Steve "Scuba" Street's BLOG

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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.

The lake level is 554.23 and has dropped three inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. It is up 2.25 feet from it's low of 551.98 earlier in february.  The White River at Newport is 22-feet and that is good. The ambient temperature was 53 degrees, it was sunny with light winds from the west and a beautiful afternoon when I went out fishing yesterday. The high pressure is here for a while and it is to get warmer for the next several days until it hits 70 just in time to welcome march tomorrow. Most of the packed sleet is gone but not all. It is slow melting and I still had ice in the back of my boat. The main lake was very clear and you could see your lure down about 7-8 feet and the creeks were stained a little more. The surface water temperature was 46-degrees. I fished 25-ft. brush with both grubs and jigs for about two hours and struggled with my fish locator but mostly knew where the brush piles were anyway. I guess I am going to have to trade in my 4-ID Hummingbird that I bought in 1986. I hear they have colored ones now. I wonder if they can tell brown fish from silver ones. I caught four bass and four crappie but no picture fish. Fishing overall was just fair. I did not lose any or break anything off but they were all keepers. There was no drama.  People ask me how to catch open water temperate bass. I do not fish for them much anymore but the way I see it is to buy a $3,000 36-volt trolling motor that self deploys with the transducer built in the head and has spotlock or anchor and remote control so you do not have to move from your seat. The three gel batteries cost anout $600. Next is to buy a $3,000 fish locator with down and side imaging with GPS and many colored big screens that interacts with your new trolling motor. You then need a livescope with 360 degree imaging at about $1,800 so you can see the fish better. Get yourself a good throw net and learn how to use it and a round live tank with aeration and get up before first light and find and net some shad. Get a center console boat with six or eight rod holders, a couple of downriggers, mulitiple planer boards and a big package of balloons, and you are nearly ready after you get multiple fishing poles for the rod holders. You can substitute what they call umbrella rigs with big weighted lures on wire spreader bars with multiple hooks that weigh about 5-lbs for the live bait rigs or just clip  a weight on the line in front of a crankbait to get it down further. Now you are ready. Fill up with gas and then head out to the lake and look for birds. (Usually Gulls or Loons) Troll the before mentioned items through the birds, who know where the fish are, until a fish bites on the rods in your rod holder and reel them in. There can be mulitple bites at the same time so learn how to untangle lines. You must know how fast you are trolling to know how deep your rig is running to get through the birds and on the shad under them. It is important to use what nature provides until they migrate and then you have to learn how to use the other items to find fish. Bass fishermen need this stuff also including power poles to keep you from going downstream in current rivers and holding their position. They are not used much in a 200-ft. deep lake like Norfork because the poles have to be so tall and are hard to transport under bridges.They then arbitrarily beat the banks with a hand painted $25 crankbait staying several feet from the shore, usually as far as they can cast. Be careful when you hang the lure up on a tree or rock on the shore and try to retrieve it that you do not destroy the trolling motor. It is worth much more than the $25 lure.That about sums it up. It about prices out some of us poor people but a few of us catch a few fish anyway. Jig heads and soft plastics cost enough let alone the gas to troll. If you wear out your big motor trolling you can get a new 150-HP for about $13,000 and that is better than a new $75,000 boat. Spare no costs to get those fish. I am not sure if live scopes make the fish bite or not but I have a lot of people with them say they can see the fish down there but cannot catch them. There lies the eternal problem. Getting them to bite. I already know where they are.  

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 554.45 and has dropped 3-inches in the last 24-hours with both generators running continuously. The White River at Newport is 21.73 feet. There is still some ice melting and running into the lake but not a lot especially yesterday when the high barely got to freezing. It was predicted to be 40 and it looks like the long range forecast is still the same but backed up a day. It is to get to 40 today but it better hurry. Some north facing side roads with little sunshine are still very slick.The surface water temperature was still about 42-degrees in Blackburns Creek last evening. I did not check the main lake but it should be a little warmer. The water continues to be very clear.  I feel a lot better about things now that the storm is over, no power outages, the lake did not come up very much and they are keeping the White River at Newport up where it should be. We will see what happens when the lake gets back down to 553.75 and the power company takes over control. It would really be nice to be at 548 by may 1st. The lake overall  is in as good of shape as it has been at this time in years and the fish population is very good. Barring a big rain and low generation we should have very good spring fishing. They can keep the level down if they want to without hurting anything. We can have warm weather the first part of march but do not count on it. I keep several cabins open all year but also close down several. The first few years that I was here it was very warm in early march and I wondered why the previous owners kept the cabins closed until the 15th so I opened them and filled them with customers who wanted to get out of winter from up north. Wrong thing to do. It got down to the single digits and it took two weeks to fix the plumbing. You cannot be here just a few years and think you know everyting. There are good reasons why things are done the way they are. I hope it is warm startng next tuesday for the beginning of march but I will not count on it. I also hope we do not get a big rain,severe weather, or high winds the 1st of july. My dock has broken loose twice in 27-years and they both were the 1st of july and Blackburns dock is in a very protected cove. The resort is in a protected valley and has not had a tornado in over 70-years but nothing would surprise me anymore except catching a 11-lb. walleye. 10-lbs is my biggest so far but I am working on it. There has to be an 18-inch crappie in this lake somewhere and I am working on that too. 

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

The lake level is 554.71 and has dropped a very little in the last 24-hours. They quit generating at midnight and then started back up with one generator and now are running 1-1/2. The White River at Newport is a little over 21-feet so they are trying as hard as they can. The surface water temperature was 42 degrees in Blackburns Creek last evening when I went to the dock and the water was very clear.  It got very cold last night with a low of 16-degrees and is only getting to about 40 today but warming up everyday until the latter part of next week when the highs should get in to the high 60's. At least it is sunny now and should melt off some of the compacted sleet today. The side roads are still very slick. Bink reports having a little ice on the trees down by the Norfork River but there is none here near the lake. I know of no ice damage or any power losses and the precipitation was mostly all sleet and now it is all over except for the melting. Give it a couple of days of high pressure and the fishing will pick up again. I will give it a try tomorrow after I put one boat in and take another out for service. When you have 30-rental boats it never ends. We are getting a lot of calls so if you have a cabin and boat reserved for this year and have not confirmed please call Debbie at 870-492-5115 to insure you are not disappointed. It costs more to have to stay elswhere and rent a boat. A lot more. Sorry we do not allow dragging anything with our Bass or Pontoon boats. If you want to do that you can stay here and rent the boat elsewhere. No problem. Marinas have boats for that but bring a lot of money. You have to rent a cabin from us to rent a boat. Corps of Engineers rule not mine.  

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.

This is what it looks like out my front door. Image title

The lake level is 554.72 and is dropping very slowly with both generators running continuously. The White River at Newport is 21-feet and where it should be and where it should have been for the last three months until we get into the high 540's. At least they are doing it now. If they quit generating the lake will start to rise again but most of the slug is through from the rain early in the week. The surface water temperature was 44 in Blackburns Creek last evening. It is snowing very lightly but it looks like we mostly missed the bad weather again. We received sleet yesterday and today and it made everything slick but I see no ice buildup on the trees. The country roads are ice covered with packed down sleet  especially on the north sides of hills but the ground is not quite covered. The radar shows the weather is about moved out of the area and it is to get very cold tonight and start to warm a little tomorrow and much better on sunday. Things turned out a lot better than was predicted and we got through it without getting high water and power outages. The wind has remained light and that is also good. It will surely come back before the next front but I am very happy to be where we are at this time. It could have been much worse. It is to get back into the high 60's next week and that is also good. Now if gas prices and inflation would go down we would be all set here at Blackburns. Tuesday is march already. The lake is very clear. 

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,.

Steve Monroe and Ronnie Reaves from St. Louis, Missouri show off some of their catch monday. They caught some nice fish and are always welcome. Image title

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The lake level is 554.85 and is about the same as it was at this time yesterday with both generators running continuously. If they quit generating it will rise again. The ground is saturated and still running in the lake. The precipitation has started and is sleet/ snow and it is too cold for rain with the ambient temperature in the low 20's. Most of the potential ice is scheduled for tomorrow with the worst going south of us. This is just a miserable day and another one tomorrow. Saturday looks better and sunday warmer again. My immediate concern is the ice with possible power outages but the water level concerns me almost as much. We should be nowhere near where we are at the end of february and there is no logical reason for it except for mismanagement.  We certainly have not had excess rain but a refusal to let water out until now. The White River a Newport is at 19-feet and where it should have been until we get down to the 540's. When they turn it over to the power company at 553.75 they just try and keep it there for a reaon nobody knows. The top of the power pool should not have been changed from 552 with the implementation of the worthless minimum flow law for the put and take trout on the White River which took away 1.75 feet of flood capacity. I suspect the lakes provide as much economic impact as the river but the river people were smart ewnough to pay to have a professional study done and present it to congress and change the law while the lakes people were not unified and still are not. Yes it would be nice after a free-flowing a river was dammed up to let just enough water out to keep it steady flowing all year long but that is not how it works. Open gates river. Close gates dry. The rivers are plastic and will never be free-flowing again The dams are no longer for just flood control or power generation but for trout, economics and politics. All of the rules need to be reviewed and modernized. One good rule would be to let out as much water as needed to keep everybody from flooding out both on the lake and the farm land downstream. They may not be able to do this all of the time but sure could do a better job than they do now. If it takes an act of congress so be it. The trout people did it with the minimum flow law. I am not sure that the towns around the lakes realize how much tax revenue comes from them. We caught fish up until monday afternoon when the cold front came in and it came fast dropping the temperatures from the mid 60's to the 30's in a few hours. We finished with the new carpet on pontoon #11 just in time. It would not have mattered to me if they were biting or not after that with that cold north wind blowing in my ear. Everybody came in early afternoon. I went out yesterday to check things out and came in again. The water surface temperature was still 46 and the water was very clear compared to a week ago. The lake overall is in excellent condition and we will see how much the ice and snow lowers the water temperature. Sunday should be the day to go fish. Keep generating boys.

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.

Double tagged bass worth $100 was caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 554.87 and has risen 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours. They shut down generation all night during the rain and just started back up again a couple of hours ago. That way the lake can raise as much as possible. The White River at Newport is 16-1/2 feet and could have been at that level all winter causing the lake level to drop into the 540's but they refused to do so again.  There were severe storm warnings and tornado watches out but we were fortunate to miss them. It did happen west and east of us though.  We received 2.2 inches of rain last night and when I dumped my rain gauge at 6:30 this morning the creek was running pretty fast but not too bad. There is some brown water in the very back of the creek where it goes into the lake. It has slowed down a lot already and this round is over with the winter storm coming tomorrow and continuing through thursday with more rain and some significant ice and freezing rain likely. This is the one that I have been concerned about for a week. With so many trees around any ice over 1/2 inch causes us a lot of problems. The power company is much more prepared now than back in 2009 which was devastating. This one looks like we are right in the bullseye. The surface water temperature was 47 degrees yesterday afternoon and the wind went down in the evening. Fishing got better as the weekend progressed and needed to. The crappie finally started biting again as did a few nice walleye although not in high numbers but some nice fish. Bass were the only species that remained biting during the high pressure. The cold front is here now and the temperature has dropped about 25-degrees since the high in the 60's early this morning. It is not going to be decent out until about sunday when it warms back up a bit. We just need to get through the next two and 1/2 days. It is a good time for indoor projects.  I am going out now to check things out before it gets too cold. A week from today it is march and it is hard to believe already. We will be ready here at Blackburns and will not raise the price on you for as long as we can hold off. Boat oil goes up $2 a gallon everytime I buy some and tires and batteries are worse. When will it end?

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.

The lake level is 554.57 and has risen one inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously and the White River at Newport is 16-feet. The surface water was pretty clear and had a temperature of 47-degrees yesterday afternoon. The morning fishing was not the best but it got better in the afternoon. Most of the people staying at Blackburns were fishing for crappie and caught some but not a lot. They said they marked large schools but had a hard time getting them to bite but caught several bass. Mike, John, Tom all reported exactly the same thing. Bass are always the staple when other fish do not bite on Norfork. The big news is the weather. We are in a flood watch starting tonight until tomorrow evening and then a cold front is coming in wednesday and continuing until thursday afternoon bringing more rain and Ice. We can expect a lake rise. I was hoping we were past that but not the case. It looks pretty much like this will happen but I do not know to what extent. I am advising our guests to head out tomorrow morning. It is warm and in the 60's today and that will all change. The wind has not started yet but was not so good until late afternoon on sunday when it finally died down. We are getting march-like weather in february and these cold fronts really affect fishing. We only get a day or two of good fishing and then the next one comes in followed by high pressure. March is my least favorite time for fishing just because of the wind. The flooded rivers like Norfork have many channel swings and change flow directions with the wind following the channel changing direction and when it gets to a high wall it just swirls and is hard to get out of unless you go back in the creeks and sometimes the fish are not back there. At least when it warms up they will be. We can go from the high 60's to the 30's in just a matter of a few hours this time of year. The good thing is you cannot walk on our water or drill holes in it. I am finished with that. We just need to get to about saturday and things will get better. Our normal high is 52 and I would take a few days of that with no wind. Low pressure and high pressure are fine just leave out the cold fronts and ice and of course the wind.   

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.

John Bornhop with his best one on the spoon. He was fishing for walleye. Image title

Tom Kelly with one of yesterday's catch on the spoon. He said he is switching back to the plastic worm. Image title

The lake level is 554.50 and has risen 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with one generator running continuously. The White River at Newport is 15+feet. The lake rises just a bit when they run the one generator and rises faster when they shut it down so the slug from the last rain has about went on through. At least we have had drying days since the last rain before the next ones that are coming in soon. The ground is still saturated. These are still winter patterns and the spring rains have not started yet. We should be at about 547 now but they absolutely refuse to drop the lake levels in the winter like they used to do a few years ago. All area lakes are affected not just Norfork and we are all in about the same situation. The new management rules for Beaver Lake will sure not help Bull Shoals any as we all know all efforts will be extended to protect the Branson Landing no matter what, leaving Norfork as the step-child to keep holding water since we are not on the chain of the White River Lakes but do empty into it. It almost takes a drought to make their plan of hold and hope work. We have learned to adapt here but it makes it rough on public campgrounds, launching, parking and beaches for day users. You can always get to Blackburns Dock by vehicle no matter what and park. Launching is available here unless it gets very high and then Panther Bay is available about two miles away. Several resorts do not have launching on site anyway. If you rent a boat it is already in the stall at the dock and you do not have to worry about anything just drive to the dock and get on. It was very nice yesterday and we got a lot of work done and then went fishing in the afternoon. Fishing was not the best with just a few fish being caught and mostly small ones but it was beautiful and we had fun. Surface water temperature was 46 degrees and the water was fairly clear and you could see your lure down about 5-feet and very clear near the bank. We caught bass and crappie on brush piles. The wind is up again today and it is getting very warm for a couple of days and then the fronts. We will let you know of any big changes and continue to work outside while we can. A lot of projects are getting completed and we will be ready for your visit. The lake is in excellent condition so far and fishing changes from day to day. I would like the wind to go away but it was not bad yesterday. Cold weekend coming.

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 554.37 and has risen 4-inches in the last 24-hours with generation more than 1/2 the time. The White River at Newport 13-feet and is also higher since we are now out of the power pool. There have been little effects from the last rain except for the lake rising about a foot and a half. It did not affect clarity on the main lake but the creeks are more stained but not bad. We put three more new ceiling fans in cabin #11 with two of them going in the big screened-in porch and the other in the largest bedroom. It is now completely ready for your visit and we have people that just checked in to it today already keeping Blackburns full. Today's project is new carpet for pontoon #9, get it serviced and back in the water and then pull out pontoon #11 for servicing. The Black Champion is getting a new steering cable, bilge pump, serviced and will be back in the lake next week and ready for rental. Things are moving right a long and need to as spring is coming fast. We worked inside until the weather warmed up and then went out to put in brush for fish cover. I am not much for charging out there when the weather is in the teens. I go out in the warmest part of the day and come in when the sun goes down. Three of us have fish cover permits and are allowed 6-trees each and we finished up that project just before dark.  We had five more left. It is good for the lake and fishing especially for Blackburn's customers and we have some good ones with several being in new places. We will show you where when you get here. I did not fish but was on the water for several hours and had a surface water temperature of 45-46 degrees and I could see the bottom in about 5-6 feet of water near the shore. It was a beautiful day with highs near 50 and sunny with very light winds and perfect for putting in trees. It is to get very windy tomorrow with a front coming through monday with a little rain but that one does not bother me. The front coming up from the Gulf on  wednesday bringing a lot of moisture and colliding with a cold front coming down from the north looks like trouble to me. It is just a matter of where they meet whether we get rain, ice or snow. Somebody is going to get significant rain and we do not need that now with the lake being held up so high this winter already. Today will be the best weather for fishing with wind tomorrow. People did not do the best yesterday but that was expected the first sunny day after a cold front. Just a few bass were caught and none worthy of a picture. Several are out today. We are busy and like it that way. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free. I bought some new trailer tires, batteries and boat oil and cannot believe the prices. What have we let happen? If we are having a 7-1/2 % rate of inflation why are prices doubling? Blackburns is not raising their prices on anything again this year and will hold as long as possible.  

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 554 even and has risen one foot in the last 24-hours with 1/2 generator running for a few hours and both for a few hours. It is still rising a little when they run both generators so it will come up more but not a lot. They got more rain up north with more runoff but the brown water should drop out before it gets to this area of the lake. It should not cause a problem here but I am very concerned about what is coming next. Normal high is 51 and we are to get to the high 40's today and get warmer and warmer with a nice weekend with sunny skies and light winds until tuesday so we better enjoy it. On tuesday it is to start raining and then wednesday through thursday serious weather with mixed precipiatation and heavy rains. The ground is saturated and we could get a serious lake rise depending on if it hits the Norfork River Basin north of here. Local rains do not affect the level much. There has been no effort to drop the lake level all winter and we will pay for it sometime this spring and it looks to be sooner than later. I sure wish we could get some better lake management. The White River at Newport is now at 11-feet after being held low all winter. It could be at 21-feet with no problem to anybody. We are out of the power pool which is 553.75 so the Corps of Engineers have taken back control of lake management from Southwest Power. All area lakes are in the same condition so one is not better off than the other as of now. It is almost like they want this to happen. It started off with an ambient temperature in the 60's yesterday and a surface water temperature of 47 degrees and then went downhill from there and was miserable with a cold north wind with temperatures in the 30's by dark and got down into the teens last night. We quit putting in brush early and came in and will finish later today. Everything is ok now and we caught bass and crappie yesterday morning and will go again after we get the brush piles finished. The weekend looks good but the fishing has just been fair. We do not need 3-inches of rain in the Gainsville and Ava areas that is for sure but I anticipated this and Blackburns is as ready as we can be. At least things have a few days to settle out before the next one and just keep the ice away. They usually go north of highway 60 up to 44. We will see. It sure would have been nice to be at 547 now instead of 554. At least it is not a polar vortex. This will be a good weekend to get some outdoor projects finished and I have a big crew working on them. The place is looking good. The resort is full with people taking advantage of the best place and prices in the Ozarks.  

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 back up past the 553 level again and rising with a couple of hours of generation. It has come up 3-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours and I dumped over 2-inches total out of my rain gauge since yesterday. The creeks are running but not too fast with some brown water in the very backs of the creeks where they empty into the lake. For some reason they never generate when it rains and allow the water to rise as much as possible. We were busy putting in a new ceiling,  ceiling fan, led lights and painting the big bedroom and also putting in another new ceiling fan on the big screened-in porch in cabin #11 and putting in new carpet in pontoon #9 yesterday. We never quit with improvements. You will like what you see when you get here. I went out for a while but had to come in early to go to a celebration of life for my friend David (Diver Dave) Gentry at the Back Forty. It was a good turnout and he had lots of friends and we had some good memories talking about fun times at the dive shop. It has not been a good winter for me with losing several good friends and neighbors. The surface water temperature was 47 degrees and it was windy with white caps on the main lake and pretty bumpy even in Blackburns protected cove with winds swirling and changing directions. The wind finally quit this morning but is coming back again already. I am getting very tired of it. The temperatures are dropping rapidly with the cold front now here. It went from the 60's to the thirties in just a few hours and thundered but not much else except the rain. It is to get to 18-degrees tonight and then warm back up again starting tomorrow. Me and my crew are putting in the last of our brush piles today and tomorrow. We have some good ones and you will like those also and we will show you where they are when you get here.  I spooned up two bass and one crappie before I came in and they were all on one brush pile that we had just installed. It looks to be good spring fishing here on Norfork Lake so far with the lake at a good level and the water a good color and a good fish population. Next on the agenda are after dark striper fishing  on their spawning banks just before the full moon in march with post-spawn walleye biting at the same time earlier in the evening. I fish for walleye  from about 4-PM until dark on shadowy banks until the striper bite begins. It is a good time to catch and release the stripers as they are shallow and the water is still cold and they can be released unharmed to grow. Then big crappie pre-spawn fishing in late march and early april folowed by the start of the top-water bite for bass,stripers and white bass in mid-april. The crappie will be on their spawning banks at the same time back in the creeks. April, may and early june are the best fishing months with bass on their beds in early to mid may. Bass continue to spawn for several months and into the summer here on Norfork. Catfishing is excellent in May and June here. I really like catching flatheads. Another spring season is about to begin with no price increases here at Blackburns. Check prices before you book. There is a significant difference and you do not have to sacrifice any quality at all. We do not like to charge our cuatomers too much and want them to be able to have a quality vacation despite the inflation and high gas prices. Veterans and Police come on down. 

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.

The lake level is 552.70 and has risen a little less than an inch in the last 24-hours with just two hours of generation. They are religiously holding the White River at Newport at Just above 9-feet for some reason. It had been warm and sunny with light winds until yesterday where it was still warm but very windy with white caps.  I wish to disagree with the sayings that wind from the east fishing is the least, winds from the west fishing is the best and the wind is your friend. People that believe those must not know Norfork. I will take a little walleye chop but you can keep the rest. The only places that I could get out of it the fish were not biting very well. I caught a few bass and one crappie and came in early. I had hoped it would blow itself out by evening but it was about 5:30PM before it slowed but it is back at it again today with another cold front coming through with cold temperatures tomorrow night and then warming again. This is typical March weather. It does not look good north of us but we could get some significant rain. Texas and Oklahoma could get severe weather and flash flood watches in southern Missouri are in effect tomorrow and that is not good for the North Fork River basin if it gets too far south in the Gainsville area. We do not need a big lake rise in february with this very little generation.  We have missed everything this winter except for two snows with no ice and I would like it to stay that way. I do not like snow but they did not hurt anything and the lake is in excellent overall condition. It was iced up in the creeks this time last year with the polar plunge and killed a lot of the shad. That is not likely this year. Every year is an adventure here and things are constantly changing. This is my 28th season here and that makes me the longest owner at Blackburns." Fisherman Joe"  Gagliardi owned it for 27 years and we though that record was unbreakable. It seems like it was just yesterday when I rode down into the entrance with Charley Blackburns and saw the beautiful green flat valley with the huge magnolia tree and said stop. This is the place I want we just have to negotiate price and the rest is history and I am not sorry I left the business world one bit. I love this place and am proud to own it. We have some guests that have been coming here for 70-years and are coming back this spring. There is not much that they have not seen and I love hearing stories about Blackburns which was the first resort in the area even before the river was flooded and they fished for smallmouth and catfish. The Blackburns came here from Kansas City and had the first choice of any place they wanted and chose this one. Good choice. 

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.

Norfork Lake winter Bass fishing in 65-degree temperatures caught on the Bink's Spoon. Image title

The lake level is 552.62 and is the same as this time yesterday with three hours of generation. The White Riven at Newport is still 9-ft. and they are still holding the area lakes up high even though they could be dropping them. I have the dock and parking set up for high water again this year and will be as ready for it as I can. You can always get to the dock here at Blackburns but may have to drive a little to get there. We always have parking. High water does not hurt fishing much unless it all comes at once like in 2017. It just changes the way and where you fish. I hope we do not have to go into high water mode but they are doing nothing to prevent it. Dropping the lake in the winter would give us a much better chance but they refuse to do so. We are at a good level now for launching, parking and fishing and I guess we have to take what is served to us. it is just too bad the lake is not managed better. It would not hurt anybody down stream. It was a beautiful day yesterday with warm temperatures, high pressure, light wind, sunny skies and a full moon which are all a recipe for not the best fishing but that did not matter as it was just good to be out there in the sunshine. The water looked more stained but I could still see my lure down about 5-6 feet and I suspect the bright sunshine had a lot to do with that. The water surface temperature was over 48 at 3-PM and just about 45 after dark and I suspect the sunshine had a lot to do with that also. That is a big change for a deep lake and I have seldom seen that and I was fishing in the same area. There will be no shad kill this year. A kill makes for better fishing but not having one is better for the fish. I would rather have them well fed than easily caught. All of the fish that I am catching are fat and healthy looking. The crappie are very finicky. They go for several hours biting very slowly and then bite fast for a few minutes and then quit again. There is a bite early in the afternoon  and then they quit and then another in the evening and then they quit again at dark and I mean quit. Try to stay in the shade on brush the best you can. Sunshine straight down on the water is not good for me except for bluegill and I am not catching any of those lately. Go against the wind with your trolling motor and use it as sparingly as possible. If you have anchor or spotlock do not use it. They hunt too much and spook the fish. They are ok if you are trying to stay on red meat fish in open deep water but not for crappie or bass in shallow water. I consider 25-ft. to be shallow water. I do not use a spoon in water less than 18- 20-ft. and switch to the jig. When the fish are biting on the drop stay away from the brush and cast the jig past the brush and let it sink down into it. Otherwise jig straight up and down into the brush. If you are using a slip float and live minnow set the minnow depth 6-ft. farther down than you can see it and adjust it deeper if needed. They will come up to get it better than going down.  Bass will be in the same place but usually deeper. Harvey Hall would go to one of his brush piles and fish for a few minutes and if he did not catch a fish or maybe just one he would move. He caught more fish than me but I prefer to keep fishing where I know the fish are there and probably stay in the same place too long. I do not see how many fish I can catch anyway and fish where the big ones are even though they are not biting. I do not guide and do not feel pressure to catch big stringers of fish for the paying customer. My self imposed limit is five and then I switch to bass or walleye. I caught four crappie and two keeper bass and came in after dark. Nice day and makes life almost worth living. Catch a few, keep a few and release a few and leave the rest for the tourists. They are paying the out of state licenses and pay for the fish stockings.  With the current gas prices it may not be the best choice if you are only fishing for food especially if you are a troller. My boat uses about as much gas as a Naval Destroyer uses diesel but my Hummingbird 4-ID fish finder positively identifies fish. At least that is what they told me in 1986. I am still trying to figure out how to run it but I catch a few anyway. I would buy a livescope but they cost more than my boat 15-years ago which is also a 1986 and I spend my money fixing up the resort, what little there is with Blackburns low prices. I probably could not figure out how to use it anyway but pretty much know where the fish are. I miss Harvey. That old boy could catch crappie. The two best crappie fishermen on the Lake were Jay Smith and Harvey Hall. Harvey died and Jay retired. There are a lot more crappie now for us novices. They never fished any brush piles but their own and worked hard putting them in. Others should do that. I do.  

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.

Darrel Binkley with a good one. Released. Image title

The lake level is 552.62 and has risen a little over 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with two hours of generation. The White River at Newport is 9+ ft. The surface water temperature was 45 and the ambient temperature was 47 when I went out yesterday. The lake clarity is still the same and you could see your lure down about 5-6 feet. It is to be warm today and tomorrow with a low pressure moving in on wednesday afternoon and we could get some significant rain and some wind. We are not in the bullseye for the severe weather which should go south of us but are on the border. The ground is pretty saturated and we could get runoff and a lake rise. They always seem to quit generating when it rains for some reason but they are not doing much of that anyway. Our average rainfall for february is about three inches for the last 10-years and our average high temperature is 50 for this date. February is usually a good fishing month and better than march and then in April it really picks up with May being the best combination of weather and mixed fishing with about everything biting.  April and May are very busy here with people taking advantage of the best prices in the Ozarks here at Blackburns. I am still fishing for bass and crappie with not much luck with walleye. Some days are better than others but I am catching some everyday with most being on brush at 25-27 feet with the bass on the bottom and the crappie about 20-ft. down. Very few fish are hitting on the drop with the bite coming by jigging the spoon or jig straight up and down slowly and touching bottom. When fishing the bank in the evening for bass try to keep your lure near the bottom with out dragging it and keeping it moving. Keep you jig moving also but not a lot. I respooled several reels with 6-pound clear monofiliment yesterday. It has more stretch but has less memory. especially in colder water. I will change back to flourocarbon when it warms up. The new flourocarbon is getting better though.  Do not overspool your spinnning reel and leave a little room on it so it does not slide over the spool. It may not cast quite as smooth but will prevent tangling especially when it gets dark and you have to go by feel. I do not wear glasses but do not have the night vision that I used to have. Also, for some reason, I feel more comfortable bringing a big fish in on a baitcaster. I always spoon with a baitcaster even with small spoons. Big fish bite on little spoons. The only reason that I go to a bigger spoon is to get the lure down faster in deeper water or in the wind and keep the spoon straight up and down and not dragging it. A 1/4 ounce or 3/8th ounce is big enough for about anything unless you are fishing in water over 35 or 40-ft. White is a good color for clear water and I like red eyes with a little red on the spoon and an Arkansas Shiner, black, blue or pink back. The 1-ounce many Shad is good for deep water but I seldom fish in deep water any more to keep from killing the fish when brought up. My favorite jig is the Bobby Garland blue ice baby shad which is 2-inches long and also the blue ice swimmer. It is a little longer and has a small paddle tail which is good for vertical jigging and has a little more action. Do not use more than 6-lb. test line and no snaps, swivels  or other hardware except for the swivel that comes on the spoon to keep it from twisting. I tie my jigs directly to the lead head and use 1/16th ounce white with a red eye. I like a little red on about everything when possible.  4-lb. test is best for crappie and use nothing but clear line on Norfork. You can get by with green line when the water is stained or fishing deep but there is no sense in putting it on. For crappie do not use the multi-hook crappie rigs with the flourescent spreader bars. They work very poorly in Norfork. Try to make the jig or spoon look like it is by itself and not dragging anything especially braided colored line and any hardware and keep it moving. A limber pole is best. When fishing in big schools of shad try and make your lure easier to catch than the shad. Keep it moving but slowly in cold water. When the shad spook your jig or spoon with be the only thing left and the fish will get it. Maybe. Do everything slow in cold water. 

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.

The lake level is 552.57 and has risen just a bit in the last 24-hours with a couple of hours of generation in the morning and again in the afternoon.The White River at Newport is 9-feet and they could be letting out much more water if they wanted to. Hold and hope. We need to be at least 548 but they seem determined to keep it high for the spring rains. A five feet drop now would give us a better chance of staying normal, what ever that is. The surface water temperature had dropped a little yesterday and I had just under 46-degrees yesterday afternoon. The water seemed a little more clear and I could see my lure down about 6-feet. The creek visibility is about the same as the main lake.  The wind died down some but is coming back soon. We are on the borderline for some storms on wednesday with another cold front coming through after more warm weather starting tomorrow. This has been happening for several weeks now. It got down to 19-degrees last night in town and colder here near the lake. Blackburns had several fishermen out yesterday but I did not talk to them about the results. I am not doing that well but am catching some fish but no picture fish. I do not take selfies with a fish held up under my face over and over. I am catching just a couple of keeper bass and a few crappie and not much of anything else. The big fish are eluding me except for a large crappie now and again but not like it was. I am catching no bluegill or walleye and the catfish stopped a coule of weeks ago. The next event is just before the full moon in March which is the 19th when the stripers go to their spawning banks at dark and caught slow rolling the stick bait.This is a good time to catch and release them in shallow water. This is also getting to be a lost art with few doing it. The next time is the middle of April when the top-water bite for both bass and stripers gets going good and the male crappie move to the backs of the creeks on shallow wood. There can be some dead time in March with the cold fronts coming through about twice a week. It is my least favorite fishing time except for the lake turnover in October. May is the best month for overall fishing and weather if they do not let the lake get too high too fast. Scuba diving season starts June 15th for spearfishing but there are less and less of divers out there every year due to low visibility in recent years. In a normal level year it can be excellent. We will see what happens this year. It is hard to believe we are 1/2 through february already and about ready for another season when I can stop being concerned about ice and start worrying about storms blowing my dock away. I have taken many measures to keep that from happening. We seem to get a big strom the first part of July every year but the resort is in a well protected valley and has missed any severe weather in the past. People used to come to Blackburns from town to get away from storms in the old days before weather sirens and there has never been any damage for 70-years. I hope it stays that way. I have a lot of work to get done by March 15th but have been working on it all winter. I think you will like what you see when you get here and there are no price increases.   

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 some nice ones. Image title

The lake level is 552.55 and still rising with two hours of generation in the morning. It came up 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours. I went out yesterday afternoon and it was very warm with an ambient temperature in the high 60's and windy with white caps from the southwest. It switched to more from the west later in the day, started to die down and then came back up and the cold front moved in. It was hard to find a good fishing spot out of it and the fish were not biting far back in the creeks. I fought it for a couple of hours and came in. Fishing was not bad and I caught 4-crappie and two bass but nothing of much size although all were keepers. One crappie was pretty good. The surface water temperature was 47+ degrees and the water looked a little more clear than the day before. The cold front is definitely here now and it is not warming up much today and is only to be in the high 30's but is to start warming tomorrow and get back into the 60's with rain on Wednesday night and Thursday morning and maybe more than just a little. The high pressure after the cold fronts warms up more now with the longer days and better sun angle. Sun rise is now 7:AM and sun set is 5:47 PM and it is dark just about 6:20 PM.  The weather has been a roller coaster all winter but we have avoided any bad storms and ice and there has been several very nice days but some cold ones too. Wednesday should be a good day for fishing. Blackburns still has one cabin open so come on down. We will not charge you too much. It has stayed busy here all winter with people taking advantage of the best prices in the Ozarks and no price increases for 2022. We are open all year but I only keep five cabins open but will start opening more in March as soon and these cold fronts with below freezing temperatures stop. There is still a little ice on the north side of stuff and it is stubbornly holding on even with warm temperatures. Most is gone. There has been a lot of sunshine this last week and I have been able to go out fishing and catch fish almost everyday after work. I am still fishing Blackburns Brush piles for crappie and bass during the day and then moving part way backs in the creeks on steep banks for them near the shore in late evening. We are putting in the last of the brush next week after the rain and have already put in several good ones that are holding fish. We will be ready for you when you get here and not charge you too much. Yes our dock is covered and we have two fish cleaning stations with no waiting. Our guests catch a lot of fish. You first normal sized stall is free here at Blackburns and we have different sized stalls for different boats. No one size fits all. All cabins are individual with no duplexes and all have big covered porches. 1-4 Bedrooms. We especially welcome Veterans and Police and will help you catch fish, event planning or with real estate questions.   

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's Best fish yesterday.Image title

The lake level is 552.42 and has risen 1-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with no generation. They just started. The lake should not be rising this time of year. The White River at Newport is 8+ feet. The surface water temperature is 47+ and the lake is fairly clear with a greenish tint and you can see your lure down about 5-feet. I continue to fish brush on main lake points during the afternoon for crappie and bass in about 25-feet and then move to behind the brush part way back in the creeks in little cuts near the shore. It is cloudy today and the fishing should be pretty good after several sunny days. The cold front comes in tomorrow and the ambient temperatures are to drop drastically but only for a short time and then warm back up. The average high is 49 and rising. It is to be windy for the next several days. If it is going to go down it is usually early AM until it warms up and then again in the late afternoon when the temperature starts to cool. During the day it is gusty and swirling down the river channel swings. There is a good chance of rain later next week. Spoon or jig the brush during the day and cast the grub to the shore and work slowly back to the boat near the bottom in the evening. Some are right on the bank and some are in about 10-15 ft. of water but they may be following the lure before they hit it. Watch for the twitch in your line and set the hook. I am not sure if the same fish are moving from brush to the bank near sunset but I think so because I am catching few on the bank during the day except for smaller Kentucky Bass. When the Game and Fish did their survey on what people coming to the lake were fishing for it was overwhelmingly bass, followed by crappie then anything they can catch and then striped bass at a distant 4th. That is not the case now. Most of the fishermen are guides competing for very little business in the off-season or fishing with their family or friends. It is very competitive and most of them are fishing for stripers and killing a lot of smaller ones. The very few near 20-lbs that are left are being killed everyday and these guides are good at catching them. Most are trollers. The umbrella rigs drug through schools of shad are very effective and they put out 6-8 of them off each boat. The larger ones that are left should be gone soon but several in the 5-8 lb. range are still here but the class of 2020 is absent due to covid. It will be interesting to see what Game and Fish does about it in the future if the water is held high again this summer and there is a fish kill in August. I suspect if there is one it will not be nearly as bad as previous years as it affects the big fish most and they are already gone and the shoreline vegetation is already dead due to so many years of prolonged high water. Decaying green vegetation increases the BOD and causes low dissolved ozygen and the fish to go into the deep bubble and later die due to the stress. They are ocean fish. The striper kill affects Norfork the most and I suspect there will be changes in the fish stockings in the future. If they stop stocking stripers I hope they increass Hybrid Striper stockings as they are not affected and even though they do not reproduce, people really like catching them. What I would really like is more walleye stockings and also quit holding so much water for so long so the stripers do not die off. At least the walleye reproduce. Others are just semi put and take but used to get really big. Increased fishing pressure is not helping things either.  Other area lakes could get our Norfork Stripers and that would not be good. It is already starting. Blackburns is the headquarters for Police and Veterans. We like them.

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.

Caught on the Bink's Spoon yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 552.26 and continues ro rise slowly with very little generation. It rose 1-1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with 2-hours of generation. The White River at Newport is 8.9 feet and dropping. There is no effort to drop the lake level for the winter. The surface water temperature was 47 degrees, it was sunny and warm with an ambient temperature in the 60's, a little wind from the southwest, but not bad.  I saw a couple of other boats dragging umbrellas around for red meat fish but other than that not much action on the lake. This is a good time of year for peace and quiet. The last few years December can be the coldest month but this year it was January again with not very many warm days and several cold fronts followed by clear cold nights. There are always some warm days in February with the longer days and average highs increasing. The lake water temperature seldom drops after the first week in February and it starts creeping up. It is better to start getting dark at 6:PM than 5PM but the ambient temperature still drops fast at sunset so no matter how warm it is during the day bring a coat. The snow cooled the water a couple of degrees but it has warmed back up now. Even with the warm weather the snow has been slow going away but is mostly gone now except for the plowed piles. I am not much into snow and ice. The lake is pretty clear and you can see your lure down 5-6 feet. Yesterday it was more clear in the creeks than on the main lake and that changes almost daily. Bink is catching more walleye than anybody I know at this time and they are with the white bass and small hybrids but are on the bottom. I am not catching any but am not fishing the open water on main lake flats but continue fishing for bass and crappie in brush early and then on steep banks just inside the brush in the late evening until dark. I am not catching as big of fish now as I was a few days ago. I may have to switch tactics if that does not change. That is why you have to be out there almost everyday to stay on top of things. What is reported one day may be worthless a couple of days later with the wind, air pressure, moon phase, and amount of sunshine constantly changing. That is what makes it fun. Release some of those walleye as it is approaching spawn time and we need more of them in the lake. They have a high mortality rate with most people killing almost every legal one they catch. Someone releasing a 20-inch walleye is a true sportsman. We do not have nearly as many of those as we do meat hunters but the numbers are increasing and that is good with the greatly increasing fishing pressure. Norfork is no longer uncrowded and the unspoiled theme is also going away with the water clarity decreasing every year but it is still very clear compared to other shallow green northern lakes. It needs to stay that way.   

Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home fishing report and Lake condition by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

Bryan Deardoff with some nice ones yesterday. He had a good teacher. Image title

The lake level is 552.15 and has risen 1-3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with no generation. The White River at Newport is 9-feet. The surface water temperature was 46.5 yesterday afternoon in the sunshine and the wind was brisk from the southwest. I could see my lure down about 5-feet and the water was stained a little green. I fished for over two hours in the late afternoon and caught four crappie and two Kentucky Bass. Nothing big. Not the best day. Bryan caught larger ones in the morning. Bink is still on the temperate bass and catching high numbers but not much size. The hybrids are biting the best but most are small. He is catching some nice walleye in the same places on the bottom on the spoon. I am not. My catch has been limited to bass and crappie. The big bluegill have quit or moved and the catfish always quit this time of year. It is nice not having it get dark so early. There is another cold front coming in this wekend. I was fishing south of Cranfield Island and the shad blacked out my screen. Not a very good chance of catching fish there for me but there were a couple of boats there also. I do not usually fish within sight of another boat so I moved to a main lake cut out of the wind and caught three crappie that were barely keepers. All of the fish that I caught yesterday were in 25-ft. of water except for one bass which was near the bank on the drop-off. The snow is about gone but has been stubborn. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much. Gas is $3.39/ gallon for non-alcohol regular here in Mountain Home so you know if you should fill up before you get here. It is rising every week. 

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.

The lake level is 552 even and is the same as this time yesterday with just a couple of hours generation. The White River at Newport is 8-feet and they are holding the area lakes at a high level so far all winter like they want a spring flood. We are at a good level now though. The lake surface water had moved up a bit to 45 degrees yesterday in the sunshine and the water clarity is about the same. You can see your lure down about 5-6 feet. It may have something more to do with the sunshine than the water getting clearer. I expected a few more fair weather fishermen out there but only saw a couple of other boats. Except for the warmer water not much had changed from the day before with the bass continuing to bite pretty well and a few crappie. No picture fish but I caught several keepers. All fish were released on site. I do not have a selfie stick or a camera on a phone anyway. My photographer was not available. I talked to one striper fisherman and he said fishing was not the best but he caught one about 6-lbs and a hybrid trolling live bait between the bridges. Some bass are with the hybrids on shad. I am fishing brush in the afternoon and then moving to the steeper banks just before sunset. Bass and bigger crappie are near the bank and biting just before dark. More largemouth are showing up with the Kentuckies. The days are getting longer and the average highs are increasing and are now 49 degrees. It looks like no shad kill this year and I am glad. A kill really helps the immediate fishing but it is good to have a lot of food for the fish and keeps the pressure off the gamefish fry after the spawn. It is 50-degrees and not noon yet so it is a good day to get some outside work done before fishing time. The wind is to pick up but if it stays from the south I can get out of it and still fish good places. The weather is great and should continue that way with a couple of weak cold fronts coming through but not bad. I should be able to put in a couple more brush piles this week. The crappie eggs are getting bigger but I have not cleaned any other fish. The snow is gone from my boat so I can get back to using it again but I have plenty of them. Fishing overall is just fair but I am catching keepers everyday and am not going very far to find them. The snow is stubborn and is going away fast now but not gone. It did not freeze last night. Bryan Deardoff is coming in now and I will see what he caught. 

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 some Norfork Lake Bass released under the dock. Image title

The lake level is 551.99 and is the same as this time yesterday with about 3-hours of generation. The White River at Newport is back down to 9-ft. and there is no attempt to drop the lake level for the winter and we are well into february. I guess they are banking on a dry spring. We should not question the government and just take what they dish out. The snow is melting quickly now and it is to get to nearly 60 later this week with another cold front coming through next weekend but not nearly as bad. I like these sunny skies out on the water even though it is not the best for fishing but it warms the water. The water temperature is about 43-44 degrees and the color is good for winter bass fishing and they are up shallow in the late afternoon and on brush earlier. I am seeing more shad in the backs of the creeks than last month, especially north facing creeks but the wind has shifted to more southerly and varying in direction but it has been light. Bass fishing is the best now with a few crappie and small stripers being caught. Some are getting into a school of white bass every once in a while with a few larger ones mixed in with the smalls. I am still using the 1/4 ounce Bink's spoon in the brush along with the Bobby Garland jig  and the stingray grub on the steeper banks. A few nice crappie and walleye are being caught but bass fishing is best. Overall fishing is just fair. Blackburns is open all year so come on down. We will not charge you too much. Compare those prices unless you just have too much money. I do not. No we are not on vacation but I do get to go fishing everyday. That is good. 

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.

The lake level is 552 even and is about the same as yesterday at this time with no generation since noon yesterday. They just started again a couple of hours ago. The White River at Newport is 11+ ft. and they are doing a great job of holding the area lakes up high this winter despite the cold temperatures and electricity requirements in the South West Power distribution area. The lake surface water temperature was still 43 degrees yesterday afternoon and the lake is still clearing and I could see my lure down about 6-feet. The snow melts during the day and then the water freezes at night making the side roads slick early morning. There are some bare spots on the ground where the snow has melted in the sun but the ground is still mostly covered but dropping quickly. I do not like to plow snow unless I have to as long as our customers are able to get in and out easily. It just piles it up and takes it too long to go away. We only have three cabins rented and they have had no trouble getting in and out. The dock road is a little slick early but gets better in the afternoon. I have not had any trouble. I do not like snow or anything about winter but this weather was not too bad.  I caught crappie on the jig yesterday and some good sized ones too. Today I will focus on Bass which should be good. I caught a couple yesterday fishing for crappie. The wind is about 5-MPH from the southeast and easy to get out of. The longer this high pressure stays around the better the fishing will get. I did not see any other boats out there but did not go far and did not have to. I am glad I do not have to pull my boat in and out but Blackburns does have some good launches so you do not have to go elsewhere to launch your boat. It is good to just go to the dock and get in the boat and be fishing in about 5-minutes. Our customers like that and so do I. The new brush piles are holding fish already and I have a few more to put in. The hillsides are a little slick on the rocks climbing to the cedar trees now until the snow is gone.  The deadline for putting in brush is April 30th. By then it is spring and they are full of sap and very heavy. Now they are light and easily dragged to the shore. We have excellent brush piles here at Blackburns. I wish other resort owners would put some in for their customers. They really work well. It does not look like a shad kill this year with the water temperature still in the 40's and the days getting longer and the average highs rising again. There was a big school of shad under my dock on the underwater light last night and that is the first time that has happened in several weeks. In the fall they were there every night. I like this sunshine even though it is not the best for fishing until it has been around for a while. The moon is getting bigger again and the full moon is the 16th. I like coming in after dark in the full moon for some reason but it is not the best for fishing except for stripers and bluegill. The stripers typically go to their spawning banks before the full moon at dark in March which is is the 18th and can be caught on a stick bait. They will be shallow and can be released easily without harm from the shallow cold water. Mid April and all of May they will be coming up on top-water in the morning and the same is true. These are the best times to fish for them unless you are a meat hunter and fish for them deep. Late March and early April are the best times for big pre-spawn crappie and May for the higher numbers after the spawn. Norfork Lake has high numbers of big fish but also high numbers of small ones especially bass. Come on down. We will not charge you too much and your first boat stall is free.  

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 some pretty good ones.Image title

The lake level is 551.98 and has dropped 2-3/4 inches in the last 24-hours with one or two generators alternating since last evening. This is the first time the lake has been below 552 in a long time and it is heading in the right direction albeit very slowly until the weather got cold and they needed electricity. It was 553.51 on January 1st and has dropped 1-1/2 feet since then. The last snow was on January 6th and it was about 1/2 as much as this one. The White River at Newport is 11+ft. The light flakey snow will not raise the lake much as it melts and it started yesterday afternoon. The water surface temperature was 43 degrees yesterday afternoon in Blackburns Creek and the ambient temperature was 34-degrees. I will check out the main lake today. We are to have beautiful weather for a week with highs in the 50's starting on Monday and warming up to the mid 40's tomorrow. My boat was still full of snow on the lift on the north side of the dock but one of my rental bass boats was dry on the south side so I grabbed a crappie rod and  took it for a little cruise to a brush pile in the creek. The wind was still and I could set right on it without using my trolling motor. I vertical jigged my Bobby Garland and caught a few nice crappie and came in. It was not bad out at all and is better today. I expect some more fishermen out this afternoon after it warms into the 40's. Everything could have been worse and we are a lot better off than Jonesboro and Memphis who got ice and have power outages. It is melting here already at noon and this will only last a few days and is causing very few problems. February is moving right along and it will be spring soon. Give Debbie a call at 870-492-5115 and book your spring trip. We will not charge you too much and the lake looks great so far as does the resort. 

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.

This is what it looks like out my front door. Image title

The lake level is 552.22 and has dropped 4-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with alternation between one and both generators continually. They must need some power somewhere but the White River at Newport is still 8-1/2 feet. We received about 8-inches of snow total and it was mostly just a snow event thankfully and there was just a little drifting and no power outages. Everything is fine. The light weight snow will not melt down to much water.  It is sunny now with a high pressure front remaining stationary over the area for at least the next week with highs to be in the low 50's after this weekend. Looks good to me. Normal high is 47. It struggled to get over 20 yesterday. It is a perfect time to plant some grass seed with no frost in the ground. I went down to the dock to feed the fish and check on things and all of my boats were full of snow, even on the south side. The wind was mostly from the north but was swirling in Blackburns creek. It just quit snowing a couple of hours ago, the wind is light and it is not bad at all out. I am glad it is over. I did not get a water temperature but am anxious to see how much it dropped. It was 47 on wednesday.  It should also help clear the water. People ask me everyday how does it feel to be copied on everything you do. The answer is it does not bother me at all. Emulation is the highest for of flattery. If you follow you will never get into the lead. I have lived here since 1995 and have been doing fishing reports since 1997 at the request of the webmaster at the time when Gerry Sperry, a striper guide and a good one, died. He did very good reports and I did not feel I had been here long enough to write one. Binks, Harvey Hall and other good fishermen helped me and I have been doing one ever since. If you do a traffic report you will find that they do very little to get traffic to your web site. Facebook users are just preaching to their same friends over and over and that is good. It helps keep your friends aware of what is going on. They just help people get a feel on what is happening on Norfork Lake and that is important. The more the better. I do not pay much attention to what other people do except for the ones helping me get good lake information. Others come and go some even seasonal. There is room for everyone here.  I do not claim to be an expert but do know people that are and I catch a few fish and put in brush piles to help our customers do likewise. My years of Scuba Diving also help know where the fish are and are not located and I do not have to spend much time looking. We are all lucky to live here. 

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 some nice ones.Image title

The lake level is 552.61 and is the same as yesterday with about 3-hours of generation. The White River at Newport is 7+ feet and the surface water temperature was 47 degrees yesterday. It was 45 degrees ambient yesterday morning when we went out and it got colder by the minute. The surface water was 47.3 degrees. The bass and crappie were biting so it did not feel as bad. First it rained, then it iced for just a little bit, then it sleeted and then it started to snow. All in the span of just 7AM-3:PM when it hit 27 degrees. It is snowing now and it looks like we missed almost all of the ice. We have about 4-inches of snow now and it is coming down pretty good and it looks like the forecast of 5-8 will be about right and maybe more towards the 8. I dumped 1.4 inches of rain from my gauge last evening. It looks like the ice is headed for the Boot Heel and Paducah area and miss us. We can take some snow but ice paralyzes this area. There have been no power outages here so far and that is my biggest concern. I have a home generator but none at the resort. We are to get the coldest days of the season and not get above freezing for a couple of days but we can get through that. It could be much worse. I will just do inside projects and will open up more cabins in March when the weather warms. March can  have variable weather with several cold fronts and big temperature swings. We keep several cabins open all year but will be in full swing by March 15th. Many people get cabin fever by then. Two things are working the best now for bass. One is spooning 25-ft. brush piles near the bottom or also using a jig or small grub vertical jigging the same brush. One of my favorites is a 2-inch white twister tail with the tail turned up and a small crappie minnow hooked through the top of the head on a 1/16th ounce white with red eye jig head. The next is a 2-inch Bobby Garland blue ice baby shad.  Crappie are with the bass and big ones too. Use a slow presentation and just dabble the lure but touch bottom Do not drag the lure and keep it straight up and down if possible. The other is putting a 3-inch green stingray grub on a 3/16th or 1/4 ounce jig head and position your boat in deep water on a steep bank part way back in the creek and cast to the shore. Keep your lure dropping and just off the bottom until back to the boat. The 1/4 ounce drops faster and has a little more action but gets hung up more. The stingray is not made for action. Bink taught me this technique 25-years ago and we both still use it today. Be ready to lose a few but also be ready to catch some big bass. After fishing this lake for so long we know where the winter bass banks are located and it is just a matter of time before they get there. Diamond Bay has some good ones but there are also some very good ones right here near Blackburns. I seldom go very far but seem to catch quite a few fish. I do not like paying these high gas prices and my 200-HP Mercury likes it pretty well. I have all of my electric gear plugged in and ready to go and hopefully will not need it for very long. There are several trollers dragging stuff around in front of the docks at Mallard point. They must be catching something but I did not talk to them. Others are around the bridges in front of Panther Bay Marina. I am marking several stripers on the way to my fishing spots but do not fish for them. Let them grow. Come on down to Blackburns. We will not charge you too much, have all individual cabins with no duplexes, all have covered porches and your first boat stall is free. There are no price increases for 2022 and we will help you catch fish and have new brush piles. Compare prices. Our low price is only excelled by our quality. 

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.

Caught fishing with Bink's Guide Service on his spoon yesterday. That is one nice fish. Image title

The lake level is 552.63 and has risen 3/4 of an inch in the last 24-hours with two hours of generation. The White River at Newport is at 7+ feet and they are doing a great job of holding the lake level as high as they can for a long as they can. You would think someone would need electricity somewhere in the Southwest Power area. We did recieve a little over 1/2 inch of rain yesterday afternoon and night. The surface water temperature was 47 degrees and the water clarity was better and you could see your lure down about 5-feet. It is the same in the creeks. It was raining just a bit yesterday afternoon when I went out but quit about 3:30Pm and the fishing conditions could not have been better. The ambient temperature was 60 with light winds, very cloudy with a low pressure front moving in. Theses are text book conditions for catching fish and I was not disappointed. The first brush pile that I went to showed crappie near the bottom so I cast a 2-inch grub and minnow over it and let it sink and caught three very large crappie. Two were white and one was black nosed.  They stopped biting so I moved to another one and immediately started catching fish. The one thing in common was that the brush was in 26-feet of water. The brush got my grub so then I switched to a Bobby Garland baby shad and continued where I left off catching fish. Crappie and bass were both in the same places and biting equally well. All fish were keepers with no throw backs. It was good to see some nice largemouth showing up where I had been just catching Kentuckies. It was a fun afternoon and evening. I did see some boats dragging stuff around not too far from me in deep water. Clip a weight on a crank bait and drag it around through shad. When the fish bites on one of the rods in your rod holder reel it in if it does not get tangled up in another of the many lines you have out.   It sounds like fun. If there was one big striper left in the lake I am sure some would dog him down and kill him and brag about it. They will have to use longer and lighter roods and reels with lighter line to convince people that these fish are big like they used to be.  The weather does not look so good for the next few days.  The date is 2-2-22 I hope it is lucky and the ice stays away. Somebody is going to get it. 

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 his biggest crappie of the day. Image title

The lake level is 552.58 and has risen 3/4 inch in the last 24-hours with absolutely no generation. The White River at Newport is at 8-feet and dropping. Still no effort to drop the area lakes and we are now in february. We received about two inches of total precipation for the month of January which is about 1/2 normal. If the lake floods this year it will not be because of too much rain unless we get a lot. They have had ample time to drop the lakes for the winter and have not done so or made any attempt to do so. It is better to go into the spring at about 546-47 than 552. It would not have stopped the flood in 2017 but would have really helped in other years. The 12-ft. rule for the level of the White River neeeds to be reviewed. They only follow it when they want to anyway. Minor flooding occurs when Newport is at 23-ft. and nothing is hurt if it is kept just below that. Nobody needs to get flooded out but better management is needed. They changed the rules for the minimim flow for the put and take trout on the rivers, are proposing changing the rules for Beaver Lake management to facilitate a more constant water level, so they can change all of the rules and take away politics for all of the lakes not just in the highly populated areas. If safety is a concern, then they need to start with the oldest dam first which is Norfork. I worked on improvements until about 4:PM and then went out on the lake until about dark. We are really getting things in good shape here for you with no increase in price. Blackburns is the family and fishing resort and we have put in several brush piles to help you catch fish when you get here. We will show you where and how. Most of our customers are repeat and already know how. It was nice and warm and a little windy but it went down just about when I got to the first brush pile. I wanted to check out the new ones. They held bass earlier but the crappie were there now and some big ones too. I started off with the 1/4 once Bink's Spoon and then switched to the Bobby Garland Baby shad. Both caught fish with the bass liking the spoon better and the crappie liking the jig. A couple of the crappie were very large and were right on the bottom in 25-ft. Stripers are still biting and people are still fishing deep and killing them. I guess they need meat pretty bad and want to finish off any decent sized ones that are left. I am not fishing for them anymore until they make a comeback but that is why they were put in there so they might as well finish them off and then learn how to catch other fish. There are quite a few smaller ones. The weather does not look good for the next few days. We can take the snow but keep the ice away. It looks like we will get both. It does not look good for the Jonesboro area. I wish it would miss everybody. Surface water temperature was 46 yesterday but the frozen stuff will not raise it any. The normal average high is now 46 degrees which is the same as the water temperature. The lake water clarity is the same. It starts to clear and then clouds up again but is a good color for fishing. I have one project to finish and then I will go fishing until it rains me out. It is to get very cold later this week. This looks like the last decent day for a while and that will end later this afternoon.