July 12, 2017
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 12, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 7-12-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is stained. Water level is normal. Water surface temperature on Tuesday was 88 degrees. Despite the warming water, bream can be found about a foot below the surface around the shorelines. Results were good, with worms or crickets working. Crappie are fair. They are around the state Highway 89 bridge and Adams Lake and in about 6-8 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good, especially around lily pads. Use spinnerbaits, plastic worms and buzzbaits. Catfish reports were excellent the past week. Cats are around the creek channels and are being caught on limblines and yo-yo’s with minnows and goldfish.
Little Red River
(updated 7-12-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue to receive 12 hours of daily generation on the Little Red River with generation beginning around midmorning. This generation schedule is providing excellent wading conditions on the upper sections of the river in the mornings and on the middle and lower sections later in the day. This generation schedule is also providing excellent drift-fishing on all sections. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends sowbugs, midges, emergers and streamers. Red and hot pink-colored Trout Magnet bodies on chartreuse heads are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 7-12-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said July has arrived on the Little Red with the sun beating down. Drift-fishing in the morning is comfortable until about noon, then the heat begins to get uncomfortable. A little wet wading break sometimes helps the midafternoon heat. The generation remains on a 12-hour basis starting at about 9 a.m. On Monday the generation changed to a longer schedule with only one generator running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., then both operating till 1 a.m. This was caused by a mechanical problem and has been corrected. Water releases will return to the 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. schedule today. This is to remain the same until the lake reaches its normal level of 462.54 feet msl.
Greg says the bite remains good and the fish are in good shape due to the generation providing cold water during the heat of the day. Greg’s fly-fishers continue to catch rainbows and browns on small midge pupas and size 16 mayfly nymphs. Clear water is making the presentation and smaller tippet more important.
(updated 7-12-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing has been excellent this week. The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water for 12-15 hours each day, providing great drift-fishing from the boat in the falling water. The hot flies have been sowbugs, pheasant tails and egg patterns.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 465.77 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 7-12-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 465.76 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 3.22 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and will continue to fall until we get to normal pool and then as generation needs. The catching is great overall. The bass fishing is good deep and shallow and at night as well. Use Texas rigs and football heads out deep as well as spoons out to 65 feet of water; spinnerbaits, jigs and small cranks up shallow, and jighead worms on the in-between fish. There are some schoolers as well that are coming up at different times throughout the day. At night use spinnerbaits, Right Bite Gizits and Texas rigged worms for the best results. The crappie catching is good in the pole timber and brush piles. The fish are suspended in 12-25 feet of water eating minnows and jigs. The bream are building nests again and can be caught on crickets and crawlers, in-line spinners and small crankbaits up shallow and on live bait out to 27 feet of water. The walleye catching is good if you can find them on these massive flats – different days, different places, drag crawlers on jig heads and drop-shots. The catfishing is great all over the lake on a variety of baits and techniques on the edges of channels. The hybrid and white bass catching is great all over the lake throughout the day and night from 25-70 feet of water on live baits, spoons, in-line spinners, topwater baits, swimbaits and hair jigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-28-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is stained and is at a normal level. Bream were good. But other than that, the week was very slow for anglers. No reports on crappie, bass or catfish.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309
(updated 7-12-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is about 1 foot above normal and clarity is good with a surface temperature of 85 degrees. Bass are still doing well with crankbaits, plastic worms and assorted topwater baits. Crappie are being caught in 5 feet and 9-11 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Catfish are doing well with crickets on pole while bream fishing, but slow on jugs and trotlines due to so many small shad. Bream are picking up now, but not in usual beds still catching 30-40 in the evening just have to work for them.
(updated 7-12-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said it was a good week at Brewer, with everyone who had been out fishing catching fish. Water level is normal and the water is clear. Surface water temperature was 84 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good. Try fishing in 10-15 feet of water over brush piles. Bass are good on crankbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish are good on worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken livers and shad.
(updated 6-28-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are very good. The largemouths are biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms, Zoom Flukes and spinnerbaits. Blacks are about 10-15 feet off the weeds in about 10 feet depth. With the temperature going up and down, the black bass are doing a lot of moving from shallow to deep; you will need to do a lot of head shaking. Jim Briggs and Melvin Veasey landed a 3.8-pound fish for Big Bass in the Tuesday night tournament. Winning hauls have been over 9 pounds in recent night fishing tournaments, with Bill Dennis and Rick Easter catching 9.9 pounds on Tuesday night. Kentucky bass fishing is excellent. Kentuckies are being caught on jigs and minnows. They can be found mixed in with the black bass in the shallow water. White bass are excellent, and fish are still be seen schooling at the east end. Fish the whites with Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Whites are staying up longer. The crappie bite remains good. They are being caught on minnows and jigs, the best bait being the chartreuse and white jig with a very light line. Look for good-size crappie in 22-25 feet of water. Bream are still excellent. The bream have moved off of the bed and are about 10-14 feet deep. Use crickets or live worms. Catfish reports have been excellent. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water, but some have been shallower. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 7-12-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Catfish are excellent; use shad or goldfish.
(updated 7-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair at night on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows fished on the bottom of shallow flats. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and worms early in the mornings. Bass have been biting minnows and small plastics rigged Texas style of floating wacky rigs. Crappie fishing has been slow with reports of a few biting minnows right before daylight.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting crickets and redworms. Move around and fish the bottom at different depths and you'll find a few keepers. Bass are hitting minnows and Carolina rigged plastics as well as floating worms. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, minnows and bait shrimp. They seem to be biting best very early in the mornings and right before dark. Crappie have been slow to bite but the few that have been reporting catching some have been using size 6 and pink minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting goldfish, minnows and black salties on trotlines and limblines. Bait 'em up right before dark and let your bait do the work. If you have a rod and reel to handle a big one, bait it up, cast it out and don't let it get away from you if a big flathead get on your line. Bass have been biting well on minnows, small Texas rigged worms and lizards, small spinnerbaits, and some jigs and crankbaits. Crappie fishing has been slow but some are still biting minnows fished around sunken logs and trees. Bream are biting crickets and redworms just about anywhere there's water in the river. Just bait a small hook and use light line. You'll catch more little ones than you want, but you'll get some keepers too and they're all fun to catch. See if you can keep a count just for the heck of it. If you just want a fun challenge and a good fight on a rod and reel, rig up with some good line and sharp hooks, get some No. 12 minnows and go looking for the gar. You'll see them just below the water’s surface. If you pitch a live minnow close to one, you'll likely get the bite. Lisa says she likes to open the bail when they pick up the bait and let them go with it. They'll usually stop for a few seconds and then take off again. That's when to get the hook in them. It's almost always good for some fight and sometimes, she says, she actually lands the ugly suckers. Also: It’s hot so fish early, take some cold water, lemonade or tea and find a shady spot to enjoy some outdoor time in and most importantly, be safe.
(updated 7-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is good on Lake Norrell. Get there early to beat the skiers and pleasure boaters. Fish deep cover like brush, logs or rocks. Get your bait down close to the bottom with a drop-shot-like rig and keep a tight line. Catfish have been biting fair at night on minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Fish just outside of any dock lights that shine on the water. Bass fishing has been fair early in the mornings and at night. Topwater baits, floating or Carolina rigged plastic worms and minnows have been working. No real reports of crappie being caught this week on Norrell.
(updated 7-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has still been good for some that know where they are in the lake. No. 6 minnows and Cajun Cricket-colored jigs are working for some good eaters. Bass are biting the minnows and plastic worms or lizards rigged about any way you want to rig them. Floating worms and topwater baits are getting bites early in the mornings. Catfish have been eating nightcrawlers, minnows and chicken livers at night in shallow water close to bream beds. Bream are hitting crickets and redworms. Fish them on tight lines and get them close to the bottom where the big ones are.
Tommy Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfish are excellent just off the lake on cut shad and nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-12-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing improved quite a bit the past week, and ended up excellent. Chicken livers, chicken hearts and nightcrawlers were all appetizing to the cats.
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass are fair and are in good numbers around grass points. Use jigs or topwater frogs. Catfish are fair and are best around the piers at night. Try worms or minnows.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 7-12-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said a lot of rain has muddied up the river a little, but now it’s starting to clear. Bass fishing is best early in the morning and late afternoon. Jitterbugs in black in backwater are good in the mornings. Toss a jitterbug early, then go to a Zoom Fluke in pearl about 3 inches long. Toss in the grass, move out, let drop. Also, Chatterbaits are good. Bream are good around the grass. They’re also bedding up; use crickets. For catfish, it’s best when you’re drifting. Use shad or skipjack. Reports have been good. Fish about 10-20 feet deep around the jetties in midday. White bass are following shad schools. Fish the jetty points. Use Baby Shad and when on top use a Zara Puppy or pooches in clear or white color. Reports are good. Stripers are below the dam. Use a wobble spoon. It’s best in the late evening.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
(updated 6-28-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282),) said that the fishing on the river is great right now. Good flows and a finally consistent water level has the majority of fish biting pretty well. The bass are finally fully recovered from the spring spawn and are definitely eating. This is the time of year that you want to look to the current and main river areas to fill the boat. Make your way to areas where the current is broken up by rock jetties, poles, turns, etc. Try tossing squarebill crankbaits, spinnerbaits or buzzbaits. If no takers, switch to something slower moving, like a worm or jig. Plenty of catfish can be caught right now, but the larger ones have been a little slow. Channel cats are plentiful on stink bait behind the jetties in deeper holes. As for bream, if you want to take the kids to have a ton of fun, now is the time! Put a cricket under a slip cork and toss around grass and wood in the slackwater areas behind the rock jetties. Lots of good-sized fish to be caught up shallow right now!
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-12-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water clarity is clear and the surface temperature is “hot.” Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair to good. The crappie are in about 4 feet of water. Bass fishing is excellent. Anglers are having success with spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish reports were poor. White bass reports also were poor.
(updated 7-12-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported bass are fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and black buzz baits. Catfish is fair with skipjack or shad.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 7-12-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said snagging is still a good way to go for catfish near Murray Lock and Dam, with results fair the past week. Largemouth bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie. No reports on white bass.
(updated 7-5-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the water is stained and the level is running heavy to normal. Bream can be found in 4-5 feet of water and the bite is good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are most active early in the day and late in the evening. Pull out the buzzbait or a topwater for best results. Catfish reports were good using cut bait.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-12-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river seems to be clearing up. No temperature was recorded. No level was available Tuesday. Bream are good. The fish are in shallow water and are biting redworms. Crappie reports ranged from poor to fair. Depth was somewhat spotty as well. Minnows and jigs were getting responses, though. Bass are good in the main river on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Reports on catfish below the Murray Lock and Dam were good. Stink bait was the bait of choice.
(updated 7-12-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water and current were at a normal level in Clear Lake, and water was naturally clear. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports were fair. The catfish reports picked up near Terry Lock and Dam with good action, mostly on shad. Bass are good on that end of the pool using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Crappie are good near Terry on Minnows and jigs. And bream are good on worms and crickets. Water near the dam is high and the clarity is murky.
(updated 7-5-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water was stained. The water level has ranged from normal to high the past week. Bream are biting well. The fish are about 4-5 feet deep and are hitting crickets. Crappie reports were fair, with jigs working best. Bass are good both early in the day and late. Use spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Catfish are good below the Murray Dam on cut bait. At the south end at David Terry Dam, the water remains stained and with level ranging high to normal. Bream reports mirrored the rest of the pool, with fish in about 4-5 feet of water and biting worms as well as crickets. Crappie can be found off the jetties and the bite is good. Try pink minnows for best results, though jigs and regular minnows are working. Bass are good early and late here, with spinnerbaits and topwaters the best call. For catfish, good results can be had by using shad or cut bait.
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing remains excellent around the Murray Lock and Dam. No reports from the Terry end of the pool.
(updated 7-12-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water is clear and the lake has high water and is near full. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Anglers are having good success with crappie by trolling. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing was good using worms, blood bait and stink bait.
(updated 7-12-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says people ask, "Is the fishing OK on the river in July?" We say, "Yes, and yes!" When the Cotter area get fresh flows of water from the bottom of Bull Shoals Lake to ensure the river is trout-loving cold, the fish are as frisky as in February. It's the anglers who are affected by the heat, so get an extra early start during July and August, get out while it's still mild – they are blessed with early morning temps in the low ‘70s now – catch just enough trout to make you want to come back tomorrow, then get off the river before the midafternoon sun hits full force. That's the recipe for happy anglers. Looks like the brass-colored spoons and spinners are working well, brass Colorados, and brass-colored Blue Foxes have caught some nice rainbows. The Rebel Crawbaby picked up a really nice brown this past week. Try chartreuse-bellied floating lures, 3½- to 4-inch size. The Headhunter series 100 would be a good bet, but the ever-popular Rapala No. 5 brown trout or gold and black always brings in some trout. While the water level is low, you can catch your limit with shrimp and PowerBait cast into the channel mid-river. Expect higher daily water flows by the beginning of next week, then the larger lures can be played again. Drink plenty of water while you're out there in the summer heat and keep enjoying the great outdoors in the Arkansas Ozarks.
(updated 7-12-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said there is good fishing in the morning, while anglers are using boats for fishing in the evening. Since July 4 the fishing has been a bit slow overall, they say. Trout are good on PowerBait. There have been 5-6 generators running. Water is clear.
(updated 7-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) that during the past week they have had several rain events (combined for a bit over 4 inches in Cotter), warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 0.2 feet to rest at 27.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.5 feet msl. This is 6.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool and 10 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.4 feet to rest at 6.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with moderate generation.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a cerise San Juan worm with a size 14 bead head pheasant tail nymph suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
John also said, “Last Saturday I had a guide trip with Marilyn Allen. She lives at Red Bud Shoals and had originally hired me to take her and her cousin (he was scheduled to visit) fishing. At the last minute her cousin canceled. She still wanted to go fishing and called to let me know about the change. While she was on the phone, she asked if my wife, Lori, wanted to join her. Both of them are dog people. As you know, Lori shows our English Labrador Retrievers, Tilley and Ghillie. Marilyn has two West Highland Terriers with which she competed in agility. Agility is where you direct your dog through an obstacle course that includes jumps, weave poles, tunnels and a teeter totter all at full speed. It is the most exciting canine competition to watch.
“Lori quickly agreed with the caveat that she would come a bit later, in her own car, so that she could care, for our dogs. She also wanted to break around lunch, so that she could check, on them. Marilyn requested that I motor her to her house on the river around lunch so that she could check on her dogs. This still left plenty of time for fishing.
“It was a beautiful day to be on the river. We went to Rim Shoals; which is just downstream from Marilyn’s home. The Corps of Engineers were running around 9,000 cfs, the rough equivalent of three generators. It was a cool start at 68 degrees but was forecast to reach 90 before the day was over. The sky was clear and the winds were light and variable.
“I already had the rods rigged for the day. I had Marilyn rigged with a bead-head pheasant tail nymph below a pink worm. I used an AAA split shot and a Thingamabobber (I love that name) strike indicator set 8½ feet above the pheasant tail. I rigged Lori with a hare and copper nymph below a Y2K and the same weight and strike indicator set at the same depth. I like to start my clients with different flies to see what is working. If I find a trend, I will change to the same rig to maximize success.
“Marilyn had not fished in a few years and felt like she would be a bit rusty. There is nothing further from the truth. I noted that she was an accomplished caster, a competent line handler and was not afraid to set the hook. She picked a nice rainbow on the first drift. As we motored upstream to begin our next drift, we saw Lori on the ramp waiting for us. She hopped in the boat and we began fishing in earnest.
“At the beginning of the day, Marilyn was out-fishing Lori two or three to one. We analyzed the situation and decided to switch Lori’s rod over to a bead-head pheasant tail nymph. That did the trick and Lori was able equal Marilyn’s success. I have not met a lot of fly-fishers, male or female, that could keep up with Lori. They were both pretty competitive and finished the day pretty much even. We broke for lunch and Lori drove home to let out our dogs. I boated upriver to Marilyn’s house so she could let out her dogs. After lunch, we returned to the river. We hit a slow patch for a few minutes but soon enough the bite picked up. We ended the day with 40-plus trout. For Lori, it had been a great day because she had a relaxed easy guide trip and a day away, from an overactive lab puppy and a chance to spend a day with another dog person. For Marilyn, it was great to be back on the river to fish some great water near her home after an absence. For me, it was great to be on the river with two women that could catch fish. I spent the day netting trout. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 688.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-5-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Thursday that at 688 feet msl the lake is still high but is dropping slowly. Del said he doesn’t know how long it’s going to take for the water to go down. Water temperature is about 82 degrees starting out, 88 by the end of the day depending on location. Fishing is in the summer pattern, and a couple of different things are working. For Del, bluffs, points, saddles. And, he said, because of where the water is at, 29 feet above normal, those fish that are normally deep (the drop-shot fish, the spoon fish) are still in the bushes. You can pick up a few on the bluff walls. When you come off the bluff walls, try drop-shotting, either using worm or shad-style bait. Del also says that you want to have a topwater tied on at all times and ready to go. They’ve had it where the fish are just blowing up anytime of the day. All those little shad balls, there are “wolf packs” going through. You’ll see the shad popping and if you can get that bait in there, you’ll do all right. Del suggests a Whopper Plopper; he says he’s excited about the new 110, it’s catching some fish. Buzzbaits are catching the fish. Zara Spoon, whatever topwater you’re comfortable with. Natural shad pattern seems to be the key. It’s summertime, you want to be out toward the main lake. The long points that go way out to the lake, those points are holding lots of fish. You can drag a jig off the points. Del says he is still not dragging it, he’s swimming it or stroking it off the tops of bushes. The fish in there are just going to hammer it. If he’s covering water, Del says, the Keitech is catching a few – quarter-ounce head, shad pattern, whatever color you like, depending on the day. And spinnerbait – if you have plenty of wind you can still catch fish on a spinnerbait. A lot of these fish he’s catching are still shallow, 20 feet or less. Walleyes, lot of guys are asking about them, Dell says he’s catching a few fairly shallow on a jig, 15 feet. “I know that’s messed up for the walleye guys. Usually this time of year you can bottom bounce one but the ones I’m catching on the jig are in the 10-15 feet range. All that bait is up there so the fish are up there eating and they don’t have any need to go deep. They have cover and they’ve got food. I don’t know if the deep bite is going to turn on. A lot of those fish are suspended too. The suspended fish can be tougher to target,” he said.
(updated 7-5-2017) K Dock Marina said they have been preoccupied with the devastating flood that hit there at the end of April and apologize that it’s been so long to post a report, but they have been very busy trying to straighten the marina out. However, things are looking up! The lake is still very high (688.7 feet msl, or 29 feet above normal) but in perfect fishing and boating conditions this week. Water temperature is ranging 83-86 degrees and the water is clear to stained. Here is what they have been hearing from the anglers the past two weeks. Black bass (Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass) are Good on big 10-inch plum-colored plastic worms off of flooded roadbeds. Also good on ½-ounce jigs in 10-20 feet off of flooded flats and points. Crankbaits are also good off of points and rocky bluffs. Topwater bite is good to fair in flooded brush. Try a weedless frog. Walleye are good to fair on nightcrawlers on flooded flats. Medium-size crankbaits are also working being trolled along the points and bluffs. Many are being caught still shallow in 6-15 feet. But look for suspended walleye in 20-30 feet on your graph. Drop a white or silver ½-ounce spoon if you get on top of them. Crappie are slow due to high water. Swimming minnows or live minnows around flooded trees work best. White bass are slow due to high water. Catfish are good to fair on trotlines. Also nightcrawlers in the entrance to coves. Bluegill are very good on crickets about anywhere. Also it’s a great time to rig the kids up with a worm and a bobber in any cove.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 573.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says striper fishing continues to be outstanding Norfork Lake. Tom says he cannot remember when the fishing has been this good. Tom and his son have been bringing in limits of stripers every day they have fished for the last three weeks. Because of the warm water, striper fishing is strictly catch and keep so we only fish until we can a limit and then go home. The AGFC has requested that all persons fishing on Norfork keep all legal stripers and quit when you catch your limit. The basic fishing rig has not changed – a 3- or 4-ounce weight with a short leader and putting the bait on the bottom, then bringing it up about a foot and keeping it there as we move around. The stripers are still concentrated around the dam area; the best places are Dam Cove, Koso, Thumb, Point 1 and the Hudson area. There has been some topwater action in Hand Cove as of late, usually in the early evening. Trolling and spooning are also producing some fish, but not the numbers seen with live bait. This action should continue into August.
Tom says his son took Mike his grandson Cody and Cody’s friend Braxton out for a fast-action striper trip. Tom took Mike and Cody out last year and says they had a great time and caught their limit. Cody did a great job last year in fighting a striper. As usual, the action starts early and is pretty steady the whole time. Right now they are using six downlines and there have been times where four and five rods are hit at the same time. It’s total chaos but a lot of fun. Right before they were finishing up on their limits, Cody’s rod went down and the fight was on because Cody knew how to fight the fish from last year; he handled the fish with ease. When they got it in, it weighed 30 pounds. You could not have a bigger smile on a boy’s face as was on Cody’s. What a way to end their fishing trip. Now he will have a wall mount for a lifetime.
(updated 6-28-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said striped bass fishing on Norfork Lake has been outstanding for the last couple of weeks. This year the stripers are in the summer pattern a little earlier than normal. You can find the striped bass in 40-55 feet of water close to the bottom. Early morning, after sunrise, Lou has been finding large schools of fish feeding heavily on shad. As the morning wears on, the stripers are staying at this same depth but will be hugging the bottom. Small live bait is working the best for Lou, he said, either threadfin shad or shiners. For his live bait poles he is using a 2-ounce weight with a swivel on both ends, then he ties on a 4-5-foot leader with a No. 6 hook. Yes, this is a very small hook, but Lou tries to match the hook to the bait so the bait can still swim around. Lou will drop the bait to the bottom, then give two cranks of the reel to lift the weight off of the bottom. Best places to fish are from point 2 back to the Sand Island area. Start looking for the stripers on the points and both sides of the points and when you find them, hold on!|
Lou added that the largemouth bass bite is also very good. They can be found all over the lake. The best areas to start fishing is part way to all the way back into the creeks and coves. The largemouth are up in the sunken brush early and late in the day and move out to 20-30 feet of water during the sunny part of the day. Swimbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are all working well at times for the largemouth bass. The largemouth will also come up for a topwater bait early in the morning. Crappie, bluegills and walleye are all feeding inside of the sunken brush early and late in the day. The crappie and bluegill stay inside of or on the edge of the brush during the day. The walleye are starting to move out onto the flats into 20-40 feet of water. Live bait is a great choice for all these species. The lake as of Tuesday was falling slowly with sporadic power generation; it is dropping 1-2 inches per day. The majority of the lake is clear with the creeks and coves partially stained. The lake surface water temperature was 81-82 degrees Tuesday morning.
(updated 7-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that in the past week Norfork Lake rose 0.7 feet to rest at 17.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556 feet msl and 6.5 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had a bit more wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation, with limited wadable water in the near future.
On the Norfork, the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper john or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With school out it can get a bit crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).
Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are higher. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water is clear and is at a normal level and current. No temperature was recorded. Catfish reports were excellent, but no other information was available as far as bait used. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Bass are good using crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappie stayed good the past week, with most success coming by trolling. Use minnows or jigs.
(updated 7-12-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said stripers are on the feed with some using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops, bluffs and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing weighted downlines will definitely get you some fish. Target 35-60 feet. Mike Bailey says he has seen fish as deep as 120 feet, but they are reluctant to bite at that depth. Early morning or night fishing with lights has been productive in these areas. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good with live shad fished on downlines from 30 feet down to about 60 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse, and also try plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers. Get some depth and stagger your presentation using stackers. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website (linked above). Live bait is the preferred approach as always on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers, but you can use a variety of methods to stalk your prey. Water surface temperature on the mid- and lower sections is in the low to mid-80s. Check out these hot spots: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6 and Rambo Creek Arm. White bass have been surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers in Horseshoe Bend. Walleye are making their way back to the main lake in numbers in late spring/summer migration mode and can be found scattered throughout the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B's, Flicker Shad and Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 7-12-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said water temperatures have been between 70 degrees and 58 degrees between Houseman Access and U.S. Highway 62 bridge. The trout bite has improved significantly just upstream from Highway 62 bridge. Trout are being caught on light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits and waxworms. Spoons of various sizes and Rapalas are also doing the trick. Walleye are being caught toward Beaver town. The most productive rig has been the Crawler rig with a nightcrawler. Rapalas are also doing good fished between 6 feet and 15 feet of water. Smallmouths are hitting off brush piles and other structure; using soft plastic or drop-shot seems to do the trick. Once again, please! If you are going to take a boat in the tailwaters, please do not be negligent when operating your watercraft. There is hidden structure that is inches below the water that could injure yourself or another if operating a watercraft at a high rate of speed. Also, smaller boats and kayakers can and will be swamped by your wake. If you approach an anchored boat, kayakers or a smaller boat, lower your speed as to not cause a wake. Thank you, have fun and be safe.
(updated 7-12-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported water is still too high to wade. Conventional fishermen are catching their limits of trout from the bank and boat alike. Fly-fisherman are out of luck again this week as the water levels remain too high to wade and who knows when the water will recede enough for fly-fisherman to wade again. Nightcrawlers and waxworms are working well for catching trout. PowerBait in dough or balls are also working well. Fish the Bertrand and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw quarter-ounce spoons Flicker Shad are also doing the job. Good lures in this area are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails; midges in blue dun, olive; hare’s ear; tungsten copper johns; WD40s; Trout Magnets; and San Juan worms.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 7-5-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are hitting according to current flow up and down. In murky water use dark-colored soft plastics and spinnerbaits. If water goes clear the same day use watermelon-colored soft plastics, crawdad-colored crank baits, spoons, light-colored spinnerbaits, live crawdads and minnows from creek. Rapids are hot spots between AGFC's Clifty Access to War Eagle Mills area. Reminder that the length limit on smallmouth is 14 inches. Largemouth bass are biting well in the last stretches of War Eagle into Beaver Lake. Anglers are fishing in flooded water around bushes, trees and grass with topwater lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Where murky water meets clear water lines are the hot spots to fish. A reminder that the black bass combined limit is two. Goggle eye are hitting Rooster Tails, small jigs and live worms. When you catch one, there are more likely many more fish in same area. Catfishing is best with liver, stink bait and live bait. Good spots are at each bluff hole and the War Eagle stretch going into Beaver Lake.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) has closed his shop and retired.
(updated 7-12-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said that catfish reports were great. Excellent catches came on worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken livers. Bass were good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was slow. Minnows or jigs were working, but reports were poor. There is a little stain to the lake and the surface temperature earlier this week was 82 degrees. Water level is normal.
(updated 7-5-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water was dingy and at a normal level. Surface water temperature Monday was 78 degrees. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie was fair with minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good on shad and chicken livers.
(updated 7-12-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the AGFC began the slow drain of Lake Poinsett this week. Fishing will be allowed as long as there is fish to be caught. Ome says they are selling a lot of minnows, worms and crickets. Ome has heard bream and crappie fishing is really good and probably will continue to get better as the lake gets lower. There is a demand for goldfish. There is some nice catfish out there to be caught.
(updated 7-12-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water level has ranged from high to normal. Water is clear. Catfish are bringing the best reports, with catfishing excellent on worms, blood bait, stink bait, shad and nightcrawlers. Bass fishing is good early in the day and late in the evening on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie reports were poor.
(updated 7-12-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 424 cfs (350 is normal) and water clarity has been partly clear. Water levels are lower for easier wading but care should be taken because of very slick rocks in the stream bottom. A wading staff is a great tool for easier wading. The trout have been biting great on bead-head Woolies in olive and black. Snails and Y2Ks have been some personal favorites over the last week. For spin fishers, Trout Magnets in hot pink and white are working great. Smallmouth and bluegill also love the hot pink color. Super Glue the bodies on a Trout Magnet the night before that can help keep the body from sliding down. A typical setup with a Trout Magnet is tying it on with a small split shot placed 8 inches above and a Trout Magnet float set the depth of the water to keep the Trout Magnet just above the bottom. When the float disappears, set the hook and enjoy. Most trout will be hooked in the upper lip for easy removal. Sore lip them all.
(updated 7-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is off-color. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is on and there are many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 7-12-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said it was mostly slow fishing during the past week. The water is clear and is at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on crappie. No report on catfish. Nothing to report on walleye.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-12-2017) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said things are still going full swing at Cane Creek Lake. The bream bite is still on with crickets being the No. 1 bait, followed by nightcrawlers and then red wigglers. Bank fishing has shown an increase in the past week and multiple people are catching fish from the fishing piers at the park. The best way to catch big bream is still fishing near the stumps in the lake. Increasing temperatures and prolonged exposure to sunlight has caused the surface temperature of the water to rise. Since Cane Creek Lake is a shallow lake, most fish species, including bream, will not necessarily go deep to escape the heat as much as they will seek refuge under lily pad patches. Crappie have finally been making a showing in the past month with multiple anglers reporting that they “keep about as many as they throw back.” The crappie are biting about as deep as you can get on Cane Creek Lake, with most anglers having success in 8-12 feet of water on top of structure. Crappie jigs and shiners are the most successful baits reported. Bass have finally started making a slight comeback, with winning baskets at the weekly bass tournament increasing from an average of 10 pounds to 15 pounds. Fishing lily pad fields and cover along banks with spinners and topwater baits seems to be landing largemouth, while fishing suspended in open water with shallow cranks and spinners has attracted quite a few Kentucky bass chasing schooling baitfish. Soft plastic baits such as Baby Brush Hogs or lizards colored in pumpkin seed and red-speckled watermelon fished on a Texas rig have received moderate success in certain places along the banks. Catfish are biting as always. Baiting trotlines with anything pungent seems to work. Shiners have increased in popularity as trotline bait, but bacon or chicken coated in a mixture of garlic salt and Kool-Aid has shown success. A stable forecast for the week will promise good fishing as long as any rain that shows up doesn’t stick around too long. Coupled with cooler nights hopefully keeping the water down, we look to see large hauls coming in within the next few days.
(updated 7-12-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said bream are hit and miss, but overall still rate good. Bream are in a depth of about 5 feet. Bass fishing is good early in the date and late in the evening. Try using a deep-diving crankbait or plastic worm. Catfishing is fair. Crappie reports were poor to none caught. That crappie that are being caught are biting minnows or jigs. No reports on white bass. Water clarity is good and the surface water temperature was low 90s on Tuesday. Water level is normal.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level is about 4 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There was current Monday in Little River with the gates releasing around 3,900 cfs. The main lake is stained from recent high wind and thunderstorms. Largemouth bass are very good early, moving deeper into creek channels and Little River later in the day. White bass remain deep in Little River and oxbows. Crappie have improved upriver out of any remaining current. Surface temps Monday ranged 80 degrees early to 90 degrees. As of Monday the tailwater level was near 241 feet msl. Clarity and visibility continues improving depending on location. Little River continues to settle out and clear up, as does main lake, with the reduced inflow and current. The oxbow's clarity continues to improve. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 5-6 inches. Little River's visibility ranged 5-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity is ranging 15-20 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike notes little change in bass activity over the past couple weeks. They are in full-blown summer patterns: shallow early, drop-offs and ledges, deeper in creek channels as the sun heats up. Bass continue feeding very well early on topwaters. With the summer patterns continuing to be the norm, the best topwater activity is from dawn and early morning up to around 9 a.m. or so. The topwater activity continues to be excellent on Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps, topwater frogs, buzzbaits, Ken Pops, Spit'n Images, Bass Assassins and Chug Bugs working around lily pads, stumps in creek channels and vegetation from 3-5 feet deep. As the sun rises, switch to Chatterbaits, War Eagle spinnerbaits and shallow-depth squarebill crankbaits, which will get a reaction from the bass in the creek channels, in the same areas as the early topwater bite. Use big bulky Magnum tubes, 8-inch lizards and 10-inch worms near cypress trees, knees, and vegetation close to deep drops in creek channels and Little River that will be holding the mid- to late-morning fish. Larger bass are holding near points and deep creeks, which allows them quick access to deeper water in Little River or deeper creek sections with stumps during the day as the sun gets up. Best colors over the past week or so for buzzbaits are firecracker, white/chartreuse and bream. Bass Assassin Shads in Watermelon Candy, Rainbow Shad, Native Shiner and Chartreuse Pepper Shad colors are working around lily pads and vegetation with the better water clarity. Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits continue to get good reactions, with the best colors over the past several weeks being Gizzard Shad, Ghost Minnow and Millwood Magic. Medium-running Bomber Fat Free Shad crankbaits in Citruse or Citrus Shad are catching a few largemouths in the oxbows and clearer water color in 8-12 feet depths near cypress trees and creek channel swings.
Mike says the best white bass activity over the past week or so falls back to the jig'n spoon pattern for the whites or hybrids along Little River backwashes out of current from 10-16 feet deep. A few whites were schooling at daybreak in the back of Horseshoe Oxbow earlier this week. The schooling whites were hitting Rat-L-Traps, Chatterbaits, Little Cleos, Little Georges and Rocket Shads with abandon. Bomber Fat Free Shad medium-diving cranks were tagging a few good whites, as were jigging spoons in these same areas. Flats just off the main channel were good locations early for those schooling fish chasing shad schools. As for crappie, there has been little change. Crappie were active early until around 9 a.m. this week in planted brush piles out of Little River current, and were hitting Blakemore Road Runners, jigs and minnows.
Blues and channel cats were biting in the heavy current but have shifted with the reduction in current this week. Several catfishermen in Mud Lake were doing really well using big shiners and minnows on yo-yo’s hung from cypress tree limbs over 8-10 feet of water at the back of Mud Lake oxbow.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.06 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
Cossatot River State Park had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.54 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is fair with a decent early morning topwater bite. Look for surface feeding fish on the south side between points 2 and 4, especially in the big coves. Most any surface lure will work if the cast is dead on where the fish "breaks." Casting accuracy is key to this type of fishing. Also soft plastics such as Zoom Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits work well. A few fish are being taken at mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Try fishing the main lake points with medium-running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless. Also early morning is by far the best time. Quite a few Kentuckies showing along the rock bluffs at points 14 and 15. Try a 4-inch finesse worm Texas rigged and in green pumpkin. Crappie fishing is fair with only a few fish reported. The deep attractors at 25-28 feet are best. Look for fish at mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Drop a 2-inch Kalin's grub in Tennessee shad on a 1/16-ounce jighead to just above the brush and move slowly around the cover. Once again, be there early in the morning. Hybrid fishing is good with the fish now suspending in the deep thermocline at 50 feet in over 100 feet of water. Use the sonar to locate the fish and drop a heavy jigging spoon or 3-inch grub to just above the fish. Look for fish between the dam and point 4 along the old river channel. Lots of bream still showing on points in the big coves and on offshore humps in 10-20 feet of water. Tight-line a redworm or cricket to just off the bottom and move slowly around the point or hump.
(updated 7-5-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said the Fourth is over, and water will be calming down soon. Hope everyone had a great and safe holiday. The lake has water temperatures of mid-80s depending on your exact location. Water level is 405.64 feet msl (as of Tuesday). Bream fishing is still stead. Fish near the bottom in 6-10 feet of water. Brush piles are your best bet with bedding zone. Ozane, Lennox Marcus and Arlie Moore are good areas. Don’t overlook Alpine Ridge, either. Hybrids, white bass and black bass are surfacing if you can find calm water. They are coming up from 2 Up to Arlie Moore. Use topwaters (Tiny Torpedo, Zara Spook, Devil Horse) shad-colored. Spoons can pick them up below the surface, or deep divers like Shad Rap will get you down deeper. Black bass are hitting topwaters on the backside of points early and late. Same summer patterns of black spinnerbaits and topwater after dark. Crappie are slowing down. They are getting deeper and closer to the cover. Brush piles in Brushy area up to Shouse Ford are your best bet. Try 15 feet minimum depth to start.
(updated 6-28-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the white bass and hybrids are biting well on spoons early in the morning. The crappie are still good on jigs or minnows fished 8-12 feet deep on brush piles.
(updated 7-12-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s said on US97 that he had a good report from some guys who were catching quite a few fish early morning on topwater bait right on the shore. They were catching black bass and in good sizes. If you go along the shoreline, there is still grass along the shore and you can catch some fish around that.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.73 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-28-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s in Hot Springs reported on US97 that a recent 5-fish stringer of largemouth bass totaling more than 25 pounds was pulled out of the lake to win a high school fishing tournament. Big bass were here, as well as in nearby Gillham and Dierks lakes, he said.
(updated 7-12-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are still biting well. There is a better morning bite. A few bream are still being caught. Not much report on crappie and catfish.
(updated 7-12-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few bass are schooling. No report on crappie, bream or catfish.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report this week.
White Oak Lake
White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 7-12-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the activity there has been slow. Anglers have to get in a boat to hunt down bream or crappie. Reports on bream were fair, though. Worms and crickets were both working. Crappie rated poor to fair at best, though it was “slow, slow, slow” according to the folks at the Landing. Minnows and jigs are the best bets. Bass reports were good. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits were both getting hits. Catfish are good by noodling. White bass reports were poor.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 7-12-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 60 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy scheduling 8-hour generation periods each day to help maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is at its highest peak. Fast currents and open floodgates are dangerous and keeping the proper distance from the area is vital for safety. Life jackets should be worn at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow, which is the norm for this time of year. The bite is very slow and patience is key regardless of the techniques used. Live bait presentations are best presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms or mealworms are an excellent choice along with live minnows and crickets.
Artificial lures are nonproductive as hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the area to spawn. Summer trout fishing requires stealth and patience as the fish are extremely wary and the bite lasts for only a few hours. White bass are in the tailrace and are being caught on live minnows tight-lined over deep water below the bridge. In periods of current flow, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern have worked well over rock structure and sandbars. These fish are spawning and should be present from the bridge to the dam until late July. Stripers have migrated into the tailrace to feed on the shad migration. Fish in the 20-pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the floodgates are open. Feeding on small shad, anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now. Casting weightless soft plastics perfectly match the injured shad drawn through the open gate flow. Strong lines and rods are highly recommended as many of these large predator fish are in excess of 20 pounds and are ferocious fighters when hooked. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules and always follow all park and lake regulations.
(updated 6-28-2017) Greesons Marine, the hometown dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs, reports that the lake is stained and the water temperature is in the low to mid-80s. Fish in depth of 1-3 feet near or in grass cover. Use topwater baits, specifically Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits with the occasional frog. Fishing conditions are slow. The fish are slowing down due to the hot water temperatures. It’s time to start throwing those big dark-colored plastics down deeper and much slower. Warm up the electronics and start looking for submerged structure in the 12-20 feet range.
(updated 7-5-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the mid-80s and there is sporadic flow on the river. Clarity is good. Bass fishing has been excellent with many fish moving to their summer. Use crankbaits, spinnerbaits spinner, jigs and topwater lures. Stripers and white bass have been excellent. Tru crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater poppers. Crappie has been fair; the fish are 10-12 feet deep. Use minnows and white jigs. Bream have been excellent on crickets and worms around grass and around fallen trees with green leaves. Catfish have been good around mouth of creeks and main river point. Use cut bait, worms and stink bait.
(updated 7-12-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 that last weekend was nice. He said he spent Friday night and Saturday night on the lake, and the moon was coming up as the sun was setting. The bass bite was pretty good, they caught quite a few. They were nights with no cloud cover, no rain, the lake was fairly flat, there was a light breeze. There were no ripples really on the bank where he was. So it played in the hand of a worm. We caught a few on a spinnerbait, but the majority on a Texas rigged worm.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.98 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported a week that ranged from good to great on the lake. Water is clear and at a normal level, and the surface water temperature was 82 degrees on Tuesday. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie can be found in 4 feet of water and the bite is good on minnows or jigs. Bass reports were good. The fish appear in about 10-11 feet depth and are hitting spinnerbaits and 10½-inch plastic worms. Catfishing ranged from good to excellent. The cats were biting worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken livers.
(updated 7-12-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the action there was slow to about none of the past few. What they are hearing is that people are going to Blue Mountain Lake rather than fishing Nimrod from there. But they believe the fish are out there in Nimrod. Water level is normal. There termed the few reports on bream, crappie, bass and catfish all at a “fair” level.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.50 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair and being caught with Texas rigged plastics and crankbaits fished late evening and night. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are excellent and being caught on spoons on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are good on live bait. The central and eastern parts of the lake are the best areas for these fish. Bream are good in water 15-20 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are excellent on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs. Try depths of 10-20 feet. Water temperature is ranging 84-88 degrees and the clarity is clear. Water level is about 2.5 feet below. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 7-12-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that there is a bumper crop of moss growing on Ouachita right now. It’s absolutely beautiful. Thick, lush – Kastner says he tells people it’s almost looks like the mid-’80s again. It’s a definitely a thing of beauty, this thick moss. Over the weekend in a tournament on the lake, he notes, Bruce Keller caught the event’s “Big Bass” of 4.6 pounds. And the winning two-person stringer was 14.55 pounds.
Phillip says that while the summer is getting hotter and hotter, there are ways to still fish in the heat. You’ll be looking to fish shaded areas. Along Lake Ouachita, two things to consider: the deep edge of that moss line and, two, brush piles or timber. Without eyelids, fish are looking to shade or shield their eyes from the sun. Whether they are in 18 feet of water at the deep edge of a moss line, or in any brush pile, or next to standing timber, that’s what you’re looking for: cover and structure. And it doesn’t have to be that deep under water, he said. The other scenario for summer fishing, more so on Lake Hamilton where you’ve got boat docks: Just going down the edges of boat docks is a very productive way to catch fish during the heat and the high sun part of the day.
Kastner also says, though, that what most locals do, “95 percent of us,” is night fish this time of the year. There is no sense beating yourself up. Most people have to work during the day, anyway. About 7 p.m. or so, it starts cooling off and you put the boat in the water and go fish until midnight, 1 o’clock, or until you get tired. “That’s exactly what I did last week on the full moon and that’s exactly what most guys do this time of year,” he said. He added that if you’re going out on Ouachita, there is still that very good crop of moss on the inside edge and there are lots of bluegill there. Trader Bill’s, he said, is selling as many crickets this time of year as they have in quite some time. Kastner said he thinks the full moon had a lot to do with it last week, but the bream beds are still there. “It’s rare for me to say that there are bream beds in July, but there are a lot of guys who have seen them and they’re catching a lot of big bream doing it. I’m not saying that there is a lot, but there is enough to go have fun and catch a big mess of bream.” He says that on the north side of the lake, the moss is really good, and bream beds are all over the place there. “If you see those beds, one other thing it’s also going to mean is you can take a squarebill crankbait in some bluegill colors and probably catch a few bass as well,” Kastner said.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.26 feet msl (flood pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-12-2017) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) said the lake is “on fire” with several crappie limits in the past week.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 7-5-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake has been having moderate bream activity on live bait, reported around the shoreline from the day-use peninsula. Bass seem to be biting on jigs over habitat, back in the coves to the far side of the park campground Lone Pine. No specific time of day on those.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-5-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said Storm Creek Lake has seen little increase in activity. Fishermen have been trying to coax bream out to bite, but no luck so far. Pretty scarce all the way around.