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Norfork Lake Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home In the Ozark Mountains. (Click Here For Comments)

The weather was beautiful with temperatures in the high 60's with light wind. Even though I have not been catching many big fish lately I had to go. It is not like I have to make a lots of plans. Just go to the dock and drive the boat to crappie rock with the trolling motor. Only small fish there so I decided to check out the bait fish. The shad were everywhere from the mouth of Blackburns Creek to Cranfield Island. They were in anywhere from 50-80 feet of water and a lot of them were 20 feet down. I spooned for a while in them and caught only a couple of white bass. I tried grub fishing on my favorite bank and caught one fish. it was Saturday and the weather was good and there were a lot chuggers out there. Quite a lot of trollers with an assortment of down-riggers, planer boards and umbrellas. There were a few fish caught but there are so many shad. If you drag live bait across the shad long enough you are likely to catch some fish. Not for me. It will not be long until the spawning instincts take over and the fish move to the bank and jerk baits will be the lure of choice. I will let you know. The night bite did not work out last fall.  Maybe it will this spring when they get the lake level straightened out. It is 563.46 now and the surface temperature is 48.5 and the water is still a light brown. Not much of a chance of shad kill this year. I say to myself to take a few days off but cannot help myself. The lake calls me. 

Norfork Lake Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home In the Ozark Mountains (Click Here for Comments)

Caught By Tom Kelly Last Week in Float CreekImage title

The most important change is that they have opened the spillway gates a bit and are now discharging the equivilent of three generators. The level is 569.99 and has dropped 6-inches in the last 24-hours. That is pretty fast. There will be no wading in the rivers for a while and the put and take trout are getting plenty of minimum flow. The water color is off-brown and not what I like for fishing. It is not clearing. Some stripers are being caught in the Float creek area in 25-30 feet. It has been cold with highs in the late 30's but is to be back up to 50 by Sunday. We received some mixed precipitation but not enough to cover the ground. The white bass are full of bloodied eggs and are about on schedule for a February spawn. Unless it gets very cold there should not be a shad kill.  There are plenty of shad with many large schools with no fish on them. The Game and Fish people will be at the Striper Club meeting Monday February the 22nd and the main item of interest is their stopping the stockings of Crappie, Catfish and Hybrid Stripers in Norfork Lake. They did this unilaterally with no imput from the public. Executive orders are not good. The meeting is at 7-PM at the Eastside Baptist Church at 718 East 9th Street in Mountain Home. If you care about Norfork Lake Fishing it would be good to attend whether a member of the Striper Club or not. Maybe we can change their minds. Norfork needs more stockings not less. I wonder where the fish are going? They are not increasing the numbers of stocking of other speces to make up for the cuts. There is a shortage of big stripers in Norfork now. You can also contact the head of fisheries in Little Rock at and express your views. There are not too many fish in Norfork Lake. We are nothing like Greers Ferry. Everything was going well and the new regime in Little Rock wants to change everything. 

Norfork Lake Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home In the Ozark Mountains(Click here to post comments)

We had our coldest night of the year last night and the surface water temperature has dropped to 47 degrees. It is barely to get to 30 today with mid 40's for Wednesday. The lake is at 570.21 and dropping about 2-1/2 inches a day with both generators running continuously. They are going to open the gates a bit Wednesday to make the discharge equal to three generators. The lake is still an off-brown color and not what I like to see for fishing but some fish are being caught. Stripers are back in the big creeks and in 25-30 feet of water and can be caught on a jigging spoon. I am catching a few crappie but no big ones. The Corps of Enigineers are not allowing any brush permits this year do to the high water and the Game and Fish are stopping the stocking of crappie, catfish and Hybrid Stripers because they fear there is a shortage of shad like in Greers Ferry Lake where they have also suspended the stocking of game fish. There is not a shortage of shad in Norfork but there is a shortage of big stripers. If you have any imput on this please E-mail the head of fisheries at   The decisions were made by executive action rather that getting any imput from the Chamber, Striper Club, Bass Club, Walleye club or the publice in general. We ceratainly do not have too many fish in Norfork. The old regime did a good job of increasing the fish population and I do not understand why the new people are making all of these cuts. I also would like to know where the fish that were going to Norfork are now going and if the total stockings are being decreased in the state and why. The Game and Fish will be represented at the Monthly striper club meeting on the 22nd of February. Check Lake Norfork Striper Club website for time and place. We need to all share the lake and not just represent just our interests. Personally I would like more fish of all speces stocked especially stripers, walleye and catfish. I hope they are not just moving our fish to another lake. The new plan does not make up for the cuts with increases in any other kind of fish just cuts. This is not good.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home In the Ozark Mountains

It rained last night and this morning and we have received 0.8 inches. The lake has risen 1 inch. They had better start letting out more water whether they want to or not. Remember 2008 boys. They continue to operate under the parameters set by politicians. It is not like they are protecting cash crops in January. The Mississippi is flooded whether they let Norfork Run over the dam or not. It is all about the money. Cold weather is coming for the next couple of days and it is the first of the season. Next, the Arkansas Game and Fish are drastically cutting fish stockings for 2016 for Norfork Lake. Crappie, Catfish and Hybrid Striper stockings are to be eliminated this year with no increase in the numbers of other speces. This was dropped on us Thursday. Again, all about the money. The lake fish population on Norfork has been managed very well in the past and has continually gotten better. These changes are wrong. I suspect these fish will be moved to other lakes with more political power than here. We need more government. The people making these decisions need to be elected. I am basically a postive person but it is hard right now. There are a few stripers being caught around the bridges but not very many or very big. In the 5-8 pound range. I am catching a few bass and crappie but not very many. This is as slow as I have seen it in 21 years. The lake needs to clear a bit.

Cloudy and Cool Today to be in the low 50's This Weekend

The lake level is 569.28 and has risen 1.4 feet in the last 24-hours. The brown water from the runoff has moved down the main lake in the old river channel to the bridges area. There is some debris but not too much since this has happened twice before this year. The creeks are clearer than the main lake. I hope the put and take trout in the rivers are getting enough minimum flow as we could use the 1.75 feet of flood control that it took away. Norfork Lake is not hooked to the chain of lakes and would have been much better off than the other arera lakes if the level had been down to where it should have been for this time of year but we are still ok but do not need any more rain for a while until the rivers recede and they let some water out. We received 6.2 inches of rain here at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental in a three day period. Norfork is in the best condition of all area lakes and I will be fishing later today. Everything is fine here at Blackburns. 

Norfork Lake Conditions and Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat rental On Norfork Lake

This is what Scuba Steve is after.Image title

The two most important changes that have occurred lately is that the level is 554.83 and is nearing the 553.75 level where the power company takes over some of the control of the generation. When this happens the Corps of Engineers typically slow generation to keep it just above this level. Early this morning they cut to one generator after running two continuously for several days. They seem to be happy with keeping us just one big rain away from high water. This is a good level now but is flirting with danger for this time of year. It needs to be 550 or less going into January. It does rain here in the spring. This minimum flow law for the put and take trout on the rivers is a cluster bomb taking away 1.75 feet of flood capacity. The management of the area lakes levels needs to be addressed not just for special interest groups. it is all about the $ as is everything that is controlled by the government. The second change is the water clarity. It is clearing rapidly not only on main lake but in the creeks too. The surface temperature has dropped just a bit with the recent cooler nights but is still in the mid 50's and rises above that in the sunny days. Striper and other open water fishing is still the same with a lot of small stripers in the 5-8 pound range being caught that should be released. I am not sure of the numbers of the big stripers. They are not showing up as normal.  Bass fishing is getting better with fish moving shallower and can be caught on a variety of lures including Alabama rigs which I do not use. A lot of small fish are being caught here too but also some good ones. Same with crappie. Many in the 10-11 inch range with just a few bigger. I have caught just a few walleye lately spooning brush but no big ones. Big bluegill fishing is good on brush. It is nice to have no winter yet with good conditions where I can go fishing everyday when the work is done. Improvements are being made on the resort and boats everyday and I am proud to be at Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental where we do not charge you too much. If you are staying at a place where you are nearly the only customer you are paying too much. It is busy here. Thanks for your patronage. Keeps the improvements coming. 

Cloudy and Warm With Good Fishing Conditions and the Lake is still Dropping.

Joe Cebula With a Good One. They released all Fish Today.Image title

Rich Dupuy With Some Of Yesterday's CatchImage title

There were a lot of boats out yesterday. I was not aware of any fishing tournaments maybe just the warm weather. When you see a lot of older Champion boats with a lot of new stuff on them it is usually a tournament. The local boys like those Champions. I do too. Now that Bass Pro has taken over Ranger and Cabellas they about controll all of the outdoor sports. I am not sure that is good. At least some of the former top executives at Ranger do not think so. I started about noon and fished until dark and it was slow but caught some good fish. A lot of fish of most speces are still in open water on shad and are not having any trouble finding food. If you catch them feeding you will catch fish and if not it can be tough. Going out one or two times and catching fish does not mean they are in a certain pattern or they are in a frenzy and jumping in the boat. That certainly has not been the case for me lately but I am catching some good fish. Joe Cebula and Rich Dupuy are back and catching fish as normal.  They are good fishermen and I am always glad to see them. Welcome back Rich. This is better than Florida. If you are trying to catch bass on the bank, it is tough. They move in just before dark and bite for just a few minutes and then quit. Look for open water fish and keep spooning or spoon or jig right in the brush which is coming back into play with the water dropping so fast. They are still generating 24/7 and dropping over four inches a day. They need to. The surface temperature was 58 degrees yesterday afternoon. Joe: Gus says thanks for the fish. 

They Are Dropping the Lake Fast Now (Finally)

Caught By Tom Kelly YesterdayImage title

The lake level is 557.81 and is dropping quickly with both generators running around the clock. We were just a few inches from going over my road but now we are fine again. At least you can step from your vehicle onto the dock. They are not dropping the lake enough in the winter to handle the spring rains. The lake temperature is over 58 and will not drop in the near future with ambient temperature to approach 70 this week. Come on down and join the fishing group. I have been Christmasing for a few days but am back in the saddle again. Some bigger stripers have been caught recently. This nice fall weather is giving us time here at Blackburns to make some good improvements on the Resort, dock and boats. Come on down and see.  You will like it. We fill up quickly starting in mid March and it does not give us time then. Best to make your spring reservations now to avoid disappointment on what cabin and boat rental you prefer. You do not have to make your deposit until January 15th. No sense to wait. Blackburns Resort and Boat rental is open all year and has fishing licenses, live bait and free boat stalls. Call 1-800-635-0526.

Norfork Lake Conditions and Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat rental On Norfork Lake

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Not a lot has changed except the lake is still rising and is too high for this time of year and the open water fish are feeding more heavily. They are still on the long flats where they have been for several weeks suspended in 30-60 feet of water. Some pretty good fish are in Float creek too. The level is 559+ and the surface temperature was 58.4 last evening. What we call the fall bite has not happened this year where the stripers move to the bank at night and bite on stick baits. The winter bite is when the water cools and the fish move just off the old river channel near the Bridges and Bidwell and get lethargic and harder to catch. You really have to drop the spoon on their head then. I am catching smallmouth, largemouth and crappie right in the Brush on a 1/4 ounce Firetiger Bink's spoon in 28-32 feet of water. Some good fish are on the bank just at sunset until dark and then they quit biting. Some white bass are with them but I do not care about them. I am not keeping any fish ecxept to stock a large local pond so the retirees can have some good fish to catch. We will see what this high pressure brings. I am heading out now. 

It Rained All Day Yesterday But We Went Fishing Anyway

Tom Kelly says he is catching several good fish but has to work harder for them this year. Image title

We went out about 1:Pm and started catching crappie right away. They quit about 3PM and started back up at 4PM. We caught 20-Nice ones with other fish mixed in and came in at 4:30. We have received over two inches of rain so far with more coming. The lake has not come up much and is now at 557.76 and they have been running one generator continuously while starting the other one intermittantly. It was 62 degrees when we went out and 48 when we come in. It has been a cloudy and rainy weekend but the fish are biting. We had nearly a full house at Blackburns with people taking advantage of our low winter rates. 1-800-635-0526

Yesterday Was a Cold and Windy Day

Jerry Jensen with Some Of Last Week's Catch. Mary Caught Most Of Them.Image title

The surface temperature dropped below 60 this morning for the first time. The level is 558.03 and is a good level but not for this time of year. I have some news for the guy turning on the generators: it rains here in the late winter and early spring and the lake rises. Should you not get prepared for it? Duh. Government. It needs to get bigger. It got cold last night and we had our first hard frost but it is sunny with light winds today and highs are to be near 60 for the next several days. I like going into the winter with good groundwater. We are redoing our pool with new skimmers and cement repair and will repaint it in the spring. We also just put in a new pump. # 12 has some new siding, bed frame and bedding, #9 a new mattress, #11 a new stove and #3 a new water heater. Debbie and Susan are painting everything and things look good inside and out. Steve is going over all of the boats and trailers. He takes each one of them out for a test drive before they are rented. Our boat rental is growing exponentially.  I am fortunate to have such good employees. Open water fishing has been good with most people fishing with spoons. Jerry and Mary Jensen were using big shiners and catching some very good fish. We are glad to have them as friends and hope they come back soon.  

Norfork Lake Conditions and Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat rental On Norfork Lake

ITom Kelly With a Nice Striper

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It was a beautiful day in the Ozarks yesterday and very busy here with Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental being nearly full. We like that. If you are staying at a place where you are nearly the only customer you are paying too much. I went out in the afternoon and fished until after dark. I fished brush until just before sun down and just caught small fish. I moved to my favorite bank and stayed there until I came in after dark. The fish started biting just before dark and continued until I could not see. The moon is very small and it was very dark. When I got back to the dock it was full of people.  All with good fish and helping each other on where to go and what to use. Kahlenbecks caught a very large walleye, John Bornhop caught some crappie, Joe Cebula caught stripers and white bass and Tom Kelly caught a big striper.  Scuba Steve caught black bass, smallmouth bass, Kentucky bass and some giant crappie and bluegill all within about 1/2 hour. They moved near the bank in about 9-10 feet of water and were feeding heavily. I was using a small grub. These were some big fish. It is cloudy today with heavy rain coming. I expect more good fish to come in today with the low pressure coming in. The surface temperature is 64 degrees and I expect the night bite to be in full swing for stripers around the full moon this month which is the 25th. Get those stick baits tuned up and ready to go. Soft plastics will work well like flukes and bass assassins before dark on shadowy banks and then 5-inch suspending stick baits starting at dark. Walleye will bite just before dark. Norfork Lake fun at Blackburns Resort and Boat and Boat Rental.  

Norfork Lake Conditions and Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat rental On Norfork Lake

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It was very foggy yesterday morning so I waited until the afternoon to go fishing and fished until dark.  It was a nice warm day with wind about 10 miles per hour from the south and I did not want to go in. You never know how many of these you will get. I tried a brush pile near the dock and caught a couple of nice crappie. Next another brush pile on the main lake point and saw plenty of fish but no bites. The shad were plentiful at 42 feet with fish under them. Joe Cebula said he caught several nice Hybrid stripers there in the fog. Joe just arrived and started catching fish immediately.  He also got into the white bass and caught many. I told him they do not count. He was spooning and others also had good luck trolling umbrellas in the Cranfield area between the  launch and the swimming area. I was ready to move again when the wind shifted to the east and the smallmouth bass started biting and I caught them until after dark on a grub in chunk rock. Nice ones too. It is after noon now and it is cloudy but the wind has not picked up yet with the front moving in. I bet some good ones are being caught this morning. Water surface temperature was still 66 degrees. You can save enough at Blackburns to buy gas for your boat and food. You do not have to go far to get big fish. 

The Sun is Shining and it is a Beautiful Day

We received three inches of rain in the last 24-hours and it was badly needed. It almost all sunk in as it was slow and steady with no wind. There were storm watches but none materialized. The lake has risen about two inches to 553.87 with no generation since last evening. Fishing is better when the lake is rising slowly rather than dropping or rising quickly. I like this lake level.  I will get back out there after the work is done here at the resort. The dock is freshly painted and the floor stained and it looks great but boat stalls are still free. Blackburns is only 1/2 full and needs more customers. Come on down. 1-800-635-0526.  

Norfork Lake crappie Fishing On Norfork Lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home

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The lake level is very stable at 553.69 with three or four hours of generation in the afternoon. It is raining today and we need it badly. I do not like going into the winter dry. The water temperature is still near 66 degrees and is clearing everyday. Good crappie fishermen are catching several a day with some large ones mixed in. I catch about 5 or 6 11-inchers before a 15 inch one. Most fish near the bank are still small with the larger bass on brush at 30-32 feet or suspended with the open water fish on shad.  Fishing has not changed much for several days. It is still not great but you can catch some good ones if you work at it. It takes me about three hours to catch 5 or 6 keeper fish not including white bass which do not count. Sunshine tomorrow.    

Norfork Lake Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

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I went out at 2:pm and fished hard until dark. I stayed with the Bink's Fire Tiger spoon for the whole time and fished just brush. Saw some top water fish and caught one and it was a white bass. Not interested. Tried brush piles in the 25-32 feet range and caught fish on all of them. I caught three crappie about 11-inches long, then a nice warmouth and several big bluegill. Moved and caught two keeper bass. Moved again and the walleye started biting just before dark. Caught two. One short one and another 20-incher. It was a beautiful evening and the wind was light and it was 70-degrees. I do like that gold spoon when the sun is shining. It gives off several colors like a prism. You can cast it to top water fish too. The lake clarity is just right for fishing and the surface temperature was 67 degrees. Top water fishing is hit or miss and mostly luck to be in the right place. Your best chance to find it is just when the sun comes up over the hill or just after the sun goes down. I will keep trying the grub but still not getting big fish off the bank yet. I went fishing with Bink the day before and had a great time. We caught Kentucky Bass, Black Bass, Smallmouth Bass, White Bass, Warmouth, walleye and a small striper all in the Black Snag area. Fishing is not great but you can catch some if you work at it.  Debbie, Susan and Steve painted the dock yesterday and it looks great. There are three full time employees doing nothing but making things better. Blackburns still has the policy of continuous improvement while keeping the lowest price on both boat and cabin rental. We have to do most of our improvements in the fall. As soon and spring first gets here we fill up and there is no time. Things are lookin good here. We also know you hate paying for boat stalls. 

Norfork Lake Conditions and Fishing Report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat rental On Norfork Lake

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The main things that are happening on the lake are pretty important. First they have cut the generation way down and seem to be regulating the level at 553.75 (surprise)  and the lake is starting to clear. The surface temperature is still 67 degrees and will not drop too quickly with the 70+ degree weather for the next several days. I could see my lure down about 8 feet on the main lake and 5 feet in the creeks. That is a big change. There are limited top water fish most mornings and evenings but not a lot. You can go where they were the night before and spoon and hope they come up and be ready. The slower fishing is not uncommon for this time of year and will get better and better now as the water cools. You can catch some good fish but not as many as you will in a few days. You will have a few good days but not everyday unless you just want white bass.  I am catching quite a few fish but not the big ones. Several guests have children here at the resort and with other neighbors and friends there was quite a halloween party. The list has grown over the years as Debbie fills up big pumpkins with a lot of loot and has pizza. It seems to go over quite well. We do a lot more than fish here at Blackburns. It is the family place. We have several cabins full but it is slowing a bit now we are in November but we have been in general full since the Middle of March. People take advantage of our low prices, free boat stalls and good low cost boat rentals. We are open all year. Call 1-800-635-0526

Cooler with Rain Tonight and Tomorrow and Back in the 70's Next Week

I left out a little earlier last evening with a lot of sunshine. I was testing reports that big bass have moved to the bank. I spooned brush and caught some nice crappie until the east facing banks got shadowy and switched to a grub and worked a couple of my favorite banks that always hold fall fish and could not catch any big ones. Switched to a spoon and caught a very nice Hybrid Striper about 6-lbs. and a striper about the same size in 30-feet of water on the bottom on two different main lake points.  They are still scattered. Some white bass are schooled and in the back of the creeks but most are small. Keep a lookout for top water fish in the evening and morning. Shad are everywhere and many of the schools are holding nothing but white bass. Open water fishing is not the best yet and your best bet is to learn how to spoon right in brush without getting hung up or if you do how to get it loose. I am using the same spoon for a week and have been hung dozens of times and like to fish the bottom. If you do not like to spoon use a slip float straight over the brush 12-feet down with a minnow. Use a marker buoy and stay exactly on the brush with your trolling motor against the wind. I like to bass fish on the bank with a grub just before dark but they are just not there yet. At least near My area. When this happens crappie will be with them and walleye too. If you are staying at a place where you are nearly the only customer you are probably paying too much for both cabins and boat stalls. I work too hard for my money to give it away.