July 26, 2017
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 26, 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 7-26-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water surface temperature being so hot has slowed everything down. Water clarity is clear and is at a normal level. Bass are good if you work a topwater or buzzbait around the lily pads. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie reports were poor. Catfishing is good with cut shad. Anglers looking for any success are showing up really early or late in the day.
Little Red River
(updated 7-26-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue to receive 12 hours of daily generation on the Little Red River. This pattern is expected to change and be cut back in the next few days with the lake level approaching pool level. With the current generation pattern, they are having 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 midges, sowbugs, soft hackles 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 7-26-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the latest report on river levels is for 12-hour generation to continue from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and cutting back to power demand on the weekend. This should allow for more wading opportunities and good fishing all around. The river is clear and drift-fishing is good by staying ahead of the new water each day. Fishing remains good with midges and blue-winged olives being the best insect activity. Check the generation before your trip because changes to the posted data happen due to increased demands for power and other reasons. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock is a good app for your cell phone (subtract 1 hour from the start time: For example, if the app shows 8 a.m., the generation started at 7 a.m. to reach that amount) and the Corps is now announcing the starting time for the generation on the recording when you call 501-362-5150 and 3# extension (this is exact). The following are approximate times when 2-unit generation will arrive at these locations:
Cow Shoals: 1 hour
Winkley Shoal: 3 hours
Lobo Landing: 5 hours
Dripping Springs: 6 hours
Ramsey Access: 8 hours
It’s hoped this will help all plan their fishing and recreation on the river safely. Enjoy the river and please respect it and be safe. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are much safer on low water. Only experienced persons should navigate the river during high water generation. Knowing which section of the river to fish or paddle according to the generation will add to your enjoyment and safety on the river.
(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 463.08 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 7-26-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.1 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 0.56 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and will continue to fall for power needs and evaporation as well. Overall the fish are for sure in their summer mode. The black bass are shallow and out as deep as 70 feet, some on the bottom and some suspended, while some are roaming a lot depending on the weather for the day. Shallow fish can be caught with spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, topwater baits and small worms. With the deeper fish, go with Texas rigged worms, football heads, C-rigs, spoons, hair jigs, swimbaits and spoons. The crappie are suspended for the most part around brush piles, pole timber and just out in the middle of nowhere from 15 feet out to 30; use jigs and/or minnows or small spoons. Catfish are still eating things catfish eat; whatever your choice maybe on the edge of flats in a creek or river bend, 3 feet out to 30. The bream bite is good from up real shallow out to 30 feet on crickets and crawlers. The walleye bite is kind of hit and miss as they are roaming the flats a lot, setting up in different places to feed where they find bait and they are comfortable. Try using jigheads and drop-shots with crawlers or crankbaits. The hybrid bass and white bass are eating well on structure on bottom and suspended. Some are coming to the top all around the lake off and on during the day and night chasing threadfin shad. Try using live bait, in-line spinners, spoons, topwater baits, Rinky Dinks, hair jigs and swimbaits.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-26-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is somewhat stained and is quite hot on the surface. Water level is normal. Bream are still biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The bass bite is good, with anglers using spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is fair on worms and blood bait.
(updated 7-26-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are in deep water and biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal and bone/chartreuse colors, as well as Penny Back Shad and 1.25 inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bass are biting buzzbaits and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper.
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 7-26-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is almost normal again. Water clarity is good and surface temperature is around 95 degrees. Black bass are still doing well around grass and brush using black worms, fluggers and crankbaits, and Brokeback Rapala in shad color. Bream are doing well with crickets in 4-5 feet off water around grass and banks. Crappie are being caught in deeper water using minnows. There are five to 11 fish being caught at a time, 13-15 inches. Catfish are being caught at night on rod and reel with nightcrawlers and bass minnows. Johnny reports they had a 29-pound flathead brought in last Friday afternoon, and a lot of channel catfish are being caught weighing 2-6 pounds.
(updated 7-19-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the week has been great for fishing, it’s just hot. Water is clear and the surface temperature was 85 degrees. Level is normal. Bass are excellent, with some 8-pounders caught. Anglers are using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and buzzbaits. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good and are in about 12-14 feet of water around brush piles. Use minnows or jigs. Catfishing was fair, with worms or shad working best. White bass reports were poor.
(updated 7-26-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are slow. Black bass are biting on jigs, crankbaits, wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits and Sweet Beaver. Blacks are about 10-15 feet off the weeds by about 10 feet. Biting around shallow water during dusk time and dawn. Matt Hedrick and Brandon Crain were able to find a 4.08-pound “Big Bass” in Tuesday night’s tournament, won by the 9.58 pounds caught by Josh Baker and Josh Jeffers. Rod Martinez and Marvin Lewis caught 10.9 pounds of bass to win last Friday’s tournament, and Keeton Blaylock caught a “Big Bass” of 4.22 pounds. Kentucky bass bite is also slow. Kentucky bass are being caught on jigs and minnows, and can be found mixed with the black bass in the shallow water. White bass are excellent. They are schooling at east end and some are midwest. They are coming up for a short period of time and moving quickly with the schools. Use Rooster tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Crappie are good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with very light line). Lots of 11- to-15 inch crappie are being caught in 22-25 feet of water. Fish off channel or under water bridges. Bream are excellent and can be found on the brush piles but moving quickly. Lots of reports about redear on west end of lake. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfish are excellent. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water with some moving into shallower water. 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 7-26-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting in deep water on Baby Shad and Slab Slanger, minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting Slab Slanger and Baby Shad in Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Black Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 7-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers are catching catfish at Sunset Lake on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are biting fair on crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been slow to fair with minnows and watermelon seed lizards and worms. Crappie fishing has been slow.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers, minnows and bait shrimp. Bream are biting fair on crickets and worms. Bass and crappie fishing has been slow.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are being caught on trotlines baited with brooder minnows, black salties and goldfish. Bass have been biting minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie have been slow but some have been caught on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s Grubs. Bream are fairly easy to catch with crickets and redworms. Expect to catch plenty of small ones and a big one now and then. Gar are fun and challenging to catch and they'll bite a minnow if you get it anywhere close to them.
(updated 7-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting fair for some at night using minnows and back salties. Bass fishing has been fair with Carolina rigged plastics and small topwater baits early in the mornings and minnows in the evenings. No reports of crappie being caught lately.
(updated 7-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bass have been slow to bite but some have been hitting minnows and Carolina rigged plastics. Crappie fishing has slowed but a few nice ones have been caught this week on size 6 minnows and Kalin’s Grubs.
(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.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 7-26-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the heat has fishermen fishing early in the morning or later in the evening. White bass are schooling on jetty tips where you have shad early and late. Use a crankbait in shad or pearl color. Results have been good. Catfishing is best early in the day and late in the evening drift-fishing. It’s best if you go with a combination of skipjack and worms. Some nice 8-15-pounders are being caught. Reports are good. Largemouth bass are in pockets of backwater early in the day. Use Chatterbaits or black Tiny Torpedoes. Later on, the bass are going to grass around riprap. Pull your baits through grass and late drop. Also use them around wood. Reports on bass have been good. Bream are good around grass using crickets early in the backwaters. Shade is the key. No reports on crappie catches. A few stripers are on the jetty tips late. Use a shad-colored crankbait. Stripers are also doing well late evening below the generator plant and the dam. Live bream is the best bait there.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
(updated 7-19-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reports that the flows on the river are slowing and fishing is still good. Bass fishing is good to excellent right now depending on the day. The fish are definitely in full summer mode and sticking close to that highly oxygenated water found near current. Look ambush areas near the main river where the current is broken up. Good fish can also be caught in deeper back waters where there are small blowholes that keep a small amount of water moving. Use moving baits like spinnerbaits and squarebills around current. Try slower baits, like big worms and jigs, around the slack water. Crappie fishing is slow. Some can be caught in the deeper slack water holes behind jetties. Use jigs and minnows in 20-25 feet. Most of the catfish are fully recovered and eating well. Now is the time to use your biggest offerings. Place large live or cut bait (the fresher the better) in the deepest holes you can find. Be sure to set up on the upstream side so the current and 'walk' your bait back to the cats. For bream, Trout Magnet on a single pole is deadly right now. Look for water willow grass around the shallower jetties. Flip in there and hold on!
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-26-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said that like everywhere else reporting, surface temperature of the water now is “hot, hot, hot.” Water is clear and the level and current are normal. Largemouth bass are good early in the day and late. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits and, early, go with topwater lures. Catfishing is fair on worms. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie reports have been good. They are in 8-10 feet of water and biting minnows or jigs.
(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 7-19-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said bass are excellent in the Murray Lock and Dam area. Use a plastic worm, white twister tails and minnows. No other reports.
(updated 7-26-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the water is clear and at a normal level. Bream remain good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good either early in the morning or late at night. The largemouths are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-26-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water level and current is normal. The clarity in the pool is clear and surface water temperature is 90 degrees. The bream bite is good on redworms. Crappie are good and biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good around the sand drops. Use a crankbait or a shaky head. No reports on catfish.
(updated 7-26-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said bream are biting fair in Clear Lake. Reports have the fish in 4-5 feet of water and around stumps. Use crickets. Water is high to normal in Clear Lake. No reports on crappie, bass or catfish from there. At the Terry Lock and Dam area of the pool, bass reports are fair on crankbaits. Catfishing is excellent, with skipjack and shad working best. No reports there on bream or crappie.
(updated 7-26-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said water is clear and at a normal level. The black bass bite is good both early in the day and late in the evening. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. White bass are fair and are favoring buzzbaits or Rooster Tails. Crappie are fair. The fish are in 8-10 feet of water and around the jetties. Bream are in the backwater and the bite is good. Work your worm or crickets in 5-6 feet depth. No reports on catfish.
(updated 7-19-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said reports have been excellent on bass from the north end of the pool and in the Murray Dam area. Anglers report great success working plastic worms as well as white twister tails and minnows. With the extremely hot conditions, fishing appears to have slowed down, they report.
(updated 7-26-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity is clear and the water level is high. No temperature was recorded. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, topwater baits and cranks. Catfish reports were good, but no other details were available. Bream are poor but are giving a nibble to worms or crickets. Crappie are poor but the few being caught will bite either a minnow or jig.
(updated 7-26-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the river belongs to kids during late July; there's nothing better than seeing young ones catch their first fish. Luckily, it's been pretty easy this past week to be part of helping a kid catch a trout: chartreuse (or almost any color) PowerBait, all by itself, has brought lots of rainbows to the shore or boat and smiles to young anglers' faces. Get to the river as early as you can while it's still cool and the water level is relatively low to enjoy the best of the day. They continue to see late-afternoon water level increases, so change your technique and your bait when you detect the first rise. Weighted line and worms (nightcrawlers, red wigglers, bubblegum pink or San Juan) will help. Drift-fishing is almost required. Favorite spoon this week: silver and blue Cleo. Favorite fly this week has been the silver and red midge. Stay cool and keep fishing!
(updated 7-26-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said rainbow catches are still good since the most recent stocking. However, it is “pretty hot” there and not a lot of boat fishing is going on. River level is normal and the water is clear.
(updated 7-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last week that they had no rain here in Cotter over the previous week, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 1.3 feet to rest at 25.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 8.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.9 feet to rest at 2.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 6.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with moderate generation. Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 16.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 8.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had less wadable water. On the White, the hot spot has been the Narrows. 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 size 14 bead-head pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
John also said, “[Last] Monday, I guided a couple, Kevin and Mary, from Kansas. They were experienced outdoors people but had never fly-fished. I began the day with a short casting lesson. They took to it quickly and a few minutes later I launched my White River jon boat and we began fishing. It was a cool start that morning, with a beginning temperature of 69 degrees, but a promise of a 91-degree high. There was a heavy fog on the river, and there were few clouds against a blue sky. The Corps of Engineers was running about 6,000 cfs, or a bit less than two full generators.
“I had rigged them slightly differently. Mary got a bead-head pheasant tail nymph below a cerise San Juan worm with an AAA split shot and a strike indicator set at about 8 feet from the bottom fly to the strike indicator. I gave Kevin the same rig, except that he got a hot fluorescent pink worm. We had only drifted a few hundred yards when Mary hit her first trout. It put on quite a struggle. When I finally got a good look at it, I quickly realized that it was a big brown. I carefully coached Mary on how to land the trophy trout. In a few minutes, the brown was in the net. I was amazed. It was a stout 24-inch hook jawed male. This was the best first trout that I had ever witnessed. Usually, when a new angler hooks something like this early on the first day, they try to rush the fight and horse the fish in, resulting in a lost fish. Mary, however, took her time and deftly landed it. We took a few photos and lovingly released it.
“She went, on a tear, catching one trout after another. Meanwhile, Kevin was fishless. He was casting well and was definitely getting some good drifts. I thought that there had to be some difference in their presentation. I figured out that they were using different lead flies. Kevin was using a hot fluorescent pink San Juan worm while Mary was fishing with a cerise San Juan worm. Would having the two anglers fish slightly different shades of pink really make a difference? I decided to find out. I switched Kevin over to a cerise San Juan worm with a bead-head pheasant tail nymph dropper so that he was rigged exactly like Mary.
“Halfway through the next drift, Kevin hit a good trout. This was just the beginning. He went on a tear, catching trout after trout. Mary was not idle. She continued her success and even landed a fat 20-inch rainbow. However, by the end of the day Kevin had probably landed as many trout as Mary had. We finished the day with about 40 trout. It had been a great first day! Sometimes the slightest change can make a difference.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 686.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-26-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report.
(updated 7-26-2017) K Dock Marina said the lake is slowly starting to drop, but the surface temperature is really going up! They’re seeing most people fishing early and late evening to avoid the heat. Not a lot of trolling right now. All species are slow due to high water and temperature. Water level going into last weekend was 687 feet msl and falling (27 feet above normal). Water temperature was ranging 88 to 92 degrees. Water is clear.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 570.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-19-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake striped bass fishing has been really good for the last month and should continue for some time. Lou says he has been spending most of his fishing time catching stripers. Lou’s daughter and granddaughter have been visiting and they have been having a blast. It is so much fun watching young fishermen and women take to the sport, he says. Lou has been keying in on striped bass in 55-65 feet of water on the bottom. This is where he has been finding the bigger fish. He has caught a few suspended fish down 40-50 feet in deeper water, but they seem to be the smaller fish. Live bait has been working exceptionally well, but artificial baits are also picking up some good fish. For artificial baits use a 1-ounce spoon and vertical-jig it off of the bottom, or if you see suspended fish reel up to them and jig at their depth. Trollers are also picking up some nice fish. The trollers are mainly using swimbaits with 4-6 ounces of weight attached to the line with a snap-on weight. If you have a downrigger, get your bait down to 50-60 feet of water. The best places to start looking for stripers is on main lake points, especially the points that go out well into the lake. Fish the edges of the point where it drops off to 60 feet of water, plus or minus 10 feet. As the sun comes up, go out a little deeper. The main area to find the stripers is south of Point 2 to the dam, then east of the dam toward Jordan Island.
Lou says largemouth bass fishing has been up and down. The best place to look for them is back in the creeks. If you can find a stand of trees that are out in 10-15 feet of water, there will be lots of bass in the area. One good place to fish for largemouth is back in Pigeon Creek where there is a large grove of trees in the water. Crankbaits, soft plastics and tube jigs are good choices to use for your bass fishing. Crappie appear to be scattered though out the sunken shoreline. Live bait is a good choice, or small jig casted into the brush and bringing them out slowly. Norfork Lake level is currently 572.54 feet above sea level and falling a little more than 2 inches per day. The main lake is clearing nicely and the creeks and coves are still somewhat stained. The lake surface water temperature was 86-87 degrees early Wednesday morning.
(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 7-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water pm the Norfork 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 (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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 1,127.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-26-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that while it’s been extremely hot, the water clarity is good and the level is normal, and anglers have been able to enjoy some fair to good fishing the past week. The bass bite is good both early in the morning and late in the day. Spinnerbaits, topwater lures and jigs all are getting good reactions. Catfish reports were good with live bait working best now. Crappie fishing is fair. Most of the success is coming from trolling and fishing minnows deep. The fish appear to be in about 14 feet of water. Bream are fair and hitting crickets.
(updated 7-26-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) reports striper fishing this week will be fair with stripers taken on live shad and bream-fished on downlines from 30 feet down to about 60 feet. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs or plugs like the Rapala No. 14 Husky Jerk in black back or purple back colors, or try the 5-6-inch model of Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on down riggers or snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jigging spoons like a Binks will also produce. You will need to locate fish near springs along bluffs with tree lines. Striper are using areas like these due to high summer temperatures, dropping oxygen content and the loss of thermocline due to generation. Night fishing with lights has been productive in these areas. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three stripers or hybrid or combination, Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. 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 Bailey’s web site linked above. Water surface temperatures are in the high 80s on the mid- and lower sections of Beaver; check out these hot spots: Point 1, Indian Creek, Dry Creek (check the main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects; fish are chasing bait near the tree line as well as at different times throughout the day or night), Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Pine Log, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6 and Rambo Creek Arm.
Mike says walleye are making their way back to the main lake in numbers in summer migration mode and can be found scattered throughout the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 20-30 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. Also 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 combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 7-26-2017) 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 the 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 well fished between 6-15 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 water craft. 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 7-26-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported that water remains too high to wade. Conventional fishermen are catching limits of trout from the bank and boat alike. Fly-fisherman are out of luck, at least as of last weekend, 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 Access 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.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 7-19-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are hitting topwater hoppers and poppers, soft plastics, crankbaits, Rooster Tails, spoons, live minnows and crawdads from the creek. Pools above, during and below rapids are hot spots between AGFC's Clifty Access to War Eagle Mills area. Reminder that the length limit is 14 inches. Largemouth bass are biting well in stretches of War Eagle into Beaver Lake. Anglers are fishing around bushes, trees and grass with topwater lures, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and go toward deeper water with crankbaits, jigs and soft plastics. A reminder that the black bass combined daily limit is two. Goggle eye are hitting small jigs, Rooster Tails and live worms. When you catch one, there are more likely many more fish in same area. Catfishing is excellent with liver, stink bait and live bait. Good spots are at bluff holes and the War Eagle stretch going into Beaver Lake. Bowfishing beginning to get good with summer heat. Walk bluff line stretches for great action, and from boats below War Eagle Mills into Beaver Lake.
(updated 7-26-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) has closed his shop and retired.
(updated 7-19-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said anglers enjoyed a good to great week of fishing despite the rising heat. The water is clearing up and is at a normal level. Bream are excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie ranged fair to good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was excellent, with crankbaits and plastic worms working best. The catfish bite is good, anglers say.
(updated 7-19-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said water level is normal and the clarity is dingy. Water surface temperature is 89 degrees. Bass are good early in the morning on plastic worms and buzzbaits. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Catfishing is good using chicken livers, shad and goldfish. No reports on crappie.
(updated 7-26-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the park is getting lots of calls regarding the draining of the lake. It is hard to tell just when Lake Poinsett will be completely drained. There is no limit to how much or what kind of fish you can keep. So, it is a good time to go fishing. There are some big catfish out there. Ome says they are keeping plenty of bait on hand for you.
(updated 7-26-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is very clear and the surface temperature is a hot mid-90 degrees. Water level is normal. The fishing is slow due to the very hot conditions. The only reports are on catfish, with good results for cats. Use chicken liver for bait.
(updated 7-26-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 396 cfs and water clarity has been clear. Dobson flies are in the water right now. Big white thorax and dark abdomen. Big nymphs. Y2Ks have been really hot on the sunny hot days we have had this last week. When the sun is high in the sky, get the fly down to the bottom in deeper pools with fast water. Higher oxygen content and the trout can get out of the heat. Hot pink and red Trout Magnets have been hot this week. Try Gorilla Super Glue to keep the bodies on the hook. Just a little dab will do it. Easy applicator tip and hey its gorilla glue that’s cool.
(updated 7-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing better. 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 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 7-26-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said water is dingy and at a normal level. With the hot conditions, fishing is mostly fair. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie remain fair on minnows or jigs. Try for bass early in the morning on after dark. Results for bass have been fair on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing has been fair using worms. No reports on walleye.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
(updated 7-19-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team reported that water temperatures are in the upper 80s throughout. Visibility in Lake Langhofer and the main channel of the river is around 1 foot. The river is flowing slowly at normal level. There is still enough flow to congregate main-channel fish in ambush points behind current breaks. When using crankbaits, remember to make contact with the rocks or cover. Fish often hold close to cover to stay out of the main current, and lure deflections off of hard surfaces often trigger bites. Despite the high temperatures black bass are still biting well, but mostly in the morning. Some mornings they will take moving topwaters such as buzzbaits, walking plugs and poppers. Other mornings they will only take crawfish or worm imitations worked more slowly along the bottom. Experiment each day to gauge their mood. A major key this time of year is to follow shade. Fish will feed early in shallow areas covered by shadows cast from trees or steep shorelines and then move to vegetation, brush piles, logs or manmade structures during the day to get out of direct sunlight.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-26-2017) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the hot temperatures haven’t affected the fishing at Cane Creek Lake as much as expected. Early morning and late evening have become extremely productive times to fish. Bream are, as always, the No. 1 fish being pulled from the lake. Nightcrawlers have finally taken top spot over crickets as the most successful bait. Redear sunfish (shellcrackers) have started biting more frequently and have mixed healthily with the commonly caught green sunfish and bluegill. Target them in shallower parts of the lake with visible insect activity on top of the water and structure underneath. As per usual, fishing around one of the lake’s many stump beds will usually solicit quite a few bites. Many people have reported increasing success along the banks and fishing piers as well. Rig a line with a bobber 2-3 feet up and a No. 4, 5 or 6 hook, throw it out to where the morning sunlight touches the water and reel it back in until you meet the shade thrown from the trees along the bank. Let your rig settle in that transition zone and wait for a bite. With the heat, catfish have started to become increasingly nocturnal. Bait trotlines with strong-smelling baits such as chicken liver and live baitfish late in the evening. Bass have become increasingly active in the mornings. Light-colored topwaters and natural-colored Rat-L Traps have seen tremendous success starting at daybreak and lasting all the way to about noon. During the night and late evening, dark-colored spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are the way to go. Crappie have become an ever increasing report from the lake’s southernmost end, across from the park all the way to the levee. Fish deep on structure with minnows or crappie rigs. With high temperatures prevailing for the rest of the month, expect for fish to become active when the water is cooler.
(updated 7-26-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.
(updated 7-26-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said fishing has been good for several species in the past week, with good clarity in the water and normal level. Like everywhere else, the surface water temperature has really heated up to the low to mid-90s. The bass bite is good, and some 7- to 8-pounders have been caught. The bass appear to be 10-20 feet deep. They’re biting on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, soft plastic worms and will come up for topwater lures. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Catfish reports are good for trotline users. No reports on white bass. No report on crappie.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-26-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level Monday was 4 inches above normal conservation pool and falling at 259.5 feet msl. There is current of 173 cfs in Little River; tailwater was about 226.3 feet msl. Water temps were stable over the past week, with Monday surface temps ranging near 86 degrees to 93 degrees later under full sun (depending on location). The lake level is returning to normal pool elevation. Use normal caution during navigation. The mayfly hatch remains in full swing on Millwood and like we have never seen in recent years. It is super-hot this time of year on Millwood, and the bream bite continues after these mayflies! Clarity and visibility improved in the past week in most areas on the main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 10-15 inches. Cottonshed and the northeast section of the lake remained heavy stained. Little River's visibility ranged 12-15 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranged 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.
Largemouth bass remain good to excellent from 2-5 pounds on topwaters early at daybreak. Bass are the most aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands, stumps, cypress trees and vegetation in Little River near deep drops. Buzzbaits, Spit’n Images, Chug Bugs and Stuttersteps all continue drawing good reactions on top at daybreak. Soft plastic Bass Assassin Shads and soft plastic frogs all still draw good responses early in the morning around vegetation and lily pads. Best color of buzzbaits over the past couple of weeks include black, Blue Glimmer Ghost, white/chartreuse and bubblegum used around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels or in the river. Best colors for bites off Bass Assassin Shads continue to be Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost and Bad to the Bone. Good bites continue on black or June Bug-colored soft plastic frogs around pads in the clearest water you can find. Big bulky 10-inch worms continue working in drop-offs, with best colors over the past week or two being black, black grape or peanut butter'n jelly. Best locations for working the bulky worms range 5-10 feet deep in Little River around grass mats after morning topwater bite subsides, and in the same areas where the topwater early bite is aggressive. Try moving deeper in the creek channels or to the points of Little River where the creek meets the river as the sun rises and begins to heat up the flats adjacent to creek channels. The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shad continuing working across underwater points in Little River; squarebill crankbaits are still working long old river channel swings where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into Little River. Rat-L-Trap/Echo 1.75 squarebills continue working in Millwood Magic and Ghost colors around deeper drops in Little River, and in the mouths of creek channels dumping into the river. Nice-size bass are also biting on magnum-sized, 4-inch salty tubes with Bream/Orange tail, Irish Whiskey, Smokey/black/red flake, Purple Smoke/purple fleck and black/blue tail colors. Over this past week in a few of the oxbows, once the sun gets up, Chatterbaits in Spot Remover or Firecracker colors are getting hits when tossed next to cypress trees and knees, drawing strikes 3-6 feet from the base of the trees. Bream-colored crankbaits also continue working around pads, hydrilla and stumps from 3-6 feet deep near cypress trees along creeks dumping into the oxbows, in the mouths of the creeks and across secondary points.
White bass and hybrid bass continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on Fat Free Shad crankbaits, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads from about 7-12 feet deep. Schooling whites have been noted in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows off Little River early at daybreak on flats adjacent to deeper drops in the depths from 5-10 feet deep at random intervals for the past several weeks. Crappie continued improving over the past week with the slower current reduction in Little River and continue biting over planted brush piles using vertical jigging tubes and jigs from 7-8 feet of depth out of any remaining current in Little River. Best colors were pink/white, chartreuse/blue and chartreuse/white combinations. Spinning jigs were also vertically jigging up some decent-size crappie last week. Bluegills and longear sunfish bream were biting really well all along Little River over the past couple weeks, and especially under any leaning cypress or willow, and other "leafed out" trees where the mayfly hatch is happening. The mayfly hatch this year is tremendous. Any bait resembling a mayfly will get you a limit of bream really quick along the river. Casting or jigging with popping bugs, crickets and redworms, mayflies and tiny jigging spoons and Blakemore Road Runners will bring a limit in short order. It's hot, but so is the bream bite! No report for catfish since the recent reduction of current along Little River over the past week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.18 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 403.81 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-26-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is "boiling," (well, 90 degrees is close to boiling). The lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good early in the morning from sunup to about 8 a.m.., then the heat takes its toll on both the fish and fishermen. Look for schooling fish along the south side between points 2 and 4. Also along the state park, especially in the big coves. Throw surface lures in natural colors and soft plastics such as Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. Crappie fishing is slow with the hot water. A few fish are being caught deep at about 20 feet down on attractors in 28-30 feet of water. Vertical fish a 2-inch Kalin's grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Natural shad colors are best with Tennessee Shad hard to beat. Look for attractors at mid-lake between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Hybrid fishing is good with some nice catches reported coming from deep water between the dam and point 4. Use the sonar to locate the fish which will be 50-60 feet down in water 100-plus feet deep along the old river channel. Drop a heavy jigging spoon or 3-inch grub to just above the fish. White and chartreuse are the best colors. Early morning is best and by 9 a.m. the bite is pretty much over. Lots of bream are showing on points in big secondary coves. The fish are holding near the bottom in deep water at 15-20 feet. Tight-line a redworm or cricket near the bottom and move slowly around the point until the school is located. Catfishing is good at night in the big coves with standing timber and 25-30 feet deep. Bottom fish with cut shad, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, hot dogs, blood baits or Catfish Charlie. Also try live minnows and small bream.
(updated 7-26-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid stripers are schooling early in the morning. Casting spoons are producing results.
(updated 7-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s said he’s getting starting to get reports of hybrids breaking now in the middle of the lake near Arlie Moore.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.63 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
(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.
White Oak Lake
White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 7-26-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that no one is fishing due to the heat. That follows a previous week that had been good overall, before the intensity of summer kicked in. The water a week ago was clear and at a normal level. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Crappie were still good; use minnows or jigs. Bass were good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish were biting well on worms, bloodbait and shad. But no one ventured out this week to report.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 7-26-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 7-26-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy scheduling 10-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. Summertime 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 has 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 that occurs every May and June. Fish in the 20-pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the floodgates are open. With fish feeding on small shad, anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now than earlier in the spring. 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 7-26-2017) Greesons Marine, the hometown dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs: See Greesons report under Lake Hamilton.
(updated 7-19-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Water clarity is good throughout the river and the creeks. Black bass are good early and late with a good topwater bite. And a good crankbait, jig and Bamboozie and worm bite of the afternoon deep. Stripers and white bass are excellent in the main river channel on dikes and just outside the buoy line; use crankbaits, swimbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater popping baits. Bream have been excellent on crickets and worms and small jigs along river rock with grass. Crappie have been good in creeks on minnows 10-11 feet deep. Catfish have been good on shad and bream main river creek channels.
(updated 7-26-2017) Greesons Marine, the hometown dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs, reports from Lake Hamilton, as well as Lake Ouachita and other Hot Springs area lakes (including Hot Springs Village) that water surface temperatures are hovering at the 90-degree mark in most areas. With the temperatures being bathwater, warm fish are returning to deep spots during the hottest parts of the days. Even early in the mornings fish are staying in shaded areas only. Work deeper areas that have some sort of drastic structure. Areas 10-18 feet have been best around docks and sharp drop-offs with hard rock bottoms or boulders. If you can match all of the above, you are in the strike zone for sure. During the days use those electronics and find baitfish on sudden drop-offs near current or creek channels. Find the baitfish ball and you’ve found the bass! Oxygen levels are low this time of year, so keep your baits on the large size. Fish are looking for a whole day’s meal in one swallow. Another tip is to use scent attract. If the bite is “mushy” and fish aren’t hammering baits, use scent attract so you have time to get a good hook set. Best baits to use right now have been Zoom Ole Monster 10-12-inch ribbon-tailed black or Watermelon worms fished with a single large split shot 18 inches up. Texas rigged green lizards have worked well also. For the deeper fish chasing the baitfish, work a jerkbait, deep-diving crankbait or black or dark-colored spinnerbaits at a slow and steady pace parallel or just above where you think the bait fish are located. Shad and silhouette colors like dark craw have been prompting strikes.
(updated 7-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that with the heat of the summer there just aren’t a whole lot of options. If you’re on our areas lakes, you can either fish topwater in the morning or you can fish a worm or a jig in brush during the day or at night. That’s what people are doing and it hasn’t changed.
If you’re going to be out on non-moss lakes, which would be Hamilton and most any other lake but Lake Ouachita in this area, a Texas rigged worm in brush is what’s happening, 10-15 of water right above thermocline seems to be the magic number. Right about, early in the morning or right at sunset you can throw a topwater bait as well. During the heat of the day it can be tough. Boat dock fishing on Hamilton is not a bad option, they’re looking for shade and there are plenty of shady boat docks on Hamilton. Tournaments on our areas lakes, guys are catching 3-pound average bass to win those tournaments.
He also said there are reports from Hot Springs Creek, the mouth of Williams Creek and the mouth of Scully of whites and hybrids are breaking.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.57 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-26-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that fishing is excellent for bream and crappie despite a water surface temperature that is ranging 89 degrees to 95 degrees at the hottest part of the day and depending on location. Water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are shallow and the reports of catches have been excellent. Worms and crickets are both working. Meanwhile, crappie seem to be on fire with anglers reporting 90-100 fish being caught daily. Reports were fair but then came in as excellent later. Minnows and jigs are both working. Bass response will be fair if you go out early. Use topwater lures. Catfishing is excellent. The fish are about 6 feet deep.
(updated 7-26-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is “hot, hot, hot” and is clear and at a normal level. There are plenty of fish to be caught, they say. However, with the heat, anglers are not coming out as much. When they do, they find excellent response from the bream. Worms and crickets are both getting excellent response. Crappie also have been excellent despite the heat. Try minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are good on worms.
(updated 7-26-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, Bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 574.24 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still fair and being caught with Texas rigged plastics and jigs fished late evening and night. Structure and brush piles have been the most productive. Walleye are fair and being caught on spoons on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central and eastern parts of the lake are the best areas for these fish. Bream are still good in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are slow. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are fair on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Water surface temperature has ranged 90-94 degrees. Water is clear. 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 7-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said he heard a good report from last Saturday night from some guys who went up there and threw a spinnerbait, slow rolling a black spinnerbait down the edges of guts of pockets. They said that was the key and Phillip says he know why – those guts of pockets are full of moss. They were basically fishing moss but said that they caught quite a lot of good largemouth bass slow-rolling a 1-ounce spinnerbait down the guts of pockets, and caught fish all night.
Phillip says the moss in Ouachita “is incredible right now.” He recommends going further east than west, from east of Brady Mountain than to the west of Brady. The northeast side is incredible, he said. You can have a topwater bait tied on, have a frog tied on, whether a buzzing type frog or something similar. A buzzbait would be a good option. He said he’d have all of those tied on and go down the bank fishing moss trying to find some exposed grass or exposed moss near the surface. Fish that for a couple of hours in the morning until 8 or 9 a.m., until that bite winds down, then turn right around and go out on the deep edge of that moss line, parallel it and throw a Texas rigged worm. Just slide it down the edge of that deep side in about 15 feet of water and you might catch a monster. You can also throw a shad-colored crankbait in timber. That’s working and you don’t have to be in moss to throw that. You can be anywhere on Ouachita and throw a crankbait in timber and catch good fish. You might also catch a walleye doing that.
He’s not getting near the reports he would expect of hybrids, whites and stripers breaking on Ouachita like he’s hearing from DeGray.
Greesons Marine, dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs: See Greesons Lake Hamilton report.
(updated 7-19-2017) Angler Jacques Ridenour reports that everything but bass and catfish is slow this week. Catfish are being the best for night fishing and bass early morning. Water level is above normal for this time of year.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.52 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
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake