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 two best ones yesterday. Image title

The lake level is 554.32 and has dropped 1-1/2 inches in the last 24-hours with sluice gates open to an equivalent of 1/2 of a generator. The White River at Newport is 14.67 feet and dropping slowly and the surface water temperature is 46-degrees on the main lake. The water is clearing a bit and Scuba Steve could see his lure down 5-6 feet. Overall the lake is in excellent condition and at a good level. I do not charge out there in the early morning when it is coldest and come in when it starts to warm up  but go out in the warmest part of the day and usually stay out until dark. The best bite for the large crappie has been from sundown to dark. I catch a few bass and some smaller crappie earlier but not the big ones. Probably 2/3rds of the fish are caught in a one hour period. Open water fishermen are still catching some stripers in the 5-8 pound range and some white bass dragging stuff through schools of shad and there are some black bass with them. I am mostly fishing brush piles in 20-30 feet of water and the fish are near the bottom early and come up shallower later. I spoon or vertical jig early and cast a jig and minnow past the brush and let it sink into it late.  It looks like the weather will warm up again next week but we could get some serious rain about Wednesday. People are asking about a shad kill and others say we need one bad. Actually we never need a shad kill. If there are too many shad for the gamefish to eat there are not enough gamefish. What a shad kill does is make fishing easier. When the water temperature drops into the high 30's the shad get lethargic and flutter around and then stop movement. They are then easily caught by game fish and they gorge on them. Colder than that they die and sink to the bottom and are sucked through the generators for the downstream trout. During a shad kill everything gets fat again. Too severe and too long of a shad kill reduces the amount of feed in the lake to the point there is not enough and this is not good. There are a lot of threadfin shad in the lake now but I have seen more. Much more. I have seen them black out a fish finder from Robinson Island to the 62 bridge. Too many are better than too few for the fish but when there are too few most of the existing schools of shad are holding feeding fish and the trollers catch them very easily and the meat hunters have a hayday. When there is none it is bad for the game fish and they get skinny and starve and are not healthy. This happened to Greers Ferry a few years ago and it was not good. Game and Fish had to raise shad in their hatcheries and purchase some from out of state to replentish the lake. I do not want that to happen to Norfork. Fishing was poor in Greers Ferry during this time. In general a shad kill just makes fishing easier and a good population makes for healthier fish. Right now there are lots of shad and we are not near a shad kill but it could happen. If it does it is usually in February and it has to get unseasonably cold. When you see shad flittering around the surface on windblown banks and very lethargic it is happening. When you see large numbers of Sea Gulls just below the dam it is happening big time. You will see large numbers of trout fishermen lining the bank if this happoens as if it is not easy enough to catch trout as it is. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental continues to have the best prices on both cabins and boat rentals in the Ozarks and a free stall for your boat comes with the cabin at our dock. Things are looking good here and we will not charge you too much. Scuba Steve will show you where the brush piles are located when you gert here. We have some good ones.