Norfork Lake Conditions and fishing report By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental Near Mountain Home (click here for comments)

It was a beautiful day with light winds when I went out yesterday. It was perfect for using a slip float with minnows and not having to use the trolling motor very much. It does not take much to spook those big norfork lake crappie. I ended up taking seven crappie, two bass and four bluegill to the pond. Two crappie were very large. I lost a big fish right at dark. It was just too big for the 1/8th ounce Bink's spoon but I catch a lot of big ones on it. The 1/4 ounce ones will hold very large fish. Do not try to bring the crappie in by lifting them over the boat. You will be sorry if you do. The side of the mouth is paper thin and you will hear a pop. Gone. Set you drag very light and reel fast not allowing any slack. Have a long handled net ready. Having help is best but you can do it by yourself if you get it close to the boat and keep tension on the line by holding the rod up. If you use a true turn hook you can hook most of them in the roof of the mouth. I use a #4 red hook.   Much better. The treble hook on the spoons can catch them anywhere and it may not be a good set. I also cast a 1/16th ounce jig head (white with red eye) with a 2 or 2-1/2 inch white twister tail. Nobody gives me free stuff but Bobby Garland is good. I turn the tail up and put a live minnow hooked through the top of the head to trail just a bit. It works for about everything. Larger grubs do not seem to work as well. Spoon, jig head withgrub and minnow and a slip float are all I am using right now and am catching several fish every day. The lake was clearing nicely but was more stained yesterday. When it clears you should change all of your line to clear and go as light as possible. You can catch a big fish on 6-lb. line if you know what you are doing. The lake has been stained for so long that people have been getting away with colored line but it will not last forever. Spider line is very strong but also is too visible. About like a log chain. Heavy line also messes up the action on the spoon. The lake level is 552.68 and they are running one generator a bit more lately. The surface temperature is in the mid 60's and dropping slowly. Color is good for fishing. The fish are not in a frenzy or jumping in the boat but you can still catch some good ones. It is good to have the giant crappie starting to show up. Larger bass are too. Walleye are in their normal places with some good ones mixed in with several shorts. I am catching no crappie in water deeper than 30 feet and most are 22-25. Some are even close to the bank in 10-12 feet near dark.  Bass fishing is fair, not good, with most being smallmouth and kentucky. Some red meat fish are on the flats from Mallard point to Cranfield and are just outside of brush piles in 40-ft.  Most stripers and white bass are small in this area. I know where a lot of 7-9 pound stripers are but it is farther than I am willing to go. For the night bite to happen for stripers, the lake needs to clear and cool. They like the full moon shining in their face in clear cold water. It may not happen this year. Big schools of shad are everywhere, many with no fish on them. I just like to be out there.