Scuba Report

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Welcome to Blackburns Resort's Norfork Lake Scuba Diving Report. Our Scuba diving report is updated about once every 15 days, or as scuba diving conditions change. While the diving report will mostly report on Spearfishing it will also be covering other dive activities on Norfork lake. We'd appreciate your feedback on what you would like to see in our Scuba diving report. Thanks! Email Steve Street at: blackburnsresort@gmail.com.

Norfork Lake Scuba Diving Report for June 4, 2015


Norfork Lake Spearfishing Season Is quickly approaching. It begins Monday morning June 15th. Now is the time to check out your gear and get it ready. Your air tanks have to be hydro-tested every five years and an internal visual check performed annually. This is for your protection. The hydro test takes several days so now is the time to take them in to the dive shop. Check to see that your BCD inflates properly and does not leak down. Check the straps on your mask and fins. It only takes one thing to malfunction to stop your dive. The morning of your first dive is not the time to begin checking equipment.  Spear guns also sometimes leak down during the winter and need to be pumped up or oil added if they are pneumatic and check the bands if you use a band gun. Almost everyone in this area use pneumatic ones. A lot of divers use a paralyzer tip in this area on their speargun. I used to do this but have since changed to a butterfly tip and now use the largest more powerful gun. It shoots completely through the fish and I now do not lose any. Walleye travel in pairs a lot of the time and some people carry two guns. I do not do this as I have enough trouble keeping one from tangling. Wax the zippers on your wet suit and  check for proper operation. Same for your boots. Keep a check list on all equipment so you do not forget anything. Many times I see people that forget one thing and have a day of diving ruined. A very important thing is to check your mouthpiece for wear or cracks. There is a thermocline forming at about 21 feet now and several fish are just above that. Many brush piles are too deep this spring but will come into play as the water level drops. If you can find brush or large rocks at 20 feet or less on the main lake there will be fish on them. This looks to be a good year so good luck. There are not very many good places to dive from the shore so if you need a dive boat call 1-800-635-0526. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental has several. Do not forget to get your fishing license.


Norfork Lake Scuba Diving Report For June 15,2015

The spearfishing season opended this morning and the conditions were very good. The visibility was just right to be able to see far enough to see the fish but not too clear to not be able to get near enough for a shot. It is cloudy and we are to have good chances of rain for several days but the lake level is stable at 562.2 and is clearing in the creeks. I prefer sunny days but we take what we get. I went to my favorite place and got two nice walleye, one about four pounds and another a little over two. There is a thermocline setting up at about 20-feet and there are several fish just above that. The larger walleye are here and some smaller ones are shallow in the buckbrush. The thermocline is not very pronounced yet. Some good crappie are near Red Bank and now is a good time to go there since that is the first place the visibility will diminish along with Bennett's. Some Catfish are also shallow and in the buckbrush. I got a nice channel cat about six pounds. There are few places to dive from the banks so if you need a dive boat call 1-800-635-0526. This is what I wait for all spring. Scuba Steve. Scroll down for picture.


Norfork Lake Scuba Diving Report for July 22,2015


Scuba Steve Went Diving Yesterday All the way around Robinson's Island and got two nice walleye in 32 feet of water in the big rocks on the east side. I started out in the buckbrush at 23 feet right at the beginning of the thermocline on the south side  and just found a few Kentucky Bass and Smaller Smallmouth but a lot of bait fish mostly bass and bluegill.  I did not see any catfish but did not work shallow. It too two hours to circle the Island. The walleye are schooled and are in groups of  6-10 and are roaming but staying in the same general area. It is either feast ot famine. You will go for thirty minutes and not see a fish and there they are. Go slow and stay in the chunk rock areas just below them where it is flat and they will be there. The visibility is not bad in the rocks but forget it on mud bottoms. Stay in the cold water and follow the contour from 28-35 feet. The surface temperature is 87 degrees with the thermocline starting at 23 feet and cold at 30. All of my brush is too deep but they are staying in front of it. 

Norfork Lake Scuba Diving Report For June 14th 2016 By Scuba Steve from Blackburns resort and Boat rental On Norfork lake Arkansas Near Mountain Home

I went out diving yesterday to get information for this report. The spearfishing season opens tomorrow morning and the weather looks to be hot for several days. Good time to be in the cool water. Get your tanks filled and visually inspected and check all of your equipment today. It only takes one item to malfunction to ruin a trip. Get your fishing license. There is a thermocline at 20-feet and is getting more pronounced everyday. A lot of fish are just at and just below the thermocline with bigger fish being below. I tried close to Blackburns and found no visibility or not enough for hunting. I moved down stream and found it a little better but not much. The further south I went the better it got. Stay in the rocky areas as there is no visibility off muddy banks. With the lake being at 557 most of my brush piles are too deep. They just seem to not want to let any water out. I did see a lot of walleye in 15-18 feet of water but they were small. I did not see any catfish but did see many large white bass. My advice is to start south of Robinson's Island and just look for descent visibility. There are a lot of fish out there but is is tough to see them. The surface temperature is 86 degrees. I do not know if it is going to clear up on the north side of the lake or not. i will let you know. You cannot tell what the visibility is by looking at the water. It looks clear from the top and when you get down there it deteiorates quickly. Blackburns Resort and Boat Rentals has 10 pontoon boats at the best price for you to rent as dive boats and is 1/2 mile from a dive shop. Teach your kids something other than staring at phones. 



Norfork Lake Scuba Report for June 22,2016

I went diving and a lot has changed. The thermocline is still about 21 feet but the clarity has changed. It is pretty clear to 20-feet and then there is a mud line from there to about 29-feet where the visibility is bad. Lower than that in the cold water it clears again. This is normal but took a while to happen I was wondering if it would. A good thing is that if you can find brush on main lake points at 30-feet there will be walleye and white bass on it and good ones too. I have not seen a catfish. Things are shaping up finally. 


Norfork lake Scuba Report for June 25,2016 By Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental

I went diving again this morning and conditions continue to improve. The thermocline starts at about 21 feet and is very cold at 30. The mud line with poor visibility is between these two depths and you can see pretty well above and below. I got two very nice walleye in the 3-lb. range and saw another very large one on the way in but already had my limit. I am not seeing a lot of fish but the ones i am getting are nice. No small fish. I am finding no schools but am not checking shallow water. Will try again tomorrow.


Norfork Lake Scuba Report for July 15,2016 By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental 

The diving conditions continue to improve and so does the spear fishing. The thermocline is at about 25-feet and you can see good to there. The mud line starts there and goes to about 30 -feet but is not nearly as bad as it was. They have stopped dropping the lake for gate repairs and it is at 552.81 and has been stable with one generator running intermittantly. The lake traffic has really slowed since the holiday and the mixing from the boats is settling out. The last two days I have been amazed how the visibility has improved. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to happen. There are a lot of fish on main lake points where they drop off in 30-32 feet of water. If there is brush and chunk rock there more the better.  I am getting some giant crappie on brush there everyday along with walleye. For you pole fishermen bass are there too as are bluegill. I saw no white bass. People trolling deep diving crank baits are getting a lot of fish of all kinds. There are not a lot of crappie moving in to the brush yet but the ones there are big. 


Norfork Lake Scuba Report For August 17,2016 By Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental on Norfork lake

I took off several days because the heavy rains really muddied up the lake with the runoff, even though the lake did not rise very much, and destroyed the visibility. It is now nearly 554 and has come up again this week with the steady rain for three days. We received 1.7 inches total and it all sunk in this time with the creeks not running. I went diving yesterday and it was much better. The thermocline is still at 27 feet and there are quite a few fish just at or just below that on main lake brush. The surface temperature is 84 degrees and the water is very comfortable as is the ambient temperature which is about 80 and is to be in the 70's for several days coming up. Our normal high is 90. I saw no crappies but walleye and large bluegill are with bass at that depth. I saw no catfiush but were not looking for them. It was good to see fish move onto the brush as they have not been there for several weeks since about July 1st. It will not be long before the crappie move in and hopefully I will be there. I would rate the visibility as fair but I can see as far as my speargun can shoot and that is all I need. The mudline has just about gone and I saw no algae in the water. This could be a good fall for diving. I am really only after walleye and crappie but a few big redear work too and maybe a white bass. Work the mainlake points on brush at 25-32 feet. 


Norfork Lake Scuba Report for October 11,2016 by Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork Lake In the Ozark Mountain Region Near Mountain Home

If you like spearfishing now is the time. It has never been better than this. Big Walleye, Crappie, Catfish and White Bass. The surface temperature is 74.5 and the visibility is about 10-feet. They are all on Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental's brush piles and I am getting them everyday. I am letting good ones go and waiting for the biggest ones. It has not been like this for a while. Bring a wet suit, hood and gloves and be comfortable when fishing. The thermocline is gone and the fish are at all depths. The biggest ones are deeper but good fish are on about all main lake points. We have a pontoon for you to rent and will show you where to go. Come on down. 1-800-635-0526

Norfork lake Scuba Report for August 15th 2017 by Scuba Steve From Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental in the Ozark Mountain Region Near Mountain Home

Scuba conditions are not the best but not the worst. Lake temperature is 86 degrees and the visibility is about 4-feet with a thermocline at 27 feet. Main lake is clearing a bit and a lot of fish are just above the thermocline. The lake level is 566.38 and needs to drop to bring brush piles into play. They are dropping very slowly for some reason. 


Norfork Lake Scuba Report for June 7th, 2018 By Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat rental On Norfork Lake Near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region.

This report is for the areas of the lake between Cranfield Island and the turnoff to Tracy Ferry. I do not dive anyplace else and see no need for me to do so. I have been checking things out in different areas getting the boat and gear ready for the upcoming spearfishing season which starts June 15th. It is time to get everything checked out and if your tanks need a hydro it takes a week. The conditions are as follows now.: There is a thermocline at 20-feet with what I call a mud line near that. The water is pretty clear but not gin clear as reported by people who do not dive. The mud line is about two feet thick now and will get thicker as the thermocline drops. It will drop to about 30-32 feet deep as the water warms. It rarely drops below that. The mud line will follow that with clearer water above and below in the cold water. The fish like the area just above the thermocline, in the mud line and just below the thermocline. Some fish locators can pick up the mud line but not the thermocline. You have to either get in the water or drop a temperature probe down to find it. I could see about 7-10 feet distance above and below the themocline which is good for spearfishing. I never look for clear water but for visibility just as far as I can shoot. The fish spook if the water is too clear.  I saw lots of bass and several walleye in the 19-24 feet range and several big walleye. I did not see any crappie or catfish but I try to focus on walleye. There were many bluegill.  If you can find brush in 20-feet there will be fish on it. If the water keeps dropping several of Blackburns Brush piles will come into play. The level is 562.84 and dropping about 3-1/2 inches a day if they keep generating. Surface temperature is 86 degrees. Blackburns has several diving pontoons for you to rent and we will help you with locating fish. Conditions are as good as I have seen in several years.


Norfork Lake Scuba Report for October 9, 2018 By Scuba Steve from Blackburns resort and Boat rental On Norfork lake Near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain region. Fall Foliage.

The lake level is 551.22 and is dropping very slowly with about 2-hours of generation in a 24-hour period. The diving conditions have improved greatly the last week. I went spearfishing yesterday and found the visibility to be about 8-10 feet from 0-30 feet. I went down to 35 feet and found no thermocline. Reports that is is at 40-ft. are probably true or it is gone. I did not go that deep. I found fish either around or in brush at 25-ft. near the bottom. A few walleye but mostly bass. Bait fish were both bass and bluegill about 2-inches long. No baitfish, no fish. There were no fish between brush piles or deeper that 30-feet. I got two nice walleye in the 20-inch range. The surface tem[perature was 79 degrees and the visibility was the same from the surface to 30-feet. It was very enjoyable and the weather was windy with highs about 87 degrees. Glad to see the lake clear up finally. 

Norfork Lake Scuba Report for Monday June 17,2019 By Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental on Norfork Lake near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain region. The lake level is 573.92 and has dropped a little less than an inch in the last 24-hours. Opening day of spearfishing was Saturday and the conditions were very good. I could see about 10-feet in an area that was normally cloudy and further on rocky bottoms. I like the visibility at 8-12 feet when spearfishing. Too clear not good. The thermocline was at exactly 20 feet and it was pronounced. Many fish and bait fish were at or just above that level. The surface temperature was just under 80 where I was and the water was very pleasant. I did get a nice walleye and a crappie but I do not see how many I can get. Usually just look for the big ones. Looks to be a good year but the most of the brush piles are too deep and you will have to get into the cover and buckbrush at around 20-feet for success. It will be difficult to dive from the shore this year and Blackburns Resort and Boat rental has 11-pontoons for you to rent as dive boats. Look for schools of bait fish and game fish will be close by. 

Norfork Lake Scuba Report for Monday August 26,2019 by Scuba Steve from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental On Norfork lake near Mountain Home in the Ozark Mountain Region. 


The lake level is 564.75 and has dropped about 1/2 inch in the last 24-hours with one generator running about 1/2 the time. I just got back from diving. The thermocline is at about 27-feet with cool water at 25-feet and cold water at 30-feet. There is no mud line and the visibility is about 10-feet if the sun is shining and 7-8 feet if cloudy. I found some very nice crappie on a tree in 20-30 feet and a walleye in 27 feet near the bottom.  Main lake points are the best. Scuba conditions are great for the end of August with no sign of an algae boom as of now. Surface temoerature is 85-degrees. Cannot beat that. Come on down. Blackburns has a dive boat for you to rent at the best prices. As the lake drops and brush comes into play things will just get better. 



Norfork Lake Scuba Report for July 7,2020 by Patten Traver owner of Scuba Doo Dive Shop.

My Old Buddy Steve asked me to put a spearfishing report together for him as he has been unable to go. So Here goes...

The lake level is 575.70 and has dropped about 2-inches in the last 24-hours and the surface temperature is in the mid 80's. Norfork lake is producing consistently nice walleye. Walleye are hanging out around 23-feet just below the thermocline. They are primarily on secondary points which have a long taper making a ridge under water. It is really hit or miss with the points. If you go down and don't see any activity for the first ten minutes you have to pull up anchor and try the next point down the lake.The high water has made for a phenomenal shad and bream spawn.  All of the harvested walleye coming out with completely full bellies. 

The main kicker in Norfork right now is the visibility.  The water level is so high that the waves from the boating activities are hitting the shore right at the clay line. Consequently, high boat traffic leads to poor visibility later in the day.  Over night the visibility clears up and early morning is the best time to go. Weekend and afternoons are the worst. If you are diving on the weekends the best places to go are the transitional bluff walls where the long point intersects with a bluff face. The fish are hanging out in the transition, and the visibility is generally better. 

The lake is falling from 2-3 inches a day. It will not take long before the shore line gets down to the usual rock layer. This will greatly improve the visibility and really start to pack the fish into tighter clusters. There is so much cover now in the water that the fish are really scattered. Once the water starts dropping the fish will concentrate on cover or large boulders just below the thermocline and will be much easier to pattern.

Crappie fishing has been very hit and miss for the same reason as the walleye. Too much shallow brush for them to cruise in so they do not have the need to concentrate on any particular brush pile.

Cat fishing has been very good just challenging. They are shallow in the buck brush and getting to them can sometimes be problematic if a lot of briars are present. 

Make sure you have two knives when you dive this time of year.  I always have a knife strapped to my gauge and another strapped to my leg. Entanglement can be a problem with extra brush in the water. 

It is warm water diving and most will be confortable in a 5-mil wetsuit. Lots of divers are wearing warm water hoods and using them later in the dive if they get chilly. The beenie type that have the neck strap work well. They can stay in the BC pocket until you get cold and then get put on over your mask with a velcro neck strap. 

If you have any questions you can reach us at Scuba Doo Dive Shop, just down the rosd from Steve at Blackburns. 1-870-492-5300 and ask for Patten. Everyone at the shop spearfishes and will be able to help you. 

Most divers are using a 40-cm. pneumatic gun with a barbed paralyzer tip. Cressi Sub has a new black line competition gun that has just come out this year and has been very popular. It is a step up from the SL-Star line and has a more robust trigger assembly and is more comfortable to handle. If you are shooting a pneumatic make sure you have the gun oiled properly, the extra silt in the water from the bad visibility seems to make the lube oil work harder. Changing the oil out annually for fresh oil is a great idea to increase barrel life. 

That is about it. It is definitely worth a trip to the lake if you haven't made it up this year. 

The best place to social distance is in 25-ft. of water. Dive safe. 



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