June 20, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 20, 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 6-20-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water is stained and the surface water temperature is 88 degrees. Lake level is normal. Crappie are good with the best bite coming in the evening. Work your minnows or jigs around the green cypress trees. Bass are fair. Anglers were having best success using topwater plugs, poppers or frogs. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Catfish are fair on nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 6-20-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear with afternoon generation. The summer pattern of generation remains about the same from 2 p.m. until 6 or 7 p.m. This allows wade fishing throughout the day by starting early in the upper river and staying ahead of the generation the rest of the day. The bite has been good with a blue-wing olive hatch being the main catalyst. Midges are also active in the morning. Small pheasant tail nymphs, pheasant tail emergers and other blue-wing olive emergers are good choices along with midge pupa. The weather forecast for the rest of the week is for cooler temperatures in the 80s and a good chance of rain. As long as the rain isn’t a “gully washer,” it shouldn’t affect fishing. Cloudy skies and a little rain may even help. If the rain doesn’t muddy the river, all should be well.
(updated 6-20-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said 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, we recommend soft hackles, midges, hare’s ears, 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.72 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 6-20-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake as of Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. was at 461.83 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It was 0.71 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. The fishing for black bass is good numbers-wise, and some big fish being caught as well on crankbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged worms as usual for this time of year. The fish are either up shallow or deeper from on the shoreline out to 43 feet of water. Fish the wind and real slow for the best results. The crappie are eating jigs and minnows as well as trolled crankbaits and a beetle spin reeled real slow around brush piles or pole timber in 10-25 feet of water. Walleye are eating crawlers on several different rigs or crankbaits in 12-43 feet of water. Bream are real active guarding fry and eating crawlers, crickets, small crankbaits, inline spinners in real, real shallow out to 28 feet of water. Catfishing is going good all around the lake on cut shad and live bait on any application you want to use, from about 10 feet out to 43 feet of water. The hybrid and white bass bite is good overall all around the lake. Early and late in the day or sometimes in the middle of day is best, as they will feed 7-8 times a day at different times. Timing is very crucial for these fish and being and staying around the shad as well. Patience is a great tool to use. Bait-wise, use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits, grubs, Alabama rigs and hair jigs for the best results in 22-65 feet of water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-20-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear and the lake is at a normal level. Surface water temperature ranges from 80 degrees early to 88. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater plugs. Catfishing has been good on worms and chicken liver. No reports on bream.
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 6-13-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is about normal and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 87 degrees. Crappie are being caught in deeper water fishing with jigs and minnows 3-6 feet deep. Not catching a lot but are catching some good ones 15-16 inches. Bream are doing well with crickets, worms and Rock Hoppers. They are on the beds. Bass are doing well around brush tops and structure around the shoreline. They are chasing the new spawn of shad. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines with bream and trotline minnows. “Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Highway 9.”
(updated 6-20-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is a little dingy this week. Surface water temperature ranges from 82 early to 90 degrees. Lake level is normal. Bream were fair on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing has been good. The crappie are in a depth of 12-18 feet and biting minnows or jigs. Bass are good. Fish for bass in 8-12 feet depth and around the rocky points. Use crankbaits of plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms or chicken liver.
(updated 6-20-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said largemouth bass remain 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. The largemouth bite has been most prevalent at dusk and at dawn for the past several weeks. Tuesday night’s tournament anglers didn’t experience quite the whopping night of a week ago, with 9.78 pounds winning the event. Winners Lee Brizzo and Wes Lowder also brought in the Big Bass of 3.42 pounds. Kentucky bass are good. The spots 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 reports are good. A few reports of the whites schooling but not staying up for long. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie are good, with 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. Bream are being caught on top of the bream beds 6-8 feet deep and atop brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfish are excellent: More reports this week of the channels starting to move out and the blues coming in. Try stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and 20 feet deep. 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 6-20-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said this lake has been hot, especially since the AGFC stocked it last Tuesday (June 12) with not only the regular-size catfish they always do, but also with some tagged fish anywhere between 10-20 of them ranging from 5 to 40 pounds. The prizes ranging from tackle boxes to gift cards to kayaks. Once again don't forget the limit of three per person on the catfish, let everyone have a chance to catch some. Another thing: Don't forget the big fishing derby going on there Saturday, June 23, put on by the Benton Police Department and the AGFC. The tournament is open to boys and girls ages 12 and under. There will be lots of prizes; it will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Any questions concerning the derby can be answered by calling 501-776-5948. The catfish have been doing good on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Sonny's Dip Bait also has provided some nice ones. A few crappie reports off of No. 4 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Bass, like the catfish, have been hitting the brooder minnows. Bream have been good on crickets; the other side of the lake by the interstate side has provided some nice ones.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-20-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been hitting redworms and crickets. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and No. 12 bass minnows. Catfish been OK on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. A few crappie off No. 4 and No. 6 crappie minnows, especially at the back pond that they call Lake Charles. “I hear over on the back side hasn't been too bad,” Lisa says. “Some do well at the front one by the road called Lake Norma and also in Hurricane Creek that runs back behind the two lakes.”
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-20-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the bass have been great on brooder minnows and almost any plastic bait in either green pumpkin or watermelon red. Bream have been excellent on crickets. Crappie are fair on No. 6 crappie minnows like down below the spillway. Catfish have done great on trotlines using goldfish, black salties and bream. Some flathead catfish have been caught on brooder minnows used on rod and reel. “It's not uncommon to catch a walleye on the river this time of the year using the brooder minnows,” Lisa said. “I caught my first one on a hot sunny day in June, about 29 years ago, below the spillway on the Saline River. They are still in there all the time, you just don't catch them like you do in the months of October through February.”
(updated 6-20-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said big redear bream are biting off crickets; drop-shot with them. Crappie are biting on No. 6 crappie minnows and also on Kalin's Tennessee Shad 2-inch Grubs. Catfish are good around the docks with redworms and live crawdads. Trotlines baited with black salties have been producing a few catfish. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and scum frogs.
(updated 6-13-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said Lake Sylvia has been a hot spot of late. Anglers have been having great success catching catfish using chicken livers.
(updated 6-20-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the crappie are doing pretty well on No. 4 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on nightcrawlers and live crawdads. Bream have been also doing well on crickets and redworms. Bass are biting well on No. 12 bass minnows and various crankbaits.
(updated 6-20-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said heat has kept people from fishing all day long. Daylight to 9-10 a.m. is the norm now. Black bass are in back of coves and banks where you have overhangs or shade. Use topwater lures like Arbogast Jitterbugs, Rebel Pop-Rs or Zara Spooks. Results are good. Catfish are around grass lines to 10 feet, later moving out to deeper water. Use shad and nightcrawler combination in the morning; drift with shad when the day goes on. Reports have been good. Bream are same as the bass early, around overhangs, then moving to grass line and then sandbars with wood. Use crickets. The bite is good. No reports on crappie, white bass or stripers. Drum are around jetties as the base where it hits the sand. Fish with a crawfish-colored lure. Reports are good.
(updated 6-13-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said that while conditions are hot, anglers were enjoying above average fishing. The water clarity is clear, and the water and current are normal. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are good on worms and chicken liver. White bass reports were fair.
(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 6-20-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or by snagging. White bass are good on spoons, shad and twister tails.
(updated 6-20-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Surface water temperature has ranged from 88 degrees to a high of 93. Bream are on their beds and the bite is good. Fish with worms or crickets. Crappie are good. Look for crappie around the brush piles and rocky points, in about 7-12 feet of water. Tubes were working for the best bites. Bass are good. Make sure to hit the rocky points and end of jetties for the best results. Anglers were using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs. No reports on catfish.
(updated 6-20-2018) 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 clear. Surface temperature was 88 degrees. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. The crappie bite is good; use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on crankbaits or spinnerbaits. No catfish reports.
(updated 6-20-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that below Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or by snagging. White bass are good on spoons, shad and twister tails.
(updated 6-13-2018) 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.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-20-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear with a surface temperature of 88 degrees. Level and current are normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on topwater lures. No reports on catfish.
(updated 6-20-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water is clear and the water is hot. Level of the lake is normal. No reports on bream. Crappie are good. Anglers are catching them trolling with minnows and jigs. The bass bite ranges from fair to good. Anglers are using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on catfish.
(updated 6-20-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “The heat is on and the water is big to mirror our catch.” Best spot this past week was Wildcat Shoals and might prove to be even better in the weeks to come if the fishing pressure decreases there due to closure of the access ramp. The AGFC has closed the ramp access for a couple of months as they repair and improve the area and the parking lot. You'll enjoy the new ramp access when completed; previous ramp improvements have been very nice. “Last week we saw some good-sized rainbows reeled in as well as some keeper browns,” they report. The rainbows have been biting hard on pink worms and frozen shrimp. This strategy has also netted a few big brown but the best bet to catch a lunker has been river minnows or lures with a sliver flash to them; also try some rogues with orange bellies and red eyes. The water has been staying high and swift, but that may soon change. Bull Shoals Lake is starting to approach its normal level for the season and the generation may change and with it the fishing style.
(updated 6-20-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the it remains quite hot as far as air temperature, but anglers will find the water just right. Clarity is now clear, but there is a lot of water as eight generators have been running round-the-clock. Trout fishing has been fair.
(updated 6-20-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that during the previous week, that had a rain event producing about half an inch in Cotter, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.4 feet to rest at 6.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 27.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 13.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 feet to rest at 3.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 5.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation and no 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 particularly in the afternoons. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the near future, particularly in the afternoons. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals (this access is closed for repairs). There are sulphurs 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 size 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.
John also says, “Last Friday I guided two doctors from Kansas City. My wife, Lori, was in Memphis conducting a casting seminar for the Mid South Fly Fishers, our old fishing club. At the same time I had some contractors renovating my sunroom with new doors and windows. It was nice to get away from that project and spend a day on the river with a couple of nice guys, Mike and Adam.
“It promised to be a great day with moderate temperatures, light and variable winds, good flows of water and an ever so slight chance of rain. Adam was a more experienced angler and a decent fly-caster. True to form he caught the first three trout, including a really fat 18-inch rainbow.
“I had initially rigged their rods with different flies. This is standard procedure for me. That way I can try several likely suspects and zero in on the most productive fly rather quickly. I switched Mike over to the ruby midge dropper that Adam had caught the three trout on. It was a game changer! All of a sudden Mike began catching trout. He quickly passed Adam’s count. We fished those rigs for the rest of the day and caught all but one trout on the ruby midge. It has been my most productive fly for the past few years.
“We stopped for lunch about noon. We were disappointed to note that one of the picnic tables at the Rim Shoals ramp had been destroyed during a wind storm a few weeks ago and there were no picnic tables available for us to sit and have lunch. Luckily a young guide from Cotter Trout Dock was cooking a shore lunch and loaned me a roll up table. It was greatly appreciated.
“After lunch, we returned to the river. Mike was on fire. He had a spurt of success that went on for a while. He mostly caught rainbows but managed to land a nice brown that fought like a demon. As we continued to fish, the sky got progressively darker. We began to hear rumbles of distant thunder. I tried to pull up my weather app on my iPhone but was unsuccessful. It was near the end of the day and I did not want to get caught in a storm. I decided to fish near the ramp so I could pull off quickly. My clients were in total agreement as they had not brought rain gear with them.
“About 3:55 I felt the first rain drop. Quitting time is normally 4 p.m. Mike and Adam were eager to pull the plug. I was near the ramp and let them out. It was starting to rain but they were able to get to their car without getting soaked. I secured my boat and went to get my Suburban. I grabbed my rain jacket and threw my straw cowboy hat into the back of my vehicle (straw hats don’t like to get wet). By the time I got my boat on the trailer, it was raining heavily. I got off the ramp as quickly as possible so my fellow guides could get in. We were all soaked and our boats had three or four inches of rain in them.
“Luckily for us the rain had come at the very end of the day and we had time to catch plenty of trout. The guide estimate was 30 fish. It was a good day, but it took most of the next day to dry out all of my gear. That is fishing.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 665.77 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-20-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said lake levels at 668 feet msl and the Army Corps of Engineers has been running quite a bit of water, but the lake is still about 9 feet over pool. They’ve still got bushes in the water, roads in the water, all that good stuff. Water temperatures are climbing and it's getting hot. Del put in last Thursday morning at 88 degrees, he found some 90-plus degree water throughout the lake. It's that time of year now with the Corps generating a lot of water, the water's pulling the current. It’s definitely affecting the fishing. Most of the fishing he’s been doing has been better more toward the main lake secondary points, things of that nature. So you want to look for the shad balls early in the morning. If you can get out when the light’s coming out, that's your best bet. There's still a good topwater bite. It’s hit or miss depending on the day or the weather or whatever. On the breaking fish Del will throw walk-the-dog-style bait, a Zara Spook, a Sammy, something a little bigger so you can get some distance. You may be fishing a point and they may be breaking in 200 feet of water. You’ve got a couple of people on the boat, have someone throwing a popper; Whopper Plopper is also working. If you get in around the points with the bushes, it seems like the bushes are the key for the Whopper Plopper. As the morning goes on, sun comes up and it starts getting hot, that bite starts slowing down a little bit. You can still pick up a few fish throwing a swimbait. Swimbaits worked in keeping the boat in 30 foot of water, in the same place where you were working the topwater. Throw it out slowly, rolling it back to the boat, and they'll load up on it if you just get around them. If you’ve got any wind when the sun comes up, the bite is going to slow down for you. You can go to a couple of options then, though: Del likes to drag a jig on either the bluff fans or the long points those fish. Del also likes to throw a drop-shot, throw anything in a shad pattern with a shad color. Around the bluffs, look for shade. Fish will get up in there and most of those fish will be 10-15 feet deep, to as much as 20-30 feet depending on the day.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 558.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-20-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said striper and walleye fishing on Norfork Lake is the hot bite right now. The stripers have set into their summer pattern of being higher in the water column at early light, then moving deeper as the sun comes up. The good news is the bite is lasting longer in the morning. We have been catching stripers up to 9 a.m. It's very slow after 7 a.m. but you can catch them. The walleye are biting all over the lake on bottom bouncers using spinners and nightcrawlers, crankbaits and spoons. The best bite is 7-10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to dark. Look for them on the flats in waters ranging 24-32 feet. We are also catching stripers while fishing anywhere from 50-120 feet of water. The walleye are usually around the 35-foot range in the deep water. Stripers continue to feed on shad and crawdads. We are catching them using 3- to 5- inch gizzard shad; threadfin shad is also working, plus spoons. Right now, the middle of the lake is still the best bite for stripers, Crystal Cove, Robinson Point, Float and Panther Creeks. The walleye are everywhere. Just pick a long flat on the side of a point or if the point has a flat try that. You should be able to mark them they will be right off the bottom. Remember we are now in the summer period of striper fishing, so you should stop releasing legal stripers caught on live bait. The slogan for the summer is “Catch Your Limit and Go Home.” Catch your limit and quit for the day, save some fish for your next trip.
(updated 6-13-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is continuing to be outstanding. There is still a little topwater action right before sunrise and then again at sunset. Hybrids, whites, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are the fish coming up sporadically. Most species are located from about 18 feet of water out to 70 feet of water. The striped bass and hybrid bass bite is one of the best bites Lou says he’s seen in a while. This species has started to school, which makes it a lot of fun. When you find the school of fish, you have continuous action until you lose the school, then you are back to looking. Live bait is working very well, but artificial baits are working as well. Vertical-jig with a spoon, cast out a big swimbait and cast or troll an Alabama rig. Lou says what he has noticed over the last week is that the fish he marks from the surface down to approximately 30 feet are predominately hybrid and white bass. The large arcs marked 40-70 feet are typically striped bass. Striped bass need the cooler water, whereas the hybrids can tolerate the warmer water. He has been vertical-jigging with a spoon for the deeper fish, as these are the big boys. Tuesday morning Lou had his spoon down 65 feet in 70 feet of water and hooked into something big. It would not budge, but then he felt a headshake and it started to move slowly along the bottom. “This fish could not care less that it was hooked. I fought this fish for about 5 minutes, then the treble hook just pulled out. I will get this monster the next time.” The best locations now are partway back in creeks, whether it be a major or a secondary creek. The striped and hybrid bass are feeding on crawdads during the evening and are switching out to shad when the sun starts to come up. The best depths where Lou has found the fish is 50-100 feet of water.
Lou says the walleye bite is also very good. Most of the fish that his guests have caught are in 20-30 feet of water on the bottom. During the night if you are using a light to attract bait you will find this species suspended down about 20 feet. A crawler harness with a bottom-bouncing weight is working very well, but Lou has caught walleye jigging with a spoon on the bottom. Live shad or shiners are also picking up some nice fish especially after dark. The largemouth bass bite has been good, especially early and late in the day. Some topwater action up close to the shoreline, as well as out in deep water while they are chasing shad. Lou says he’s caught some nice fish on Zara Spooks, swimbaits and a blade-type bait. As the sun gets high in the sky, switch out to baits you work along the bottom in 15-25 feet of water. You will also still find some nice fish up in the sunken buckbrush, but most are deeper. The crappie bite is good if you can locate the fish. This is the time of year when they scatter into deeper, cooler water along bluff drop-offs or inside of deep brush piles. The best bite for crappie has still been in the shade of covered docks.
The Norfork Lake level is falling approximately 3-2 inches per day and sits at 561.5, which is only about 5 feet above normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature is holding fairly stable and is currently in the mid-80s. The main lake is clear with a slight stain back in some of the coves. The lake is in absolutely great shape. “If you have not made your plans yet for your summer fishing and/or lake recreation vacation give us call. We have cabins available, 870-492-5113.”
(updated 6-20-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 3.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.7 feet msl and 19.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had more generation and no 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. On the Norfork, the water is has cleared substantially and has fished much better. There have been some nice midge hatches that have fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the past year’s 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 red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has cleared and is fishing better. There are fewer fish in the creek. 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).
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.
(updated 6-20-2018) 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 1,123.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 6-13-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water remained clear, while the surface temperature ranged from the mid-80s to the 90s. Water level remains high. Anglers found conditions real hot, they say. Bream were biting good to excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie are good if you’re trolling. Use Bandit 300 in bright colors for the crappie. Bass are fair early in the morning and late in the day. Anglers were having best success with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and early with topwater plugs. Catfish are good on trotlines with a variety of bait: worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, perch and goldfish.
(updated 6-20-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says 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. The night bite is picking up. Green lights with bait and down-rigging are becoming productive. For you diehard live baiters, fishing weighted and down lines between 20-40 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, as well as Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in the 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper-hybrid or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike Bailey’s website linked above. He adds that live bait is always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers.
Mike says water surface temperatures are in the low to mid-80s. On the mid and upper sections check out these hot spots: Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Highway 12 bridge and Prairie Creek. Mike adds that 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. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water work best. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B's, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also give a try to slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse.
(updated 6-20-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been great this past week. The Army Corps of Engineers is generating around 9 a.m., so if you get out early, you don’t have to contest with flowing water. Trout are biting on various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. Quarter-ounce spoons and Rapala hard baits are also catching some nice fish. The hot spot is going to be between Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. The water temperature has been between 45-50 degrees between U.S. Highway 62 bridge and Houseman Access. Further downstream toward Holiday Island the smallmouths and Kentucky bass are biting well on soft plastics, fished in 5-6 feet of water. Crappie are hitting along the banks and structures on live minnows and jigging soft plastics. A few white bass have been caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island throwing an Alabama rig with white grubs. Try fishing near structure and throwing into bends along the shore. Walleye are still very active on the lake – Austin adds that as he does not write the fishing report for the lake in this area, if you contact him through his Facebook page, he would be more than happy to fill you in on what he has found/know. On a safety note, please stay hydrated in this heat, fish early in the mornings or late in the evenings. Try to mix Gatorade with water to keep electrolytes up. Good luck to all!
(updated 6-20-2018) Beaver Dam Store said bait fisherman are catching numbers of trout using PowerBait, nightcrawlers and waxworms. 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, Midges are working well along with white or olive PJ jigs. Stocking occurred last week and fly-fisherman are reporting 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 6-20-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is clear and the surface temperature is 80 degrees. Lake level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing has been poor.
(updated 6-20-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports said the clarity is dirty and the surface temperature is 90 degrees. The lake level is low. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. No reports on crappie. The bass bite is fair with topwater plugs. Catfishing is fair with chicken liver and shad.
(updated 6-20-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Sometimes it seems that we are saying the same things over again for several weeks. But, things have not changed. We are still selling a variety of live bait. Crickets are in high demand. But, we are also selling a good amount of minnows, goldfish, redworms and nightcrawlers. We are expecting to get a new vender so we can keep plenty of rice slicks. We try to keep the fishermen happy here at Lake Poinsett State Park. Know they will be a lot more “happy” when the lake here is ready for them to begin fishing here again. Stay tuned.” Lake Poinsett is drawn down for about two years so that repairs can be made to areas of erosion, the water structure and other areas. There are other lakes in the immediate area for anglers to check out, including Lake Hogue and Lake Charles. Also, the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program is now stocking the pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 6-20-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Level and current are normal. Bream are good on redworms and are being caught around brush piles or around docks. No reports on crappie. Bass are good. Early in the day, they are shallow; later, the move deep into 10-20 feet of water. Use crankbaits or topwater lures. Catfish are excellent. You can catch them early in the morning or late in the day close to the shoreline. Use nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-20-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 340 cfs and water clarity has been clear. On the hot, sunny days, fishing early has been key. Woollies, nymphs and Y2ks are good choices for flies. When the bite slows, get the fly down deep. Hot pink, black and orange Trout Magnets have been great. Fish just off the bottom. The Spring River is cold and refreshing this time of year. Wade in and enjoy!
(updated 6-20-2018) 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 6-20-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said there were no reports the past week. The river is high.
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 6-13-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temps are in mid- to upper 80s, while shallow backwaters are reaching low 90s by the end of the day. Visibility in the main channel is a little over half a foot at worst to around 1 foot at best. Some backwaters are up to 1½ feet of visibility. The river has been flowing lightly. Black bass are biting well in the mornings on buzzbaits and square-billed and medium-diving crankbaits worked along rocks and vegetation, especially on the main channel. Fish the current side of jetties and rock banks for more bites. Most of the fish are small but occasionally there is a large one mixed in. Some fish can be caught from offshore brush piles in Lake Langhofer. If you prefer to fish the bank, target the shaded banks after the sun is fully risen for higher success rates.
(updated 6-13-2018) Park Superintendent Jeff Shell at Cane Creek State Park said the water is staying warm as the overnight lows have been in the 70s and 80s. Bream can still be found on beds, and for your best chances of catching pan-sized bream, use crickets. Jeff recommends casting out at least 15 yards and use a float to suspend your cricket. The water clarity has increased to the point that those large bream are skittish. Bass are taking advantage of the cooler morning and evening. Use a hollow frog dragged 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 starting to come off bed and are biting various attractants from an hour before dark to an hour after dark. Crappie are hard to find right now, but if you’re determined to find some, try suspended timber in deeper water.
(updated 6-13-2018) 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 259.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 6-20-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “It’s HOT, folks.” The lake level has almost stabilized and on Monday was about 4 inches above normal conservation pool and falling, at 259.6 feet msl; the discharge was near 651 CFS in Little River according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remains very low, about 226 feet msl. Water temps continued climbing over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 87 degrees early to 91 later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber. 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. The best activity from largemouth bass continues to be from dawn to around 10 a.m., and bite subsides until almost dusk. Largemouth bass have been fair; cloud cover mornings being best activity over the past few weeks – early at dawn and dusk, with activity levels slowing with the increase of surface temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s range during the heat of the day. Best baits drawing reactions over the past week or so have been plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Buzzbaits continue working for 2-3-pound largemouths. Best color of frogs have been black and June Bug in new lily pads. Firecracker buzzbaits and spinnerbaits are working randomly around flooded brush and new emerging vegetation. Slow-rolling the spinnerbaits off points, ditches and creek mouths dumping into Little River from 8-12 feet will yield a few random bass. Males can still be caught relatively shallow around new vegetation and lily pads. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads, and Baby Torpedoes are getting reactions from largemouths around vegetation and new pads. Topwater activity levels slow considerably after 11 a.m. with increased heat. Shallow running squarebill, 2.0 and 3.0 S-cranks, and Echo 1.75's deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 7-12 feet deep, will take a few random bass around 14-15 inches in length. In the clearer water of the oxbows, better spinnerbait or chatterbait colors are Firecracker, Spot Remover and Mouse. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the 2.0 S-cranks, and Echo 1.75 square bills, for the past week or so have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghost. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic and White Smoke continue drawing random reaction from 14-17-inch bass over the past couple weeks in creek channels leading in and out of spawning flats worked slower and deeper in the creeks. Square-bill S-cranks and shallow running crankbaits in shad or bluegill and bream patterns are working near creek mouths and points extending into Little River for the past week or so, since the post-spawn largemouths have pulled out to deeper sections of creek channels and points dumping into the river. Working the cranks in a stop-and -go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves.
White bass have not been seen in the last couple weeks. Last known location was the points extending into Little River either side of the Cossatot River inflow ditch, either side of U.S. Highway 71 bridge. Crappie were biting jigs and minnows near standing timber and planted brush piles 12-15 feet deep. Crappie over the past couple weeks seem to be transitioning to deeper drops, 15-20 feet of depth, near standing timber or planted brush piles. They have been located by vertically jigging minnows, Arkie Jigs and minnows in standing timber in 10-15 feet of depth. Crappie slowed over the past few days with the increased heat. Not many crappie anglers out in the past few days. And, no reports on catfish.
(updated 6-20-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said there have been a few reports on bream being caught. Nice crappie are being caught at night. No report on bass.
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 546.26 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 405.87 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-20-2018) Local angler George Graves said that morning surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing is fair, but it is strictly an early-morning affair. And it is all over by 9 a.m., so get up early and be on the water by sunrise. Bass fishing is fair with lots of small fish reported. Look for fish in the lower end along the south side between points 2 and 6. Look for surface feeding fish in the big coves and throw topwater plugs, Flukes and 4-inch swimbaits. Also, there is some action along the State Park between the lodge causeway and the marina. Some action has been reported coming from mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Throw medium-running crankbaits across main lake points. Later in the morning try a Texas- or Carolina-rigged worm or lizard worked across the same points. Lots of Kentuckies reported coming from the bluff banks at points 14 and 15 at Shouse Ford. Try a Texas-rigged finesse worm worked down the steep banks. Red shad and green pumpkin are the "go to" colors. Remember, the key to summer bass fishing is early in the morning.
George adds that crappie fishing is only fair with a few fish reported coming from attractors in the lower end between Caddo Bend and the big coves at the lodge. Look for attractors in about 20 feet of water and drop a Kalin's 2-inch Grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Be sure to get the lure over the thickest part of the brush. In the clear water, Tennessee Shad is best color. Fishing would be much better if there were just more attractors in the lower end. This should improve once the AGFC finishes its habitant-placing project, which is supposed to key on the lower end of the lake. The GPS info should be added to the AGFC interactive map after the project’s completion. Hybrid fishing is only fair, with the problem being there just doesn't seem to be the number of fish as in years past. The best bet is now at mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Also, a few fish have been reported coming from the mouth of Brushy Creek. White bass are holding up well and at least provide a bit of action when the hybrids don't show. Use the same lures that you would with hybrids. Bream fishing is good with lots of fish relating rock or wood structure in the major coves most anywhere in the lake. Bait with redworms and crickets.
George noted that last Friday, while fishing off DeRoche Ridge, he saw a huge flock of white pelicans to the south. “There must have been hundreds of birds. A boast scared the birds, and when in the air I only then realized how many there were.” He said that when he lived in Florida he spent considerable time at Ding Darling Preserve photographing birds. “I thought I saw some big blocks of white pelicans, but nothing to compare to at DeRoche. Of course, I didn't have my camera.”
(updated 6-20-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid stripers are feeding at first light at mid-lake on spoons.
(updated 6-13-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Hot, hot, hot. Its summertime in Arkansas.” Water temperatures have risen back up to 87-88 degrees. Lake level 406.6 feet msl with little fall. Fishing is beginning to stabilize. Black bass are in their summer time moods. Use worms on points either Texas- or Carolina-rigged; use topwaters real early in and around buck brush. You can find it from mid-lake to Point Cedar. Move to crankbaits as the sun goes up, then to the worms and deeper-diving crankbaits. Hybrids are showing signs of surfacing from Shouse Ford to Iron Mountain. Some good catches reported on spoons in the mid-lake area. Lots of schools of fish are running higher in the water column. Use your electronics to locate a school and the match your depth with count-downing a spoon to the right level, let down live bait. (bigger the better) to the correct depth, match fish depth to appropriate depth crankbait and then troll. Bream still being picked up on some beds. Electronics or word of mouth will help locate the beds, then stay off and cast to them. Fish right off the bottom with drop-shot of bobber and hook. Crappie are a different story, but a good story. The fish are holding real tight and in cover. Fish as close as you can over brush piles from mid-lake to Point Cedar; 12-25 feet deep is required depending on water depth. Best way to catch the “big” ones is fishing a 1/16-ounce jig (pink or chartreuse) head tipped with a minnow and fishing the freefall; bites are light on the start but finish with some good ’uns. Good fishing, stay hydrated, help others.
(updated 6-13-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says DeGray Lake is a hot spot for crappie. She said anglers have been doing decent on crappie above the brush tops using Bobby Garland Split Tail in the color pink cotton candy, and also in Bobby Garland Scent Wiggl’R in the color pink sparkle.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.30 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.87 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-13-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 6-20-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are biting well on crickets or worms. Bass are starting to pick up a bit. The crappie bite is slow.
(updated 6-20-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 86-87 degrees. Lake level is low. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie have moved deep, but the bite is good on jigs. Bass are biting off the shoreline in about 3-4 feet depth. Catfishing is fair to slow using chicken liver or shad.
(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 6-20-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that rainbow trout fishing has dropped off sharply since last week. June is traditionally the last month for quality fishing below Carpenter Dam as the summer season kicks in. Anglers will experience short feeding times and a finicky bite as wary trout feed on insect hatches and injured baitfish. Patience is key as the remaining trout numbers are actively feeding in the late evening as the sun sets over the top of the dam. Trout from 12-17 inches have been caught and released in the last week, but numbers have been few. Bank fishermen have had some success using waxworms and mealworms fished just of the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Nightcrawlers and redworms will also work presented in the same manner. As late June approaches, few rainbow trout will be seen feeding and smaller numbers caught. By July, trout fishing will be over and good numbers of fish won't be caught again until the stocking program resumes again in November. This scenario is repeated every year below Carpenter Dam. 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 6-13-2018) 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 6-20-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boat, reports that lake temperatures are hovering at and near the 90-degree mark throughout. Good reports of bass breaking early and late. Target breakers with shad swimbaits and Zara Spooks. Fish fast and erratically through the school. During the day go to topwater patterns like Zoom Frogs in white or black and skipped back underneath docks and any shaded areas. Deep-diving crankbaits in Sexy Shad and Bluegill colors are producing on main lake points. The fish don’t like it hot anymore than we do. Find the shade or cool water, find the fish.
(updated 6-20-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass are biting at first light on spoons in the back of major creek arms.
(updated 6-13-2018) Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton said the big bream have been doing well on crickets.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.16 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-20-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the clarity is clear and the surface temperature ranges 82-87 degrees. Lake level is normal. Bream appear to be scattering now and the bite is fair. Use crickets. Crappie range from fair to good, with the fish being small to medium-sized (12-14 inches). Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good. There have been some bass in the 3-5-pound range caught. It’s best in the evenings. Use a spinnerbait or a crankbait and work in the 5-foot deep area. Catfishing is good on trotlines.
(updated 6-13-2018) 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 remains between fair and good, with minnows or jigs working. Bream reports turned to good this week. Use worms or crickets. Bass reports have been poor. Catfishing is fair.
(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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.92 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-20-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. Creature baits and Texas-rigged worms are working well. Walleye are still very good. Try using a CC spoon near brush for these fish. Stripers are fair to good on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the central and eastern parts of the lake are the best for these fish. Bream are good and being caught on crickets and worms in 8-15 feet water near brush. Crappie are still fair and being caught on minnows or jigs in 15-18 feet of water near structure. Catfish are still good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees and the clarity is clear. 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 6-15-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 online report that he’s had several good reports here. The moss on Ouachita is holding a lot of good fish, They’re cruising the outside edge in the morning, but they’re not getting in that grass until the sun come up. Anglers are fishing a Texas-rigged worm or a big jig on top of the moss after the sun comes up, after 10 a.m. Kevin Brown, who won a bass tournament there over the weekend, was a Rat-L-Trap or a frog on top of that moss. After 10 is when the fish move up in that grass and you get better, quality bites, Kastner said. Fish are really keying on the moss. The 10-12-foot-deep edge of that moss line is really thick and lush right now, he said. Another way you can fish it is with a wobblehead, which is basically nothing more than an egg sinker attached sideways to a great big hook (4-0 or 5-0 hook) and you can use whatever soft plastic you want, Kastner said – creature bait, big worm, etc. Throw it out there with a half-ounce weight or even a three-quarter-ounce if you’re fishing deeper and let it slide down the edge of the moss line. Whenever you feel it start to ball up on moss, rip it out of there and a lot of times that’s when you get the fish to bite.
(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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.00 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-13-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said anglers are reporting black bass to be hitting Texas-rigged baby brush hogs and Jig-Sooie jigs at the bases of the deeper cypress trees. Bluegill are spawning and can be caught on crickets or nightcrawlers in the shallow flats or at the base of cypress trees. Crappie have been slow.
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 Saturday, June 16, 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 anglers, 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 6-20-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), tells us, “Unfortunately, there’s not much to report down our way. The hotter temperatures seem to be scaring some folks off the lake.” Bear Creek is still seeing some catfish activity – most folks are using jug lines, but some have had success with a rod and reel. Stink bait and homemade bait seem to be the winners (Natalie says she can’t divulge their secret recipes – “sorry!”) However, not much to report for other fish such as bass and bream. Even if the fishing isn’t all that great, Natalie still encourage folks to come out and enjoy their beautiful park and the beautiful St. Francis National Forest. “There is plenty more to see around these parts!”
(updated 6-20-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake Storm Creek Lake remains about the same as it’s been fishing lately. Some catfishing success stories, but nothing more in the way of bass, bream or crappie.