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

Cabins 5-8 all have new counter tops and cabinets and heater/air conditioners. No wonder I am broke. No vacation for me. I will just go fishing. Image title

New vanity in cabin #4Image title

James Soltysiak with a nice one. Image title

The lake level is 553.41 and has dropped 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with the generation being cut way down to just a few hours a day. Now we are going into the new year without any drop for the winter keeping us just one big rain away from being too high again. Come on boys, let some water out and get it down to 547 before the spring rains. You have had plenty of chances. The White River a Newport is at 10-ft and dropping. We could get significant rain tomorrow night before the cold front moves in drastically reducing temperatures for a couple of days. Our normal high is 45 and monday it is to get to about 30-for a high and a low in the teens and then warm up to about normal or a little higher. We have been working hard all winter getting things ready for your visit. We just finished putting new air conditioners /heaters in cabins 5-8 along with counter tops and cabinets. Five and eight also have new queen beds and bedding. #4 has a new bathroom vanity and #1 a new kitchen stove. #12&14 also have new king mattresses and cabinets and counter tops.  Many other mattresses and furniture have been added and things are really looking good for your visit. There will be no price increases here at Blackburns for 2022 so you can continue to have a affordable vacation.  A special thanks to Furniture Depot for supplying us with many items and at a good price. Nice people. They have inventory where you have to order from others and are locally and family owned. Now it is time to service boats. It was a beautiful day yesterday with warm temperatures and light wind. We worked until mid afternoon and all went fishing. The water temperature was 57 and the lake continues to clear. The calendar says it is time to bass fish no matter what the water temperature. I fished brush in 25-28 ft. of water until about 4:PM and then went to my favorite winter bass bank. Kentucky Bass and a few crappie were biting on the brush but it was slow but it was not slow on the main lake river channel bank with big chunk rock. Fish of different species were in the rocks at about 10-ft deep on the bottom. The green 3-inch grub on a 3/16th ounce jig head was working. Binks uses a 1/4 ounce jig head so it will sink faster but I get hung up too much in the shallow water so I lower it a bit. I caught smallmouth, largemouth, Kentuckies and one giant crappie on about 100 yards of steep bank right on the dropoff until dark.  Mike, James, Craig, Tom and John all caught fish but reported it was a little slow. I am ready for some 4-lb. smallmouth to stretch my line out a little. I like winter bassin. 

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.

John Bornhop with some good ones. He was unwilling to release them. Image title

The lake level is 553.45 and has dropped a little less than 2-inches in 24-hours with both generators running about 1/2 the time. The White River a Newport is just above 10-ft. and dropping. The surface water temperature is about 55 degrees and the creeks are very stained and the mainlake is partly clear and you can see your lure down about 3-4 feet. The lake overall is in excellent condition, at a good level but the fishing is only fair.  We received a little over 1/4 of an inch of rain yesterday and more is coming tomorrow. The daffodils are emerging and the grass is getting green and this might be a little premature if the weather forecast holds for saturday night with a hard freeze predicted. They should be smart enought to not come up before January 1st anyway. The forecast varies from day to day but it looks like the low will get into the high teens with clear cold skies with a couple of days of cold temperatures to ring in the new year and then warm up a bit. We have been very fortunate to not have had any winter so far. We got a lot of work done and then several of us went out fishing in the afternoon. Bass, crappie walleye, white bass, bluegill and walleye were all caught but not in high numbers. Most were using the spoon but some were using live minnows with a slip float. Both caught fish equally. Most were on Blackburns Brush piles in 25-25 ft. of water but some were in open water on shad at 40-ft. suspended. Lots of shad are moving back into the creeks. Fishing overall is not the best but has it's moments in the afternoon. Bink is on temperate bass of all species in deep water near 80-ft. about 6-ft. from the bottom. Please get your deposits in by January 15th for the cabins and boats that you reserved last year to insure that you get the ones that you prefer. We have more advanced reservations than in the last several years so give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115.  There are no price increases for 2022 and your first boat stall is free unless you bring the Queen Mary. They need them in Lake of the Ozarks anyway. Be glad to see you again and thanks for your 2021 business. You will like the new improvements when you get here and again no we are not for sale. People keep asking and yes we are open all year.   

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

Mike Eakle with some of yesterday's catch. Image title

The lake level is 553.62 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 1/2 the time. We did receive about 1/4 of an inch of rain in the morning. The level is now below the power pool and is mostly in the hands of Southwest Power. The White River at Newport is now at 11-1/2 ft.  It was cloudy in the afternoon with an ambient temperature of near 60 when I went out fishing. It cooled quickly in the evening but the wind was very light an non-existent as the sun went down. The surface water temperature dropped just a bit and is now just under 56 degrees. Cloudy with light rain until saturday with temperatures dropping during the day and very cold lows saturday night. It should not last too long. We will see what actually happens. Fishing has not been the best the last few days but some nice fish are being caught but not in high numbers except for Bink which is on the temperate bass on the south end of the lake in deep water on the bottom. The rest of us are catching bass, crappie bluegill and a few walleye but are having to work for them. I saw some fish surfacing at about 4:PM throughout the main lake and lots of shad with fish on them in Blackburns Creek. I was ready to come in so I left them alone. Tomorrow is to be the pick day of the week as far as weather goes and then the cold front and wind comes in. Spooning is still the best lure right now but some live bait trollers are still catching and killing small stripers. We have not had any winter yet but it looks like the cold will hit us soon. If you have not checked your lower units for water and line behind the prop you better keep them off the lift and the trim in the water on saturday. IO's better be winterized or brought in. Just sayin.

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

James Soltysiak with some of yesterdays catch. Image title

The lake level is 553.79 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 3/4ths the time. The White River is just over 11-feet at Newport and dropping. We are approaching the power pool of 553.75 and we will see what happens then. The last several times we got here they cut the generation drastically. We are almost to January and if they are going to drop the lake it is time. Otherwise they might as well not even open the campgrounds. The lake is at a good level now though and is in excellent condition with a surface water temperature of 57. The warm weather is bringing out more fishermen than normal for this time of year and I saw quite a few boats out there yesterday and also trailers at the ramps. Several fish were caught by several fishermen but not as many as the day before. Bink reports he is still spooning open water for temperate bass and walleye and catching several in deep water on the bottom. Tom Kelly was fishing near the shore for bass in 12-16 feet of water with his whacky worm and the rest of us were spooning brush. Bass fishing was the best for us brush fishermen with crappie slowing a bit. Some very nice bass, mostly Kentuckies, were caught along with a few crappie but they were very large. It was a little breezy in the afternoon but not bad and it layed in the evening. It looks like a cold front is going to hit here right after new years but the warm weather got us through 2021 with no winter yet and that is very good. After January 1st. spring is on the way. A lot of shad are moving part way back in the creeks in about 40-45 ft. right in the creek channel with different species of fish in them but they are not biting very well. The white bass on them are not very big but the ones Bink is catching are good sized. Smallmouth Bass are showing up but are mostly small. I am ready to get after them when they grow up and I am hoping soon. Main lake river channel banks near the shore is the place to start looking for them with the grub on the bottom. A lot of work is getting done around here but a little fishing also. I have cold weather gear but was hoping not to have to get it out but it looks like early next week I will have to. It will weed out several fair weather fishermen. Your first boat stall is free here at Blackburns and we have different sized ones for different boats. No 1-size fits all. 

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

Tom Kelly with some nice bass.Image title

The lake level is 554.05 and has dropped a little over 2-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 1/2 the time. It has dropped about 9-inches from it's high of 554.82 last week. It is approaching the bottom of the power pool where Southwest power takes over and they typically slow generation when they take over and then keep generating after the lake gets at a good level without regard for how low it gets. Both are incompetent but you cannot expect much from the government. When the water gets high this year they cannot say they did not have a chance to lower it in the winter. The last time the power company took over they let the White River at Newport get almost dry and refused to generate. The main lake is pretty clear and the creeks are still stained a bit but we are at a good level now and the water is a good color for fishing and is about 57-degrees. Blackburns is nearly full of fishermen and they are all catching fish and helping each other. It got a little windy again yesterday and was just short of white caps. It was warm and in the early 70's and a very nice late December day. We are headed for spring and they can keep the wind, ice and snow for the people that like it. The bass, crappie and bluegill remain the best bite and are being caught by various methods. Open water fish are showing up part way back in the creeks and different species are together. White bass, hybrids and small stripers are all together with a few largemouth mixed in. Big crappie, bass and bluegill are on brush in 35-ft. of water at various depths. They do not bite for several hours and then all start at once so you have to be persistent and you will catch fish. We are getting several calls and E-mails everyday with the same questions. 1) No we are not for sale. I guess several are. 2) No we are not raising prices. I guess several are. 3) No we are not closed. I guess several are. 4) No we are not on vacation. I guess several are. We are spending your money on improvements not vacations and could use a little more so come on down. You will be welcome, we will help you catch fish and will not charge you too much. Veterans and law enforcement are especially welcome. We like them. Big fishing day today.

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

Debbie, Savannah and Nicole with some more Christmas Crappie on Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental's Dock yesterday. Image titleImage titleImage titleImage title

The lake level is 554.21 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 1/2 the time. I finished grading the road that the big rain washed out last week and then went fishing. It looks pretty good now and is getting wider and wider and you can meet another car on it. The surface water temperature was 57 degrees and the ambient temperature was in the 70's and it was sunny with light winds. The wind completey stopped about 4:PM and the water was like glass. That was really a welcome change from the wind. The water is clearing and you could see your lure down about 4-feet and I could use a spoon straight down which is the best lure at this time. I went to a different brush pile that I had not fished in a while because it is right on a windy bank that you cannot get out of and found a few fish. Not as big as the day before but still some nice ones. Bass, bluegill and crappie were all in the same place but were at different depths with the bluegill being the shallowest followed by the crappie and then the bass. I was using the Bink's white with a red eye 1/4 ounce spoon with 4-lb. test clear line and keeping it straight up and down and tapping bottom. When the line goes slack when falling it is usually a bluegill or crappie so set the hook. If not do not set the hook unless you are sure it is a fish or you will lose your spoon. The spoon going through brush feels almost like a fish and you will bury your trebble hook in it. If it is a bass you can set the hook after he clears the brush maybe a couple of times. Try to keep him from jumping if you can but set the hook before he does again. If you keep light tension on him he will not jump as much. Use the net and do not do it like the guys on tv do and swing him in the boat or you will hear a pop and he will be gone much of the time. They like to suck the lure down and jump and spit. I have hooked big bass in my less experienced days and fought them with too much drag until they jumped and were gone. I liked to use bass assassins in those days with a weighted nose hook and the hook that came up through the bottom of the lure was not even pulled up through the plastic after fighting a big fish. He was never hooked and just spit it out. Bottom line: try to not let him jump by not setting the drag too tight and reeling too fast. Use your rod.  If you cannot stop him set the hook again before he does and set it hard. The wind is light again today and fishing looks good and the lake is in excellent condition. Blackburns has a bunch of good fishermen in this week and it looks to be a fun time. Maybe rain in the middle of the week but we can dodge that.   

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

The dock was busy yesterday. They assured me that there were not any wanted posters out on them but I am not so sure. Fun at Blackburns. Image titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage titleImage title

The lake level is 554.31 and has dropped 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 1/2 the time. The White River at Newport is 13-1/2 feet. After the crowd left the dock yesterday and the presents were opened I went out fishing. It was warm with an ambient temperature in the low 70's  and the wind was gusty from the southeast and hard to stay in one place with the swirling wind. The surface water was 56 degrees and the lake is clearing a little everyday. The wind is to hang around for a couple more days with a cold front coming in and then getting windy again. Wind lovers are very happy but are not out there in it. I did not see any other boats but the fish were biting especially the big crappie. I used both the slip float with a live minnow and a twister tail grub tipped with a minnow. I could not keep the spoon straight up and down.  Bass and bluegill were also biting. Again it was steady for about an hour and then the big crappie started biting at about 4:PM fast and then quit at 5:PM just when it started to get dark. I kept my limit of five very large crappie and came in. The wind did slow a little then but is back at it now. Bink reports catching several white bass and hybrids right on the bottom in 60-ft. of water on his spoon with some of the white bass being good sized. Several fishermen are coming in tomorrow and we will se how they do. I am getting reports of several small stripers in the 5-8 pound range being caught but have not talked to any of them personally. It seems to be a war of the guides to see who can erradicate the stripers first. They are getting smaller and smaller. I have not caught a walleye in almost a week but am not targeting them as the big crappie are my favorite when the walleye are scarce. A couple of good walleye fishermen are coming in and we will see. Every warm day that goes by is one day closer to spring. The days are getting longer but not so much as you can notice it but at least we are headed in the right direction. The moon is getting smaller.  

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

Tom Kelly caught some nice ones on his whacky worm in Float creek.Image title

The lake level is 554.40 and has dropped about 3/4 of an inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 1/2 the time. The surface water temperature was between 55 and 56 depending on where you were yesterday afternoon and the ambient temperature was 60 degrees. It was a little breezy but no white caps. It is to be sunny and warm with temperatures in the 70's for a few days with very gusty winds and then another cold front is coming through. The people that love high winds should be really happy, but me not so much. I did see one other boat out there in Blackburns area and he was fishing open water between Hensley's creek and Mallard point docks. I do not know if he caught anything or not but he was in the same place for quite a while and then left. I was fishing a couple of brush piles further up river. The fish were slow but steady for about an hour and then the big crappie started to bite about 4:PM.  I had been catching bass, big bluegill and crappie in the 11-inch range until then when I switched to the white grub and minnow. I was casting it past the brush and letting it sink into it and they were hitting it on the drop about 15-ft. down in 30-ft. of water. Big ones too, maybe the largest of the year. I do not know if they were always there or a school just moved in. I kept my self imposed limit of five for a friend that cannot fish anymore for a Christmas present. 10 fillets almost filled a 1-gallon zip lock. I needed some as I do not have any inventory and Christmas is almost here. The other fish were released under the dock and the school there is getting big. Children were fishing off the dock, feeding the fish and having a good time. It is busy here at Blackburns and will get busier next week. Several places are shut down and people are trying us out because we are open all year and do not leave for vacation. We hope they like it here. 

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

One of my favorite people, Rum Binkley with a fist full of Christmas Crappie caught on the Bink's Spoon. Image title

The lake level is 554.49 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 2/3rds the time. The White River at Newport is 14.89 and dropping. The last big rain has moved on down the line. December is now almost gone and the lake needs to keep dropping before we get into the spring. It is at a good level now but we are too close to that 560 mark when problems start to occur. I like to be at 547-48 on May 1st and then hold in the 550's for the whole year. The lake surface temperature was 53 when I went out yesterday and the water is stained a bit but a good color for fishing. The rain did not affect the fishing and it is even better now especially for bass and crappie. They are starting to catch and kill the small stripers again and I guess they are trying to eradicate them. The striper fishermen are cutting their own throats but old habits are hard to break. They should all be released this time of year and again in the spring top-water until the big ones come back and quit fishing for them deep but nobody seems to care. I do even though I do not fish for them much. We will turn into another Lake Texoma and our stripers do not even reproduce in Norfork. The crappie and bass do though and they are biting. I have never caught so many big bluegill and they are very tasty and it has been a banner year for catfish. More and more walleye are being caught and the size is increasing. The Kentucky Bass population is very high and they are a staple when the other fish are hard to catch and are also excellent eating. The Game and Fish conducted a Norfork lake Angler Creel survey as to what fish people were targeting. They interviewed over 1,000 fishermen at the boat ramps and found that 63% were after Black Bass (large and smallmouth), Crappie were #2 with 12.5% followed by anything at 9.2% and Striped Bass at 9%. This survey was for 2020 and 2021. I guess this is the reason that there is a push for changes in the bass fishing regulations and many more people are after black bass than anything else. They are scientific and at the same time of the creel survey they were sampling fish populations of the lake and are trying to make everything balance. Norfork lake is very old and does not reproduce like a newer lake and needs to be managed. Our Biologists care about the lake and know what is best for it and try hard to make it happen. We are fortunate to have them. I am not a fan of big government to say the least but this is an exception. Without them the meat hunters would fish the lake out. With most of the big stripers gone I am not seeing nearly as many small bass as I was a few years ago but am seeing more in open water on shad than before. Everything in Norfork is getting all the food they want and all of the fish that I am catching are very fat. I have seen the shad population higher but at the same time am seeing many schools of them with no game fish on them. Some species of fish's population is controlled by daily limits more than others. For an example it is hard to get anybody to release a keeper walleye so the limit is important. On the other hand many bass fishermen release their fish and the limit does not affect the population as much. I think 15 is too high for crappie limit but also understand the tendency to keep Missouri and Arkansas rules the same. Very few people like to see huge stringers or dock floors full of dead fish anymore no matter what the limit is. That is something to be ashamed of not brag about.  Arkansas changed the law for possession limits from twice the daily limits to three times the daily limits this year. I am not sure I agree with that but they are not out there checking most people's freezers anyway. In general I believe the area lakes are managed very well and do not want Norfork to have the same problems as the Tennessee River lakes, especially Kentucky Lake which has been managed terribly. Many fishermen that used to go there are now coming to Norfork. The fishing pressure has increased dramatically in the last few years and it is not the same as it was but is still the best around when you take in account everything. I just want to keep it this way. As long as I can go down to the dock and use my trolling motor to get to a Blackburns Resort brush pile and catch a few fish I will be fine but it is not as easy as it used to be. Once a person finds one and catches a fish they camp on it for the rest of their lives.  They should put in their own. It is to get very warm and windy for a few days so we will see what happens. I will be out there. Blackburns is open all year and is not on vacation. Why would I want to go any place else? 

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.

Scuba Steve with a couple of yesterday's catch. Released under the dock. Image title

The lake level is 554.63 and is the same as it was at this time yesterday. They quit generating about 9:PM last night and just started back. It started to rise a little when they quit but not bad indicating that the slug is moving through the system. The White River at Newport is at 16-ft so they are doing what they can to hold the levels but are still running Bull Shoals hard even though it is below power pool and Norfork is above. There has been little effects of the big rain, except for the three foot rise in water level, in Blackburn's area so far and anything has had ample time to get here if it was going to. The low point was 551.34 before the rain on December 17th. It's high was 554.83 and has actually dropped just a little since then with the heavy generation. As far as my and several other people's fishing out of Blackburns is concerned the fishing has not changed much with some nice Kentucky Bass, crappie and bluegill being caught everyday and mostly on the spoon. The water is a little more stained but not a lot. The surface water temperature is dropping very slowly and is 554 this morning and it was very frosty. The ambient temperature has not warmed up as quickly as originally predicted but they are still saying 70 by friday but the sun is shining and the wind speed is low. I talked to one troller and he said he had not caught a fish in three days. When people do not write a report it is usually bacause they are not catching much not because they are not fishing. I just try and report what is happening for my customers so they do not get a surprise when they get here. Some others are getting a surprise when they find out the new price increases almost everywhere except Blackburns. They had better watch unless they just have too much money. I instructed a purchasing agent at one of the places where I managed to put up a sign on his wall that said " first one up-first one out" and it really made the sales people that came to see him think before raising prices. We will hold out for as long as possible before anything is raised here at Blackburns and there will be none for 2022 but it has not stopped the improvements. I took several boat seats out to ITS in Midway for reupholstery and a boat for a new top. Those people really do a good job and at a fair price. The new counter tops and cabinets are placed in cabins 5-8 and are ready for installation along with a new vanity in cabin #4. Hopefully this will happen next week. You will like what you see when you get here and there will be new brush piles. I wish we had more help from others doing this.    

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.

Mike Eakle with some of yesterday's catch. Image title

The lake level is 554.62 and has dropped over 2-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. I hope they keep this up but the White River at Newport is at 15 feet. Maybe they will cut down on generation on Bull Shoals first as they are below power pool and Norfork is still above. You cannot tell what they will do but at least they are trying to help now. The level drop will stick some of the debris on the shore upstream and prevent it from coming here. As of last night at dark I saw no evidence of anything that had made it's way to Blackburns area and the lake is in good condition here despite predictions of doom from some people. You have to be around here for a long time to predict what will happen on Norfork Lake. I have been here 27-years and still cannot do this. I might be a little slow on the draw but all I can do is report what is happening and I am out there almost everyday either on or below the water. I went out yesterday morning to check out conditions and it was foggy. The lake surface water temperature was 54.5 and it was very still. I decided to go out on the boat in Blackburns Creek and headed out to crappie rock to check things out. There was a big school of bass in the creek channel in about 25-ft. of water and they were biting. Mike came out and enjoyed the fun as they were biting at every drop of the spoon. They quit after about an hour and I came in and went back out late in the afternoon and caught some nice crappie as did Mike. The fishing overall was the best that it has been for a while and there seemed to be no negative effects of the big rain. The water was stained green but I could still see my lure down a few feet in the main lake and less in the creek. It was foggy again this morning but is gone now. It is to get into the 70's again for Christmas Eve day which is friday. This is the shortest day of the year and from now on it is heading in the right direction. If it was not for Kentucky Bass, crappie and bluegill, fishing would be tough for me but I do not fish open water much and am happy with what is biting. I did not check winter bass banks for black bass last evening but will today. The lake surface water temperature is dropping very slowly and probably will stop dropping with the warm weather at least for a while. I remember one year where it did not get below 50. Things are a lot better than last winter so far and it is just good to be out and I am thankful that I do not live in a city but Mountain Home is growing into one and very quickly. I am not sure how much I like that but we have to make the best of what we are dealt and count our blessings and I have many. My idea of planning a fishing trip is when I go down to the dock to feed the fish I decide if I want to go out or not. The answer is mostly yes. 

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.

The lake level is 554.82 and has risen just a bit in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. When they generate it stays the same and when they quit it rises. It is up to them how high it gets. It has risen just about 3.3 feet since the rain and it's low earlier this month which was 551.68 which is not bad considering we  got over 6-inches total here at Blackburns. I was worried it would be worse when I heard of the floods in Ava Missouri.  May of 2017 still is in my memory and sure do not want that to happen again. Things have not been the same since the Dawt Mill dam is gone as far as Norfork Lake conditions go. The Norfork River is now free-flowing for several more miles than before and has changed how fish migrate for spawn and what is washed into the river. Temperate Bass are now showing up further up the river as are walleye. I saw no brown water in Blackburns area last evening when I went out but there was some trash floating from scouring out the creeks that have not flowed for a few months because of the dry weather. The creek coming into Blackburns is clearing up already. I have lived here for a long time and the one thing you can predict is that things are unpredictable and that is why I just report on what is happening. There is no reason to fear doom at this time but we will have to see what happens to the debris that is coming south with the current that is caused by the heavy generation. It was not here last evening. The surface water temperature was 55 degrees and the water was stained just a bit from the day before. I caught some fish but overall it was not the best fishing. There was nothing to be scared of or any more danger than normal. People that fish here in the winter do not need to be told how to be safe, they have been doing it for a long time and can catch fish in most conditions. You have to fish here year around for several years to know the lake. I am still learning and need to learn more. It is not easy but is satisfying when you can catch fish almost everyday. Some are a lot better than others. It was very foggy this morning but is better now. I have some work to do and will go out later and let you know the conditions. I hope they keep generating. They can if they want to but who knows. They do not account to anybody. 555 is way too high for the end of the year. The White River at Newport is at 10-feet. That will be the limiting factor. Update: The Kentucky Bass are in the cove this morning 1/2 way back  in 28-30 ft. of water and hitting the spoon. Big school and some nice sized ones. The bite lasted about an hour and has now quit. There is a little more stuff in the water but mostly small twigs that are not hurting anything. The water is stained green and is 54.5 degrees. Sun is shining.

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.

Scuba Steve with a couple of yesterday's catch. It was cool out but not bad. Image title

The lake level is 554.80 and has risen 2.2 feet in 24-hours and they finally started generation last evening for about 1/2 the time. We received about 6-inches total of rainfall total for the last three days. A high pressure system is here now with sunshine for the next week and temperatures are to reach 60 by friday. It was cold last night but temperatures are creeping up. There is a slug of brown water heading here from Missouri and should be in this area soon. It looks like the lake will keep rising with the heavy rain and flash floods in southern Missouri in the Norfork River water basin unless they generate more. They have had two months of very dry weather to drop the lakes and refused to do so and now we are one big rain away from being too high again. Anything over 560 is too high and starts to cause problems. If they cannot manage it in December fat chance of doing it in the spring. If we had been at 547 when this last one came we would be at a little over 550 and no problem. Now we are back out of the power pool and the decisions are up to the Corps of Engineers rather than the power administration. It does not matter much as both are government. At least it is not like April of 2017 which was devestating even after they dropped the lake to near 546 in the winter like they should have.  We have a much better chance if we start out lower. Going into the spring in the mid 550's does not give us much of a chance. The backs of the creeks are actually starting to clear up already and the brown coming this way will clear as it moves south with the generation current. There is no secret that I do not like to fish brown water. You can catch some fish in it but it is like the wind, I prefer to get out of it. The people that love high wind would probably really like Kentucky last week. The surface water temperature was 56.5 last evening when I went out and the crappie were biting. I caught my self-imposed limit of five from 4:PM until dark with one short walleye and a couple of Kentucky Bass. I saw no other boats and the water clarity on the main lake where I was fishing was pretty good and you could see your lure down 4-5 feet. The spoon is still the best lure for me and I did not get a report from any live bait fishermen or other trollers. We will see what today brings. Thanks to the crew at Vision Amp who worked on my web site and blog  providers all weekend and got me back up. Several high traffic web sites got hacked and they rose to the occasion. The moon is big and the creeks are rising. Tuesday is the shortest day of the year and after that we are headed in the right direction. Have to go down and move the dock.

Norfork Lake condition friday afternoon by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental.

Late afternoon bulletin from Scuba Steve. I just checked my rain gauge and it was full indicating over 4-inches of rain. The creeks are running rapidly and where the water enters the lake is brown and growing in size. The creeks have not been flushed for several months and debris is running in the lake.  The lake has risen one inch in the last hour and they quit generating like they always do when it rains in order to maximize the rate of rise for some reason. It is now at 551.41 and will be over 551.50 next hour and will keep rising and the amount will be determined by how much rain they get north of us in the Norfork River basin. Local rains have an affect but not nearly as much as there. I will let you know and am heading back to the lake now at 3:30 PM. We are no longer dry that is for sure and it is not over. I tend to get more rain down in the valley close to the lake than people on hillsides and in town. I will compare and have a good rain gauge in a good place. I just got the road down to the dock in good shape and have to do it again. After the cold front comes in the temperature will drop dramatically with a hard freeze.  

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

Mike Eakle with some nice ones.Image title

The lake level is 551.34 and has dropped 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with 9-hours of running both generators. They accomplished this while keeping the White River at Newport at 4-feet. We have received about 1/2 inch of rain so far but the biggest is still to come. It is raining now. It was cloudy yesterday afternoon but at least the wind was not howling and the fishing was pretty good but not great. Fish were biting but not very big. Crappie, bluegill, Kentucky Bass and small stripers were caught and Mike and I both caught a keeper walleye on different brush piles. Even though the lake surface water is not dropping yet and is still at almost 57 degrees, some fish are moving to the bank in the evening to feed i.e. crappie and bass. Sometimes nature takes over even if the weather does not. It should drop some this weekend with the cold nightime lows. You will start to see some pictures of some bigger black bass soon. I am still amazed at people bragging about catching and killing these small stripers. Old habits are hard to die. Game and fish did stock their normal amount this year but none last year. The class of 2020 is absent. The two biggest reasons that there was not a large striper kill this year is 1) they are mostly gone compared to a few years ago. 2) Vegetation and trees that create oxygen demand when decaying are already dead with so many years of high water and the fish did not go to the bubble in deep water in the heat of the summer. If you must fish for them let them go to grow. A 5-9 pound striper is not a prize. I wish they would lower the limit on them until (if) they make a comeback. I personally do not intensionally fish for them and never fish in deep water where they always die when brought up. They may swim away but will not make it. Venting does not and has never worked. It allows them to go back down with their float bladder punctured but that is it. Low ozygen in the summer and the stress of being caught does them in. More and more people are releasing them now and that is good but not enough. My drought of not catching a walleye for over a week is over. I caught one over 20-inches and released it in Tom Kelly's trophy pond. I keep a tally and have caught 101 crappie over 15-inches and 24-walleye over 20-inches this year. Most were released. That means the lake is in pretty good condition for fishing despite the high water through august. Walleye fishing is getting more and more popular here. I sure do like it that is for sure. You do not have to watch for price increases here at Blackburns because there will not be any this year despite all of the inflation and increased prices in everything. We want you to continue to have a good affordable vacation. Most of our customers are repeat and we do not want to charge them too much. I drive the oldest car, fish out of the oldest boat and do not need a lot. You will not be paying for my vacation elsewhere. I like it 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.

Jim Bornhop with a few of yesterday's catch. I told him to go home and give brother John a lesson. He will be here soon. Image titleImage title

The lake level is 551.57 and has dropped 2-inches in the last 24-hours with about 5-hours of running both generators. The White River at Newport is about 4+ feet. The fishing is changing even though the water temperature has not. It is hanging in there at 57-degrees. People that love the wind should be happy about yesterday but I did not see many of them out there. It was still windy at 4:PM when it usually quits if it is going to do so. Jim is back and is catching crappie and catfish. He reported finding fish much shallower yestersay and so did I. The crappie were in 15-ft. of water in front of brushpiles with some nice bluegill and were biting pretty good. He switched to a slip float and minnow in the shallow water as it was nearly too shallow for a good spoon presentation. Crappie typically do this when the water cools in the late evening in December as do Kentucky Bass. The two seem to like the same thing. Bink reports catching open water temperate bass of all species on his spoon 40-ft. down no matter how deep the water. Mostly they were in 40-50 ft. of water but most all were in the 40-ft. range. He found a large school of white bass about 8-9 inches long and that is a good sign they are coming back. He also caught a few good ones. Several good sized hybrids are showing up also along with stripers from 5-9 pounds. This is a good time to catch Stripers as they will move to near the bridges when it gets cold and go next to the river channel and get hard to catch. They will be in about 50-60 ft. of water and just stay there. People predict striper fishing will get better as the water gets cold but I do not agree. Tom Kelly reports catching some Smallmouth bass back in Float creek in about 16-ft. of water on his whacky worm. I have not caught any yet but am ready. He also caught a few largemouth bass. They will move to their winter banks soon. Dave is catching some nice crappie but not a lot. He is using both the spoon and minnows on a slip float and is mostly fishing Blackburns Brush piles. It rained a little so far this morning and it is to continue for a couple more days and then another cold front is coming and dropping the temperatures drastically again. We could get 2-3 inches but I suspect we will not get that much. We are on the north part of the front but will get some for sure and it will not hurt anything unless it comes too fast. Several of us will be out there and let you know what is happening. That is what we do. I have not caught a walleye in a week now but am not targeting them but that is not an excuse. I would like to catch a couple everyday. Right now crappie, catfish, bluegill and Kentucky Bass are the best bite for me and Bink is fishing open water on flats for all temperate bass. He is using the 1/2 ounce white spoon and I am using the 1/4 ounce white with red eye most of the time and switching to the Bobby Garland baby shad when it is windy. I bought some 1/16th ounce white jig heads with a red eye yesterday with a sickle hook. I usually do not like them but Mike at Nabatak said they were good so I am trying them. They are a little bigger than the #4 which is my favorite size but Mike almost always knows what is best. We disagree on goldfish for catfish bait as I never catch anything on them but others do. I guess. It might be said that I catch a few catfish. 

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.

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

The lake level is 551.68 and has dropped 1-1/3 inch in the last 24-hours with a few hours of running both generators. The surface water temperature was 57 degrees and has stayed almost the same for several weeks. We received about 1/4 of an inch of rain yesterday but the conditions were good when I went out in the afternoon. It was cloudy with an ambient temperature in the early 60's with a light southeasterly wind. I went over to one of Blackburns brush piles on a river channel bank where the water dropped off quickly. I had placed the brush right on the dropoff where it was 25-ft. on the shallow side and 35-ft. on the seep side. It is in a perfect position and the fish were right on it. I fished it for about an hour and caught four nice Kentucky Bass, two 12-inch crappie and a couple of big bluegill. I would have to say that the fishing had went from just fair to good in just one day at least for these kinds of fish but that is all that I am fishing for except for walleye this time of year. I am leaving the temperate bass alone until they make a comeback. There are many other good fish out there and better to eat also and you do not have to cut out the red meat. Jim Bornhop caught a big crappie and a channel cat. Dave,Tom, Mike and Bink all caught fish.They were all using the spoon except for Tom which uses a finesse worm. The wind came up at sunset and I came in after I lost my spoon. It was the first one that has been lost for about a month and I am not happy about it. I cannot afford the $5 as all of my money has been spent on resort improvements. Maybe I can get Bink to loan be a couple of used ones. I like the 1/4 ounce with a green back and red eye the overall best this time of year. They were hitting it very well when it went missing about 5:PM. It looks like the people that love to fish in high winds are going to get their wish for the next several days. We have a chance of getting up to three inches of rain by this weekend when the cold front gets here. We are very dry and can take a couple without any trouble if it does not come too fast.  It should be good fishing with the low pressure until then. The same conditions that created all of the nasty storms last week are going to happen again but it looks like they will be further north. When the very warm moist fronts collide with the cold fronts nothing good happens and this is going to happen it is just where. I wish nowhere but for sure not here. It was close enough last time. The lake overal is in excellent condition and the fishing has gone from fair to almost good.  Yes we are open all year and that includes before and just after Christmas. No need for me to go on any vacation as all I want is here on Norfork lake now that my daugher lives right up the road. Come on down. We will not charge you too much.    

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.

These were my best fish yesterday evening.Image title

The lake level is 551.79 and has dropped 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with genetation for about 6-hours alternating between one and both generators. It is about 2-feet lower than at this time last year and that is good. I hope we are headed to 547-548 by March and they try to hold it there for as long as they can. The very dry weather is helping. Just the little amount of generation is dropping the lake. The surface water tmeperature is between 56 and 57 degrees and is holding steady with the warmer weather. We are to have good chances for rain in the next three days and it is badly needed but the wind is also to pick up again. It has been nice to have light wind for a few days. The fishing picked up a little yesterday a few days after the high pressure set in. The open water fishermen found a school of 2-3 pound largemouth and another one of white bass just over a foot long. They are looking very hard and long to find them but when they finally do they are able to stay on them better without the wind. The white bass seem to be staying put and not traveling as fast but I do not fish for them anyway. People are still trying to hunt down and kill the stripers that are left for meat but more and more are releasing them to grow. That is good for the lake. A 5-8 pound stocked striper is not much of a catch but old habits are hard to die. People need the meat bad. The white bass are low in numbers but at least they reproduce themselves and seem to be coming back somewhat but not nearly what they were. Hybrids are about the same but not nearly as many are stocked. More crappie are starting to move back in from the deeper water back to the brush but not the shallow brush. I am carching a few big ones shallower but the numbers are deeper. A lot of fish of different species are now suspended about 40-ft. down no matter the depth. The walleye continue to elude me for about 4-days now but I have not specifically targeted them as I am still on the crappie, bluegill and Kentucky bass. I have a place where I was catching them but have not been back there for a few days and will give it a try when the wind comes from the south. Fishing looks pretty good for ther next several days. Stay out there until it rains you out with the 1/2 ounce Bink's Spoon. Right now the Arkansas Shiner is working best for me the the white with green back is second. I switch to the Bobby Garland baby shad when it is windy and I cannot keep my spoon straight up and down. If you drag your spoon in brush you will lose it but not so in open water unless you are tapping bottom which I do a lot. I still check for smallmouth on the shadowy banks just before I come in but nothing so far. Open water fishing is OK but I get tired of looking and looking to find feeding fish. You see pictures when they finally find some but nothing for days when they do not and there are several of them. The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level.   

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

This was Scuba Steve's best fish yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 551.93 and has dropped two inches in the last 24-hours with them alternationg between 1 and 2 generators for several hours. It is dropping much more rapidly now and should keep it up unless we get a big rain. It is very dry here and we could take an inch or two with no problem. Bull Shoals is 4-feet below the top of the power pool and we are about 2-feet. The surface water temperature was over 56 when I went out yesterday and the lake was pretty clear and you could see your lure down about 6-feet in deep water and much clearer near the shore. Most of the crappie have moved out into deeper water for some reason and I am fishing my deeper brush piles for them, bluegill and Kentucky Bass. Walleye have eluded me for a few days. The catfish are still biting on the steeper river channel banks just at the drop-off. I am catching them on spoons. White Bass are just outside of brush about 40-ft. down no matter what the water depth is. Most of them are about two years old and about a foot long. Last year they were about 8-inches long. A few bigger ones are with them but not many. If people would leave them alone for a couple of months we could have a good spawn and be on our way to them making a comeback but some need the meat bad. The trollers are catching several of them and a few stripers in the 5-8 lb. range. I found a school of them on one of Harvey Hall's brush piles near Cranfield Island but left them alone when I found out what they were. We need the white bass to be more numerous as they are easily caught and people really like to catch them. One of my favorite sayings is white bass are for people who cannot catch anything else and trout are for people who cannot catch white bass. It was much more pleasant with the diminished wind and warmer temperatures and is beautiful again today. We are to get some rain later this week but I hope the cold front does not collide with the warm air like this weekend. It could happen. Fishing overall is just fair but the lake is in excellent condition but is warmer than normal for the middle of December. Go out in the nice weather and catch a few. The rates on this web page are the rates for 2022 with no increases. Write them down and look for changes. There will not be any. 

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.

Mike with a nice catfish caught on a brush pile in Blackburns Creek on the Bink's Spoon. Image title

The lake level is 552.13 and has dropped over 2-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with alternating one and both generators for several hours. The White River at Newport is 3-1/2 feet. The lake should keep dropping with the dry conditions if it does not rain and they need any electricity anywhere. We need it to be 547-48 going into the spring rains. It is at a good level now. The water is clearing and the surface temperature was 58 when I went out yesterday. The wind was blowing white caps all day and did not slow down until about 4:PM finally. It is sunny now with light winds. A little walleye chop is ok but this has been ridiculous. The crappie and walleye fishing has slowed down and bass fishing is not the best. Trollers are catching white bass and small stripers just what we do not need taken out of the lake now with the reduced numbers and spawn just around the corner for the White Bass. Everybody is catching catfish with them feeding before they go dormant when the water temperature drops. I catch a lot of catfish but they are showing up in places that I have never seen them before. A lot of things have changed with the absence of most of the big stripers and the Dawt Mill dam being now gone after the flood of 2017. Fish of different species can now swim unimpeded for several more miles upstream and are showing up futher north in the Norfork River. Also there is much more moss along the bank in Blackburns part of the lake. We never used to have hardly any before. I caught crappie, catfish and bluegill and released a few White Bass so they can spawn in February and came in at dark. Fishing was slow. There were several boats out there in the wind but not nearly as many as a usual saturday which is the busiest day of the week. It is to get very warm again early next week and then rain. We can certainly use the rain. Please no wind and storms. You can keep the windy cold fronts but I will be out there anyway. I do not see how many fish I can kill just like to be out. Yes, Blackburns is open all year, not for sale and are not closed for vacation or for the whole winter but are continually making improvements without raising prices.  I have no other places that I would like to be more than here. 

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.

Dave Titus with some good ones. They are hard to come by. Image title

The lake level is 552.35 and has dropped a little over an inch in the last 24-hours with about six hours of running both generators. The surface water temperature was 58.5 last evening when I came in. It stormed east of us last night but no rain or damage here. We received several calls this morning about the storm but assured everyone that it is fine here at Mountain Home. It was very bad in other places and we are fortunate and wish everyone affected well. Several of us went out from Blackburns yesterday morning and caught a few fish before the wind came up. Mike was fishing for walleye and found a school of White Bass that were about 11-12 inches long. He caught several and released them so they could spawn in a couple of months. Their numbers are down and we want them to make a comeback as they are fun to catch. We do not promote killing large numbers of fish but people can do what they want. Catch a few, keep a few and release a few is my motto. I just do not take pictures of dock floors full of dead fish. Catfish, bass, crappie, white bass and bluegill were all caught until the wind came up and there were white caps until late afternoon. I just do not like fishing in the high winds. I do not hate the fish that bad. Fishing overall is just fair and crappie fishing is tough with just a few being caught. It is cold again after the front came through but is to warm up again starting tomorrow and keep getting warmer until the next one. This has been happening at least weekly for about two months now. The lake has dropped 1.32 feet since the first of November. That is not very much but better than rising. It is very dry here and that is not a good going into the coldest part of the winter with litte or no ground water. Overall the lake is at a good level and is in good condition for fishing but the surface water temperature is just too high for the bass to move to their winter banks. They will and I will let you know. I keep checking. Drop a spoon in the brush at 15-35 feet for best results. It is hard to stay on open water fish in high winds when they are roaming. It was 72 degrees for a high yesterday and 48 today. 47 is normal.  

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.

James Soltysiak with a sample of what we are catching now at Blackburns mostly everyday. Image title

The lake level is 552.44 and has dropped a little less than one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running for several hours. 552 is what was normal pool for years before they started messing with the numbers and moving them upward for the so-called minimum flow for the put and take trout in the rivers. They changed it to 553.75 and took away 1.75 feet of flood capacity when they implemented that law. It was windy with white caps when Bink and I went out yesterday at about 8:AM bass fishing and was partly cloudy and cool but not cold. We went back into Diamond Bay to get out of the wind on a known winter bass bank using the green grub on the bottom. The water surface temperature was just under 58 degrees. We usually fish this area just after Christmas but wanted to check if they big largemouth had moved in yet. Bink caught a couple of nice Kentucky Bass but the largemouth were not there yet. We moved further back in the bay and switched to brush piles using the spoon and caught a few more Kentuckies and several very large bluegill. No crappie ot largemouth. Bink is one good bass fisherman and I learn something every time I go with him. When moving around we saw a few schools of white bass at varying depths but al about 40-ft. down suspended but they were small. We came in about noon and had a great day as the sun came out and warmed things up. I do not fish the south end of the lake much and it was a good change for me but the fishing was about the same as in Blackburn's area but less crappie. We saw only one other boat but there were several trailers at the boat ramp at Quarry when we came in indicating that there were some out there somewhere. We will see what the day brings. Others fishing out of Blackburns also caught several bass and a few crappie and some catfish. This has been a good year for catfish especially in open water on shad for some reason. There weather is to warm with wind today and then another cold front is coming in. Fishing overall is just fair and the lake is in excellent condition for fishing and the water is clear especially near the bank. Do not expect high numbers at this time. Our normal high for this time of year is 48 and it is very cool early, warms up in the middle of the day and cools off quickly at sunset. Bring appropriate clothes. I can pick the best fishing days before the cold front and wind but it is impossible to do so for several days in advance so if you are coming here to fish expect some pretty good days and some not so good. I catch fish everyday but some are much better that others. It is hard to find feeding fish in open water but if you do it is also hard to stay on them. The schooled fish are moving continually but some can be caught and several species are together on shad. I just get tired of following them around and know where the brush piles are and they do not move and I put some of them where I can get out of the wind most of the time. We have had lower than average rainfall for the last 5-months and the ground water is low and conditions are dry. Otherwise the lake level would be higher.They are not doing anything to drop the lake much and we are lucky to be where we are now. Dropping slowly is better than no drop at all. Just keep the level between 547 and 559 and everything will be fine.   

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.

Mike Eakle with a couple of nice walleye on the spoon. Image title

The lake level is 552.52 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with several hours of alternation between one and two generators. The White River at Newport is just over 3-ft. and we remain below average on rainfall. The surface water was 58 degrees yesterday afternoon with the sun warming the water when I went out and it was a nice day with the ambient temperature in the high 50's with a light southeastern wind. Again I alternated lures from a spoon to a jig with most fish coming on the spoon. I caught four keeper bass and two nice crappie from 3:PM to 5:PM fishing main lake points brush in 25-35 ft. of water allowing the lures to touch the bottom. I did not see many fish on top of the brush except for a few bluegill. It cooled off quickly at sunset so I came in. Fishing overall was a little better and it needed to be and I did see a couple of other boats out there but not many. I am going out with Bink this morning to get an annual fishing lesson and will be on the radio at 8:45 AM on KTLO 97.9 with LIve in the Boat. I will give a report. Mike caught some nice walleye and Tom caught some bass in Float Creek. 

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.

I like it when the crappie are as big as the bass. Image title

The lake level is 552.64 and has dropped 1-inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 4-hours. The White River at Norfork is at 3-ft. The surface water temperature was 55.5 when I went out yesterday and it was exactly the same conditions as the day before. The wind quit at 4:PM again and the fishing was slow until then and the fish started biting for a few minute at sunset. Nice fish, low numbers. It is warming a little today and to get warmer as the week progresses and then another cold front. Here is the progression. Hight pressure sets in after a windy cold front with slow fishing right after. The longer the high pressure stays the better the fishing gets. It clouds up and the fishing is the best until right after the rain and wind with the new cold front comes in folowed by clear skies This happens over and over all winter. Personally I like to fish during the hardest times when most people cannot catch fish. This is when you have to drop the spoon right on their heads and get reaction strikes. You do not catch high numbers but can get some very large fish. Trollers have a very hard time during this period. What you will see many times is when you drop your spoon it just quits dropping before you hit the bottom. Either your reel is frozen up or a fish has kept it from falling. Set the hook. Do not have your rod high when the lure is dropping otherwise you will not have enough to set the hook and miss the fish. Do not miss any as there will not be very many chances. I really like to catch fish when others are having a hard time. I do not fish for high numbers anyway. This is a good time for peace and quiet. No wake boats and no jet skis. The phone is ringing. No, we are not for sale, closed or on vacation. We are busy making improvements on the resort and are open all year. 

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.

This was my biggest fish. The bass was about the same size. Image title

The lake level is 552.72 and has dropped about 1-1/4 inch in the last 24-hours with both generators running about 7-8 hours. The White River at Newport is just over 3-ft. It was cool with an ambient temperature in the early 40's  with a northwest wind about 10 MPH when I went out yesterday afternoon. I saw no other boats for the entire time I was fishing. I caught no fish until about 4:PM when the wind completely died and the lake was calm. The crescent moon came up and it was very clear and got cold at dark. I caught one very large crappie on a brush pile and that was it so I moved around the corner to the inside of a point and worked the bank for bass and caught a very nice one. That was it. Fishing was slow overall when only two fish were caught in about 2-hours of hard fishing. For the first hour it looked like I might be shut out for the first time in several years. Sometimes I have had to stay out longer than I wanted to as to keep it from happening. I suspected this might be the case after the cold front but it did not matter. Catching fish when it is difficult is more rewarding than when it is easy and everybody can do it. It is to get warmer starting tomorrow and maybe some others might go out. We report slow as well as fast. The surface water temperature has dropped just a bit to 56.5 where I was fishing one place and 57 another and the water had cleared a little from the day before. It was really quiet out there. I like that. A tire for one of my trailers was $42 yesterday. It was $24 a couple of years ago. What is happening? We have already published our prices for 2022 here at Blackburns and they are the same. Others are raising. Check before you book. Friends do not charge friends too much.  

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.

Mike with some of last evening's catch. I do not usually take pictures of white bass but this was a pretty good one compared to the others. Image title

The lake level is 552.83 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with about 5-hours of running both generators and 3-hours of running one. The White River at Newport is now 3-1/2 feet. It was warm and windy when I went out yesterday afternoon with an ambient temperature of about 70 and a surface water temperature of about 59. Thhe wind was coming from the south and there were whitecaps but the fish were biting. I caught walleye, bass, crappie and bluegill and Mike caught the same except he caught several white bass that were schooled on one brush pile. Dave caught some nice crappie and Tom some bass. The wind died about 4:PM and it was easier to fish until dark. We were all using Bink's Spoons except tom who was bass fishing with his plastic worm.  I switched back and forth to the jig in the heavy wind and back to the spoon when it quit and caught fish on both.  It stormed last night and we received about 3/4 of an inch of rain here at Blackburns and now it is cold with the cold front doing it's job very well. They just keep coming through this time of year but it is to warm back up in the middle of the week. It is to be in the mid 40's for the next couple of days for a high and the normal high is 49. This should weed out the fair weather fishermen.  Everyone was fishing brush piles in 25-35 feet of water and several species of fish were all there. It was too windy for open water fishing but I do not do that much anymore anyway. We will see how the cold front affects fishing this time. It never does it any good but usually does not stop the bite but just slows it. Sometimes a lot. The wind stained up the lake a little but it is still in excellent condition for fishing and at a good level. Needless to say I do not like winter and never complain about how hot it is. I served my time in cold states and have no desire for snomobiling, cross-country skiing or ice fishing. Did that.

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.

Jim Bornhop caught some very nice fish. His brother could take a lesson from him. Image title

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The lake level is 552.96 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running for 6-hours and one generator running for two. The White River at Newport is now at 3.5 feet. This is the first time the lake has been under 553 for months. It was a beautiful day yesterday and the warmth continues today with storms tonight and then cool weather the first of  next week with highs in the 40's. Our normal high is 49. The water had cleared a bit yesterday and the creeks were much clearer especially near the shore. The surface water was still at 59 degrees and the wind was from the northwest at about 5-10. It was pretty good fishing conditions and the lake is in excellent conditions. Fishing overall is just fair for numbers but some nice sized fish are coming in, especially walleye, crappie and Kentucky Bass. For me I am not catching large numbers like last week but the ones that I am catching are good sized. I was catching my self imposed limit of five crappie in about an hour but now it is taking me two if at all. They are still biting best right after sundown until dark. I am still not catching any big black bass but the Kentuckies are over 2-lbs and fat and all of our fishermen are catching them. The spoon is still the best lure with a jig second. White bass are with the crappie in about 35-ft. of water but not very many and not very big. Jim Bornhop caught some big crappie and a 24-inch walleye but also said the numbers are down. Some are catching nothing but we are trying to help them. That is what we do here at Blackburns. We want everyone to catch fish. We show them how to rig their poles and where the brush piles are and how to fish them. The ones that stick to the advice catch fish sooner or later and the ones that go back to their northern, shallow, dark water with vegetation techniques do not. When I see their poles rigged with 20-lb spider wire with a colored leader with a snap on a big ole buzz bait I do not have much hope. When they say they threw everything in the tackle box at them and they still won't bite I give up. Most people listen and start catching fish before they leave and are anxious to come back but some are just disgruntled and want to try another lake. Trust me it is not the lake. It is full of fish but they do not always bite but when they do you have to have the right lure on. Jerk bait in the early spring, use it as a stick bait in the fall, grubs and creature baits late spring and late fall and winter, top-water baits in May and early June and spoons the rest of the time or when the others do not work. I use jigging spoons over 1/2 of all the times I fish. That is about all you need. Bass fishermen use a gitzet to catch fish off the beds in May and early June. I do not do this but it works. Some Crappie fishermen us a light clear line with a balsa slip float and live minnow fished directly over brush. I use a Bobby Garland blue ice baby shad jig.   For catfishing live shiners and bluegill are always the best but some that do not want to pay for the bait use cut bait. I fish for flatheads and they will not bite dead bait. If you are a troller get a good fishfinder, find some shad with fish on them and drag an umbrella or clip a weight on a crankbait and go the right speed to get the rig through the school. If you do this long enough and drag through enough schools you will also catch fish. You can substitute a live gizzard shad for the umbrella if you can find some. This requires a throw net, round bait tank with aearator and going out before daylight. This is not for me either but it works. I takes all kinds and that is what makes Norfork Special but not easy. 

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.

Tom Kelly with a couple of nice ones.Image title

The lake level is 553.11 and has dropped one inch in the last 24-hours with about 4-hours of generation. The surface water temperature was 60 when I went out yesterday and the water seemed to clear a little especially in the creeks. It was very warm and great to be out. We have a good chance of rain tonight and tomorrow and then the cold weather is to return with highs in the 40's. It was nice while it lasted but it looks like winter will be here soon. December has been our coldest month the last several years and it was very cold last winter as the lake froze part way out of the creeks in January. That does not happen very often but has about three times in my 27-years of living here. Just keep the ice away and we will be fine. No more ice storms. Fishing changed a little bit for me yesterday. I could not get the crappie to bite on top of the brush and had to fish for them deeper near the bottom and that was slow. There were some white bass with the crappie but most were small and the biggest one was about 1-1/2 pounds. Tom, Dave, Mike and Jim all caught fish but had to work for them. I caught a couple and switched to bass fishing. They were on the bottom in 30+ feet of water and mostly Kentuckies. If it was not for white bass and Kentuckies it would have been a very slow day for fishing. Almost all fish were caught on the spoon and the crappie would not hit a minnow on a slip float. We had one troller using an umbrella rig and chugged all day for two fish. At least he caught something. This was the slowest day in several weeks but everyone caught a few fish and it was nice to be out in the warmth. That is about over but nice while it lasted. When the water cools to the 50's the black bass should move to their winter banks. I am ready for that especially the smallmouth. It is the dark of the moon and when it gets dark it gets dark and when the sun sets it cools down fast. 

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.

Dave Titus with a couple of yesterday's catch. Caught more too. Image title

The lake level is 553.22 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with several hours of running one generator and they are now running both for the first time in months. The White River at Newport is up to 3-ft. from a low of 1.5 feet yesterday. The surface water temperature was 60+ when I went out yesterday afternoon and 59 when I came in at dark and the water was stained a little green in both the creeks and main lake and you could see your lure down just a few feet. It is much clearer near the shore. Some very nice fish were caught by several good fishermen yesterday with some walleye in the 3-4 pound range and crappie at about 15-inches. Everybody caught fish. I am determined to catch some larger black bass but am having a hard time. I worked a good bank yesterday and fished it hard and only caught three keeper Kentucky Bass. They were nice sized but not what I was looking for. I have been catching crappie almost at will and wanted a little change. The larger crappie caught were deeper than in previous days and were near the 40-ft. range on the deep brush on a 1/2 ounce Bink's Jigging Spoon. I had been fishing 25-30 ft. brush on the 1/4 ounce spoon but the fish were smaller. Not these. I just caught a few deep as they all die and my self imposed limit is 5-day. I fish everyday and do not want or need a big ole stringer of dead fish to try and impress anyone. Those days are over. All that happens is you fish out all of the good places. Catch a few keep a few and release a few. Walleye fishing continues to be pretty good with some nice ones coming in but not a lot. White Bass are showing up on the deep brush with the crappie but are mostly small. I see several trollers out there chugging around dragging umbrellas and clipping weights on crank baits but the fish they are catching are mostly small and they have to go several miles to catch much. There are a lot of schools of shad that have no predator fish on them but if you drag something through enough schools of shad long enough you will catch some fish. I prefer feeling the hit and setting the hook instead of letting the rod holder do this and just reel them in. I guess that is ok if that is all you know how to do. Several trollers have turned into spooners and several striper fishermen have turned into crappie and walleye fishermen. Go out a little deeper and size up a little on the spoon to get down there faster and also keep your spoon straight up and down. Try to keep right on the brush as much as possible. Go against the wind with your trolling motor and use it as sparingly as possible and shut off the anchor or spot lock which just keeps hunting and spooks the crappie. You might catch some crappie using the anchor but they will not be the big ones as they are too spooky.  This is a fun time of year and I will find those larger bass without trolling miles to do so. They just are not on their winter banks yet. They will be. I like catching those smallmouth bass but release all of them. Keep the Kentuckies and release the largemouth and smallmouth. They eat better anyway and that is what they are in there for. 

Norfork Lake Arkansas near Mountain Home Fishing Report and Lake Condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

This was Scuba Steve's Biggest Crappie yesterday evening.Image title

The lake level is 553.36 and has dropped just a bit with a few hours of running one generator. It looks like they do not need any electricity until it gets cold and then they probably will lower the lake to an unacceptable level especially if it stays as dry as it is. During a big rain they have very little control of how high the lake gets but they always have control of how low it gets. Just quit generating. We have not had too low for a long time and that year they just kept generating until they got almost to the water intake for the city. The current bottom of the power pool is 510 and that is unrealistic. It needs to be raised to about 545. You cannot tell what the federal government will do. Somebody needs to address this.  They have no accountability. The Arkansas Game and Fish always ask public input before making any major changes and have the good of the lake in mind. We had another day of light wind yesterday but it looks like that will change later today. This has been the longest time since a cold front has come through in several weeks and it has been nice. The fishing has not been great but it has been steady with crappie and bluegill being the best bite followed by bass, walleye, catfish and a few small stripers. When bass fishermen are showing off stripers, striper fishermen are showing off catfish and crappie, you know it is not the best. The surface water temperature is still a little over 60 and the winter bass fishing just has not started yet. It will. They are there, both largemouth and smallmouth. They have just not moved to the known winter banks yet where they stay for several weeks.  I will be there when they do and have my 3-inch green stingray grub on a 1/4 ounce jig head ready. Until then I will just keep vertical jigging a spoon when the wind is light and a Bobby Garland jig when it is windy and I cannot keep the spoon straight up and down and keep right on the brush pile where it comes closest to the surface for crappie and very near the perimeter of the brush for Kentucky Bass and Walleye. A few catfish are still being caught but that will change when it gets cold and they will slow way down. What has changed is the number of different species that are on shad in open water instead of in brush on other minnows. I suspect this is due to the depleted number of big stripers causing less competition and the shad are easier to catch than the minnows in brush. The crappie that I am catching are not in big schools but just a few on each brush pile. I do not put brush in to lure fish there but to make the habitat better for the places that they already like making them stay. A big brush pile in the wrong place does not work just because it is there. The same ones hold the most fish over the years and the better it is the better the fishing. I like this weather.  

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.

Mike Eakle with some good ones on the spoon.Image title

The lake level is 553.38 and has risen just a bit with absolutely no generation for the last 24-hours. We are now in December and still no sign of dropping the lake for the winter. It was sunny and warm with a high in the high 60's with no wind when I went out yesterday afternoon. I was targeting crappie on Blackburns brush piles and enjoying the warmth and being able to stay on the brush easily with no wind and getting plenty of vitamin D. I was using a Bobby Garland blue Ice jig on a 1/16th ounce white with red eye jig head and jigging straight up and down right in the brush near the bottom. The fishing was not fast and furious and nothing hammered or slammed anything or was in a feeding frenzy but several nice fish were caught until just before dark. There were no giant ones but most were in the 11-12 inch range with no short ones. More fish of other species were expected but only one small bass and one bluegill were caught. No Kentucky bass like I have been catching other days. The water had stained a bit with a lot of moss floating near the shore or attached to rocks and the brown cedar pollen was floating everywhere. You could see your lure down only about 3-4 feet even in the bright sunshine. The very low generation rate is not washing much away downstream and there is quite a bit in the windblown cuts. The surface water was 60 and then dropped to 59 after sunset. It has not changed much in several weeks Even if it gets warm it will not change much with the short days and cool nights.  I cannot report on other species now as I did not catch any yesterday. Things change almost daily this time of year with the cold fronts and a week old fishing report is no good. You have to be out there everyday. Fishing overall is just fair but the lake is in good overall condition and at a good level. Those striper fishermen better quit killing those small stripers or we will be another Lake Texoma with small fish and our fish are Marine Species and do not spawn here like they do in the Red River. I guess they will just keep hunting them down and killing them until they are all gone except the small ones which are stocked to the tune of well over a hundred thousand a year. I would like to see the limit lowered until the fish make a comeback if they do. I want to see it the way it was several years ago when people bragged about a 40-lb fish not an 8-pound one. The Game and Fish introduced a North Carolina strain of stripers in Norfork this summer in hopes they will not die off like the ones in the last several years. If this does not work I suspect they will stock more hybrid stripers and less ocean stripers. They will not find this out if people kill all of them off before they have a chance to grow. The results will take several years to analyze. Me, I will stick to crappie, walleye, bass, bluegill and catfish until this gets straightened out and quit fishing deep. Old habits are hard to die.