June 6, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 6, 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 6-6-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water is stained and the surface water temperature hit 90 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are moving out from the shoreline. Anglers report the bite being fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair, with the best activity around the Arkansas Highway 89 bridge or in Gold Creek. Fish in 6-8 feet depth with minnows or jigs. Bass are good. Anglers report using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater plugs and plastic worms. Catfish are good on cut bait and worms.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said bream are excellent. Anglers were fishing the piers and looking for the bite in 4-8 feet depth with redworms and crickets. Bass were fair. They’re active in the grass beds at a depth of 3-4 feet. Use a crankbait.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said Tuesday the Little Red River is receiving a few hours of early afternoon and/or evening generation. This schedule pattern provides great wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends soft hackles, midges, sowbugs and streamers. Red and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Remember to practice your best boating, canoeing/kayaking and wading etiquette and be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. 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 5-24-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that due to local heavy rain below the dam, the river is muddy today (May 24) from mid-river to lower river. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has requested an increase in the generation due to a slight rise in the lake. This generation starting today (Thursday) should help clear the river for Friday and through the weekend. Hopefully the area will miss any heavy rain. The generation will be 2 units in the afternoon hours. This will be for about 6 hours each afternoon. Morning canoeing and kayaking should be the best time, and all boaters and fisherman should check the schedule and be prepared for this rise each day. Please take care when this generation reaches your area of the river. Never approach the upstream end of the docks because of the undertow created by the current. The current in the river increases drastically when the generated water reaches your area. All types of boating should take extra care in the generated water. Greg says, “We wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Be safe and courteous and enjoy the river.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.70 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 6-6-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry is at 462.77 feet msl, 0.23 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet and staying around that level. The black bass fishing is good all over the lake for all three species. There’s a lot of topwater action in places and some still on the bank spawning and/or guarding fry, some mid-depth and some deeper eating Texas rigged or C-rigged worms, lizards or football heads. Texas-rigged lizards up shallow or crank baits mid-depths are working best. Some crappie are still spawning down lake, and the rest are over around brush piles or pole timber or just roaming eating jigs minnows or Road Runners and crankbaits in 10-16 feet of water. Catfish are eating a variety of baits on all sorts of fishing rigs. The flatheads will be in full spawn by the next full moon. Bream are very active coming off one of the first spawns, eating crickets, crawlers, small crankbaits and inline spinners from right on the bank out to 12 feet of water. Walleye are eating crawlers fished several different kinds of ways; pick your style and you should catch some on small chunk-rock flats in 10-18 feet of water. The hybrid and white bass are eating well all over the lake on swimbaits, inline spinners and spoons throughout the day and night. Just stay around the shad and they will be close by in 20-50 feet of water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-6-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear. Surface water temperature is 92 degrees, with a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports have been poor. Bass are fair early in the morning and late in the day; use spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on worms or blood bait.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup 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 Overcup for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 5-31-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is about normal, clarity is dark and surface temperature is 83 degrees. Crappie are being caught in deeper water fishing 3-6 feet deep using jigs and minnows. Bass are chasing the new spawn of shad and hitting topwater baits. Catfish are being caught at night with rod and reels using nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are slow but should start picking up. Anglers are catching some good ones, but having to work for them. “Come see us at Overcup Lake off Highway 9.”
(updated 6-6-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said it is hot – the temperature, not necessarily the fishing, though that seems good right now. The water temperature is hot, in the 76-80 degree range, while the water level is normal. The clarity is dingy. Bream are bedded up. You can get a good bite from bream around the brush piles on worms or crickets. Crappie are very active; Larry says you can catch all you want. The reports have been good, with the bite at 12-18 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs and work the brushtops. Bass are good around the shoreline in 8-12 feet depth. Throw a spinnerbait or work a plastic worm in those depths. Catfishing is good. Noodlers are pulling them up, and around the bank you can catch all the catfish you want, Larry says.
(updated 6-6-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are excellent. With water temps in the 80s the black bass are moving out of the spawn areas. Some are just outside of the grass. Try using Zoom Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 6-8 feet and 10-15 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on Pop-Rs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. They will bite more during dusk and at dawn. The dusk anglers in the Tuesday bass tournament enjoyed a nice bite, with Brad LeQuiea and Cody Bryant hauling in a winning stringer of 10.1 pounds. The top four teams all caught more than 8.2 pounds and 13 boats out of 21 weighed stringers over 6 pounds. Joey Hutchinson and Randal Clark landed the Big Bass of 4.44 pounds. There are some big ones out there. Kentucky bass are good. They are off the grass line and also about 8-12 feet deep. Rocky shoreline or points are best with a crankbait or jig. White bass are good. There have been a few reports of whites schooling but not staying up for long. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. The crappie bite is good. More reports of crappie being found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 12-15 feet deep. Try using spider rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are good. They’re being caught around their beds and brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfishing is excellent. More reports this week of the channel cats starting to move out and the blues coming in. Use stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and 20 feet deep. They had another 40-pound catfish caught last week off the shoreline.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said crappie are reported biting fair. They’re in 5-10 feet depth and around brush piles. Minnows are working best.
(updated 5-31-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said the crappie bite is fair around brush piles and rocky points. Fish minnows in about 5-10 feet depth for best results. Water level and current are normal.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some anglerse have been catching some dandy bass on big brooder minnows and live crawfish. Scum frogs have been doing well on them, too. Crappie are fair but deep on pink minnows and Kalin's Tennessee Shad-colored jigs. Catfish have been hitting on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream been great on crickets and redworms, some off the pier and on the bridge going to the other side of the lake. The stocking chart shows May 8 is still the last time Sunset was stocked (you can Google Stocked ponds – Arkansas Game and Fish and click on that to see last time all of the AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program stocked ponds were stocked). For regulations for Sunset Lake, look at the bottom of Page 69 of the 2017-2018 ”Arkansas Fishing Guidebook.”
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Zoom Red Shad plastic worms do well on the front one they call Lake Norma that sits by the road on the left side of the park. A few bream being caught as well on crickets. The back one called Lake Charles (that you see going into the park when pass the buildings and the ball fields) usually does better on the crappie on the No. 6 crappie minnows as well as the catfish, too, on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bass have been caught on No. 12 bass minnows and also some crankbaits.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been great on big brooder minnows and live crawfish as well as small Rebel crawfish. Crappie been slow on No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on trotlines using black salties and goldfish. Bream have been good on crickets.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been fair but deep on No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Also on Kalin's Bleeding Tennessee Shad-color grubs. Bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps, silver with black back and crawdad colors. Catfish been doing well on nightcrawlers and cut-up skip jack and also chicken livers. Big bream are being caught tight-lined with crickets. Lisa has seen some great big redear come from this lake. She says she has a customer that lives over on Hurricane Lake and he goes to Lake Norrell to fish for the big redear.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing are excellent. Use nightcrawlers, chicken livers and chicken hearts. Water level is normal, no other conditions were reported.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says bream are excellent. Fish around the piers in 4-8 feet depth for the best bite, using worms or crickets. Bass are fair and are cruising in 3-4 feet of water on the north side of the lake in grass beds. Anglers report using buzzbaits, a shallow crankbait and Texas rigs.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been good on nightcrawlers and live crawfish. Crappie are fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin's blue and silver grubs. Bass are good on No. 12 bass minnows and Strike King KVD crankbaits in Tennessee Shad color. Bream have been excellent on crickets.
(updated 5-31-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said there have been few boaters on the river. Black bass are going for topwater baits like buzzbaits, jitterbugs and Zara Spooks. Midday, go to worms (red with rattles), lizards and pull through the grass, then let fall. Also work around the jetties. White bass are biting late or early at the tips of jetties or where you see shad on top. Used shad-colored and pearl crankbaits. Catfish are biting early in 6-10 feet. Bream are nesting on sandbars and also on the grass lines. Use crickets. Crappie are around wood structure in 8-15 feet deep. Use jigs. No report on stripers.
(updated 6-6-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water clarity is clearing and the level and current are normal. Bream reports have ranged from fair to good. The bream are bedding/nesting and will bite worms. Crappie are fair and can be found at 4-5 feet depth. Use minnows. Bass are good early in the morning and late in the day. Fish with spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports have been excellent with catfish biting the trotlines baited with minnows or chicken liver.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said the water level and current are normal. Crappie are fair in 5-10 feet depth around brush piles and rocky points. Use minnows.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent around Murray Dam using skipjack, slicks and by snagging when the water is flowing. Reports on white bass have been fair. They’re biting large white twister tails and spoons. Some redear have been caught by the hydro wall at the dam.
(updated 5-24-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said surface water temperature is in the 70s and the level and current are normal. Bream are good. Look for them in the beach area in 2-4 feet of water and use worms or crickets. Crappie are good near rocky points in 10-15 feet depth. Use jigs. Bass are good below the dam on jigs. Fish 10-12 feet deep.
(updated 6-6-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is clearing up. Level and current are normal. No temperature was recorded. Fishing needs to pick up, though. Reports on bream were poor. They were biting worms. Crappie are poor, but will bite a red jig. Bass are poor. Some catches reported on crankbaits and a jighead worm. Catfish are fair on stink bait.
(updated 6-6-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the temperature has been ranging from the high 70s to the low 80s. Bream are excellent on the river in the backwaters. Fish for them in 2-3 feet depth with crickets. Crappie are deeper and the bite is good on red jigs. Bass are good. They’re hitting crankbaits; use a Black Bandit. Catfishing is good below the dam. They’re preferring skipjack. White bass are evident in the main river early in the day and the bite is fair.
(updated 6-6-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said that near the Terry Lock and Dam, water level and current are normal, while the water clarity is murky. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. The crappie bite is fair if you work the backwaters. Bass are good on crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfish reports were good; use worms, blood bait or stink bait.
(updated 6-6-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that catfishing reports near the Terry Dam were fair by snagging or using skipjack. Water level is normal. At the other end of the pool, at Murray Dam, catfishing is excellent using skipjack. White bass are excellent. Use white twister tails and spoons.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-6-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the clarity is clear and the water level and current are normal. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 6-6-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the clarity as clear and the water level is high. The bream bite is slowing down. Reports were fair using worms or crickets. Crappie reports were good, though. Try trolling with a jig, or use minnows. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports are good.
(updated 6-6-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says that after a summer storm last Saturday, the weather's been cool and the fishing hot. The rain allowed a perfect floating opportunity on the Buffalo River and the smallmouth eagerly ate up Gitzits and green imitation lizards. The rain also added to the lakes, meaning that Bull Shoals Lake is still high and so is White River. Live red worms and nightcrawlers have been doing well in the mornings, giving way to pink imitation worms in the afternoon. The high water has also allowed easier lure fishing, and orange-bellied Smithwicks and Rebel Craws have been doing great. Now that June is upon us and the kids are out of school, the weather is perfect for great fishing with the family on the White River.
(updated 6-6-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river level has been low, and that there are two generators running. The trout bite has been excellent this week. Rainbows are favoring PowerBait and shrimp. Browns like the stick baits, and this past week a 24-incher was hauled in. It’s been a nice week to be on the river. Clarity is good.
(updated 6-6-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week, they had a bit over an inch of rain in Cotter, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 feet to rest at 9.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 23.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.3 feet to rest at 0.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 13.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 feet to rest at 5 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had more generation and less wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.9 feet to rest at seven and seven tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 556.7 feet and sixteen and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had more generation and much less 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 warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the near future.
The White has fished much better. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There are caddis coming off. 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 red fox squirrel nymph with a size 18 ruby midge 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 671.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-31-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Thursday the lake level was at 672 feet msl, and it is still about 13 feet above pool. The fish are still on the bushes for the most part. Water temps are about 82 degrees up to 90 depending on where you're at or by the end of the day. The topwater bite has been prevalent bite and it's been a lot of fun. It's been one of the better topwater bites that they've had in a while, and he hopes that stays that way. If you got a little bit of wind, you can catch them on a Whopper Popper. The Zara Spook is catching a few fish. As for color, Del will go to Lucky Craft Sammy, or Gunfish if the water’s a little clearer. The first part of the day is the best for the topwater bite. Del has been fishing primarily on the flats, any of those fields that are now under water or holding fish closer to the channel or where they can get to deep water. In isolated cover you can catch some on a popper now. A couple of things are going on: there has been full moon so there's a shad spawn and they’ve got the perch that are spawning, so that's kind of what you want to look for. I you find a baitfish you're going to find a fish. Now if it gets hot and sunny, you'll still get a wave of fish moving up topwater throughout the day, so after the first couple hours don't put it away necessarily. But if you do get some wind, which they haven't had much of, you can throw a spinnerbait around, a square bill on secondary points. Most of the largemouth seem to be in the bushes. Del says he’s catching them all the way in the backs and 2 foot of water all the way out to the main lake points. If you want to fish a little deeper, he’s still pulling some smallmouth on the Keitech fishing the isolated cover on the islands or the humps or the main lake points going out. Also he’s starting to pick up a few fish using the drop-shot. Before you know it, a lot of these fish are going to start moving out, he said. Some of the baitfish already are starting to move out of the creeks after that spawn. If you're going to target around docks you can also catch some fish; docks are going to be good off the secondary points, that's kind of where the docks are that Del is fishing, or on the flats. You can also use a jig around the dock; buzzbait or jig, you'll pick up a few more fish. It's getting hot so get out for the morning bite. If it's a hundred degrees out you’re probably not going to fish all day.
(updated 5-25-2018) K Dock Marina said the fish are biting. They have 82-degree water with great lake conditions. All species are hitting right now. The lake level last Friday was 672.2 feet msl (13 feet above normal). Water is clear. Black bass are good on topwater plugs and buzzbaits. Also good on medium crankbaits and jigs. Small plastics in flooded brush in the backs of coves are working. The plastic worm bite is coming soon. Walleye are good to great on small to medium crankbaits. They are really shallow right now, less than 10 feet. They are also hitting spoons and nightcrawlers. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows and swimming minnows. The crappie are scattered post-spawn down the shoreline and in coves around brush.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 563.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-31-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the holiday weekend was a very busy time for Norfork Lake. There were many anglers out on the lake catching plenty of fish. Others were enjoying the great weather by playing in the warm, clean and clear water of Norfork Lake. It appeared that all of their guests had a great time and no one wanted to leave. The striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass bite has been outstanding for the last couple of weeks. There has been plenty of topwater action for all of these species. The best time for topwater action starts at sunrise, lasts for a couple of hours and then happens again at sunset. You may need to move around to find the white water, but they are coming up all over the lake at various locations and depths. If you only see one fish come up and you are close enough, cast a topwater lure because there will be more in the area and they will come up for your bait. Tuesday, Lou said, he fished in a major creek and had a fantastic time, landing eight stripers and hybrids using live threadfin shad. They were exploding on his free swimming baits and were also hitting baits that he had on with a 1/8-ounce split shot. Lou was moving slowly with his trolling motor about 1/2 mile an hour. He started fishing along a shoreline in 30 feet of water and started to catch hybrids. He then moved out to 60 feet of water and started to catch stripers. Swimbaits and Alabama rigs are also working well to catch these fish. Lou is starting to mark big arcs suspended down 20-50 feet, so the stripers are starting to move down to the cooler water. As the water continues to warm, the topwater action for the stripers will stop and then restart in the fall when the water starts to cool. “The fish that I cleaned today were full of crawdads, telling me they are feeding close to shore at some point during the day. The moon is full so I would assume they are feeding heavily at night,” Lou said.
Lou says the largemouth and smallmouth bass bites are still very good. Topwater baits, flukes and jerkbaits are all catching nice fish. In the mornings, work the shallow water that has sunken buckbrush. As the sun gets higher, move out to about 10-20 feet of water and work the bottom with your plastics. Bluff line points are holding some nice smallmouth bass. On occasion you will find the bass out in deep water feeding on the surface, and topwater baits will work great. The walleye bite has also been good. They are being found inside the sunken buckbrush as well as along deep bluff line where the channel is making a swing. Jerkbaits, swimbaits and casting spoons are all working. The crappie bite has been fantastic under docks in the middle of the day and also after dark. Small jigs and spoons are catching fish as well as small minnows. The fish appear to be from 15 feet down up to the surface. The Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with constant power generation. The current lake level is 564.59 feet msl. The surface water temperature is on the rise and was in the low 80s Tuesday morning. The main lake is clear with some of the coves slightly stained.
(updated 5-31-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the fishing on Norfork Lake is on fire for the first two hours each morning. The stripers have moved off the banks and are roaming the deep channels in water depths ranging 50-150 feet. Tom says they are seeing each day the stripers now feeding on crawdads early and moving off the bottom and starting to chase shad once light appears. After the first two hours the fishing slows down and by the third hour it's over. In normal years you then would move to the flats and catch them feeding on the bottom, but that has not started. The lake is warming to now around 82 degrees and a thermocline has started. Each day they are seeing less topwater striper action. By the end of the week, Tom says, he does not expect to see any stripers feeding shallow. Right now they are catching them on weighted floats set a 30 and 38 feet, long lines with split shots set back 100 feet from the boat, and planer boards with the bait 20 feet behind the board. They have caught limits each day for the last 10 days, so now is a very good time to get on the lake. The stripers are moving down the lake as the water warms up. You should now find them at Robinson Point in the 40-50 feet of water near the bottom and in the deeper areas of Big Creek. The stripers will be feeding on crawdads. Start very shallow, then continue to move out till you find them. This pattern will occur all over the lake as the water continues to warm.
(updated 6-6-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.9 feet to rest at 7.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.7 feet msl and 16.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had more generation and much less 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 warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the near future. The water on the Norfork 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 flooding over the past year. 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 red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek has cleared and is fishing better. 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 Dry Run Creek, “One of the things that I enjoy the most is when my wife, Lori, and I get to work together. She is a great guide and I never worry about the job she is doing with our clients. She is a true professional. Last week we had an opportunity to guide four children on Dry Run Creek. Our friend Bob wanted to take his grandchildren fishing on Dry Run Creek. For him, it was a bucket list item that he had been talking to us about for years. This year was the perfect time.
“We met them at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery at 7:30 a.m. The kids already had their waders on and were ready to go. Bob put on his waders so that he could be in on the action. His son and daughter came along. All were carrying cameras and were ready to take some great photos of the kids catching fish.
“Lori and I were there a few minutes early. We put on our waders and got out the rods reels and three boat nets. We had rigged the rods the night before and we were ready to go. As soon as they got out of their cars, we headed to the river. There were no other anglers on the creek, so we had our choice of all the most productive spots. Lori took the granddaughter and the youngest grandson to her favorite spot. I took the other two grandsons and headed upstream to my favorite spot. The plan was for us to switch the kids at lunch so that we would each fish with all of them. Our goal was for each of them to land a trophy trout and get a good photo of it.
“The day went along pretty much as expected. None of the kids had much fishing experience. I tried to concentrate on one of the boys at a time with the other fishing nearby with Bob or his son aiding. At first, we lost some good fish but, as I coached them, they got better and better. Before the morning was over each boy had landed four or five trout and at least two or three trophies. Mom, Dad or Grandpa were on hand and took numerous photos of each and every trout.
“We had a big lunch on a picnic table overlooking the creek. Lori had done as well as I did and all of the kids had caught several trout and a few trophy fish. The kids talked about their success. Grandpa was very pleased with the results. After lunch we switched kids and returned to the creek. Now they were used to catching trout and did well.
“At the end of the day, we said goodbye and thanked Bob for the opportunity to fish with his grandchildren. On the drive home, Lori and I compared notes. We were surprised to learn that all of the trophy trout that we had landed were cutthroats. They are usually hard to come by, but on this day they were the predominate trout. Normally it is mostly rainbows, but on this day we only caught a few smaller ones. We had a great day and had an opportunity to work together and catch some nice fish with some nice kids. Life is good!”
(updated 6-6-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are 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 1,125.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 6-6-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear, and Beaver Lake still remains high, about 5 feet over normal pool. Surface water temperature is in the 80s. Fishing overall has been good. Bream reports range from fair to good. Use worms or crickets. Crappie reports also were fair to good. Anglers are trolling small crankbaits, or they are using minnows. Work near the shoreline for best results. Bass are fair. Get out early and fish for them on top. In the evening, switch to a soft bait. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms were all being used through the day. Anglers reported good response to a big crankbait. Catfishing is good using live bait. Fish around the rocky areas.
(updated 6-6-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says it continues to be topwater time. Get those topwater baits out and get those binoculars ready because stripers are on the move, and covering lots of water will be the key to success. Beaver Lake stripers are making their way north and are scattered throughout the lake. They are still using mouths 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, or 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 for surfacing fish, and they are taking topwater plugs like C-10 Redfins as well. Water surface temps in the lower 80s. On the mid-sections of Beaver Lake, check out these hot spots: Point 1 (check the main lake points and humps), Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6 (topwater hot spots), Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks (topwater hot spot; pay attention to where tree line intersects channel), Larue and Coppermine. Mike says 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 5-31-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has 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 Power Baits fished with light terminal tackle. The water temperatures in the area mentioned above have been between 55-65 degrees. A few walleye are being caught between Parker Bottoms and Spider Creek pulling various Rapalas and Berkley hard baits. Jigging will also produce walleye. The weather has been cool during the mornings but very warm in the afternoons. A few of the hot spots have been between Spider Creek and Highway 62 bridge. So get out there and catch some fish.
(updated 6-6-2018) Beaver Dam Store said bait fishermen are catching numbers of trout using PowerBait, nightcrawlers and waxworms. A customer weighed a 4.3-pound rainbow on Saturday (June 2). 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-fishermen report good numbers of fish being caught. Typical good lures in this area are gold and silver Colorado spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the clarity is clear and the water level earlier this week was low. Bream are excellent. You’ll catch them using redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair/slow. Try minnows or jigs. Bass reports have been good. Anglers are using crankbaits and working plastic worms. Catfishing is good. Use worms, blood bait, stink bait or chicken liver.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water temperature on Monday hit 89 degrees. The level and current are normal, and the clarity is dingy. Bream are good. They are in their beds. Throw worms or crickets. Crappie have moved into deep water and the bite is fair. Drop minnows or jigs. Bass are good and are hitting topwater plugs and spinnerbaits. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers or shad.
(updated 6-6-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said there’s not been much change from last week. The weather has been really good for fishing. They are selling lots of crickets, which means that anglers are going after the bream. The bream taste great; just watch out for the bones. “We did not know about filleting fish when I was growing up (telling my age). We learned how to ‘spit out’ the bones,” Ome says. There is still a good amount of call for the minnows and goldfish. “Lake Poinsett State Park appreciates you for letting us know how well you are doing fishing.” While the lake is drawn down for repairs, there are several area lakes where the fishing is good. Check in with the state park for more info.
(updated 6-6-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is ranging from the low to mid-80s. Level and current are normal. Bream are good on redworms. Crappie are good on minnows, with the bite in deep water, about 15 feet. Bass are fair, with the best bite coming early in the morning and late in the day. Use spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfish appear to be spawning and the fishing for them has been poor.
(updated 6-6-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 375 cfs (350 average) and water clarity has been mostly clear. The river is looking great. Lots of bugs hatching. Bead-head nymphs like a pheasant tail or hare’s ear in sizes 10-12 are working well for numbers. Catching some bigger trout on Woollies in olive and brown. Hot pink Trout Magnets are always productive for catching trout and smallies on the Spring River.
Mark added that the month of June has a lot going on at the Jim Hinkle Fish Hatchery. On June 9 from 9-2 p.m. there will be a free fishing derby for kids age 15 and under. Fishing Fridays at the Hatchery will be June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13 from 9-11 a.m., which means free fishing for anglers 6-15 years old along with fishing skill instructions. Limit of three rainbow trout. Children must be accompanied by an adult and bring their own fishing equipment. No live bait. Anglers are encouraged to register for the Fishing Fridays by calling the hatchery at 870-625-7521.
(updated 6-6-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is here and there are many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 6-6-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is murky. The level is ranging high to normal. Crappie are fair. Look for them around the brush piles and fish minnows or crappie jigs. Bass are fair and hitting plastic worms and jigs. Bream reports have been poor. Catfishing is poor. The walleye bite is poor.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 6-6-2018) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0186) in DeWitt said that in the Arkansas River below Dam No. 2, catfish are biting very well on cut bait when water is generating. In the Arkansas River between Dam No. 2 and Dam No. 3, catfish are biting very good off sandbars on minnows. Largemouth bass are biting well along rocks and cover where water is running though. Crappie are slow but are biting around pilings, very deep.
In the White River WMA, fish are biting in some lakes. Crappie are biting on jigs, in brushtops. Bream are biting very well on crickets. “Reservoir fishing in our area right now is excellent for all species of fish. We have seen a big increase in minnows and crickets sales the last two weeks. Come see us if you’re around DeWitt.”
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-6-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temps are in the mid- to upper 80s by the end of the day in most parts. Visibility is a little over 1 foot in protected areas of Lake Langhofer and just under a foot on the main channel with light flow. Black bass are biting fairly well on shad-colored square-bill and medium-diving crankbaits on the current side of main channel jetties. While many of these fish are small, you will occasionally find a large fish mixed in. White bass and drum are thick in these areas as well; always be ready for a bite. Bites are harder to get in heavily pressured Lake Langhofer but larger fish are more common. Fish can be caught from offshore brush piles using Zoom Finesse Worms and crankbaits run over and around the tops.
(updated 6-6-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said Warm temperatures and sunny days have caused Cane Creek Lake to warm up. Many species of fish are taking that as a sign to move into deeper waters and shaded areas. Bream are the exception. They are right at home laying on beds in shallow water warm enough to be in a bathtub. Fish worms casted 20-30 foot away from your position. The fish are skittish, so don’t tight line it. Cast your bait out and slowly drag it across beds to persuade aggressive fish to attack your hook. Crickets are working better on the bream species that prefer cooler water. Take your cricket to shaded areas along banks, cypress brakes, or the edge of lily pad fields. Bass are taking advantage of the cooler morning and evening. Use a hollow frog drug across the tops of lily pads before “hopping” off into open water. A soft plastic bait fished near structure on shaded banks may also lead to successful catches. Catfish are still waking up later in the day and on into the night. Large blues and taking up residence in hollows along the banks. Fish pungent baits near shallow water (shallower than 8 foot) to get the heavy fish to bite.
(updated 5-24-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said anglers are reporting excellent luck, especially with crappie and catfish. The best spots seem to be along the shoreline. A wide range of bait has been successful, from minnows to canned corn. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits. The fish were biting better during the cooler parts of the day and overnight. Trotlines were also successful during the morning hours.
(updated 6-6-2018) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello says bass fishing is fair, but you need to be fishing in the early morning. Bass are being caught in a depth of about 20 feet, with most activity near the creek channel. Use a crankbait or fish with shad or XD-22s. There was also some topwater action, Chris reports. Crappie reports were poor, and no other reports came in.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 6-6-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level is near normal, at about 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling (as of Monday) at 259.4 feet msl; and the discharge was near 175 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remains very low, about 225 feet msl. Water temps continued improving over the past week. Surface temps Monday ranged near 82 degrees early to 87 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially up river. The main lake and lower sections of Little River continue to improve, are not quite as stained or muddy as the upper regions of Little River and Saline River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility is moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River's visibility ranges 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranging 20-30 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. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber.
The best activity levels for largemouth bass over the past week have been from dawn to around 10 a.m., then the bite shuts off until almost dusk. Best baits drawing reactions over the past week or so have been square-bill crankbaits, chatterbaits, soft plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Best color of frogs have been black and June Bug in new lily pads. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse, Spot Remover, Firecracker or Firetiger colors continue working randomly around flooded brush and new emerging vegetation for 2- to 4-pound bass. Switching over to Arballo Chatterbaits, slow-rolling off points and creekmouths dumping into Little River around 9-15 feet, will yield the bigger bass. Males can still be caught relatively shallow around new vegetation and lily pads. StutterSteps, Spit'n Images, Ken Pops, Pop-R's and buzzbaits are beginning to draw random reactions from post-spawn largemouths around vegetation and new pads. Shallow-running square-bill 2.0 & 3.0 S-cranks and Echo 1.75s, deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 7-12 feet deep, will take some random, post-spawn bass around 15-18-inches in length. Working cranks in a stop-and-go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves. Hog Craws in black and blue flake, Brush Hogs, Beaver Bugs and Magnum 4-inch Gitzit tubes continue working for deeper into the creek channels. Best colors for the past couple of weeks working best have been South African Special, PB&J, Watermelon Candy, black/blue and black neon. Heavy, big, bulky 10-12-inch worms are picking up a few random reactions from largemouths in creek channels, creek mouths dumping into Little River and points along Little River. Berkley Power Worms, and Zoom Ole Monster 10-12-inch worms in black grape, plum, red shad, June Bug red, blackberry and green pumpkin colors have been drawing random reactions from lethargic, post-spawn largemouths along steeper vertical washouts, ledges and stairsteps along Little River and near creekmouth junctions, points and intersecting feeder creeks dumping into Little River.
Mike says there have been no reports on the nomad white bass this week; they are on the move along Little River. “We are still searching for the whites this week,” he said. Crappie were biting jigs and minnows near standing timber and planted brush piles 12-15 feet deep. Over the past couple of weeks, crappie were very aggressively hitting on jigs and minnows both to deeper drops 14-15 feet of depth near standing timber. They have been located by vertically jigging minnows or with Arkie Jigs in standing timber in 10-15 feet of depth. Channel cats and blues were fair up to 6 pounds on trotlines set 10-12 feet deep in Little River with chicken livers, gizzards and hearts and using chum blood baits near set trotlines – before the Corps cut the discharge rate back. Almost/virtually no current exists along Little River this week and has slowed the cat bite down considerably. A few guys told us they were doing OK on yo-yos hung from cypress trees using cut shad and buffalo in Mud Lake near the back, in 8-9 feet under the cypress tree limbs. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website 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.
(updated 6-6-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are biting. No report on bass and crappie.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.63 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-6-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is about a foot and a half below full pool of 548 feet msl and holding pretty steady. Water temps have made it to the mid- to upper 80s. The bass are moving to their summertime patterns. Right now, a lot of these bass are on secondary points leading into and out of spawning pockets in search of bream. They can be caught using Booyah Buzzbaits, Super Spook Jr’s, and the new Booyah Toadrunner. 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. Shaky head worms are working well on main lake points as well. Night fishing has been decent lately using Booyah Spinnerbaits or Yum Ribbontail worms. Crappie are great and can be caught in 15-25 feet of brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.35 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-6-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good early in the morning even before sunrise. With this hot weather and warm water the bite doesn't last too long. Look for surface feeding fish at mid-lake down to points 4 and 2. Throw surface plugs such as Zara Spooks and Pop-R's. Also try soft plastic swimbaits and Flukes. Later in the day look for fish farther uplake between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford and throw Texas-rigged worms across main lake points. Try 4-inch Finesse Worm in green pumpkin and red shad. Crappie fishing is fair with most fish now on the main lake attractors at about 20 feet. Throw a 2-inch Kalin's Grub in Tennessee Shad on a 1/16-ounce jighead across the brush and count it down to about 10 or 12 feet. Slow-roll it back, paying careful attention to your line and rod tip because the bites are very subtle. Look for attractors between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford. The AGFC is supposed to drop attractors this month mostly in the lower end of the lake. Opinion has it that the attractors should be placed at mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. It seems that there just aren't many crappie in the lower end. Hybrid fishing is fair with some schooling activity early in the morning between Edgewood and Point 4. Look for "breaking" fish and throw small topwater plugs or 4-inch swimbaits. When the fish go down, try casting spoons fished up under the fish. Also try trolling the small umbrella loaded with 3-inch swimbaits or curly tail grubs in white. Bream fishing is good with some big fish starting to show. Most any shallow cove with some cover will hold fish. Fish fairly shallow, at 5-8 feet, and look for bedding fish. Just move along until the schools are located. Try redworms or crickets.
George is one of the Fishing Report’s best “watchable wildlife” tipsters in the DeGray area, and for an aside there, he suggests heading up Brushy Creek early in the morning, about sunrise, and you will probably see an eagle – with any luck, maybe two or three. It seems a few eagles spend the summer in that area, he says.
(updated 6-6-2018) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Boy it was sure nice to get a couple of days with cooler air. But with any change in the weather, Mother Nature shows her strength and attitude. The cooler weather seems to have slowed the hybrid surfacing down some. They are spotty on the surface. You can see lots of them on your electronics around Iron Mountain and the dam. The trick is to get them to bite.” He says spoons are not working well. Trolling crankbaits the run 15 feet or better will get a few hits, but live bait is the best bet. The water has cooled from 88.7 degrees down to 85 Monday and that seems to have kept them deeper. They should be surfacing in the next day or two with the heat returning. Bream are still on some of the beds in the shallow water in the back of the coves. Use your electronics to find the “waffle signs” on the bottom and stand off and cast to them with drop-shot or bobber and sinker. Many have moved out to the brush piles, also. The problem with the brush piles is that there are many small bream. They can be found from Caddo Bend to Point Cedar. Getting good reports on crappie spider-rigging. Not sure on depth or location though. Crappie can be found from mid-lake to Point Cedar in brush piles 18 feet deep or deeper. Fish slow and be patient. Some big ones coming in. Sorry, no report on black bass. The lake is at 406.35 feet msl and pretty steady as of Tuesday. Look for the wind to change Wednesday and things will change again. Good fishing to you.
(updated 6-6-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie have slowed down but the whites and hybrids are schooling and feeding at first light.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.51 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.92 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-31-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) reports that White Oak Lake is just above normal pool this week. White Oak Lake State Park has been selling out of worms, minnows and crickets for the last couple of days. Bream are biting worms and crickets at depths of 3-6 feet deep around stumps and trees. Catfish are staying in deeper parts of the lake near the levee systems and channel markers where water depths go to 15-20 feet. Bass are hitting on topwater baits such as buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, frogs and jerkbaits. Crappie have slowed down a bit, moving to deeper water and heading to brush piles with anglers use minnows and jigs to lure them out.
(updated 6-6-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the water level is normal now. Bass are a little slow. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are slow. The Ronald McDonald Big Bass Tournament will be going on this weekend.
Hot Springs Village Area Lakes
(updated 6-6-2018) Greeson Marine of Hot Springs, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress aluminum and all-welded fishing boats, reports that Village lake temps are in the low to mid-80s throughout. Water clarity is clear with visibility up to 8 feet. With the huge amounts of emergent grass that have formed in the lakes, it is no surprise that topwater frogs and Whopper Ploppers for largemouth and spotted bass are dominating the fishing report. Some fish are being taken on the normal summer deep patterns like drop-shot rigs with watermelon Trick Worms and deep-diving cranks in shad colors but it’s hard to not have a blast throwing topwater presentations – especially when they are cranked up like they have been. Catfish are hot on live baits, hot dogs, cheese and Grandma’s leftover pot roast. Fish for them on the drop-offs. Have fun and good luck!
(updated 6-6-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is finally clearing up. The lake was fertilized in early May and that usually clouds it up. The water level is normal. Fishing remains slow. Bream are fair but seem to be picking up. Throw worms or crickets their way. Crappie are fair/slow, but there is activity in deep water. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair. The best success is coming on spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfish reports have been poor. Things should really begin picking up into June here.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
(updated 6-6-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress aluminum all-welded fishing boat, reports that Lake Catherine temps are in the high 80s throughout with water clarity of 4 feet or more. The fishing report recently has been on a downward trend. Bass and walleye are fair on main lake points with shad-colored cranks and soft plastics like craws and ribbon-tail worms in watermelon or watermelon seed colors. If you are fishing for bass you will likely boat a walleye. No report on bream or crappie.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 6-6-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that rainbow trout fishing is excellent as thousands of quality trout are thriving in the tailrace. Bank fishermen are catching 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 silver 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 numbers of fish remain in the tailrace feeding on shad. The majority of fish are being 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 anglers casting Flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie have finished 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 5-24-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 84. Water clarity in the river is dirty with some clear creeks and some stained. Largemouth bass have been good. Resident fish have been good on frogs and chiselers; river fish have been good in the grass with scam shad, jigs and Bamboozie. Fish on drops have been good with crankbaits and spinnerbaits; brush pile fish have been good with jigs and crankbaits. Crappie have been good in the creeks around stumps with chartreise jigs and chartreuse/black. White bass have been good on main river points around the current break; use white jigs, small swimbaits, crankbaits and spoons. Stripers are still in the creeks working the way out to the river. They are holding in the deeper holes and hitting Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, and scam shad used as a trailer on a chatterbait. Bream have been good in the creeks and the river around brush and stumps on the mudflats; use worms, crickets and small jigs. Catfish have been good in the creeks on worms and grasshoppers and small perch; the river fish are still hanging around mudflats, and cut bait, shad, skipjack and perch have been good bait.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton said the big bream have been doing well on crickets.
(updated 5-24-2018) 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 345.24 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-6-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said crappie are literally jumping in the boat on Nimrod. They will bite anything. The reports are excellent, with minnows and jigs both working. Expect them to bite at about 8 feet depth. Bream are good in the shallows. They are biting in 3-5 feet depth on redworms. Bass are good on crankbaits. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers. White bass reports have been poor.
(updated 6-6-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is clear and at a normal level. No temperature was recorded. The crappie bite is good. Bream reports are poor. Bass are good on crankbaits and topwater plugs. Catfishing is good using worms and blood bait.
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton says she has been told that anglers were pulling some slab crappie out of Nimrod on No. 6 crappie minnows.
NOTICE: The AGFC will hold two public meetings in June to discuss a new Lake Ouachita fisheries management plan. Both meetings will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The Fisheries Division is asking all anglers who like to fish Lake Ouachita to attend the meetings for the purpose of drafting a new fisheries plan, which will serve as a guideline for the Lake Ouachita fishery for the next five years. The first meeting, on Thursday, June 7, will be an open house will displays about the lake’s largemouth bass sampling, Florida bass genetics work, the lake’s creel survey, the completed statewide angler survey by the AGFC and the Lake Ouachita striped bass and crappie sampling results. The public will be able to interact with AGFC biologists at different stations about their ideas. The second meeting, on June 26, will be presentation of the new plan.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 576.89 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-6-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said that reports are that anglers are catching huge bream on crickets.
(updated 5-31-2018) Tom Duke of US97 said on the Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports report that the bream spawn has started. The full moon is at its peak May 29 and 3-4 days on either side of the full moon, the fishing is traditionally fantastic in Ouachita and the other area lakes. He also said that the topwater fishing on Lake Ouachita is outstanding now. Last weekend, Tom says, he and his group fished topwater always. Not all of the bass were bit, but all day long they were catching fish on the topwater lures.
(updated 5-31-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still very good. Creature baits, worms, black spinners at night and Zara Spooks during the day are all still working well. Walleye are good. Try trolling a Flicker Shad or using a CC Spoon near brush for these fish. Stripers are very good on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the central part of the lake are the best for these fish. Bream are still excellent and being caught on crickets and worms in 8-15 feet water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught on minnows or jigs in 15-18 feet of water near structure. Catfish are very good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 76-80 degrees and the clarity is clear. The level is slightly below full pool. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.12 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-25-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation and Education Center (870-241-3373) said black bass should be hitting any soft plastics around the bases of the cypress trees. Texas-rigged worms or soft plastic swimbaits should get the best results. Crappie should be along the channel or on the edges of the deeper cypress trees. Try white/chartreuse or black/chartreuse jigs. Bluegill are spawning and can be caught on crickets or night crawlers in the shallow flats or at the base of cypress trees.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5 mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing on Saturday, June 2, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be open the first and third Saturdays of every month through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
(updated 6-6-2018) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) had no report.
(updated 5-31-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake is still having positive bream and bass activity. If you can get your boat out, the bream are biting in medium depth water and the bass are hiding out in treetops around the shoreline. Anglers can also access the park’s fishing pier, where they have been bringing in the crappie. Live bait and artificial bait alike seem to be working – crankbaits are being reported on bass. The days are heating up, so we’re seeing most of our activity in the morning and evening hours.
(updated 5-31-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake water is finally starting to clear up. No major reports on activity; however, it looks like the chances for scoring a bite are higher now than they have been. Keep on trying! Natalie adds, “Remember, Mississippi River State Park has all of your bait needs. We sell artificial and live bait including worms, crickets, and shad. Also, the park has flat bottom boats available for rental on Bear Creek Lake. Feel free to call the park for more details at the number listed above.