Feb. 27, 2019
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 27, 2019. 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. 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 2-27-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said that the lake clarity is muddy and the water is high. Monday afternoon’s surface water temperature reached 52 degrees. Bream are good, and they’re hitting redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. You’ll find them active at Gold Creek and Caney Creek. Largemouth bass are good. Try using red/chartreuse chatterbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is fair. Use liver, cut bait or nightcrawlers.
(updated 2-27-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) on Wednesday morning said the river has cleared after the last big rain event and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has informed him that they will stay with the 12 hour/two-unit generation into the first part of next week. Then the hours of generation will increase as the lower river and White River are able to take the increased flow. They did say that as soon as the capacity of the river will allow, they will be running 24/7 and opening the flood gates slightly to lower the lake level. It would be best to check the generation schedule before planning your fishing trip.
The Corps dropped the generation to one unit for several hours during the day on Tuesday and the fish were biting. Greg says, “My fisherman caught a 23½-inch, heavy rainbow along with several other nice rainbows. Large nymphs and micro jigs were the main flies. They shut the generators down for one hour for some reason and the fish began taking midges. This was what the large rainbow decided to eat. Jim just turned 80 and comes to Arkansas in February to escape the snow and cold in Minnesota. He did a wonderful job landing this big rainbow on a size 20 midge pupa and 6x tippet. He is an inspiration to me, showing me that I have some years ahead to enjoy fly-fishing!”
(updated 2-20-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said that as of this writing, there are some morning fishing opportunities on the Little Red. However, it is expected the Army Corps of Engineers will increase water release for extended periods from the Greers Ferry Dam as soon as conditions downriver allow. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends egg patterns, San Juan worms and streamers during high water conditions, and pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers during normal water conditions. Hot pink, cotton candy and white bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 472.04 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 2-27-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said, “We need all the public input we can get on how to manage the lake over the next five years, and all the public’s input will be heard before the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission draws up a plan. So, please attend the public meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Heber Springs Event Center.” Meanwhile, Tommy says the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 472.03 feet msl and rising, and even with generation it is 9.99 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl with more rain in the forecasts. Crappie have settled in now from the new water influx and are eating in the 12-30-feet range on jigs and minnows. Walleye are trying to eat as both species are on different time frames, some are trying to spawn, some have spawned, some are still headed that way, and the ones that do not go upriver are trying to eat in the lake as well. Try live bait or crankbaits for the best results. Black bass are eating crankbaits, jerkbaits, jigs, C-rigs and football heads at different depths all over the lake, and you can chase the wind with a spinner bait as well, in depths from 6 inches out to 60 feet. No reports on bream. Catfish are still eating well in the lake and rivers on a variety of baits. Hybrid and white bass are eating in various parts of the lake and rivers on live bait, spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and Alabama rigs, Just stay around the shad and pre-spawn holding areas.
(updated 2-20-2019) Cody Smith of Fishing Greers Ferry Guide Service (501-691-5701) says, “Well. It’s February, and I should be well into two weeks’ worth of guiding by now and the fish should be participating better and better every day. Sorry to say that’s just not the case. Lake is up to 469 feet and it’s raining as I type this report. We just have to deal with Mother Nature as she generally knows what’s best for her resources. Water surface temps have come up a couple degrees and are ranging in the mid-40s lake wide. We have clearing colder water up most of the tributaries and the fish are staging in the dirtier, more stable water. Really spread out between active schools of fish and you can go awhile without as much as a nibble. All this will change as our water begins to warm slightly and the amount of sunlight we get is longer every day. Bear with us and there will be some good news to report before too long. Good fishin’.”
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 2-27-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is clear and the lake level has returned to normal. No temperature was reported. Little details were forthcoming this week. Anglers seemed to have a fair time with largemouth bass, but no hints on baits used. Catfishing is fair with chicken livers. Crappie are poor, and the bream bite is poor.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup will be in effect through March 1. 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 2-27-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report.
(updated 2-27-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake remains high, but boats can launch now. The clarity is dingy. Fishing, he said, is hit and miss. Not specific reports on catches came in for any species.
(updated 2-27-2019) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature is in the low 50s to upper 40s. The largemouth bass bite is sow. The bass are in transition and moving out of deeper water. Some reports are coming in that the blacks are on the outer edge of the grass. Some can still be found in depths of 18-25 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Kentucky bass reports are poor. Fewer reports this week but most can be found deep in 25-35 foot of water. Try fishing off drops and rocky banks. Now for the good news: White bass are great. Some reports are coming in that the whites are moving through the channels (late run for Lake Maumelle). And they are also being caught near brush piles on the west end of the lake 18-25 feet of water. Try using jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Crappie are heading out of the deeper holes. Reports of them being found in 18-22 feet of water close to brush piles and they are still scattered. Try using jigs and minnows. Still no reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 2-27-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Sunset Lake fishing has been slow this week. “According to the few reports we've had, a few little crappie have been biting minnows fished deep around the fishing pier. A catfish or two have been caught a couple of evenings on minnows and nightcrawlers. Customers tell us the only bass they've caught this week were small and few, but they did catch them on No. 12 bass minnows fishing around the pier and grassy spots. We have no reports of bream being caught this week.”
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 2-27-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said she’s heard no reports from Bishop Park this week. “We assume the ponds have been flooded most of this week,” she said.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 2-27-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that unfortunately the river has been too high to fish this week, and with more rain in the forecast it may be high for a while.
(updated 2-27-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have picked up a little for some using goldfish and black salties on trotlines. Bass fishing was good a couple of evenings for some guys fishing with minnows and black and blue jigs. One customer has been catching a few crappie on No. 12 minnows. He says they're scattered and he's only getting one or two out of each of his spots. “We suggested that he drop a redworm or cricket in those spots before moving on to look for more crappie. I'd bet there's a few of those big Lake Norrell bream down there. He said he'd let us know before next week’s report,” Lisa said.
(updated 2-27-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing continues to rate fair. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 2-13-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says crappie are fair. Use Electric Chicken jigs or minnows. Fish on the pier by the church. Bass are reported fair. They are biting crankbaits and black and blue jigs. Target the channel of the lake.
(updated 2-27-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been bad, according to some regulars at Winona. Last time out with minnows and several different jigs resulted in zero crappie. The bass were hitting the minnows, however, and a couple of them were nice ones. Catfish have been biting fair in the evenings right before dark on minnows, nightcrawlers and stink baits. Bream have been biting slow, but some have been hitting the nightcrawlers, redworms and crickets.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 2-27-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 2-20-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said fishing and the conditions had been good the past week up until Tuesday, when the rain hit. The clarity had been slightly dingy and the water level was normal. Crappie have been good on minnows or jigs. Bass reports have been good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports came in on bream. Nothing reported on catfish.
(updated 2-27-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 2-27-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said white bass are fair and are biting charteuse twister tails and spoon.
(updated 2-27-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reports that the river in the Little Rock pool is high and the flow is strong. Reports of catfish being caught snagging, but that was it. No reports on crappie, bass or bream. The clarity is dingy. No surface temperature was reported. Below the Terry Lock and Dam, crappie are good in 8-10 feet of water just below the dam. Red/chartreuse Super Jigs are working best. Bass are fair in that pool and are active on chartreuse/white twister tails and grubs. Catfishing in pool 5 is good by snagging. Nothing reported on white bass or bream.
(updated 2-27-2019) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river flow Monday afternoon was at 67,000, and anglers can get on the river, but Vince urges caution with the floating debris. The water level remains high and the clarity is muddy. Crappie reports came in fair, with the crappie in 10-15 feet depth. The usual minnows and jigs will work, but its best to go with black/chartreuse or red/chartreuse jigs, he said. No reports came in on bream, bass or catfish.
(updated 2-27-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the clarity near Terry Lock and Dam remains muddy. The river is still high, as it’s been for a few weeks. The only reports coming in were on catfish, with fair catches. Nothing reported on baits used.
(updated 2-27-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said white bass are fair and are biting chartreuse twister tails and spoons around the Murray Lock and Dam.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 2-27-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) the clarity is murky and the water level is high. That’s not hampering the crappie fishing, though, as anglers report good results. Minnows or jigs will work. Largemouth bass are good as well, hitting crankbaits and worms. Nothing reported on catfish or bream. No surface temperature was available.
(updated 2-27-2018) The lake’s clarity remains a little dingy and the level is high. No temperature was recorded. Crappie reports are good, with minnows or jigs working well. Anglers had good reports on largemouth bass, but little else to tell. Catfishing appears to be good. Nothing reported on bream.
(updated 2-27-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the White River below Bull Shoals Dam will be offered a fairly steady flow of water in the coming days because the lake level is sitting at 9 feet above power pool requirements, “and hopefully we'll experience less up-and-down than we saw this last couple of days.” Late winter brings
with it the chance of a shad kill on the lake and the overflow of that food source into the river sets off the famous voracious feeding pattern and easy trout catch anglers love to encounter. Think white for baits and flies this week: shad patterns, white egg patterns, white-bellied stick baits (the water level will support jerkbaits this week), white jigs and minnows. In addition, add lots of flash to the olive or olive-and-brown streamers, sparkling collars on your jigs, or toss out a shiny silver spoon. “March will be blowing in before the week is out, so don't be surprised by some gusty days, just carry more weight on your line and keep on anglin'.”
(updated 2-27-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) had no report.
(updated 2-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week they had rain and a bit of snow and sleet, all combining for about an inch of precipitation there, plus bitterly cold temperatures and heavy wind (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 7.8 feet to rest at 8.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 27.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.2 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 2.4 feet to rest at 3 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White saw moderate generation and some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 8.8 feet to rest at 10 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 16.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had some wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are above the top of power pool. There is currently flooding downstream so the Army Corps of Engineers will limit generation until the flooding clears. Anglers can expect heavy generation in the near future.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section at Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 bead-head pheasant tail nymph with a size 12 egg pattern suspended below it. Use plenty of lead to get your flies down).
John also said, “We have had a lot of rain lately. Of course, this coincided with some excellent fishing conditions surrounding opening day. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed to facilitate the brown trout spawn from Nov. 1 until Feb. 1. The trout in this area of the river were not fished over for three months. The period of opening day and a few days after is a great time to target big trout.
“My clients Steve from Kansas City and Jerry from Colorado wanted to go after big fish. While the fishing conditions were good the weather was lousy. The high temperature was in the upper 30s and we were scheduled for two days of unrelenting rain. I had instructed my clients to bring rain gear and to expect to use it.
“It was raining from the beginning. I wore my Simms rain bibs and rain jacket. Under them, I wore fleece pants and a fleece jacket with long underwear and wool fingerless gloves. I tried to get by just wearing my baseball cap but it was soon soaked and I switched over to my Gore-Tex cap lined with fleece. I eventually had to use my hood to keep my neck dry.
“I rigged their rods, launched my boat and began fishing in the rain. There was a dense fog that lasted all day. I could barely see a few feet in front of me and moved cautiously. In the morning, the going was a bit slow. We caught a few nice trout.
“At lunch, we sat in my Suburban to escape the rain for a few minutes. I switched my gloves for a dry pair and we returned to the river. As luck would have it, my boat battery failed and I had to start my motor with my pull starter. Steve landed a stout 24-inch rainbow, while Jerry got a 19. We caught several other nice trout. The fishing in the afternoon was quite a bit better. At 4 p.m., we decided that we had enough. We went our separate ways after agreeing to start anew, at 7:30 the next morning.
“By the time I got home, I was chilled to the bone. I took off my rain suit and hung it up to dry. My fleece jacket was wet to the elbow. The water had wicked up from my wet wool gloves. My feet were cold despite my heavy wool socks. I went to bed early but had trouble sleeping because the sound of the heavy rain and thunder kept me up.
“I got up early the next morning and gathered my gear to prepare for the day. It was scheduled to be cold and rainy all day (heavier than the day before). As I was filling my thermos with coffee, I heard the phone ring. It was Steve. He said that he and Jerry had enjoyed the fishing but were not interested in spending another day in the rain.
“Despite good fishing, the bad weather called off our second day. I was ready to fish but got to stay dry that day. Life is good!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 668.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-27-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said, “The water is coming up, we've got a lot of rain last week. Cold rain, at that. It’s now about 9 feet high and water surface temperature about 45 degrees depending on where you're at. If you get a warm day, the backs of the creeks with the dirty water seem to warm up. That's kind of what I've been keying on,” he said. “However, with it being cold and no warm days in the future, that bite’s not looking so good. I know everyone's chomping at the bit for spring. It's slow.” Del said he’s been away a lot at fishing shows in the Chicago area recently, but he’s been out enough to find a couple of different bites that have been working for him. The deep bite has been slow, but anglers can find it drop-shotting, spooning or using a Damiki rig anywhere in that 25-35 feet range. “If you see them you can video game them and you can pick a few off,” he said, “but it’s going to be hit or miss on that bite.” However, he added, if a warm front comes through, he expects the crankbait bite to pick up. Use a Rock Crawler in natural colors in clear water, or go with brighter colors in the dirty water. “If you’ve got wind and you’ve got sun, it’s going to be a good day to go crank. That bite should get better over the next couple of weeks as the water temperatures start to come up. Hopefully we get a couple more warm fronts.”
Del adds that the jig bite is another that’s been working around the channel swing banks. Look for the chunk rock, the little ledges. He’s had best success in about 15-25 feet depth. “In the creeks has been better for me than out on the main lake,” Del said. Also, he mentioned, he’s found a swimbait bite by throwing a single swimbait and slow-rolling it as slow as possible. He’ll says to look for the shad, and if there are loons and seagulls and little pods of shad he’ll pick up a jerkbait or a swimbait to get a few more fish. The jerkbait is working over the points with brush piles. Del says the new brush piles are still holding some fish. Del also notes that the Alabama rig has been kind of the bread-and-butter for wintertime fishing there and that probably will continue until the warm up. He also says he’s seen a few crappie stacked up in the brush piles. The walleye jerkbait is getting close, too, he says.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 563.84 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-20-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake, along with the majority of the country, in his opinion, is in constant weather change. “After a frontal system rolls through our area it typically takes a day or two for the fish to get active again. Once this happens the fish feed with a frenzy, but then we have a new system roll through to start the cycle all over again. I will be the first to admit that I am really ready for spring to get here. I am totally tired of the cold weather and need a little consistent warmth for my fishing days.” Last Saturday, Lou found fish feeding heavily in 44-48 feet of water on a large flat in the Cranfield area. He did not get out until late morning due to the below freezing temperature early, but once it reached around 29 degrees he headed out. The fish stuck around until mid-afternoon and I got to land well over 40 fish between hybrid bass, striped bass and white bass. Vertical jigging with a 1/2 to a 1 ounce spoon was my bait of choice. I was also casting out a ½-ounce blade bait with a feather trailer and landed some nice fish with it. Once the fish leave the flats they tend to scatter throughout the deeper water, staying suspended 30-50 feet down. You will still catch fish, but not necessarily the numbers.
Crappie fishing has been fairly good as of late, but still the frontal systems have affected their bite. I have landed some really nice slabs 30 feet down near the sunken brush piles. I typically use a ¼-ounce spoon and jig it very slowly in and around the brush piles on the bottom. Live bait with a slip float or a minnow tipped to a small curly or paddle tail grub will work great.
“The big white bass that I have been catching are full of eggs. I would assume they are staging for their upcoming spawn, which will happen shortly. The males should be way back in the creeks or up river in the shallower water awaiting the right timing and water temperature. Bennetts Bayou is a great place to get into the white bass run or up river around the Arkansas-Missouri border. They also tend to head back into some of the larger creeks and coves.”
Walleye should also be gearing up for their spawn. February is usually the time for this to occur. The Arkansas-Missouri border area is a good area to find the spawning and pre-spawning fish. “If we can get some nice weather, the first hour before sunrise and an hour before and after sunset are great times to fish for walleye in shallow water.” Throw a suspending rogue or use soft plastic swim baits. Norfork Lake level is on a slow rise and currently sits at 561.92 feet msl. This is approximately 8 feet over normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature ranges from 43-46 degrees depending on your location and time of day. The main lake has a greenish stain along with most of creeks and coves. The water clarity heading up in the Bennetts area is stained brown as is up river once you're past the Cranfield area. A lot of the brown water has dropped out and the remainder will follow suit quickly.
(updated 2-27-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report.
(updated 2-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 8.8 feet to rest at 10 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 16.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had some wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are above the top of power pool. There is currently flooding downstream so the Army Corps of Engineers will limit generation until the flooding clears. Anglers can expect heavy generation in the near future.
The Norfork has fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as 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 Y2K suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. 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). It is cold out there. Be sure and bundle the kids up.
(updated 2-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit high. The smallmouths are much less active with the cold conditions. 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 1,122.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 2-27-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says that Beaver Lake level on Tuesday was 1,122.99 feet msl, almost 3 feet above normal pool. Lake water temps are in the mid-40s. Water clarity on the north end is clear/slight tint. The mid-section is stained and the river arms are clearing nicely, temps are rising there to 48 degrees. Jon says they have been fishing almost every day in the river arms in between fronts and rises. Walleye are moving up into the river arms for the spawn and the bite is good on trolled Flicker Shad and various plastics. Trolling slow is the key with the colder water. Lots of males are being caught up to 22 inches and some females starting to show. “A client of mine caught a 28-inch, 9-pound walleye (on Monday),” Jon said. Crappie are doing well in the clearer waters on any structure in 8-10 feet of water on main river channels. Fish them with black/chartreuse jigs and minnows. Black bass are moving up and are being caught on main lake points and channel arms with A-rigs and deep-diving cranks. The jerkbait bite is starting to come on. White bass are schooled up moving toward the spawn. “I have found huge schools in the Neils Bluff area and catching them on any shad-like cranks. Stipers were mixed in.”
(updated 2-27-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is clearing but clarity is still a little muddy as of Monday afternoon. The level is normal and there was rolling current in the water. Crappie are fair. Anglers were working the brush piles and using minnows and jigs, as well as trolling crankbaits. Largemouth bass reports were poor, but a few catches were made on jerkbaits and grubs. White bass are biting Rooster Tails and Little Fishy’s baits. Walleye are being caught off jerkbaits and crankbaits. No reports on catfish and no reports on bream.
(updated 2-27-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Well, what a nice few days we have had. However, that is all going to come to an end towards the end of this week, as an arctic front is pushing through. If you can brave the cold, there are fish to be caught.” He says trout have been responding well to various applications. Quarter-ounce spoons of various colors have seemed to do better this week. PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle have also produced some nice numbers. This week’s hot spot has been between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. If you can get out before or after generation occurs, you have a real opportunity to net some nice fish. You can download an app on your smartphone from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to obtain the generation schedule. “Hope you all have some time to get out and fish.”
(updated 2-27-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) had no report.
(updated 2-27-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the lake conditions as good clarity and at a normal level as of Monday afternoon. Crappie are excellent. Minnows and jigs were both good choices to catch your share. Catfishing are good and are biting cut bait and minnows. Bass are poor, and bream were also poor.
(updated 2-27-2019) Shelly Jeffries at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) reports that the water level of the lake is high and the surface water temperature was 30 degrees early on Tuesday morning. The clarity is fair. Crappie are biting fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were fair; no baits were mentioned. Catfish are fair on worms. No reports on bream.
(updated 2-27-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “We are thankful for the few ‘days of fishing weather.’ Even though the lake is closed through this year for repairs, Lake Poinsett State Park is keeping a good supply of minnows, worms and frozen bait for those ‘good fishing days.’ We also have a good supply of other fishing supplies. Happy Fishing.” While Lake Poinsett is closed to anglers until 2020, other area lakes such as Lake Hogue and Lake Charles are destinations in this area. Stop in for your bait supplies on the way there.
(updated 2-27-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said they had no reports.
(updated 2-27-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 470 cfs, 350 average, and water clarity has been green tinted. Finally the rain has slacked off and we have fishable water. The river levels are high, so extra care should be used wading the main river. Catching trout has been all about getting the fly down. Never like to do it but a split-shot weight can be the difference between catching fish and not. Pinched on a foot or so above the fly. Y2Ks and Guppies have been the hot flies. For spin fishers a fluorescent orange Trout Magnet is the ticket. Berkley Flicker Shad have been producing well too.
(updated 2-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a bit high. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 2-27-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said no one is fishing of late. The clarity remains “a little dingy.” The water has been high for some time; it’s just now starting to go down, they say, and trying to clear up.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 2-20-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures are in the low to mid-40s. Water visibility is very low, only inches in most places. The water level and flow rates are fluctuating frequently, generally staying on the high side. Fishing for black bass is very, very poor this time of year in this pool. Best bet, honestly, is to go somewhere else until the water here warms into the low 50s at the very least.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 2-27-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said it’s once again the time of year for Cane Creek to come alive with fish of all different species; they’re looking to get some grub after being largely inactive for the last few months. Although there isn’t much to say for the first real fishing report of the year, the promise of activity is on the horizon. Water temperature is hovering around 50 degrees, even with a large inflow of water after the most recent rains. This means that catfish, bass and crappie alike will be coming to the surface once the air temperature stabilizes and warms up marginally. With all the debris being washed into the lake from the creeks and banks, there will be plenty of activity from fishing competing for foodstuffs in confluences and mudflows. Water clarity drops off at about 15 inches, making the water of “muddy” quality, meaning that visibility is at its lowest. Instrument testing indicates that the most visible colors for Cane Creek at the moment are bright pinks, chartreuses, dark forest/olive greens and dark blues. That means the best artificial baits will be along the lines of Bobby Garland Electric Chicken jigs, pumkinseed soft baits or craw-colored cranks that run anywhere from 3-8 feet deep. Bass have started making a slight comeback after a quiet winter, with heavier largemouth bass striking when provoked. Use baits that are either easy to see or cause enough of a disturbance in the water that the fish can feel them. Catfish will also go after pungent-smelling baits as the water warms. The Cane Creek State Park Visitor Center recently received a large shipment of great fishing gear that tends to be hard to find in most places, both bait and tackle! Keep your fingers crossed for stable weather in the coming weeks to see Cane Creek Lake become a hotspot for spring break fishing.
(updated 2-27-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says that as of last Sunday morning, Lake Chicot fishing conditions were poor. The water level of Lake Chicot is fairly high with area docks partially submerged. Several smaller docks are completely submerged by water, making boating conditions hazardous. The lake is extremely muddy with a lot of debris floating around from the recent storms. There is a possibly of more storms later in the week. Even if weather changes for the better, it will likely take time for the lake to clear up and water to level to decrease.
(updated 2-27-2019) The lake was drawn down about 6-7 feet and while the AGFC completed vegetation and fish cover work on the shoreline through last September. The lake is rising with rainfall will cover the new anchoring of cut gum trees and other vegetation good for fish habitat on the shallow shoreline areas. During the drawdown, tree stumps were showing in the coves toward the east and northeast of the lake; those are good areas to fish for the bass, and good places to note when the water is right. This spring should be a great time to check out this fishery.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 261.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 2-27-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Monday that Millwood Lake is back on the rise with rain in the region, and is about 2.5 feet above normal pool. The Army Corps of Engineers made gate changes at the dam Monday and started releasing around 20,600 cfs. The lake level Monday was 261.5 feet msl. The tailwater below the dam is also back on the rise and as of Monday was about 244 feet msl. Water temps fell over the past week. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Watch for sudden gate changes and debris that will increase with current in Little River. Navigation is cautious, and floating debris is back very visible this week. Be advised, there are at least 2 broken, missing or damaged boat lane markers on the north end of “Little Gas Line to Highline Boat Lane” from recent flood damage. Use extreme caution in the upper end of the boat lane from the high line to the little gas line cutoff and watch for missing or damaged telephone pole lane markers, and there are multiple missing river buoys along little river from Yarborough Point to Paraloma Trail. Use extreme caution in navigation along Little River until the Corps has had time to replace the missing buoys and pole markers.
Mike says that surface water temps were ranging 43-48 degrees Monday under full sun. Clarity and visibility conditions worsened over the past few days with increase of current along Little River, and navigation is considered cautious along Little River with the current discharge around 20,000 cfs. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 3-5 inches. Little River is muddy and visibility ranges 2-3 inches with stained conditions, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranges 8-10 inches depth of visibility depending on location. With the lake level back on the rise clarity and visibility conditions worsened along Little River and oxbows, the bite for largemouth bass over the past few days is hit and miss. Bomber, Bandit, and random square-bill crankbaits, large bulky Hogs, Beavers and 6-inch lizards are getting good responses, but bite frequency has gone to a more random pattern with the colder temps this week. The best locations over the past few weeks have been in the back of the oxbows where water conditions and clarity are best, like the back of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows. The best bite certainly is found during the warmest periods of the day, in 10-12 feet deep points away from Little River’s muddy current, with stumps and remaining vegetation being prime locations. They continue to see good bass reactions with crankbaits, ¾-ounce slow-rolled War Eagle Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps in the creeks between 10-15 feet of depth. The best crankbaits continue to be Bomber Fat Free Shads, square-bill Cranks in craw patterns, and Bandit Cranks in brown/orange crawfish patterns. Rat-L-Traps and Echo 1.75s in shad patterns like Millwood Magic, red chrome, Toledo Gold, and square-bills and Echo 1.75s in Rayburn Red Craw, Pinch'n Peach or Ghost Minnow continue working near mid-day in back of the oxbows and in creek channels where clarity maybe slightly better than close to Little River current flows. Magnum 4-inch Gitzit Tubes with internal rattles, are still drawing a few solid hits from solitary, 2-3 pound largemouths on stumps in outer creek channel bends, ditches, wash-outs, ridges, and points in the oxbows. Pitching the Gitzits on stumps from multiple angles seems to initiate a reaction in mid-day warmer periods.
A few white bass were caught on yo-yos up Little River between White Cliffs and McGuire Oxbow. The white bass are evidently still on the move upriver and staging in preparation for their annual spawning runs up the Little River to headwaters above U.S. Highway 71 bridge. Crappie continue improving in the oxbows, clearest water you can find being the most activity areas, and are stacked vertically over planted brush with jigs from 12-15 feet of depth. Best colors of jigs over the past week or so have been black/chartreuse, white/chartreuse or blue/chartreuse. Blues and channel cats continue biting well on trotlines set in the current of Little River, and in back of Mud Lake where current from Little River is bleeding through, set from 12-18 feet deep. Yo-yos set from cypress trees over 8-12 feet deep in back of Mud Lake are still catching some nice 3- to 5-pound cats. Punch bait, chicken livers and gizzards, and homemade dough balls have been working for cats over the last several weeks on the yo-yos and trotlines.
(updated 2-13-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) reported that a few bass are being caught. No reports on crappie.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 549.49feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-27-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 409.63 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-20-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said water temperature is at 50. White bass and hybrids are moving up the lake toward the river. Vertical-jigging spoons, casting swimbaits and trolling A-rigs or crankbaits have produced. Crappie are beginning to invade brush piles when the surface temp is warmer and clear and will stack up even more as the water warms.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 438.50 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 540.38 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 2-13-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said the river is back on the rise and fishing is still slow.
(updated 2-27-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says clarity is not muddy anymore and is pretty clear throughout. No surface water temperature was reported. The level is high, up 3.5 feet. The big news from Atkins was the 9.13-pound largemouth bass hauled in on Monday. Bass overall are picking up with good reports from anglers. A spinnerbait was the bait used on the lunker catch, and that’s the way to go, Sharon says. Crappie reports are poor, as is the bream action. Nothing reported on catfish or white bass.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 2-27-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catcher All Guide Service, reports that heavy rainfall has forced Entergy to run very heavy generation through our area dams to bring Lake Ouachita down out of flood pool. This process has been ongoing and will continue with the added rainfall of the past several days. Fast flows combined with open flood gates below Carpenter Dam have created treacherous conditions in the tailrace. As reported last week, fishermen and boaters alike should stay off the water below Carpenter Dam until stable conditions return to the area. This will take days if not weeks to occur. While thousands of rainbow trout are present along with hundreds of spawning walleye, no fishing trip is worth risking your personal safety. Muddy water disguises water depth and underwater hazards, which doubles the danger factor from the dam to the bridge. Safe boating and fishing will return to the area when the present danger has passed.
(updated 2-20-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water level still below normal pool by 3-5 feet throughout. Water temps have dropped into the 45-degree area and clarity is pretty good considering the amount of rain over the last week. All species are lethargic in their actions but some are still doing very well if you can withstand the cold and wind. Bass are fair and hanging off main lake points (usually on rocks that hold heat). Fish are varying in range from 25-50 feet (sometimes deeper) and suspended. Use jigging spoons, football jigs and drop-shot rigs in natural colors (crawdads and olives) to go after them. Bites are slow and sluggish, so be patient. Walleye and hybrids will mix in with the bass waiting for forage to come down the main channels. Crappie are really excellent right now over brushtops near creek and main channels in about 30-45 feet of water. Look for vertical piles and structures (even docks). The fish seem to want some good height in the structure right now. You can really hammer them home on the slip cork rig with a split shot and unweighted hook tipped with a minnow. The corks will just slowly slip away from sight or drift away in a nontypical way. Some really nice fish are being taken in the area and especially before weather fronts push through! “Good luck and GoGreeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 354.81 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-27-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is still 11 feet high and the clarity is dingy. Surface water temperature on Tuesday midmorning was 45 degrees. The bass tournament scheduled on Nimrod on Sunday went on as planned, with 13.38 pounds (five fish) winning the event. The bass bite for regular angers is good. They say that blue/blue jerkbaits and jigs are working best. Catfish are fair on shad. Crappie reports were fair. Bream are poor. Nothing reported on white bass.
(updated 2-27-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the lake is still dingy and at a high level, and they say no one is fishing. No reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.17 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-27-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and crankbaits fished on main and secondary lake points or in creek channels working. Meanwhile, walleye are making their spawning run. Small lipless crankbaits and hair jigs tipped with a minnow should be best. Try areas just above and below the first shoal on the rivers and major creeks. Stripers are still fair and picking up. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the western end of the lake are the best for these fish. No report on bream. Crappie are still slow and being caught with jigs or minnows in 20-30 feet of water near brush. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 48-52 degrees and the clarity is clearing. The lake level is at 579.21 feet msl, a little more than a foot over normal 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 399.14 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-20-2019) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), reported that crappie are still biting well at Bear Creek and Storm Creek. Bear Creek anglers are seeing lots of activity off of the bank near habitat and fallen trees, using live bait. No major reports on bass, although they do have some tournaments coming up and hope to have something to report on that next week.
(updated 2-27-2019) See Bear Creek Lake.
(updated 2-27-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at the Potlatch Education Center at Cook’s Lake, said plans were for the lake to reopen for youth and mobility-impaired fishing this weekend, but due to White River flooding, the opening has been rescheduled. Check back in this space or call the center at 870-241-3373. Cook’s Lake, when it reopens, will make fishing available on the 2-mile-long oxbow off the White River to youth under age 16 and to mobility-impaired anglers on the first and third Saturdays of each month, through October. Anglers can be accompanied by a helper who may fish.