couple of days late. The big crappie and bass were biting and also a couple of nice walleye. Everyone was using the spoon on brush. A few White Bass were also caught but they were small and I usually do not take pictures of White Bass unless I cannot catch anything else. Dropping the spoon in and around brush in 30-ft. of water produced fish for everyone. It was sunny and warm with light winds and a perfect late fall day. It started off cool and then warmed. The surface water temperature was between 59 and 60 and the water was clear and you could see your lure down about 6-ft. on the main lake. Several are out now in the beautiful sunshine and we will see how they do fishing. I have some work to do and then will be out later. This is an example of how putting in brush piles pays off for Blackburns customers. More resort owners should do this for the good of the lake. The ones refurbished by Game and Fish a couple of years ago are starting to get old now and could use some freshening. That had not been done for several years and needed it badly and they did an good thing. It kept some people off of mine for a while. This is the time to catch some big fish including largemouth bass which had been eluding me for a while until now. Some of the crappie caught yesterday were giant. If you stay at Blackburns you will not have to pay for your first boat stall and not have to stay in a duplex with no porch while paying too much. We especially welcome Veterans and Police. 

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozarks Mountains Region Fishing Report and Lake Conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

The lake level is 553.32 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with 4-hours of running 1-1/2 generators. The White River at Newport is 2-1/2 feet and is about ready to dry up. It is good for wade fishing but not for boats. It is the same for Calico Rock. It was a beautiful day yesterday with an ambient temperature in the mid 50's and sunny with a south wind. I did see several boats out there between Cranfield Island and the campground in the middle of the lake striper fishing. There were a lot of bait fish out there but not very many fish. The ones that were caught were small and it was a shame to kill them but they just keep doing it. There are several in the 4-8 pound range but they are getting smaller and smaller with no time to grow. They are getting to be almost like the put and take trout in the river. Bink, Tom, Mike, Craig, James, John and Scuba Steve all caught fish but we were fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill. The water is clear and has cooled a bit but that will not continue for the next several days with warm weather scheduled. It does not matter to me what the weather is as long as the wind does not blow. I can dodge the rain. I keep trying to work the area between the brush and the bank in the evening for largemouth and smallmouth bass but am only catching Kentuckies. They are usually there by Thanksgiving but I am not finding them yet. The bait fish are there so it is just a matter of time. We put in a couple of trees under the dock and in front of it cut from my property and the fish are on them already. Blackburns has 28-acres and plenty of cedar trees which are the best ones. We also have the best resort, best prices and your first boat stall is frre with each cabin rented. We will help you catch fish.

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozarks Mountain Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

Mike Eakle with some nice Thanksgiving crappie. Image title

The lake level is 553.37 and has dropped 1-inch in the last 24-hours with 1-1/2 generator running for about 4-hours. The lake has really cleared after the rain , especially in the creeks. You can see your lure down several feet. The wind was brisk and cold yesterday. The cold continued last night as the skies cleared and it was the coldest night of the season with a low reaching 24-degrees. It is sunny with light winds now and it is to warm up to the mid 50's today and then into the 60's for about a week. The windy conditions were getting very old as the cold fronts just keep coming on through. Fishing has not been the best but we know the good brush piles here at Blackburns because we put them in and are catching some good fish everyday but not high numbers. crappie, bluegill and Kentucky Bass continue to be the best bite. Work that 25-30 ft. brush with spoons, jigs and minnows with slip floats about 8-10 ft. down. Shallower in the late evening. Bass and crappie are moving off the brush to the bank in about 12-ft. of water to feed on baitfish in front of the buck brush about 4:PM until dark around the corner from main lake points. I have not checked the surface water temperature today but it should have dropped below 60 for thr first time on the main lake.I will see a little later as it warms up a bit. I am not much into charging out there in the dark at the coldest time of day but that is the only time some people can catch any fish. I wait until it warms up to the warmest time of the day and then come in after sunset when it starts to cool down. And it does cool down fast this time of year. The cold weather is not my favorite but the fishing is pretty good as the water cools down to the mid to late 50's especially for big crappie and bass. We will see what happens as the water temperature has remained at about 60 for a long time. It will not drop much in the next week with the extended warm weather. The big largemouth are still not biting for me yet but if you see and old brown Champion Bass boat out there it will probably be me. I have the cold weather gear but do not want to have to use it. It is hard to cast with big electric gloves and the drag on my reel ices up but we must do what we must do. At least we do not have to drill holes in our water and cannot walk on it. I am done with that for sure. Blackburns is open all year and there will be no price increases for 2022 and you still do not have to pay for your first boat stall.   

Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountains Region Fishing Report and Lake Condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

James Soltysiak and Craig DeHoet caught some good ones this morning. Blackburns is the fishing place.Image title

The lake level is 553.48 and has risen one inch in the ;ast 24-hours with 3-hours of running one generator. Mountain Home reported 3/4 of an inch of rain last night but we received 1-1/2 here at Blackburns. The surface water temperature was 60 degrees when I went out yesterday afternoon and the ambient was about the same. The cold front is here now and the temperature is dropping fast and it is to clear and get very cold here tonight and then warm back up again with temperatures back near 60. The cold fronts just keep coming and you have to learn how to fish them or you will have trouble catching fish. When they quit biting you have to drop that spoon right on their heads and get a reaction strike. Crappie, bluegill and Kentucky Bass continue to be the best bite. I caught my limit of 5-crappie along with two big bluegill and also two Kentucky bass. The fish are all very fat and healthy. There is a lot of baitfish out there. Again the fishing was slow until 4:PM and then they started and then quit again about 1/2 hour later. There is no sense for me to stay after dark. Some fish are coming up under my light on the dock at about 9:PM after the minnows that come to it. There were big schools of shad coming up but not lately. Just creek minnows. I have not caught a walleye in three days. I have to winterize a few cabins after Thanksgiving dinner with the cold night coming. It is too early for 22-degrees. We have a big crowd here at Blackburns and we have cooked two turkeys and a ham. I hope it is enough. I like Thanksgiving and feel so blessed. No drama here.

Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountains Region fishing report and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

Two of the biggest crappie caught by Scuba Steve yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 553.40 and is down 1-inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 4-hours. The White River at Newport is 3+ feet and there is still no effort to drop the lake and we are headed for December. The lake surface water is hanging in there at about 60 degrees. A little lower early morning. The water is clear and you can see your lure down to about 5-6 feet when the sun is shining. I started out on a 30-ft. brush pile about 3:PM and it was windy from the south east. I started spooning near the bottom and caught three Kentucky bass and a bluegill in about an hour. No crappie. I could see them down there but no bites. I switched to a Bobby Garland baby shad and started fishing shallower. The crappie had moved up to about 9-10 ft. down and started to bite for about 30-minutes on the drop and then quit. The wind would slow for a couple of minutes and then gust up white caps again. My self imposed limit is five so I quit and came in. Usually I would work the bank at this time until dark but just came in instead. For the last several days the crappie had not been big (11-12 inches) but today they got bigger as the evening progressed until they quit. Shown above are two of the biggest ones. These are what I have been looking for. Bink reports that he is on the temperate bass of all kinds in a bay near his boat. He says large schools would pass under the boat and then when he would drop the spoon and catch one they would disappear again and he would move slowly with his trolling motor until he found them again and catch another one. They are not moving far. Some of the stripers are approaching 10-lbs but most are smaller. There is a distinct absence of large white bass. There are some but not nearly as many as a couple of years ago. He likes to catch them. I will stick to walleye, crappie, Kentucky Bass, Bluegill and catfish. He says he will start fishing for bass on creature baits soon when the water temperature gets to be about 57. We both have not been catching hardly any big largemouth but he assured me they are there and in good numbers. Smallmouth will start to show up also soon. Come on down to Blackburns and we will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. If you must pay more just stay here and give the difference to Disabled Veterans. They need it worse.   

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountains Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service on his spoon. He was using the 1/2 ounce many-shad. Image title

The lake level is 553.48 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with two hours of running one generator in the evening. They just started running one last hour and there is no effort to drop the lake with the White River at Newport at 3+ feet when it should be at 12. The lake surface water temperature was just over 60 degrees and the water was clear on both the main lake and creeks when I went out yesterday. I went to a close Blackburns resort brush pile and caught several crappie in the 11-12 inch range, a few big bluegill,  and then switched to bass fishing at dusk and caught a few bass but they were just barely keepers and not worth a picture and were releasd immediately. I do not take pictures of small fish just to take one.  The results were the same as the day before with no changes. Bink is on the stripers and catching some pretty good ones everyday but not a lot. You have to know where and how. Fishing overall is just fair but crappie, bluegill, bass and stripers are the best bite. I am still catching a few walleye and catfish but not very big ones. Drop a spoon in 25-30 ft. brush near the bottom and you will be surprised what you will catch. Bink's stripers are in 45-50 ft. near the bottom part way back in a creek. I do not fish open water anymore but occassionally get into a school of mixed white bass and hybrids in the evening just outside brush piles on shad in 35-ft. of water on wind blown banks. Some crappie are coming up shallow in the late evening. I just bought 2-more king mattresses for cabins #12 and 14 yesterday from Furniture Depot. They are fine people and have the best selection in town and the best prices. We are still on our policy of continued improvement here at Blackburns without raising our prices. We are open all year and keep 5-6 cabins open and especially welcome Veterans and Police. We will help get you on fish and show you where our brush piles are. I wish more resorts would put them in. Fish habitat is important.   

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Tom Kelly with some nice ones. He releases all of his fish. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 553.53 and is the same as yesterday with two hours of running one generator. The White River at Newport is at 4-ft. Surface water temperature was 61 when I went out yesterday afternoon and it was nice with light winds with an ambient temperature of 60.  Water clarity was about the same but maybe just a bit clearer. I saw only a couple of other boats out there and it was peaceful and quiet. I spooned a different brushpile and the crappie were there also with big bluegill and a few Kentucky Bass. Just before dark I went bass fishing on a wind blown bank just off the main lake and picked up a few largemouth bass and a short smallmouth. They were between the bank and the brush in about 12-15 ft. of water on the bottom. I fished until I could not see where my lure was landing and came in. It was very enjoyable. Fishing overall is just fair but I am catching a few everyday from about 3:30 PM until dark. I go out in the warmest part of the day and come in when I cannot see. I used to be able to see in the dark but those days are over. I could go out in the dark early morning when it is the coldest and come in when it starts to warm up but I do not hate them that much. Most are released anyway unless I need to get some crappie for my friends who cannot fish. It is time to winterize some cabins but we leave several open all year. The price of anti freeze has risen dramatically if you can find it along with everything else and it is getting to be irritating. Very irritating. 

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Dave Titus with some good ones. Image title

The lake level is 553.56 and has risen just a bit with a little over 2-hours of a little over one generator running. Still no effort to drop the lake. The surface water temperature was 61 when I went out yesterday afternoon and it was in the 50's for an ambient temperature and the wind was blowing from the southeast but not bad. It picked up at dark instad of diminishing. There is no change in the water clarity. I saw only an few other boats and there were two of them camped together about 1/2 way around Mallard Point on the way to Cranfield in the middle of the lake in about 50-60 ft. of water. Otherwise only about one other one went by. I saw some shad with a few white bass and small stripers on them in that area yesterday. This is prime time for them and I expected more and bigger ones to be caught. The open water fishermen are trying very hard and long for a few fish. They are roaming and it is hard to stay on them but this is as good as it gets until the top-water bite in April and May. The schools are smaller and further in between but it looks like some are still hunting down and killing the small ones. I was trying to stay out of the wind on brush and catching my usual crappie, Kentucky Bass and bluegill on the 1/4 ounce spoon. Again fishing was slow but steady and I caught several of each until just before dark when the bite completely stopped. The big crappie in the 15-17-inch range are eluding me for some reason but the ones that I am catching are up to 13-inches and very fat. I wanted to smallmouth bass fish but it was just too windy for where I wanted to go. I know bass bite well in the wind but I just do not like to fight it. The conditions will be right for me soon and then it will be time. My pole is rigged and ready. It is raining a bit now but is to quit soon and should make for good fishing conditions before the cold front. I bought a new bathroom vanity and cabinet for cabin #4 and a new kitchen stove for cabin #1  and they need installed before the next group comes in but should be able to get in some fishing a little later today. I do not have to plan very far ahead. Go 400-yards to the dock, drop the boat off the lift and head out. Noe that is a plan. 

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region fishing report and lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 553.54 and is exactly what is was at this time yesterday with one hour of generation. They are set on keeping the White River at Newport at between 4 and 6 ft. for some unknown reason and holding Norfork at right at the power pool of 553.75 which has been close to that for several weeks. At least I have not had to move my dock. The surface water temperature is in the early 60's and has not changed much either. The water has quit getting more clear and is also remaining about the same where you can see your lure down about 6-feet and a little more in the sunshine. None of this is bad and the lake in general is in good condition and at a good level but with not much room for a big rain which we will get. The fishing varies with the cold fronts which come through at least once a week and sometimes twice. The few stripers that are being caught are mostly small and need to be released if we are ever to get very many big ones back. Otherwise these guides are cutting their own throats. Some are either going to Bull Shoals walleye fishing or switching to crappie fishing and that is good. If they keep killing all of these small ones Game and Fish might  just as well quit stocking them and give up. I personally would like to see the big ones back like they were but do not fish for them much anyway, but a lot of people do. When I lived out west they were called sea bass and they did not fish for them unless they could not catch anything else. They were on shallow reefs and you could catch them as fast as you could drop a hair jig in the water and the boat hands did not like them as they had to cut the red meat out of them when cleaning and not much was left. Most people did not keep them. Everybody likes to catch a big fish no matter what kind it is. Some people can make any fish palatable out of a clean lake like Norfork, even gar and carp. As for me they can keep them all. I prefer a nice big fat walleye, crappie, bluegill, Kentucky Bass and flathead catfish and you can keep the rest as far as eating goes. We need more carp and gar fishermen. It had warmed up[ a little when I went out yesterday and was just fine. It is a little warmer today but the wind is to pick up before the next cold front sometime late tomorrow. I again stayed close to Blackburns and have no need to go very far away. Also I am too cheap to pay these outrageous gas prices. I had to put in a new pressure tank for my well yesterday and the price had gone up $100 in the last few weeks and I had to wait three weeks to get it. I bought out all of the kitchen counter tops and cabinets out of both stores and they had doubled in price since I had bought the last ones. Now Blackburns will have new ones in almost every cabin. Inflation is going rampant and propane prices have doubled. Insurance rates are skyrocketing. We have published our 2022 prices already and we are not raising them here at Blackburns. Others are getting creative on how to hide price increases so you have to watch closely. Almost all of our customers are repeat and are our friends. We just do not want to charge them too much and price them out of a vacation. Friends do not do that to friends. I caught crappie, bass and bluegill again but not high numbers and no big fish but some pretty good ones. I do not take pictures or keep huge stringers of fish or dock floors full of dead fish. People just do not like that anymore. Catch a lot. Keep a few. The fishing pressure on this lake is growing as fast as inflation. 

Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region fishing report and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

This is what it looked like last night. Almost daytime. Image title

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

The lake level is 553.55 and has dropped over an inch in the last 24-hours with several hours of running one generator as predicted. The White River at Newport is 3+ feet and hard to navigate and launch. Bull Shoals is now 6-feet below power pool and that is about where Norfork should be instead of just at power pool level. The surface water temperature was 62 when I went out yesterday and the ambient temperature did not warm up much. It struggled to get to 50 but was sunny but breezy and then finally calmed down. Largemouth bass fishing is picking up and crappie and walleye fishing is just fair. You can catch some if you know where but they are not in a feeding frenzy, hammering anything or jumping in the boat. Open water fishermen are catching some stripers but they are not very big and they have to look hard and long for them. I was out until after dark and saw no striper fishermen in the full moon which was very bright rising from the north east. It gets cool fast after sundown.  The month is 2/3rds over and we have not had much rain as of yet but there is a good chance again Sunday. It is to warm up a bit with a high near 60. Everybody caught a mixed bag of fish yesterday but not a lot. It was just slow and steady. Bink is on stripers and walleye, Dave and Mike are catching crappie and Kentucky Bass and Tom is catching Largemouth and Kentucky Bass. Scuba Steve is catching crappie, Kentucky Bass, bluegill and an occassional walleye. Several others report slow fishing. I will start smallmouth bass fishing soon. We have a good crew painting, doing carpenter work, plumbing and cleaning gutters and raking leaves. It is a busy time here at Blackburns and we will get as much done as possible as long as the weather holds. This is the time to get it done because spring comes fast and people want to get out and we have to be ready.  We get busy again by mid March. Blackburns is open all year and we will not charge you too much and will help you with fishing. We do not claim to be experts but do catch a lot of fish and have several good brush piles. 

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region fishing report and lake conditions by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Mike Eakle with some good ones. Image title

The lake level is 553.66 and has dropped just a bit with three hours of running one generator. The White River at Newport is 4-ft. and they are making no effort to drop the lake. They cannot say they had no chance this year when they let it get too high. It was partly cloudy and very warm with ambient temperatures in the early 70's when I went out yesterday afternoon. The lake surface temperature was 63 degrees and the lake was clear and there were light winds from the south. I spooned in 30-ft. brush piles until about dark and caught a few bass, crappie and bluegill and all of a sudden things changed. The wind shifted to the north west and it started raining hard and there were whitecaps and the temperature dropped several degrees. Now that was a cold front. The fish stopped biting completely. This morning it is sunny and cold and is only to get to 50-degrees. We did not get much rain but here comes the wind again. Bink reports getting some nice stripers and bass in Diamond Bay on the bottom at 30-ft on the spoon. Several different fish are at that depth now and are at the bottom. Crappie are coming up shallow at dusk but are hard to catch. The ones that I am catching are about 14-ft. down suspended over brush and just a little deeper than the bluegill which are everywhere. Fishing overall for me is just fair as it is for several people but I am still catching some good ones. Bass fishing is picking up and I am not seeing anybody striper fishing after dark. The moon will be bright and full tonight. Not as many baitfish are coming up under my light at the dock as before. The whole stall used to be full of them.  A lot of baitfish are north of Cranfield Island  on the points near the walleye rearing pond so there should be some stripers there at dark. During the day they are deeper but not many schools hold any predator fish. Maybe they are feeding during the night or just not there. They should be but there are definitely many less overall than before. I am atill catching a keeper walleye or two almost everyday just before dark. Nothing big.  

Norfork Lake Arkansas 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 553.69 and is exactly the same as this time yesterday with 3-hours of running one generator. The surface water temperature was 62+ when I went out yesterday evening and the wind was blowing white caps from the south. I went into a north facing cut to get out of most of it and was using a Bobby Garland jig. The fish were biting slowly but steady with most being big bluegill and crappie. The crappie were not large but were all in the 11-inch range and the bluegill were as large as your hand. I ended up catching about 8-fish in an hour and 1/2 from 4-PM until dark. They quit biting just before dark. I took them to Tom Kelly's trophy pond and released them. It is now fully stocked with bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and walleye for the winter. I always put in a bucket full of tuffies from Nabatak with the fish to feed them until spawn. Bink reports catching stripers everyday with the full moon in November being prime time for them. It is not easy with the reduced numbers but he knows where they are. Tom Kelly is catching some nice bass in Float creek and others catching crappie, bluegill and some channel cats. A few White Bass are with the stripers and hybrids. It is cloudy and warm today and I expect some nice fish to be brought in before the cold front comes through later. There is a good chance of rain this afternoon and night but not much total. November is historically the wettest month of the year here but we are more than 1/2 way through and not much yet. That could change with one rain. The lake is general is in excellent condition and the water is clear. You can see your lure down several feet in this area in both the creeks and main lake. Overall fishing is just fair but some nice fish are being caught every day but not high numbers. We continue to make improvements here at Blackburns but are are not increasing our prices. Some are. We do not want to charge you too much. 

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

Tom Kelly has switched from open water striper fisherman to bass fishing and is good at it. He is also a good conservationalist. Image title

The lake level is 553.68 and has dropped just a very little bit with about 6-hours of running one generator. The White River at Newport remains and 3-1/2 feet and is nearly drying up. Middle of November and still no effort to drop the lake for the winter. It needs to be at 547-48 by March. The water surface temerature was 63 degrees when I went out yesterday afternoon. I had to work at the resort until about 4:pM and fished until dark or a little after 5. The crappie started biting just at sunset and I caught several nice ones and then it was too dark to see. The bite was not fast and furious but steady and I did not lose any. I talked to another guide and he said he was having trouble catching stripers but was also doing well on crappie. All of Blackburns other fishermen were in before me and I did not talk to any except for Tom Kelly who was bass fishing in Float creek and caught some nice Kentucky Bass. Tom releases all of his fish on site but sent me a picture of one of them. He was using a shakey head worm near the bank. The wind was coming from the south west and I was able to get out of it and fish a brush pile close to the resort straight down with a 1/4 ounce Bink's Spoon. It was a beautiful evening and I was happy to be out. It is to be warm again today with a cold fronf moving through again late tomorrow night or Thursday morning bringing more wind. The cycle continues. I am not a big fan of winter but am able to go fishing more and catch a lot of fish then, especially big ones. I am about ready to go smallmouth bass fishing but not quite yet. The water needs to get to about 60 and this usually occurs just before Thanksgiving. The surface water temperature has been very stable and the water continues to get clearer every day. The lake is in excellent condition but the fishing overall is just fair. The best bite is in the evening from 3:30PM until dark. I have not had any reports on the after dark striper fishing. Not many do that anymore but we used to catch some big ones.  I bought Home Depot out of kitchen cabinets and counter tops for the resort improvements and it was a good thing they did not have any more. I run out of money at the same time. It is not so bad being poor. The girls are staining and repainting all of the picnic tables here at Blackburns. We take pride in not having junky tables and grills. It looks nice here inside and out and the price is right.  

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

Dave Titus with some good ones. Image title

The lake level is 553.71 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with about 5-hours of running one generator. The White River is at 3-1/2 feet so they must not be generating much. I know of no areas around here that are flooding. They only follow the rules when it suits them. They have dropped Bull Shoals to several feet below the power pool and if there were any rhyme or reason to their madness they would start a little more generation on Norfork. It is right at power pool which is 553.75.  The surface water temperature is about 62 degrees and falling slowly. It will not fall much in the next three days do to the very warm temperatures then another cold front is coming through. The wind has shifted to the southwest and it is warming up already. About the only thing that is consistent is the wind and I am getting tired of it. It is not so bad this morning but is to change soon.You have to get out at sunrise to get in a few hours before it starts again. It usually diminishes in the evening but not always. I talked to some striper trollers yesterday and they caught nothing. When you see a report that the fish are in a feeding frenzy and jumping in the boat be careful. Some of these guys are fishing for two or three days to just get a picture. They also miss more fish than most people catch. Experts do not miss many fish. If you are having trouble catching fish we will help you when you get here. We do not claim to be experts but several of us have been successfully catching Norfork Lake fish for quite a few years and are not just trying to get you to come down here even if the fishing is tough. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Watch this blog for what is actually happening. Several of us are out there almost every single day when possible and I have some very good fishermen reporting to me daily. If you do not see a report is is usually because no fish are being caught. Fishing was not the best yesterday but several fish were caught. Working the bank with worms and soft plastics is starting to catch some fish and spooning continues to be the best method both on brush and in open water. The walleye that I am catching are full of crawdads and creek minnows so they are coming in shallow sometimes. Drop the spoon touching bottom beside brush piles with a 3/8th ounce spoon for them and catfish and a 1/4 ounce spoon for crappie, Kentucky bass, and bluegill right in the brush near where the top of the brush is the biggest and comes the closest to the surface. Fish are roaming so try different places until you find them. They do not go that far. Use light clear line especially this time of year as the water is getting very clear and the fish are line shy. I use a very small swivel on the spoon to keep it from twisting the line, otherwise I use no hardware.  I purchased new cabinets and counter tops for cabins 5-8 yesterday and new air conditioner/heaters for them also and am broke again but we still are not raising the price and continue our policy of continued improvement for you.We do not want to charge our friends too much. It was busy here yesterday and will be again Thanksgiving week. I need some cloudy weather with light winds and you will see some big crappie. Some white bass and hybrids should start showing up with all of the trollers out there. It is time.Look at the mouths of the creeks just off the main lake. The moon is getting big.  

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

John Bornhop with some good ones.Image title

Caught fishing with Bink yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 553.77 and has dropped just a bit with one generator running 3-hours. The White River at Newport is 3+ feet and it is hard to launch a boat. It should be at 12-feet until Norfork gets down to 547-48 and then every effort should be made to keep it there for as long as they can in the spring without flooding anybody out downstream. That would be lake management instead of just keep it high all winter and then hold and hope. It was another cold day yesterday with the temperature struggling to get to 50. It is to get a little warmer today and then much warmer until about wednesday when another cold front is to come through. This is expected and very common in November. It should be good fishing until this happens and then we go through the same cycle again. The water is getting clearer everyday. The surface water tmeperature is just about 62 degrees and dropping. More fish of different species are in open water on shad than in the past with the absence of the larger stripers and the reduced numbers of White Bass. Usually largemouth bass are mostly near the bank on creek minnows and small bluegill. Some still are but not nearly as many. If you find schools of bluegill on brush there will be catfish, walleye, crappie and Kentucky Bass there also. Many schools of open water shad are holding few or no fish but some are. You just have to look for them and sometimes it is a long look but when you find them the bite can be fast and then it is over. People fishing off the dock in the brush are catching channel catfish in the 2-3 lb. range and big bluegill. Last night in Blackburns Creek the fish started coming up half way back just before dark. If the red meat fish are to come to the bank for the November night bite it is about time. It should happen just before the full moon which is on the 19th. It used to happen every year but lately not so much. I used to fish for walleye on certain shadowy banks on soft plastics in the evening this time of year and then switch to the stick bait after sunset. The walleye bite continues and is getting better but the striper bite does not happen much anymore and I just come in at dark. It may happen this year though. I had expected to see more stripers come in with this being an excellent time to catch them but so far just a very few. Crappie, walleye and bass continue to be the best bite with some channel cats and white bass also and just a few hybrids. Not many people out there now with the cold windy weather but that should change starting tomorrow. I am surprised at the number of boats out there during the week.   

Norfork Lake Condition and fishing report by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental

Tom Kelly (AKA) Santa with a couple of nice ones released under the dock. Caught more too. Image title

The lake level is 553.77 and has dropped a very little bit with very little generation. It rained just a little yesterday morning but is clear and sunny today. The lake level is stable, the moon is getting big, the surface water temperature is dropping and is now 62 this morning and the lake continues to clear. Overall the lake is in excellent condition but the cold fronts and wind just continue to come through. it was a cold gusty wind and vatiable and changing directions about every minute and it was hard to fish if you did not get out there early. Get out about 6:30 AM to miss most of it. It was still howling in the evening and was cold. Bass fishing is getting a little better and catfishing has slowed for fish of much size. Some small channels are being caught off the dock but not worth a picture. Bluegill were biting the small spoon as fast as you could drop it and I had to upsize to the 1/2 ounce to keep them off. Crappie were the best bite with several being caught. We all came in early and were just tired of the wind. It was just not woth it. I do not hate the fish that bad. It was like December. I do not have much faith in the day after a cold front for fishing anyway and was unable to catch any walleye. Everybody caught some fish though and there were several of us out until mid-morning. More fish were caught this morning and the wind was much better. Crappie, bluegill and Kentucky bass are still the best bite and walleye were good until yesterday. 

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

Mike Eakle with some good ones caught on the spoon on Blackburns Brush Piles. Image title

The lake level is 553.79 and has risen over 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is now just below 4-ft. This is unbelievable. There is no effort as of today to drop the lake for the winter. All I would like to see is for them to drop it to 547-48 and try to hold it there for as long as they can without flooding anybody out downstream. It would give us a much better chance of not having high water. Get rid of the 12-ft. rule. The bottom of the power pool, which is how low they can drop it if they want to is 510. This is unrealistic and needs to be raised to about 540. This is easily controlled by just quitting generation. The level of 560 is when problems for lake access begins for a lot of people. There are a several out there trolling around for stripers and are working hard for a few fish. I talked to people in one boat that said they had been fishing all day and caught one fish. I gues some are trying to kill off the rest of the stripers that are left and brag about it. Maybe they just cannot catch anything else. There are still several in the 6-9 pound range left but are not getting much of a chance to grow with the fishing pressure.  Walleye are quickly replacing stripers and the most sought after fish and I have a report from Game and Fish about them. The walleye rearing pond was not in use this year due to a collapsed pipe. The piping is old and from the 1960's and needs replaced. They are trying to get funds to do this but in the mean time there were some extra walleye fingerlings left over from the state system and they were requested by our local biologists and were stocked in Norfork. These 100,300 combined with the 223,619 stocked by Missouri made for a goodly amount. This is very good. They also told me the same was requested for next year but had not been approved yet. I sure hope they get them. Crappie are what many people also want to catch and their numbers are good and they are not stocked anymore. The Blacknosed crappie  were for a short period of time for an experiment but that was discontinued. There are now a lot of blacked nosed crappie out there now along with the black and white ones. Bass take care of themselves and are doing quite well. The black bass population is good and the fish are getting bigger. They are stocking the Florida strain in some lakes but not here.  It was windy yesterday but still nice out. Everyone knows fish bite well in the wind but I still do not like it but have to get used to it this time of year. Largemouth especially like it. Crankbaits are the lure of choice in the wind. The surface water temperature is still in the 64-65 range depending on where and when and has been very stable for several weeks as has the lake level. The water is clearing in this part of the lake and overall is in excellent condition.Crappie, bluegill and Kentucky Bass are the best bite followed by walleye and jigging spoons are the best lure. Catfishing has slowed. Overall fishing is just fair most days but good at the prime time which is just before the rain. Not so good right after a cold front and a day or two after the high pressure moves back in. 

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

This is a picture of my father and his brothers who all served in combat in WW-2. I am a Veteran but could never measure up to any of them. I am proud.Image title

The lake level is 553.74 and has risen over one inch in the last 24-hours with no generation and 0.6 inches of rain last night. It thundered but not much else. The lake has turned in this area and is getting clearer every day. It turns from North to South and Bink Reports it is now in the process in The Big Creek area which is way South past the dam. I is about 20-miles by boat from here to there. He fishes there a lot and knows what is happening. I only go to that area when I fish with him. It is just too far for me as I catch all of the fish that I want close to Blackburns which is more in the center of the lake. It gets very quiet down there in the winter.  Marinas have reduced hours after Labor Day and You do not want to get caught way down there and low on gas. Buzzard Roost marina has 24-hour gas and is the only one that I know that has that service. I wish more did. Blackburns rents a lot of boats and we constantly have people running low or out of gas who are wanting to see the dam and are disappointed when they get there. Fishing is getting better and better as the month of November progresses except for right after cold fronts move through and then the sun starts shining. Sunshine means high pressure and it takes a few days until it has been around a while or until it gets cloudy and low pressure and rain moves back in. Low pressure is usually followed by a cold front especially in the late fall and winter and again in early Spring in March, but not necessarily. November is our wettest month and the cold fronts preceded by low pressure continually move through. The best overall advice is to fish until it rains you out. We seldom get severe weather in November but can get heavy rain. You will have a notice when the wind picks and clouds get dark from the west  what is happening. It will pick up again preceding all fronts.  Just stay closer to Blackburns Dock which is a good place to fish anyway and duck in when it starts to rain. I always catch the most fish right before and when it starts to rain.  Yesterday was a good day for about everyone. Bass, walleye, crappie and bluegill all were caught and also a couple of small stripers in the 6-8 pound range. It is sunny and beautiful now with wind to pick up and be gusty later. Some people pounding the bank are catching a few bass and Tom Kelly caught some decent bass in Float Creek on his  shakey head plastics. Big crappie are biting on small spoons on brush as are walleye.  I did not talk to any trollers yesterday but there are several of them out there. If you like big bluegill this is the time. 

Norfork Lake condition and fishing report 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 553.65 and has risen 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with just 1-2 hours of one generator running. The White River at Newport is 4-ft. and there is no effort to drop the lake. It is to be another nice day today with rain coming in from Oklahoma tonight followed by windy conditions preceding another cold front. Happy birthday US Marine Corps. 246-years young today. I know we are to eat cake cut by a sword and drink beer today but I am not much on cake. Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I sure hope they do not try to cancel that. It might not be the smartest thing that they ever cancelled. Blackburns welcomes all Veterans and you can add Policemen to that list. It was 70-degrees and cloudy with the sun breaking through every once in a while with light winds when I went out yesterday. The water surface temperature was 65 degrees and the water continues to clear. There was patchy fog this morning but not bad. Everybody reporting to me about fishing yesterday caught fish. Tom, Mike, Bink, Dave and Scuba Steve had good days but we know where Blackburns Brush Plles are. There are fish on the bank and in open water but brush is producing the best fish. Walleye fishing is getting good again as predicted and some very large crappie are coming in and some good largemouth are being caught but not a lot. I caught 2-walleye, four crappie and two keeper bass and several nice bluegill in about two hours of fishing. No catfish yesterday. They will slow down as the water gets cold. I will fish for walleye, crappie and Kentucky Bass until the wind picks up from the north later and then try for some smallmouth bass. It is time for them and I really like to catch smallmouth but never kill any. Kentucky Bass are for eating not largemouth and smallmouth. The biggest change in the lake is how many fishermen there are out there.  Several years ago I would be nearly the only boat out there this time of year and now they are everywhere. Fish kills are not the only reason the striper numbers are way down, fishing pressure is also a big contributor. People are learning how to catch them much easier. I do not target them anymore and do not fish for them in deep water. Any accidently caught are immediately released to grow otherwise we will be a lake of 7-8 pound stripers. The crappie are not getting smaller though and we have found some giant ones. All fish being caught now are very healthy. There must be plenty of food because most of the schools of baitfish are holding few if any predator fish and the schools of temperate bass that I am finding are much smaller. We will see what happens later next week as the full moon approaches if the people still night fishing start to show off dock floors full of dead small stripers. I bet they will. I will not. We all need to quit showing off and killing huge stringers of fish no matter what the legal limit is. There is just too much fishing pressure to sustain this. Norfork is not that big. I remember when it was difficult to catch any fish on Norfork. We do not want to go back to that.

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

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Scuba Steve with some of yesterday's CatchImage title

The lake level is 553.62 and continues to rise just a bit with no generation for 24-hours. The lake surface water is 66 degrees and has been about the same for a couple of weeks. We have had warm sunny weather for several days and it is cloudy now with a good chance of rain tomorrow night followed by a cold front. It got a little windy for a couple of hours in the afternoon but calmed before sunset. The lake is getting more clear every day and is a good color and level for fishing. I started catching walleye, crappie and bass as soon as I went out with no bluegill which was a complete turnaround from the day before when I could not keep them off my spoon until almost sunset.  There were several boats out there enjoying the great weather with as many pontoons as fishing boats. One courtous deck boat driver just about rocked me off the dock as he sped by way back in the creek. He was in a hurry to enjoy the day. I have some work to do today and am anxious to get out there in this cloudy weather. I hope fishing is as good as yesterday. Everyone here caught fish and I am glad to report it was better. It needed to. I have been catching fish everyday but it was not easy. Yesterday it was easy. Improvements continue at Blackburns and we are staining and painting everything possible outdoors in the good weather. Spring comes early with people anxious to get out and there is no time then. We are holding our prices but it is getting very hard with increased costs everywhere. Many are not. Compare before you throw your money away and pay too much elsewhere. Propane and boat fuel are going through the roof and the electric company sent out a news letter to expect significant price increases. We need to shut down a few more pipelines to get this fuel up where it should be.  We do not want our many repeat customers to pay too much. They are our friends. Veterans and Police especially. 

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

The lake level is 553.58 and is up just a bit with no generation for 24-hours. They just started one generator last hour. The White River at Newport is now at 4+ feet and about ready to dry up. It is not a real river anyway. It has water when they run the generators and is dry when they do not. The Buffalo is a real river. It is a beautiful day today with ample sunshine. The low temperature did not get down enough last night to cause fog and that was welcome. The surface water temperature is dropping slowly despite the warm weather and was 65 when I went out yesterday. The water had gotten noticeably clearer from the day before and you could see your lure down a couple more feet and is now about 7-8 feet. The creeks have also cleared. You could not see my submerged light off the dock a few days ago and now it is bright and there are a lot of fish on it. Bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. The carp are gone. A couple of the bass are giant and everyone is trying to catch them. It was sunny with a little wind when I went out yesterday afternoon and the bite started off slow.  I caught two medium sized crappie and several nice bluegill on my 1/4 ounce spoon  in about an hour. Then I moved to a big brush pile that I have been building for several years and caught big bluegill as fast as I could bring them in but no crappie. They were down there but would no bite. The sun was going down and the wind went still and the crappie started. Six were caught by sunset in about 4-minutes along with a 2-lb. Kentucky bass. The bluegill mostly quit hitting the larger spoon. What a nice day. There were several boats out there and said they were having trouble catching fish. Three were trolling back and forth for a long time with nothing. I call them chuggers. One was trolling and taking his big motor in and out of gear about every minute to slow down and did that for a couple of hours. He will need repairs soon. I just do not see the fun in clipping a weight on a crankbait to get it down and dragging it around but to each their own. Not much sport in it or much skills and they lose a lot of fish when one does bite. It is hard to fish brush with minnows now as you cannot keep the bluegill off them but they seem to almost quit biting as the sun sets and it starts to get dusk. Now that the time change is in effect I still wonder how that changes happy hour. I am asking for a friend. It does not affect me much as I do not pay any attention to time anyway. Go out at day break and fish for a couple of hours. Go out again in the afternoon and fish until dark. It does not really matter what time it is. I like this time of year when things slow down. If you have not made it by now you are not going to make it. The day after tomorrow on wednesday should be good fishing. It is to rain before a cold front on wednesday night and there should be a good evening bite when the clouds come in and the wind picks up. I will not be trolling. The lake in general is in excellent condition and is at a perfect level for fishing. Now to find some of those big largemouth and smallmouth which have been eluding me mostly. The crappie, bluegill, Kentucky Bass and catfish have not. The fall foliage was a bust with rusty yellows and brownish reds. Three days of frost did not help any color and now we are past peak. Sorry. Maybe next year. It is still very nice here The color does not last very long anyway but it is still good to be out on a crisp fall day with brilliant colors around. Just not this year. The beautiful weather is making for an excellent time to make improvements to the resort and we are hard at it. You will like what you see when you get here and we are not raising prices this year. Others are. Check before you book. There are some big differences. You can use the savings to buy gas or better yet donate to disabled Veterans. 

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

The lake level is 553.54 and is rising very slowly with no generation to speak of. The White River at Newport is at 5+ feet. The lake surface water temperature was 67 when I went out yesterday afternoon and 66.5 in the shady water when I came in just before dark. The cool nights with ambient temperatures below the surface water temperature is creating  very foggy conditions until about 8:45 AM. It used to be 9:45 until the time change last night. It is not safe to be out there until then and you are not only putting yourself but others in danger if you do. It is very thick and hard to tell which direction sound is coming from. There were some out there yesterday and this morning but I  advised our customers to wait until it cleared. As long as we have warm days and cool nights it will continue. It always happens in November until the water cools which is a little slower this year. The wind was light and it was sunny and warm and good to be out. The first brush pile that I went to had fish all over it but nothing would bite except bluegill. It is fun to catch them and they are nice sized for dinner but I was looking for crappie. They were there but not biting. They started biting about an hour before sunset and continued until almost dark when I came in. Several were caught but only four of the largest ones were kept along with a few bluegill for a friend who asked for some. A couple of nice Kentucky Bass were also caught and a short walleye. It was a very enjoyable afternoon with light boat traffic. A 1/4 ounce Bink's jigging spoon was used exclusively in the light wind straight down and the fish mostly hit on the drop near the bottom. 26-28 ft. brush seemed to be the best depth. I tried a brush pile back in the creek but it was too shallow with no fish. They will be there later though especially when it gets cold and they feed and come up shallow in the evening. I am still not getting any big largemouth bass but the smallmouth fishing is picking up. You will start seeing many more of them soon. Many baitfish are on the bank and shallow just at sunset and there is a little top-water action part way back in the creeks but the fish are not very big. Some red meat fish are being caught and it should get better as the full moon approaches. It is only crescent sized now but will be full on the 19th. Just before that will be the best. People catching them now are fishing long and hard to get a few and some of the Hybrids are pretty good sized in the 7-8 pound range but the stripers are small. White Bass are mixed in size with most being small but a few larger ones are with them. There are much less schools of them than in the past. The next few days should continue to have nice weather before the next cold front comes through. The water seemed to be a little clearer yesterday and is an excellent color for fishing with visibility down to about 5-6 feet depending on the amount of sunshine. Fishing overall is still just fair. 

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

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

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

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

The lake level is 553.50 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with 1/2 generator running for several hours.They have just started up a full generator for the first time in several days. The Norfork lake Striper Club posted a dissolved oxygen report and it was interesting and we thank them for doing it. It explains a lot of things. The Striper comfort zone for dissolved Oxygen is 5-6 parts per million and it is now above that down by the dam down to 75-ft. and by the Highway 62-bridge down to 70-ft. and nearly zero below that. Now that the lake has turned over there is no reason for the fish to be in any special place except for cover and food. This is when brush piles really come into play, especially for walleye, crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish. The red meat fish will mostly be on shad which will follow the wind blown plankton as will some largemouth bass. There will be a few fish coming up part way back in the creeks as the sun warms the very top of the water towards late afternoon.  In 2019 we had a white bass die-off in May resulting in a much reduced population which still exists. In 2002,2008,2011,2017,2019,2020 and 2021 we had high water years for extended periods of time resulting in striper kills in september which has  greatly reduced the numbers of the larger fish. For some reason we did not have a striper kill this fall after high water but it may be because all of the big ones are gone. The damage already been done coupled with no stockings by Game and Fish in 2020 due to covid has really reduced our temperate bass populations but people continue to kill them and brag about it. I personally do not fish for them in deep water and release all that I catch accidently. Dock floors full of dead small stripers is not doing any good and increases the time it will take for them to replentish. The high water years and fish kills in september affects Norfork Lake the most and I do not know why for sure but it has to do with a dissolved oxygen bubble. If the high water continues for extedended periods of time for very many more years it would not make any sense to keep stocking them and I am sure this is being studied by Game and Fish. Over fishing is not helping things out any either. People have really learned how to catch them easily. Some guides are already moving to other lakes and fishing for walleye or switching to bass and crappie on Norfork. People that are used to catching 20-30 and even 40-lb. stripers are just not willing to settle for 6-9 pounders and it is going to be hard to convince them that small is big. Some are not coming back striper fishing anymore.  We sure did have some good years striper fishing though.  But in their absence other species are picking up the slack in numbers and size due to the decreased pressure on the shad. The bass are really healthy and growing fast. It takes four years for a largemouth bass to reach the keeper size of 15-inches and we have a lot of them. I wish there were more walleye stocked but at least they do reproduce somewhat in the lake unlike the stripers and hybrids. Crappie , bass, bluegill, walleye and catfishing is just fine and I hope the stripers come back. We will see. Release a few of those white bass until they get their numbers back. At least they replentish themselves quickly. The lake is clearing a little everyday after the turnover and the fishing is getting better but is still just fair. The surface water temperature is between 64and 65 depending what time of day and where and if the sun is shining. It should stabilize with the warmer weather coming Monday  with highs to be in the low 70's. I saw a jet ski out there yesterday. I had hoped they were all winterized and put away.  They seem to have this intense desire to run them back in the creeks close to docks and close to other fishing boats. I sometimes think I should put a seatbelt on my front bass boat seat. I just got several rental boat seats reupholstered at ITS in Midway back yesterday. They sure due an excellent job and for a fair price. I have another load to take up. Nice people. It is about time to winterize some of Blackburns cabins but we keep a few open all year and do not close to go on vacation. I have everything I want here. No need to leave when you live in the best place. 

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

The lake level is 553.56 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with 1/2 generator running most of the time. The White River at Newport is at 5.8 feet and should be 12-ft. They are keeping the level just below the power pool of 553.75. The surface water temperature was 65 when I went out yesterday and it was cool but nice out. It was just below freezing this morning and very foggy. Wait for the fog to lift and do not run on GPS for safety's sake. These new 4-stroke motors are very quiet and you cannot rely on hearing them. I have had people go flying by me on GPS with absolutely no idea if there were any boats near. I just fish in Blackburns Creek until it is gone and go slowly near the shoreline but it is best to just wait. Some big crappie are starting to show up where the ones that I had been catching were 11-12 inches. Now they are 13-15 inches but the numbers are not high. The smallmouth bass are starting to bite as predicted and they are nice sized too, 3-4 pounds but you have to catch several small ones to get a big one. They are right near the bank part way back in the creeks behind brush.The fish that were on the main lake brush have moved so check out the brush on secondary points in 20-30 ft. of water and drop the spoon. If there is no wind the 1/8th ounce spoon works the best on 4-lb. test clear line. It is harder to tell if the small spoons hangs on itself so check it regularly. If you wait until it is finished dropping before jigging it will not hang as bad. If you do not check it you are wasting your time. I have never caught a fish on a hung up spoon but you can usually tell by the way the resistence changes if it is fouled but it is harder with the small ones. Crappie and bluegill love small white with red eyed spoons dropped right in the brush. If you are in the sunshine try the gold one. The lake is clearing a bit after the turn and fishing is getting better everyday. It is to get near 60 this weekend and 70 early next week so it is a good time to fish Norfork and come down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. I talked to some open water fishermen yeaterday and they did not catch anything. It is hard to find open water temperate bass and if you do have them feeding. The best way is to drop the spoon right on their heads and get a reaction strike.  

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

Mike released this one under the dock.Image title

The lake level is 553.61 and has dropped just a bit with several hours of running 1/2 generator. There is still no effort to drop the lake. 553.61 is a good level but leaves no surge capacity for a big rain. It is almost like they want us to flood out in the spring. If not they are sure doing a good job of making it look like it. I do not want it to get low just around 547-48 by March 15th and try to keep it below 560 for as long as they can without flooding anybody down stream out.  The lake surface water temperature is 66-67 on the main lake and dropping with the cooler than normal temperatures and cooler in the creeks and up north in the river channel. It is to get near 60-degrees for an ambient temperature this week end and that will be welcome. The people wanting it to cool off are getting their way but I am not one of them. I never complain about hot weather knowing winter is coming. The lake is clearing in this area after the turn but I have not been farther south to check it out. I will ask Bink. He fishes the Big Creek area a lot. Crappie, bluegill,Kentucky Bass and Catfish are all on brush anywhere from 18-40-ft with the bluegill and crappie being where the brush is closest to the surface and biggest and the catfish are on the bottom in the same brush. Some big channels are being caught with some in the 9-10 lb. range. Temperate bass are schooled together in open water on shad and trollers are starting to catch some dragging stuff through the shad. Others are using spoon. There are getting to be less live bait fishermen and more spooners. Some crappie and Kentucky Bass are part way back in the creeks between the brush and the bank in the evenings. I am using a two inch twister tail grub white in color on a 1/16th ounce white with red eye jig head on 4-lb. test clear line tipped with a small minnow. You do not have to tip the grub but you will catch many miore fish if you do. On brush I am using a Bobby Garland Blue Ice baby shad, minnow on a slip float or a 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon and switching back and forth. They all work. I fish the same place for quite a while sometimes and a change seems to get them started again. Bass, bluefill and crappie all bite on all of them. Come on down to Blackburns. We have the best place with the best price and your first boat stall is free. Before you book, ask the price, if they charge for boat stalls, if they have covered porches and if the cabin is a duplex. Duplexes are cheaper to build but I just do not like to hear everything my neighbor is doing. 

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

This bush is beautiful as you drive into the resort. Image title

The lake level is 553.64 and has dropped just a bit in the last 24-hours with 1/2 generator running several hours. The White River at Newport is at 5+ feet. We have basically been at the same level for several weeks with just enough generation the handle the river inflow. The surface water temperature is 66-degrees in the mornings and the lake is turning over from north to south and is finished in some places. The water is starting to clear again in Blackburns area. It was not a violent turn but gradual as it has been mostly in the last several years. We do not have a violent turn with debris coming up and the water getting muddy as they do in shallower natural lakes and it does not stop fishing. It just scatters the fish out a bit now that they are not a slave to oxygen level and will locate in proximity to cover and food. The water temperature and oxygen will be nearly the same down to about 40-ft. or a little more. As the surface water cools again the lake will clear and fishing will get better. This is when the bass fishermen beating the bank will catch a lot of fish. Crappie will be there also, especially in the late evening. We will see if the stripers go to the bank to feed near dark just before full moon which is the 19th. Sometimes yes sometimes no. It will be worth a try to get those stick baits out and make sure they run true at slow speeds and not pull off to the side. This is my favorite time of year to catch crappie, smallmouth bass and the bigger largemouth. Kentucky bass are alway good this time of year. Walleye will be on shadowy banks at sunset and be near the same banks as the stripers. Go to the walleye rearing pond north of Cranfield island and fish the points. Spoon the steep banks on the south east side of Cranfield marina in the afternoon. Fishing now is just fair but improving. The fish are not feeding heavily, in a feeding frenzy or hammering anything but you can catch some good ones if you are persistent. Drop a spoon on their heads in open water. There are a few schools of mixed white bass, hybrids and small stripers out there and they are starting to hang out at the mouths of the creeks in open water. This is a good time of year overall but the cold fronts just keep coming through hurting the fishing. Fish right up until it rains you out. Do not walk around, fretting if it is going to rain, and stare at your phone if you want to catch fish.  After the skies clear and it gets cool and conditions are better for you the fishing will slow for a few days. November 10th is the Marines' birthday and they will be 246 years old and the fishing is almost good by then. The fall foliage report remains not so good but we will see what happens after the frost tomorrow night. My Burning Bush here at Blackburns is very beautiful but that is about it. Come on down to Blackburns and join in on the fun. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. We hauled new furniture and mattresses all day yesterday and spent all of my money. We need more customers to buy more. You will like what you see when you get here and we will not charge you too much. Ten of our cabins all now have either king or queen beds or both. Not bad. We are proud of this place and are open all year. We have no need to go anywhere else.  Furniture Depot is the best place in the area and has the best stuff at the best price and a big inventory. They have it all right at the store. No need to order and wait.     

Norfork Lake Condition, Fall Foliage and Fishing Reports by Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental (click here for comments)

Scuba Steve with a pretty good one. Image title

Norfork lake, north central Arkansas, Mountain Home and Ozark Mountain Region fall foliage report. It is now November first and the fall foliage is a bust so far this year and it does not look to get much better. Peak is usually the very last of October but we have not had a frost yet and it has been windy most days and many leaves have blown off the trees. It is to frost wednesday night and if there is any chance of color it will be right after that. It is getting late. It looks better in the sunshine.  The road sides have a little brownish-red and rusty yellow colors but the hillsides have very little. It is still very nice out though but not worth a trip from very far away to just peep leaves. The fall is beautiful here no matter what the color. The lake level is 553.67 and is just what it was at this time yesterday and they are running 1/2 generator for several hours. The lake is at a good level now, not too high and not too low. The Corps Of Engineerrs closed some campgrounds today for the winter and it doesn't really matter as they have been flooded all summer anyway. Some of them never really got opened up fully and not all facilities were repaired. Camping was very limited. We had two different groups from the Kentucky Lake area in last week and they had a bad report. They said the Asian Carp have taken over the lake and most of the crappie are gone. It has also affected the businesses on the lake and many are closing. This was a good crappie fishery and I am sorry for them. I hope it does not happen here. They also said it was a problem on both the Tennesse and Illinois Rivers and affecting lakes there. Kentucky lake is on the Tennessee River as are several nice lakes. This is not good. I have seen none of them here and hope they do not get into the White River let alone the Norfork River. I am sure our capable biologists are watching for them. If anyone has any land for sale near Norfork Lake or around Mountain Home send me a message. I have a couple of people looking and are ready to build. Fishing remains slow but steady with the lake turning over and about every species is being caught but not in large numbers. Temperate Bass are schooled and roaming with the shad and others are scattered. There are a lot of bait fish on the bank and predator fish will move to them soon. Some are there now but a lot more will as the water cools. Bass, bluegill and crappie fishing is the best now with a few red meat fish being caught. All will improve as we move into November and the lake clears. Blackburns is open all year and have the best prices on the lake. Call Debbie at 870-492-5115 for a reservation. We will not charge you too much and especially welcome police and veterans.