May 2, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 2, 2018. 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
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Conway will be in effect through March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligator weed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Conway for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 5-2-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water is back to its nice stained looked with a surface temperature up to 68 degrees. The level is normal. Crappie are good in 4 feet depth around the cypress trees. Use minnows. Bream are good around their beds in 1-3 feet of water and are biting redworms, waxworms and crickets. Bass are good in the grass beds. Use spinnerbaits, plastic worms and frogs. Catfishing is good around the shoreline areas on stink bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said the best results it heard were on white bass, with fair catches. Anglers were using white twister tails. Catfishing is fair on cut bait. The water level is normal and the lake is stained.
(updated 5-2-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said that with the new seasonal pool level that began May 1 of 463.04 feet msl, the river is seeing a more favorable water release pattern of a few hours of afternoon/evening generation daily. Hopes are this generation pattern will continue unless they receive significant rainfall. Good caddis and March Brown hatches are taking place on the middle and lower sections of the river. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends soft hackles, hare’s ear, caddis pupa, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on gold heads are recommended for Trout Magnet 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.
(update 5-3-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the weather is warm and the generation has returned to normal. The SWPA informed Greg that the generation should be 2-3 hours in the evening for the rest of the week barring any unforeseen power demands. The fish were rising late Wednesday afternoon during a caddis and mayfly hatch. If this continues, and it should, the bite should be good with the lower water. The river is clear. March Browns and caddis are hatching, so size 14 and 16 pupa, nymphs and emergers should be a good choice of flies. Water levels for wade fishing should be good at all shoals.
(updated 4-18-2018) James Dillard of Tailwater Fishing Co. in Searcy says the fishing on the Little Red has been excellent. The Army Corps of Engineers has been running two units of water each day for 14-16 hours each day, providing good fishing when the turbines are turned off. The best fishing has been in the falling/lower water levels. Lots of caddis can be seen hatching on sunny days and the fish have been very actively feeding. Hot flies have been soft hackles and sowbugs. Trout Magnets in pink, white and chartreuse have been working very well, also.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.30 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 5-2-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.26 feet msl and staying steady pretty much with one generator running to take care of the pool while they finish work on the other. The black bass are all trying to spawn or getting ready to or have spawned, so staying shallow wherever that might be that you find some after they get done, more will be coming; you cannot go wrong with a Texas-rigged lizard anywhere on the lake. One rod out will do the trick. Catch-and-release should be a common thing this time of year as to ensure some more are around for the years to come. The crappie are in all phases of spawn as well. A minnow or jig fished from 6 feet to the shore or a small crankbait spider-rigged is a good bet for catching them. The catfish are eating a variety of baits all around the lake on a variety of methods. The walleye are eating better as well in the lake close to where the black bass are; use a minnow on a jighead, or a drop-shot and a grub will work, also. A lot of bream are shallow, so use small crankbaits, inline spinners and crickets for your best bet. The next full moon they will be trying to spawn and if the water temp gets to 70, use crawlers. The hybrid and white bass are scattered all over the lake and rivers as well as the creek. Use grubs, inline spinners, spoons and swimbaits for the best catching.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-25-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 60 degrees. Water level remains high as of earlier this week. Crappie are good and are shallow, being caught in about 2-3 feet of water on minnows or jigs. Bass are shallow as well, and the bite is good. Fish around the shoreline with minnows or plastic worms in 2-3 feet of water. No reports on bream. Nothing on catfish.
(updated 4-25-2018) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reports that the crappie bite is “warm” in about 4-6 feet of water. They are biting on Bobby Garland Popsicle, Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone/chartreuse, Gumdrop and Penny Back Shad, as well as 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r baits and minnows. Catfish is also warm on minnows and worms and frozen shad. The bass bite is hot on buzzbaits and minnows, along with worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Popsicle, Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. The bream bit is sizzling, Ken says, with crickets, worms and Rock Hopper working best.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup will be in effect starting April 23, 2018, and ending March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligator weed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Overcup for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 5-2-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said that the water level is about 1 foot above normal and water temperature is 68 degrees on surface. Clarity is great. Crappie are doing well on minnows and jigs. Some are near the shoreline, some in 6ft of water and some in 11-16 feet of water. The bigger ones are in the deeper water males and females. Bass are in shallow water spawning. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline, blues, flathead and channels using perch, crawfish and shad. “Bream are slow but should start picking up any day now with this beautiful weather. Come out and see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Arkansas Highway 9,” Catfish says.
(updated 5-2-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water level is ranging normal to high. The surface temperature has hit 65 degrees and the clarity is clear. Bream are in 4 feet of water near the shoreline and are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are excellent around the shoreline and brush piles. Fish for them in 2-4 feet depth with minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. They’ve also made their way up into 4-6 feet depth around the shoreline and are hitting crankbaits and plastic worms. Nothing to report on catfish or white bass.
(updated 5-2-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the lake level is about 10 inches above the spillway, water temperature from the marina is 64 degrees and about 66 degrees on the north side. Largemouth bass are excellent. With water temperatures in the 60s the bass are moving to spawn areas. Try using Zoom Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 4-8 and 10-15 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. The blacks are still biting more during dusk and dawn. Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Worley pulled in a 3.76 Big Bass to win Tuesday’s night’s fishing tournament here with a 12.70-pound total. Kerdon Martin and Gravey Hearnberger also found a Big Bass of 3.76 pounds. Sixteen of the 29 boats entered weighed in over 6 pounds each. The Kentucky bass bite is good. The spots are still a little deeper than the largemouth bass. Main lake, rocky shoreline or points are best with a crankbait or jig. White bass are good: Less reports coming in on the whites the past two weeks. Some are saying the whites are staging. Normally the run is over by the first of April. Use Rooster Rails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie fishing has been good. More reports are coming in of them being found near brush piles from 6-8 feet deep. Some are saying they’re taking off with the bait rather than hitting. More males are being caught this week. Bream are good. They are coming into shallow water off the rocky points and around brush piles. Try using crickets or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfishing is very good. More reports this week of the channels starting to move out and the blues coming in. Try stink bait and worms around 20 feet deep. Had a 64-pound catfish caught this week.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said catfish are reacting to cut bait. Good reports still on white bass hitting twister tails.
(updated 4-25-2018) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are good on Bobby Garland Popsicle and Slab Slanger, as well as minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper. Bream are excellent on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said the water level and current are normal. The clarity is muddy. The only reports received were about catfish. They were fair on cut bait.
(updated 5-2-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said this is an AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program destination lake. Regulations are found on Page 69 of the 2018 Fishing Guidebook. Please abide by them in order to let others, especially kids, to also be able to catch some fish. It's stocked every once in a while with catfish. But it also has bream, crappie and bass. Bass are the only fish you have to return to the water immediately. The lake is located off the service road past the Saline County Fairgrounds, off Fairfield Road. Catfish will bite on chicken livers, bait shrimp, nightcrawlers and even minnows. especially right after being stocked. March 13 was the last time it was stocked. You can Google when it and others were stocked by typing in "stocked ponds – AGFC,” then click on the link and scroll down to see the chart. At the top of the list will be Benton – Sunset Lake and the dates and how many catfish were stocked. Lisa says she has seen some very nice crappie come out of there as well. They do well on No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Some catch them around the pier; others go over on the bridge going to the other side. Bass do well on topwater frogs and brooder minnows. Bream do fair on crickets and redworms. It's a good place to take kids; there is a paved walking trail all the way around the lake
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-2-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said this is located over off Boone Road in Bryant at Bishop Park. While these aren't AGFC lakes, they are owned by the city of Bryant. They are not listed in the AGFC’s Fishing Guidebook, so you go by the state regulations on Page 8. As you are facing Bishop Park, you will see the front one on the left-hand side by the road over by itself. That is Lake Norma; back behind it, Hurricane Creek runs as well as it runs up behind Lake Charles. Lake Charles is the back one; you go through the entrance of the park where the buildings are on the right-hand side as you are facing the park. You just pass by the buildings and the ballfield and at the end of the road you will see it. The only time these are stocked, to Lisa’s knowledge, are in September once for the Bryant Fall Fest. But when Hurricane Creek floods, it floods into both of the lakes and that's where a lot of the fish come from. Lisa says she has had some good reports from Lake Norma, especially on bass with plastic worms. But she gets better reports from the back one, Lake Charles. Catfish do well on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and occasionally on No. 12 bass minnows. Crappie have been caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows. Some are small but I have seen some big ones, too, that were caught off the dock. Bass like the Zoom Red Shad plastic worms and brooder minnows. Bream hit good on the crickets.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-2-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said, “Behold, some of the best fishing around here in Saline County.” There are three boat ramps where you can put in a canoe or a flat-bottom. One is past Sunset Lake off I-30 down Fairfield Road. Another is out off of Peeler Bend Road off I-30 past the Bruno's Italian Villa that sits back off the service road. Then you will go over the old Ed Dodson Bridge that crosses the Saline River; if you look up the river to your right you will see the spillway. The road next past the bridge on your right will be Peeler Bend Road. Another access to put in is at Lyle Park – once you see Waffle House off the service road, turn like you’re going to it. Once you pass it, go to the red light and turn right. You will see a sign saying Lyle Park. Turn left onto Lyledale Road and it will take you straight to it. The river provides lots of good fish: walleye, smallmouth, Kentucky and largemouth bass, bream and catfish. Usually prime time for the walleye is October-February. They like brooder minnows and stick baits. The bass also will go for the brooders pretty good and 4-inch Zoom green pumpkin lizards seem to be a favorite of theirs. Catfish can be caught on brooders, goldfish and black salties and nightcrawlers. Crickets and redworms, and super mealworms can catch you a mess of bream when it gets a little hotter. Crappie will go after No. 6 crappie minnows as well as the pink crappie minnows. You can also catch them on Kalin’s Jigs and Zing Tails. In a canoe you can get around pretty good on the Saline. The spillway is a very popular place to get some good fish. But it can get pretty packed, too!
(updated 5-2-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said it is located in Alexander, out Congo /Ferndale Road 13 miles from Lisa’s bait shop, and 40 minutes from Little Rock. It's a 280-acre lake owned by the city of Benton. Some of the biggest redear bream Lisa says she has ever seen have come from there. In about another week or so, using a cricket fishing on bottom will provide you will a good stringer of nice redears. There are crappie in there, too, but they are not big in abundance, but some are slabs when caught. Usually No. 6 crappie minnows or 2-inch Kalin’s Tennessee Shad colored jigs may get you a few. Bass are in there – No. 12 bass minnows or brooder minnows do well on them, as well as spinnerbaits or a Rat-L-Trap. Catfish will go after the chicken livers and nightcrawlers. They also like the black salties, especially on trotlines. Since this lake is not listed in the AGFC Fishing Guidebook, you got by the state regulations listed on Page 8 of the book.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) says catfish are fair on cut bait. The water level is normal and the clarity is muddy.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says the clarity is muddy and the lake level is normal. Catfish are fair on cut bait. No other reports.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says the clarity is muddy and the lake level is normal. Catfish are fair on cut bait. No other reports.
(updated 5-2-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said this lake is 35 miles west of Little Rock in the Ouachita National Forest. It has a surface of 1,240 acres and has a watershed at 43 square miles. It's about 51 minutes from Lisa’s bait shop. There are bass, crappie, catfish, bream and walleye in there. Back in 2009 the AGFC stocked it with several thousand walleye. Lisa says she doesn’t know if it has been stocked with any more. One of her customers had a neighbor last year that caught some using a spinnerbait. Catfish do great on chicken livers and also live crawfish. Crappie do well on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bream are good off of crickets. Lisa says that from what she hears you can also catch lots of bass off of minnows. “This lake doesn't get a lot of pressure for I have been told it's a good 7 miles off of pavement on a gravel road. You wouldn't want to take a nice truck or boat there, from what my regulars tell me.” Check out the regulations on Page 71 of the Fishing Guidebook, especially on the required boat lengths.
(updated 5-2-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the weather and the water temperatures are getting good. Black bass are coming shallow and the fishing is good. Water has risen and fallen at least twice a day. Fish the grass and secondary drops. Use green pumpkin. White bass are around Point Remove Creek, Petit Jean River and Coppers Gap. Use a shad-colored cranks. Reports have been fair. Catfish are moving to the jetties. Fish shad. Results have been fair. No reports on crappie. Bream are around the jetties and grass line. Use crickets. Anglers report fair reports. Charley also hears that in local ponds the fish are really going crazy.
(updated 5-2-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the clarity is clear and the water level and current are normal. Crappie are good. You’ll find them in 2 feet of water or less. Fish in the shallows/near the bank. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Like the crappie, they also are shallow, in 2 feet of water or less. Use spinnerbaits or plastic worms. No reports on any other species.
(updated 5-2-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the clarity is stained and the level and current are normal. Surface water temperature was ranging 58-60 degrees. Crappie are good in the back water in a depth of 4-6 greed. They’re biting white and chartreuse jigs. Bass are good below the dam in 4-5 feet of depth. Use white grubs. Catfishing is good on skipjack. Heard good reports on white bass. Nothing on bream, however.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said white bass have been fair the past week on white twister tails. Catfish seem to be going for cut bait this week, with fair results. Level and current are normal, the clarity is muddy.
(updated 5-2-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the clarity is stained and the level and current are normal. Surface water temperature was ranging 58-60 degrees. Crappie are good in the back water in a depth of 4-6 greed. They’re biting white and chartreuse jigs. Bass are good below the dam in 4-5 feet of depth. Use white grubs. Catfishing is good on skipjack. Heard good reports on white bass. Nothing on bream, however.
(updated 4-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near the Murray Lock and Dam the water is stained and the surface temperature recorded earlier in the week was 58 degrees. Level and current are normal. Catfishing is fair using shad and slicks. White bass reports were excellent, with anglers using white twister tails and minnows.
(updated 5-2-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said crappie are good in 8-10 feet depth and are biting blue and chartreuse jigs. Vince did not hear of any specific location for them. Bass are shallow and the bite is good on crankbaits and black and blue jigs. Fish near brush. No reports on catfish or bream. Water in this pool is stained to muddy with a temperature ranging 61-65 degrees. Level and current are normal.
(updated 5-2-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good in 4-6 feet depth on jigs in the backwater. Bass are good in about 4-5 feet below the dam on white grubs below the dam. White bass are good. Catfish are biting skipjack and the bite is good. Nothing to report on bream. Water is stained with a temperature ranging 58-60. Level and current are normal.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-2-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water is stained and the surface temperature is 60 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are shallow and biting well in the timber. Try fishing at about 2 feet depth with minnows or jigs. Bass are also in the 2-feet range in brush and are hitting spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on stinkbait. Nothing reported on bream.
(updated 5-2-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the catch on the White has been prolific; anglers have been bringing some beautiful trout to the boats even with erratic water levels. They’ve seen low levels at dawn and medium-heavy flow from Bull Shoals Dam in the middle of the day, but still brought a 22-inch cutthroat and a 28-inch brown last week with a 2-inch sculpin. Bring fluorescent yellow and sunrise-colored PowerBait and a redworm or two drifting just at the edge of the river's current near the bottom. Looks like the area is in for some moderate temperatures and some welcome sunshine, but don't stow the rain gear quite yet.
(updated 5-2-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and the level is ranging from normal to high with four or five generators running. Trout reports were good despite the river level going up and down throughout the day. Baits being used were shrimp, drift rigs and Power Worms.
(updated 5-2-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week, they had two rain events for about 2 inches in Cotter, warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.2 feet to rest at 7.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 28.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.2 feet to rest 0.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 15.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 7.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had less generation and some 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 above the top of power pool. With the quick rise in the lakes due to our recent heavy rains we can expect more generation in the near future.
The White has fished better. The hot spot has been the State Park. There are caddis coming off in the afternoon. 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 favorite now is a pink worm with a size 14 prince nymph suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down. 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 soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 666.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-27-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Friday (April 27) that lake level is at 666 feet msl and the water temperature in the mornings been around the 50-degree range, up to 60 degrees by the end of the day. If you get back in the creeks you can find some upper-60-degree water on a nice warm day. The lake is 7 feet above pool so there is water in the bushes and there's a lot going on. The fish are starting to move up; some of the fish have moved up. The smallmouth are the first to spawn so they're the ones that are up right now. Anglers are catching a lot of smallmouth. At Del’s end of the lake the water from the rain they had has pretty much cleared up. You can catch some fish right now dragging a Ned Head with either green pumpkin or in natural colors. If you're in the clear water go halfway back in the creek or right outside a spawning pocket, put the trolling motor down and you're going to run into them somewhere, anywhere around the bushes. Senkos are working, or flukes, depending on what you prefer. If you like to flip the bushes, Del says he’s throwing a beaver, keeping the boat at 20 feet and just going through and casting it up in between right around the bushes and dragging it back real slow, the slower the better. Some days are better than others depending on the weather. If you do get some dirty water, if you want to go back into the creek, it seems like the largemouth are just starting to stage up. Some of them are up in there roaming around. The bucks have move again. You can catch a bunch of them on that Senko or shaky head. Del’s been using a shaky head and catching a lot of fish on either green pumpkin, if the water’s dirty, or watermelon red or all that natural stuff. If the sun's out, Del says, he likes the watermelon red. If it's a little dirty you throw the green pumpkin. If you get into dirty water and you’ve got a ton of wind you can throw a spinnerbait and pick up a few. That's been kind of hit or miss. The shad that moved up, Del says, pretty much got eaten up pretty quick. So the shad that are in the backs are kind of sporadic, but if you do get in real skinny water you can find some of those starting to pick a few fish off docks with either a jig or rolling the swimbait in front of it. You also have the Keitech. You can slow-roll this Keitech on the outside of the bushes, or inside of the bushes, however you want to do that. If the water is a little clearer you can pull some fish on that. And finally, he notes, anglers are starting to catch a few on a topwater or any of the little walk-the-dog-style baits. That's not full-fledged on yet but that's getting close. When you get into these areas, there are little flurries of activity here and there if you get the bait in there, so you can get one that way. As these temps come up, fishing will start to get a little easier. A couple of these days they got 20-fish, 50-fish, 40-fish days. It's that time of the year to get out. Remember, the dock will hold its last regular tournament of the spring season May 5, the Big John Tournament. Call the number on the website linked above for more information. Anglers need to fish two tournaments to fish in the championship.
(updated 4-25-2018) K Dock Marina said the surface temperature was finally coming up over 48 degrees and was reading 56 degrees (April 25) at the marina. Warmer down the lake and in the coves. Should be great fishing this weekend. All species starting to turn on. If they can hit 60 degrees or higher, the crappie and bass should be up to the shoreline. Still dealing with lots of cold rain, but should be OK with the forecast of nothing but sun for the next five days. More and more crappie have been coming in off of brush piles in the coves from Beaver Creek to Bear Creek on the Arkansas line. Walleye will be moving up out of the deep water by this weekend. Hope to get to post some good reports by Friday. Let’s just hope that the Corps starts letting some water out this spring so we can use the boat launch again. Water level April 25 was 665.6 feet and rising (6.6 above normal). Water temperature now ranging 56-58 degrees. Water is clear to stained with little or no debris.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 562.69 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said it's starting to get warm and Norfork Lake fishing is picking up. The only problem they had was the full moon. On every full moon the stripers feed at night like deer and the bite is over very early after the sun comes up. That's a good thing for those anglers that like to fish the “night shift.” The only time that the stripers continue to bite is when the threadfin shad spawn, which will happen very soon. Threadfin spawn when the water temperature hits 65 degrees; the current temperature in the creeks is 62.5 degrees, so if this warming continues the shad should start spawning this coming weekend. Once the shad spawn, the stripers will move to the shore and start feeding heavy. With the water in the buckbrush the shad will spawn on the brush and the stripers, hybrids, black bass and white bass will all be chasing the bait. It is the most fun time of the year. Stripers will feeding heavy and shallow. Topwater, swimbaits and live bait will all produce limits of fish. Start looking half way up the creeks, all the creeks will have shad spawning. The main lake will be a little later but they should start early next week on all the points all over the lake. May should be a great month this year for lots of action and limits of stripers.
(updated 5-2-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said that as promised spring has arrived. The water temperature is rising and the lake is clearing up nicely. If you like stained water it is becoming harder to find. The forecast for the next 10 days looks like late spring-type weather, highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s and 60s. The best news is that the bite has started and will only get better. Crappie and bass have started to spawn. Topwater has definitely started for largemouth and spotted bass. Shad should spawn any day now, so everything will heat up. Lou says, “I am getting excited!”
If you are looking for topwater action, it has started. Be on the lake as the sun starts to rise and the largemouth bass will start erupting. Head back into coves and the major and secondary creeks until you start seeing the shad on your graph, typically in about 20-25 feet of water. Lou was in an area a little before sunrise and started throwing a Smithwick Rogue up to and inside of the shoreline brush. Lou would jerk twice and let it sit for about 10 seconds. As soon as Lou started to crank his reel, a bass would hammer it. As the sun started to rise Lou could see the shad starting to flip on the surface and then the feeding frenzy started. Lou started casting a Zara Spook and had a blast. The topwater action only lasted about 30 minutes or until the sun got above the tree tops then the fish shut down. Lou moved to a different creek and in the similar-type area found shad jumping out of the water. Could not see any fish so Lou switched to a Kastmaster (blade-type bait) and casted into the shad and let it sink about 10 feet down. Lou’s retrieval method was jerk, pause, reel, and then start over again back to the boat. This method was very productive for bass and hybrid bass. The fish were right outside of the sunken brush. Tuesday a guest found good topwater action at noon then again later in the day in the same creeks as Lou had fished the day before. Things are really starting to heat up.
Crappie are currently spawning and can be caught close to the shoreline, anywhere from 3 feet to 10 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with a minnow are working great. Cast your jig next to the sunken brush and let it sink. Work your bait along the bottom very slowly and the crappie will suck it in. One of Lou’s guests had a basket full at the dock that he had caught earlier. Flathead, walleye and big white bass are also in the creeks. Fifteen to 25 feet of water is the magic depth for these species. Vertical-jigging with a spoon has been working great. Lou has been using a ½- to ¾-ounce spoon. The fish will mainly be on the bottom, but some of the big schools of whites are suspended 10-15 feet down. Shad are really close to their first spawn of the year. Once the spawn begins you will start seeing the fish come out of the creeks and move to the main lake points. But don't ignore the creeks as there will also be shad spawning in the sunken brush all over the lake.
Norfork Lake level is fairly stable. The lake surface water temperature is rising and is in the low to mid-60s. The main lake and most creeks are clear. You can still find some stained water way back in some of the creeks. The lake is in great shape. Lou says, “I think we can look forward to an exciting May fishing season.
(updated 5-2-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 2.8 feet to rest at 8.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 7.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation and more wadable water. On the Norfork, the water is has cleared substantially and has fished much better. There have been some nice caddis hatches that have fished well. 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 Y2K with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has cleared but it is not fishing as well as usual. 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).
John also said about the Norfork, “The Norfork tailwater is my absolute favorite trout stream. I have fished most of the great rivers and creeks in the United States and I always come back to the Norfork and realize it is the best of all of them. For the past year (since the great flood it received on its headwaters) it has fished poorly. Because of my great love for it, I kept returning to see if it had healed. On my last trip to it I was glad to see that the Norfork was back.
“My wife, Lori, had a guide trip with a local lady that had been given the day with Lori for Christmas. She decided to fish on the Norfork because the wading is much easier there. I tagged along so that I could see how the Norfork was doing up close and personal. I also wanted to eat lunch with Lori at Heidi’s Ugly Cakes (the best Rueben ever).
“Lori and her client were going to start with a casting lesson and some basic instruction. They were then going to fish near the access. I opted to give them plenty of space so I walked far upstream into the catch-and-release section. This just happens to be some of my favorite water.
As I arrived, I noted only one other angler. I moved from spot to spot and caught nice trout everywhere I went. I walked far upstream to a hole where I have caught a lot of big trout. I was fishing a ruby midge suspended below a size 16 prince nymph. I hooked a big trout on my first cast. It took a huge run and I had to carefully wade to the bank of a nearby island so that I could quickly follow him on his run downstream. I was into the backing before I knew it. I took my time and finally landed it. I stopped and took a few pictures of the 20-inch Bonneville cutthroat that I had caught on the ruby midge. It is my biggest Bonny and I was excited to catch it; however, I was disappointed in my photography. It did not do the trout justice.
“I stayed in that spot for a while and I was catching fish at the end of the drift on the prince nymph, as it began to rise. I figured that the trout thought it was a caddis rising to the surface to hatch. I knew it was time for a hatch. I caught several nice trout there including a 19- and a 15-inch rainbow.
“I began working my way back downstream toward where Lori was working. As I made my way downstream, I ran into Scott, a friend of mine. He was fishing elk hair caddis over a pod of rising trout and having quite a bit of success. I stayed and chatted for a while and watched him land several. Lori was close by and doing well. I walked over and checked with her on how she was doing. There were rising trout in front of her and her client (a first-timer) was catching plenty on the Green Butt (my signature fly).
“I had to decide on whether to fish a dry fly or my Green Butt. It was hard to resist the Green Butt. I stayed nearby and landed several. We fished until noon and then loaded up and headed for Heidi’s for lunch. It had been a great day and it was a welcome relief to see my favorite trout stream fishing well again. The Norfork is back!”
(updated 5-2-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and less stained. As the water warms, the smallmouths will be 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 1,127.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is high. The clarity is stained to mostly clear. Surface temperature was 60 degrees. Crappie reports are excellent. The fish are shallow, in 5 feet or less of water, and around brush piles and around the shoreline. Anglers are using minnows, jigs and small soft plastics. Bass are good and are scattered everywhere. Good success can be had around the shoreline. Use Lil’ Fishies or crawdads. No reports came in on bream or catfish.
(updated 5-2-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) reports that stripers are on the move and feeding intermittently throughout the day. Covering lots of water will be the key to success. The white bass run is finishing up and they are making their way to the main lake. Some quality stripers are still being caught in the upper reaches of the rivers, but a good portion are making their way north and are scattered throughout the lake. They are still using mouths of coves, backs of coves and the channel adjacent to shallow gravel bars. For you diehard live baiters, fishing free lines, balloons and downlines between the surface and about 20 feet deep should get you some stripers. For the artificial baits you can try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or 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 planer boards to stagger your presentation. Soft plastic swimbaits and jerkbaits like flukes have been very effective as well and are a good choice when your fish are located near a point or other structure that has timber, rock piles or other snags that necessitate the need for a more precise presentation. Keep your eyes on the lookout for surfacing fish as they are taking topwater plugs like redfins as well. 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 website linked above. Live bait is always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers.
Mike Bailey says the water surface temps are in the high 50s to low 60s. Check out these hot spots in the mid- and upper sections of Beaver Lake: Rocky Branch (check the back of Larue near the boat ramp), Ford and Cedar creeks (check backs of these and pay attention to where tree line intersects channel), Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, War Eagle/White River junction, White River and War Eagle River.
The walleye spawn has ended and a large portion of the walleye are making their way back to the main lake and a good portion of them can be found suspended 10 feet down over 20-plus feet of water near structure. The post-spawn negative feeding mood is wearing off and they are beginning to get back on the feed. Most walleye are being caught in 20 feet of water or less. 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, Bandit 300 series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse.
(updated 5-2-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has been very good this week. Most trout are being caught between Spider Creek, Parker Bottoms and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. Trout are biting on various quarter-ounce spoons and various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. The water temperature in the area mentioned above has been between 45-50 degrees. A few walleye are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island pulling various Rapalas and Berkley hard baits in 6-10 feet of water. Jigging with live minnows has also produced some walleye. The white bass have been the wildcard. A few have been caught, but finding the schools has been a challenge. Crappie are biting, and catching them over structure has not been a problem. Fishing live minnows under a slip bobber has been the preferred method. The weather has been great this past week. More rain is in the forecast later in the week, so get out there and catch some fish.
(updated 5-2-2018) Beaver Dam Store said The Bertrand ramp area has been fishing well. Fish upstream from Parker Bottoms in the Trophy Management Area as well as Campground C, Riverview walk-in areas as well as the turnaround. Always be attentive to rising water conditions. Nymphs and midges are working well along with white or olive PJ jigs. Stocking occurred last week and fly-fisherman are report good numbers of fish being caught. Baitfish are present right below the dam and suspect that feeding fish are feeding on them as well. Typical good lures here 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, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms.
(updated 5-2-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is clear and is 60 degrees at the surface. Bream are fair at various depths. Anglers were using worms, crickets and jigs. Crappie are good and also found at various depths. Use minnows and jigs. Bass are good around the lake on crankbaits and plastic worms. Nothing to report on catfish.
(updated 4-25-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water clarity is dingy and the surface temperature is about 60 degrees. The level is normal. Crappie are biting well in 4 feet depth. They’re all over the lake and biting minnows or jigs. Black bass are good and are shallow, most around rocky points. Fish a spinnerbait 2-4 feet below the surface. Catfishing is good on chicken livers. They are deep. No reports on bream.
(updated 5-2-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “YES, crickets are in! True to form, we are keeping in stock the following: minnows, Rosy Reds, goldfish, redworms and nightcrawlers. We also have the frozen liver. We are here for your fishing supplies.” Lake Poinsett itself is in drawdown for major repairs on the lake and is expected to be refilled for fishing in 2020. Meanwhile, there are several nearby lakes providing plenty of fishing opportunity, including Lake Hogue and Lake Charles.
(updated 5-2-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear with a temperature of 58 degrees at the surface. Water level and current are normal. Crappie have moved shallow into beds and the bite is good. Use minnows and fish the beds. Black bass are also in the beds in shallow water and the bite is good. Use crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing reports are fair, with chicken livers working best. Nothing to report on bream.
(updated 4-25-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 430 cfs and water clarity has been green tinted. Luckily the area missed heavy rains last Sunday. The river looks great. It has been harder to get the fly down. A sink tip or split shot will get the fly down to the bottom. Olive and black Woollies have been hot with some nice hatches coming off lately. During the hatches a size 10 nymph works great, prince or hare’s ear. As always a hot pink or chartreuse Trout Magnet works great. Be careful wading.
(updated 5-2-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable and less stained. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. 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 5-2-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is clear and at a normal level, about 6-7 feet deep. Surface temperature ranged 48-51 degrees. They had not reports to give.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-25-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the low 60s on the main channel and upper 60s in protected backwaters. Water clarity is down a bit from the recent rains, with the protected backwaters holding some cleaner water. The water level was up a few inches with light flow in the river. Black bass were biting well on spinnerbaits, squarebill crankbaits and even a few bit topwater plugs and buzzbaits. Many fish have already spawned in backwaters where temperatures have been suitable for a couple weeks but there are still pre-spawn fish in areas. Focus on backwater areas with flooded vegetation, rocky or woody cover with flashy vibrating moving baits for now. The shad spawn should attract black bass along the deeper rock banks in the next few weeks.
(updated 5-2-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said that with the weather warming up, bream are getting aggressive in Cane Creek. Multiple reports have come in of bream biting on both crickets and worms. Fish near stumps or submerged vegetation and wait for a bite. Bass are biting hollow frogs and topwaters during the hottest part of the day and cranks fished just under the surface during other parts of the day. Soft plastics Texas-rigged and drug across the bottom from the bank should wake up bass hiding in structure in the shallows. Catfish are biting aggressively on strong-smelling baits. Fish at about 10 foot at night with chicken liver or old bacon mixed with garlic.
(updated 5-2-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said that with the beautiful weather this weekend, the park was full of families fishing. Most guests reported good luck catching catfish, especially on nightcrawlers and crickets. The catfish seemed to be biting the best near the shoreline. Those fishing for crappie or bass weren’t as lucky, with very few reports of successful trips. A few people reported catching bream, especially on crickets.
Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level Monday had almost returned to normal, and was about 6 inches above normal conservation pool and falling (as of Monday) at 259.7 feet msl; there is current of about 3,000 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater as of Monday was about 229 feet msl. Water temps continued improving over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday were ranging near 62 degrees early to 67 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website’s Helpful Links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. USACE has completed clean up on most Millwood Lake Campgrounds, and a most all are now open. Most all boat ramps, are now open including Millwood State Park. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for broken or floating timber. Clarity and visibility are improved over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially upriver. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging about 10-18 inches. Little River's visibility ranges 10-15 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranges 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 says largemouth bass continue in varying degrees of the spawn all over Millwood Lake. Upriver largemouths have a few stragglers left that are finishing their spawn, and a few areas on the southern half of the main lake remain pre-spawn or on beds. Largemouth bass have been excellent over the past few weeks with the continually warming ambient conditions, from around 3 pound each up to around 10 pounds each. Several bass tournaments over the past few weeks on Millwood have given up numerous largemouths at weigh-ins from 7 pounds to over 11 pounds each. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Sweet Beavers, Trick Worms and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook, and Rat-L-Traps all continue working well. Black and June Bug soft plastic frogs are working in new lily pad stands. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse or Firetiger colors, thrown near flooded bushes, buckbrush and vegetation, continue working well for good bass in the 3-7 pound class. Most of these bass continue roaming in and out of bedding areas, cruising in 4-9 feet of depth. Buzzbaits are beginning to draw good reactions from post-spawn largemouths, as well as Ken Pops, Pop-Rs and Spit’n' Images and StutterSteps around vegetation and new lily pads. Shallow-running squarebill crankbaits and Echo 1.75s, deflecting and banging them into and off stumps from 3-5 feet deep, continue taking a few post-spawn bass around 15- to 19-inches in length. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the Echo 1.75 squarebills, over the past week or so have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghost. Rat-L-Traps in Toledo Gold and Millwood Magic continue to get reactions from 15-18-inch bass in creek channels leading in and out of spawning flats. No reports on white bass this past week. Crappie continue to be caught and are biting well around cypress trees in the oxbows up Little River away from current. Crappie were reacting very aggressively to jigs and minnows over the past few weeks near base of cypress trees from 1-3 feet deep. Catfish remain very good on trotlines using almost any cut bait like shad, buffalo, punch baits, and chicken livers and hearts were taking a few 5-8 pound channel cats in current along Little River from 10-12 feet of depth.
(updated 5-2-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said they were getting good reports on bass, bream and crappie. Bass are being caught on buzzbaits early in the morning.
Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.80 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level has risen some and is now just over full pool. Water temps are in the mid-60s with a little color throughout the lake. Jason says he believes a lot of the fish have spawned but can still be caught shallow due to the high water. The secondary spawn should take be taking place with the full moon over the weekend. Right now, most of the bass are on secondary points leading into and out of spawning pockets. They can be caught using Carolina rigged lizards, YUM Christie Critters or YUM Christie Craws in any of the natural colors like green pumpkin or watermelon magic. Shaky head worms in the same colors are working well, also. We have caught several lately wacky-rigging a YUM Dinger in watermelon candy and green pumpkin in spawning pockets around cover. Windy days are good for Booyah spinnerbaits or Smithwick Rogues in windy pockets and points. Super Spook Jr’s are starting to see some action on main lake points. Night fishing has been good around the full moon using Booyah spinnerbaits. Crappie are great and can be caught in 10-15 foot brush with Kalin’s Grubs or minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.02 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are finally moving in to spawn in greater numbers than before. Water temp is 65. Catch the staging females 8-10 feet deep on brush piles. Males are on the beds making and protecting the future catch. Spotted bass are roaming the coves and shoreline chasing threadfin shad. Best bet is casting jigs and inline spinners.
(updated 5-2-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the upper 60s and the lake is clear in the lower end and has some color above Point 14. Bass fishing is only fair with quite a few fish reported, but most are small. Look for fish in the secondary coves and up shallow. The spawn is almost over so most fish will be post-spawn. Best pattern has been either medium-running crankbaits or spinnerbaits worked from the shoreline brush out to about 10 feet deep. Look for some schooling action because the shad are starting to school with spawning approaching. During the heat of the day, throw a Texas-rigged worm or lizard across the secondary points. Red shad and green pumpkin are pretty much stand-by colors. Crappie fishing remains hit and miss with mostly miss. The fish are still scattered along the shoreline brush even though the spawn is winding down. May is usually a great month for these fish because they return to the attractors and are hungry from the rituals of spawning. Look for attractors at about 20 feet and drop a 2-inch Kalin's Grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead to just above the thickest part of the brush. Try Tennessee Shad in clear water and black/chartreuse when the water is discolored. Look for attractors between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Hybrid fishing is slow with very little schooling activity. In fact, hybrids have been slow most all winter and spring. Some are blaming the reduced stockings on the lower catch rate. In fact, the stockings have been cut in half from about six per acre to three. Quite a few white bass are showing between Shouse Ford and Point Cedar.
(updated 5-2-2018) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Man, am I glad to see the weather is better.” Water is stabilizing at 407.27 feet mls. Water temperature is 63-66 in upper river areas. Black bass fishing is good. Reports of good catches in the buckbrush all over the lake. Four-inch lizards fished in buckbrush are producing well. Lots of Kentuckies in the buckbrush, too. Floating worms are producing well all over the lake, also. The time is right to get on these bass. Crappie reports are improving daily. Male white crappie up to 14-inches were being caught in three feet of water Monday. The cold weather may have generated a second round of spawning; hope so. Fishing minnows about 30 inches deep in the buck brush is a winner. Jigs are also producing well. Fish early and late to reduce sunlight in shallow fishing areas. If it’s cloudy, you are blessed. I have been using the Redneck Rubber Paddletail Jig bodies. Pink head with chartreuse and black body. It seems to help eliminate smaller fish. Some hybrid action on spoons fishing slow-rolling off the bottom. They seem to be more in the upper river areas still from Shouse Ford up. Lots of trotlining going on, but no reports.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 438.21 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.71 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-2-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 5-2-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said water is still extremely high, and not many reports are coming in. A few bream being caught, they hear.
Hot Springs Village Area Lakes
(updated 4-18-2018) Greeson Marine of Hot Springs, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bread all-welded Xpress fishing boats, reports that the village lakes are still hanging around that 60-degree mark with lakes slightly off-color due to the recent heavy rains. Water clarity in most areas is less than 1 foot. Most anglers are having some success fishing chatterbaits in bright colors such as white or chartreuse in shorelines with grass or brush. Most fish are being caught in 2 feet of water or less. Other anglers are having success with craw, shad and chartreuse crankbaits and swimbaits off main lake points and shoals. Winds have been high, as expected this time of year. Expect heavy chop on most lakes.
(updated 5-2-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature is ranging 65-67 degrees. Bream catches are poor but are biting near the shoreline on worms and crickets. Crappie are good around brush piles on minnows and jigs. Bass are beginning to hit the topwater lures around the shoreline and are good. Catfishing has been poor. White bass aren’t biting now.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 4-25-2018) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are fair on minnows and worms. Bream are good on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are excellent on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 4-18-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress aluminum all-weld fishing boat, reports that the lake is slowly warming, with some areas reaching around 63 degrees in shallower water. Water is slightly murky in the main lake and less than 2 feet of clarity in most pockets. Fish are starting to use their summertime patterns heading out to the main lake points and hard-to-reach structures along shorelines and docks. Many fish are still in their spawning patterns but most should be in the post-spawn. Texas rigged worms, tubes and crawfish patterns have produced well in black and blue and green pumpkin off points. Jigs in olive and brown have been doing well on the spawning fish. With the days getting warmer and the light staying around longer, look for fish to move to heavy cover and become very hard to reach. Try skipping baits up into and under cover. Game and Fish is wrapping up shocking for walleye. Walleye should pick up very soon
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 5-2-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is now out of flood pool. Heavy generation has been the norm in the Carpenter Dam tailrace and a more stabilized flow has been scheduled and fishing and boating can get back to a more normal pattern. For the last several weeks very high flows have kept boaters and anglers alike off the water due to the treacherous conditions. Rainbow trout fishing is what Lake Catherine is known for and thousands of quality trout are present in the tailrace and will be feeding consistently as conditions return to normal. Bank fishermen can catch limits of fish using PowerBaits, waxworms and mealworms, redworms, and corn fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Spin fishermen casting small jigs, Super Dupers and Little Cleos in sliver or white are recording limits of trout during periods of current or slack water. Fly-fishermen can still access areas that hold good numbers of rainbow trout and can be successful presenting Trout Magnets in white or pink, micro-jigs in black, or San Juan worms in red or hot pink with a strike indicator. The walleye spawn is over but number of fish remain in the tailrace feeding on shad. The majority of fish caught by trolling shallow-running stick baits that imitate small minnows or crawfish. Carolina rigs tipped with nightcrawlers have taken the largest fish at night. White bass are making a run toward the dam, with numbers being taken from the bank by fishermen casting flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie are finishing their spawning run and are still being caught on small jigs and live minnows around rock structure and sandbars close to the main river channel. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of the generation schedules and must always follow all boating and park regulations.
(updated 4-18-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water clarity in the river is dirty with some creeks starting to clear. Water temperature is warming to 66. Bass fishing is excellent throughout the river system. In the heavily fished areas, stick to fishing a weightless chiseler. Jigs and Bamboozie are working well in the river around structure, scam shad and frogs are working great around the coon tail weightless. Crappie have been good around grass and structure using minnows and jigs (chartreuse, black chartreuse, black and pink). White bass and stripers are in the creeks with good topwater bite early. Bucktail jigs and swimbaits working well. Bream are good in the creeks around stumps; use crickets, worms and small flies. Catfish are good on cut shad and skipjack just inside the pocket. Don't go in too deep; stay in the current.
(updated 5-2-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are finally moving in to spawn in greater numbers than before. Water temp is 65. Catch the staging females 8-10 feet deep on brush piles. Males are on the beds making and protecting the future catch. Spotted bass are roaming the coves and shoreline chasing threadfin shad like MS13 gang members. Casting jigs and inline spinners work great.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.58 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water level is normal now, 346.1 feet as of earlier this week. The water is mostly clear and the temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees. Crappie are good. Look for them in 3-5 feet of water and around brush piles. Try minnows or bumblebee jigs. Bream are fair on crickets. They’ve been caught around the beaches and sand beds in about 3 feet of water. Bass are good in the entire lake area on spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Fish for them in 3-5 feet depth. Catfish are good below the dam, anglers tell us. No reports on white bass.
(updated 5-2-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the clarity there was muddy, while the water level has finally returned to normal. However, they had gotten no reports on catches. The week before, catfishing was fair near the cypress trees using stink bait.
(updated 4-25-2018) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) says anglers report crappie good on Bobby Garland Popsicle, Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Gumdrop, Penny Back Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfishing has been good on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bream are hot now on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass as hot as well on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.48 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Brush Hogs, YUM Dingers and worms are working well. Secondary points and coves are still the best areas for these fish. Walleye are good. Bright-colored jigs and crankbaits are still working best for these fish. Stripers are good on jigs and live bait. Major creeks and river channels on the western and central part of the lake are still the best for these fish. Bream are very good and being caught on crickets and worms in 8-15 feet water near brush. Crappie are still good and being caught on minnows in 10-15 feet of water near structure. Catfish are still very good up the rivers. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. The water temperature is ranging 66-70 degrees and is clearing. The lake level is 577.80. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.black bass are very good. Brush Hogs, Trick Worms and lizards are best at this time. Secondary points and coves are still the best areas for these fish. Walleye are still good. Bright-colored jigs and crankbaits are still working best for these fish. Stripers are very good on topwater C-10 redfins and live bait. Major creek and river channels on the western and central part of the lake are still the best for these fish. Bream are fair and being caught on crickets and worms in deeper water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught on minnows in 10-15 feet of water near structure. Catfish are very good up the rivers. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. The water temperature is ranging 64-68 degrees. The clarity appears to be clearing. Lake level on Tuesday was 577.88 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
(updated 4-18-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said Lake Ouachita has still been doing great on crappie for a couple of my good customers using No. 6 crappie minnows. They have been hit or miss –some out deeper in the lake, while other 3 feet from the shoreline. The crappie they been showing were slabs!
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 390.54 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-2-2018) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) had no report.
(updated 4-25-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek saw some pretty active fishermen this past weekend. Crappie were biting live bait off the shoreline and right around the fishing pier. Bream were jumping on jigs around the southern-most coves of the lake, and activity was high Monday evening. The boat ramp is still closed, but don’t forget Mississippi River State Park is renting flat-bottom boats for use during the closure. Call for details.
(updated 4-25-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek still has no activity worth mentioning. The water is still looking muddy, and despite anglers’ best attempts, the fish just don’t seem to be biting.