May 1, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 1, 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: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish –to treat alligatorweed on Lake Conway in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners NOT irrigate water from Lake Conway for lawn or garden use from May 20, 2019, to March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-1-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water remains stained, but as of Tuesday the water level had returned to normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on medium-size minnows and small jigs. Black bass were good this week, with bass minnows working well along with topwater lures and plastic worms. Nothing reported on catfish.
Little Red River
(updated 5-1-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing one unit of generation 24/7. San Juan worms, micro jigs and streamers are best for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use cotton candy and hot pink colored bodies on silver and chartreuse jigheads. 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.
(updated 5-1-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the generation continues to be one unit (about 3,000 cfs) round-the-clock. The Army Corps of Engineers has informed Greg that this will continue unless the rain event that is over the area at midweek should cause flooding in the lower river and they have to cut back to lessen this problem. Always check the generation before planning your fishing trip. The river is clear at this time, but with the large amounts of rain expected it will probably get murky for the next few days. Drift-fishing has been good for the last few days and the bite has been mostly rainbows with a few browns mixed in. Check the weather forecast before planning your trip this weekend. Large amounts of rain will cause the river to be muddy. Wade fishing is not possible on this flow but drift-fishing is fair to good using weighted flies. Please take care while drifting and watch the path of your boat, staying away from the docks and other obstacles. Do not let your boat get lodged on the upstream side of these hazards. Please remember to wear your life jackets, especially in small craft such as kayaks and canoes.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 5-1-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 469.90 feet msl and rising. It is 7.86 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and, with the forecasts, looks like it will come up another 5 feet or so. That is just speculation, of course. Black bass are all still and will be in some sort of spawn mode for the next few weeks up in or around the bushes. Soft plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater baits working well. Crappie are being caught all over the lake and rivers as well on minnows or jigs or trolled crankbaits. Walleye are still scattered out, and you can pick up one here and there at best on a jig tipped with minnow. Bream are eating crickets and crankbaits, along with inline spinners, in 5 feet of water. Catfish are eating well all over the lake and rivers. They’re being caught on trotlines, jugs, and rod and reel on a variety of baits. Hybrid and white bass are scattered out all over lake and rivers; some are still spawning, some are on the move in-between, and some are set up in lake. The ones in the main lake are not wanting to eat much yet. Just stay around the bait for best results. Spoons, swimbaits and inline spinners are best.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-1-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is murky and the lake level remains high. Surface water temperature was 72 degrees. Bream continue to provide a good bite. Use worms or crickets. Anglers are finding some big crappie now, and the bite is good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good; use stink bait or worms. Big catfish have been caught in the past week.
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Overcup in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners NOT irrigate water from Lake Overcup for lawn or garden use from May 20, 2019, to March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 4-17-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is high by about 2 feet and the clarity is good. The surface temperature is around 65 degrees. Black bass are doing well on buzzbaits and plastic worms. Bream are slow but should start picking up any day now with this warm weather. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and minnows. Crappie are being caught on jigs and minnows; some are close to the bank and others are in 6-9 feet of water around brushtops and structure
(updated 5-1-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 68 degrees. The water level is high. Crappie fishing is excellent. Fish the brush piles with minnows or jigs. Bream are good on crickets. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is fair; use worms or blood bait.
(updated 5-1-2019) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports water temperature is in the upper 60s and lower 70s. The largemouth bass bite is slow. Most of them can be found shallow. Some are moving into 3-8 feet of water and some can still be found in depths of 12-16 feet. Try using chatterbait, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Even with the slowed bite, Quin Minton and Garry Bryant managed to hook a 4.8-pound Big Bass in Tuesday night’s weekly tournament, while Kyle and Keeton Wise brought in a winning five-bass stringer of 10.25 pounds, edging Rick Easter and Shane Curtis (9.83 pounds). Meanwhile, anglers are noting the Kentucky bass (spots) bite has also slowed. Some reports of them being found in 4-8 feet of water outside the grass line. They can also be found in 12-16 feet off drops and rocky banks. And the white bass bite also is poor. Reports of the run slowing down. Some can be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats in the afternoon hours. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. The good news is, crappie are biting well. Crappie are heading out of the deeper holes, while there are reports that they still are found in 3-8 feet depth and 12-16 feet depth, but they’re scattered. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow; throw crickets or worms. Catfishing also is slow. Reports coming in that the channel cats are moving in to shallow water. Try using stink bait, crayfish or worms.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said several customers are reporting that the catfish are biting chicken livers, minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Please remember the limit is three catfish per person on Sunset Lake. Crappie have been biting fair early in the mornings on No. 6 minnows, pink minnows and small pink jigs. Bream are starting to bite pretty good on crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting live minnows, floating worms, Carolina-rigged lizards and topwater baits.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie and catfish have been biting No. 6 minnows in both ponds. Catfish have also been biting nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bass are hitting minnows, floating worms and small topwater baits. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and worms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said fishing on the river has been up and down with the water. Bass have been biting large minnows, 4- and 6-inch green pumpkin or watermelon red lizards, crawdad crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Crappie have been biting in some backwaters and deep holes. No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs have been catching some good stringers. Catfish are biting minnows, goldfish, black salties and nightcrawlers. Walleye fishing is slowing down and we've had no recent reports of catches. Bream will bite crickets or redworms.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the big bream are turning on slowly but surely. Customers report catching some fat ones recently on crickets fished near the bottom and close to deep logs and brush. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows, Texas- and Carolina-rigged plastics, topwater frogs, Pop R's and buzzbaits early in the morning. Crappie fishing is still good for folks using No. 6 minnows. Customers tell us the crappie fishing is getting better each year but still can be tough. Catfish are still plentiful and biting well on minnows, goldfish, black salties and nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-10-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are good. Anglers are finding them at 10-12 feet depth and they’re interested in minnows and also going after spider rigs.
(updated 4-17-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says
catfishing is fair. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers. Black bass are good on Texas-rigged Trick Worms.
(updated 4-24-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says crappie are fair on minnows and jigs, especially Electric Chicken-colored jigs. Fish in the spillway for the crappie are fair on works and crickets. Black bass are good, particularly on black/blue jigs and Texas-rigged creature baits. Bass are moving toward the beds. Nothing reported on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been good with No. 6 and No. 12 minnows. Bobby Garland Baby Shad and Itty Bit jigs in a couple of colors have been working, too. Bass have been hitting minnows, Carolina-rigged worms, lizards and Brush Hogs and topwater baits early in the mornings. Catfish are biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are starting to move into some of the shallow coves and are biting crickets and redworms.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 5-1-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 5-1-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the clarity has improved, with clear conditions and a normal water level and current as of Tuesday (before the rain came). Bream are biting fair to good, he said. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good with worms or blood bait.
(updated 4-24-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says that with high water and muddy clarity, there have been no reports from here.
(updated 4-24-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is poor but are nibbling at skipjack and snagging. White bass are good on white/chartreuse twister tails.
(updated 5-1-2019) Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained to muddy and the water level and current have ranged from high to normal (before the rain came). Surface temperature has started out around 55 degrees, ranging up to low 70s under full sun depending on location. Nothing reported on bream. Crappie are good, and the crappie are in 5-10 feet depth. Throw them jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish reports were fair, with stink bait working best.
(updated 5-1-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) keeps anglers updated on the southeast end of the pool, near Terry Lock and Dam, and says the clarity is cloudy. The fishing has improved greatly over last week. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are biting well on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good with anglers using spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms or stink bait.
(updated 4-24-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the water in the pool remains high and has a muddy clarity. There is very little fishing to report, outside of crappie. The good news is, the crappie bite is good. They’re favoring white/chartreuse jigs and are biting in the backwaters. No reports on bream or catfish. Black bass are biting well in the pool below Terry Lock and Dam, with stripers reported good on pearl swimming minnows. Water there is muddy and high. No surface temperature was reported.
(updated 4-17-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is fair at the Murray Lock and Dam by snagging and with skipjack. White bass are excellent, with best success coming with 3-inch Bobby Garland Slab Slayer.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-1-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is experience some good fishing now. The water level is still high. No other conditions were reported. Bream are fair to good on crickets. The crappie bite is good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic works. Good reports on catfish, too, with shad working as the best bait.
(updated 4-24-2018) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity remains a little dingy and the water level is still high. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs and bass minnows. Catfishing is good with hot dogs and strawberries. Bream reports were poor.
(updated 5-1-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says April ended on a high (and dry!) note for trout fishers in Cotter. The catch has been especially good this past week for browns. Most were not officially "trophies" but there were many that fell just short of the 24" required to earn a catch-and-release pin. The bait of choice was, again, sculpins but sometimes a few shad were added to the mix and helped bring a brown to the boat. Water levels have been really steady at just about a unit and a half running around the clock (4,500 cfs) so anglers were able to drift and catch trout or find their favorite fishing hole and drop a line there. The water level was somewhat high for wade fishing, but we saw some nice catches from the bank of the river here in Cotter; too low for big rogues, but great for 1/6 ounce spoons (gold, gold and more gold). Looks like rain in the forecast, so carry some spinners in case of a little murky water in the next few days. Bring the kids to Cotter on Saturday May 4th for the annual Cotter-Gassville Trout Festival and Kids' Fishing Hole. Our Chamber of Commerce together with Arkansas Game and Fish know how to attract the young ones with a stocked cove and volunteers to help rig up a line for young anglers.
(updated 5-1-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week they had an inch of rain in Cotter, warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.9 foot to rest at 3.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 35.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.3 foot to rest at 0.6 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.2 foot to rest at 0.6 foot above seasonal power pool and 9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River light generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.7 feet to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and reliable 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 near the top of power pool. Expect more wadable water in the near future, if it would just stop raining. 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 prince nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down).
John also said, “While it seems like it is always raining, the lakes are not that high. A lot of people from out of town that I have talked to recently have the impression that we have high water. We did have quite a bit of high water earlier this year, but we are now very close to power pool on our lakes and generation is at what I call at reasonable levels. They are running the equivalent of one full generator (about 3,500 cfs) on the White most of the time. They are running minimum flow on the Norfork (about 200 cfs) for several hours each day, which is quite wadable.
“I have guided several days on the White recently and it has fished very well. I have been fishing at Rim Shoals. I guided a couple there on Monday. We started at 7:30 a.m. It was a bit cool when we started but it warmed up quickly. The river was clear and at that one generator level that I really like.
“I rigged their rods differently. On one I used a red fox squirrel and copper size 14 (my version of the Sunday special) and a ruby midge size 18 dropper. On the other rod I used a prince nymph No. 14 with a root beer midge No. 18 dropper. I usually begin with different rigs. I then monitor which flies are the most productive and then switch to the hottest flies as the day progresses.
“We caught a few trout on the red fox squirrel and the prince nymph but they were not big producers. The two droppers, the ruby midge and the root beer midge were hot. We caught trout after trout on them. I didn’t change any flies. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. We fished those rigs all day and they never quit producing.
“We were catching some nice trout. Halfway through the morning we hooked a big brown. It took a while to get it in. He was a little over 24 inches long and pretty stout. I was surprised to see that he had taken the root beer midge. That is a lot of trout on a small barbless hook. Luckily we had a corner-of-the-mouth hook up. I think that is the most secure hook up you can have in fly-fishing. It seems like every time the trout closes its mouth it drives the hook deeper into the bone in the trout’s jaw.
“About 3 o’clock they decided that they had caught enough trout and called it a day. I motored over to the ramp and dropped them off. I took a few minutes to put my boat on the trailer, drove my trailer up into the parking lot and stowed my gear. It had been a great day. We had landed about 75 trout and never changed flies.”
(updated 4-24-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and now the river level has been low, meaning that the surface temperature in turn is cooler. Two generators have been running at the dam. And this means, the trout bite the past week has been excellent. Rainbow trout are biting spinners and PowerBait. Browns are favoring rainbow rigs and white jigs.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 665.47 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said crappie are good on minnows and jigs and are active around brush piles and bushes. Crappie are spawning. Walleye will bite if you’re bottom-bouncing with night crawlers at secondary points. Bream are shallow and the bite is good. They’ve moved onto the shoreline. More of Del’s reports are available on Youtube: Del Colvin, Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 558.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good for most species over the last week. Topwater activity has begun in earnest and will only get better. Crappie fishing continues to be very good and fishing for the three bass species has also continued to be strong. The latest species to show up more frequently is walleye. Over the past week topwater action for striped, hybrid and white bass has been exciting. The best bite at this time for topwater activity is right before sunrise. The bite can last until the sun gets above the tree line. On cloudy days, it may last longer. Lou says he has been using three different baits for this action: a Zara Spook, a half-ounce Kastmater and a 6-inch swimbait with a paddle tail and 3/8-ounce jighead. “I have had the best luck with the swimbait. Prior to the feeding frenzy on topwater, I have been casting a jerkbait or a swimbait up to the shoreline. This time of year, stripers tend to feed on shad in very shallow water. As the sun gets higher in the sky striped bass tend to move out to a little deeper water. It appears that 30 feet down is where stripers are suspended during the middle part of the day. You can vertical jig for these fish or troll an umbrella rig. As the day wears on, look for topwater feeding fish about an hour or so before sunset. But your fishing day is not done at sunset, there is still a good after dark bite for striped, hybrid, large and smallmouth bass and walleye. The bite does not necessarily start right at dark, but can occur all though the night. The fish tend to feed heavily on shad after the sun goes down. Your fishing method after dark is to throw a suspending jerkbait, retrieving the bait very, very slowly with an occasional pause. The best place to find striped bass is from the mouth of the larger creeks to part way back. Main points and secondary points are good feeding spots for this species. If you find shad in the area, you can almost bet the stripers will not be too far away.”
He says crappie fishing has continued to be excellent. Most of the crappie have spawned out, but there are still a few continuing their spawn process. “The best method that I have found is to slow troll a Berkley Flicker Minnow Pro about 1.2 to 1.5 mph in 20-30 feet of water. For best result make sure there are brush pile in your trolling path. The best colors have varied for me depending on the weather conditions. On a cloudy or dark day, I've been using a darker color such as the purple back and white body or the FireTiger pattern. The white, as well as the purple and white, tends to work the best on sunny days. You can also fish the traditional way of dropping a small jig or spoon in the brush or use a live minnow in the brush. I have found that crappie have been suspended 12-20 feet down on or very near brush with a few fish buried inside of the brush. Down imaging on your depth finder is absolutely amazing for seeing crappie inside of brush, as well as for finding schools of crappie when they are roaming between brush piles.
Lou adds that bass fishing has also been very good. “My fish have been coming out of or very near the sunken buckbrush along the shoreline. I use a Fluke or a Bass Assassin with a weighted shank hook. I cast it into the brush and twitch it out. The hard part is getting the fish out of the brush without breaking off. There has been some good topwater action for bass and it can occur any time of day and also in any depth of water. This morning the bass started to chase shad and I got to land several quality fish on my big swimbait. After the early morning bite, start throwing some of your favorite plastics up near the sunken buckbrush and then work it back slowly along the bottom. The fish will be from 8-20 feet down on the bottom. There are still a few bass continuing to spawn, but the spawn season for bass is almost to a close.
“Most people's favorite fresh water fish to eat is walleye and they are starting to show up in all the same areas as the other species. Very early this morning (5 a.m.) I found a large school of walleye feeding heavily. I was casting my swimbait and was getting a hit on every cast. Walleye tend to be very active in the dark. Swimbaits and jerkbaits are two great methods of fishing for walleye this time of year, not to say that live bait will not work great. Areas that I have found walleye have been near brush in about 20 feet of water while trolling the Flicker Minnow for crappie. I have also caught a few throwing a jerkbait up next to brush very early or very late in the day when it is dark or almost dark. The other time to look for walleye is when you find a feeding frenzy on the surface, walleye will typically be hanging out below the feeding fish picking up the scraps and this can occur in any depth of water.”
Norfork Lake's water level is rising very slowly due to rain and minimal power generation. The lake currently sits at 558.20 feet msl. The surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 64-66 degrees and it typically rises some during the day, and then falls back during the evening. The main lake is clear and some of the smaller creeks and coves are stained.
(updated 4-24-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “I have the full moon blues. What is normally a great month (April) to fish when the full moon appears has turned into a nightmare. The water temperature was up to 62 degrees and heading up when a cold snap happened and the lake went back down to 52 degrees. Normally the lake should be around 68 degrees and with the full moon the threadfin shad would be spawning and the fish activity would be crazy. Right now with the clear water and cold nights it has taken forever for the lake to get back to 60 degrees. Hopefully that should change this week and we can get the lake temperature back up and let the spawning process begin. I figure is will be another week or so before we will see any type of spawn. The crappie have moved back to deeper water and being caught over the new brush piles but until it warms up they will stay put.
“This past week I fished all week and I thought it was gone to be great after Monday. I pre-fished Bennett's Bayou Monday morning and had fish going crazy around 8 AM. So the next day I took my clients up there and we did not have a bite in 5 hours of fishing. The following morning I took my clients south to Big Creek and we only had 3 bites. They had booked 2 trips so I suggested we fish the evening since the moon was coming up late and it was almost full. We ended up with 10 stripers and hybrids in the boat. Friday and Saturday nights we fished and caught stripers but the each night the bite was slower. Now I'm off a couple of days and will let my son find the morning fish before I start fishing again on Tuesday. The moon will be fading and staying up during the day so that will help on the daytime fishing.”
(updated 5-1-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 1.7 feet to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and reliable 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 near the top of power pool. Expect more wadable water 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 ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (size 14). 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) and white mop flies. 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 5-1-2019) 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 more active with the warm 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 1,121.76 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake’s level is holding steady at 1120.95 feet msl. Water temps on the north end are in the 60s; 65-plus degrees in the river arms. Water clarity on north end is clear, but it lost some due to very high winds. Midsection is stained and river ends were clearer toward end of the weekend. Stripers are in river arms and also main lake points on the north end. The bite is good early and late. The AGFC is getting aggressive on bait being brought in from other areas – check your regulation books! The problem is Asian carp. On that point, everybody should know the laws and regs. You can get a free guide book, they are all at retail stores and tackle shops. Not knowing the regs is not going to get you out of ticket.
Crappie are good throughout the lake. They are in various stages of the spawn. Keep moving and you can fill a limit. Black bass are on beds – fish accordingly. White bass, hybrids and stripers are doing really well in river arms! Walleye are really good right now on a post-spawn feed. “We are catching them all over the lake,” Jon says. “If you do not fish for them, you are missing out. Catfish are good; we are catching lots on crawler harnesses while fishing for walleye. Jugs and trotlines are picking them up and they are getting ready for spawn. Bowfishing is good, and if you have never tried that, go! It’s a blast!” Jon says rain is expected to blow out the river arms with 4-7 inches possible. “It looks like the spawns will all be good this year. No major drawdowns during the peak and looks like high water to come. Very good for the lake.”
(updated 5-1-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the fishing is good and it’s time to come on out. The clarity is clear and the surface water temperature has risen to 68 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream had a later than normal start, they report, and so far the bite is poor to fair. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good with minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Poor reports on catfish.
(updated 5-1-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Well it looks like 1 of the generators are back online and the Corp is starting to flow water again. This past week was great for trout fishing, both from the shore and from the boat. Trout have responded nicely to various power baits, fished with light terminal tackle and various jigs, fished with vertical jigging. This weeks "Hot Spot" has to be Houseman area and slightly downstream. Trout in the 15 to 20" range were being caught quite frequently in this area. This rain is going to slow some things down, but this weekend should be great. Crappie can be found between H.I. and Beaver, look for them to be shallow and in structure. The preferred method has been fishing with live minnow and slip bobber. The White are spread out across the river, just have to locate them. When you do, a U-rig with white grubs has done great. Walleye are being caught vertical jigging live minnows and various jigs, in about 14-8' of water. Like always, if you have further questions, please feel free to reach out to me on my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) or shoot me a text. Have fun and be safe!
(updated 4-24-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports that the lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Crappie are good on minnows. Crappie are shallow now. Black bass are good for anglers using plastic worms, minnows and live and artificial baits. No reports on catfish. Bream are good on crickets.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 5-1-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, reports that things are really improving at Lake Fort Smith – bream, crappie and bass are really having a heyday this week. Bream are good on worms. Crickets are good on minnows, jigs and crickets, and the fish are in 3-5 feet depth. Target the brush piles for best success. Bass are shallow, in about 2-3 feet depth, and are hitting topwater lures and plastic worms. The bite is good around brush piles and rocky points.
(updated 5-1-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the lake clarity remains clear, while the level returned to normal. Surface temperature is 68 degrees. Fishing picked up with the drop from last week’s high water level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good and will bite minnows or jigs. The black bass are excellent; use spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good. Feed them worms or stink bait.
(updated 5-1-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says the lake clarity is turbid while the surface temperature Sunday morning was 50 degrees. The water level is remains high. Shoreline fishing continues to be excellent, she says, adding that the moon charts for May say the best days for fishing should be May 1-7. Bream have really taken off, with excellent reports. They’re being caught by anglers working the banks, and they’re bunched up around brush piles and stumps. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are excellent on minnows, jigs, Crappie Magnets and other muddy water baits. Fish the brush piles, stumps, in a boat or standing on the bank, you’ll have a good time. Black bass are good. Crankbaits and plastic worms are working best, along with Z-man chatterbaits. Like the crappie, you can stand on the bank and catch fish, or go boat to the brush piles and rocky points. Catfishing is good with worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver, as well as Catfish Pro.
(updated 5-1-2019) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is still undergoing repairs, and as such there are no fish in the lake. There is, however, a meeting about the status of the lake on May 9 at 6 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Harrisburg. Meanwhile, the bait shop still has been selling quite a few worms and minnows in the past few weeks. Seth says he has heard good reports from Lake Hogue as well as private ponds that the crappie are biting, as are quite a few bream. While Lake Poinsett is down, they will still be selling bait to the surrounding community.
(updated 5-1-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the clarity is clear and the surface temperature has warmed lately to 65-70 degrees. Water level was normal Tuesday. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are ranging good to excellent, anglers say, with plastic worms and Flukes working best. Catfishing appears to be poor.
(updated 4-24-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 450 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity is mostly clear. Rain lately has kept river levels up. Be careful wading. Warm temperatures and nice days have had the bugs hatching thick and heavy, caddis and mayflies. The trick the last few weeks has been to tie on a nymph and place a Guppie fly about a foot below. Some trout will be caught on the nymph but the bigger trout will slam the minnow imitation aka Guppie. Hot pink Trout Magnets have been hot. Get them down just off the bottom. They will eat it up.
(updated 5-1-2019) 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 5-1-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-24-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures are in the mid- to upper 60s. Visibility is between 6-12 inches. The river is flowing strong and the water level was about 1.5-2 feet high on the day of this report (Saturday); expect the level to be variable for a while yet. Use extreme caution when boating on the main channel of the river and avoid it if you can until it calms down. Black bass are biting well and they are working through the spawn; many are already done, but some are still spawning. When the water level is up, fish can be caught in flooded bushes and vegetation with spinnerbaits and jigs worked on the bottom and/or swimming. Square-bill and medium-diving crankbaits and jigs are effective along rocky shorelines at any water level. The shad spawn should begin in a couple weeks, which will draw black bass to rocky shorelines even more, especially first thing in the morning. It's a great time to fish Pine Bluff!
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 4-24-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said with stable weather becoming a little more common, the fishing at Cane Creek Lake has gotten a little bit better. Crappie are still being affected by higher-than-usual water levels, though. With the unpredictable weather that has prevailed in the last couple of weeks, crappie have been slow. The best chance for landing a big slab is to find where they’re hiding. Shallow waters, over structure, fished with a minnow seem to be the best bet for catching crappie now. Bass went through a relatively short pre-spawn, and a lightning fast spawn, and are now slipping into the post-spawn laziness that prevails during summer months. While the water temperature hangs around 73 degrees, bass will stay somewhat sluggish. As the water temperature warms, they will move into shaded areas and start biting baits that cause lots of commotion, like buzzbaits and topwaters. Fish brightly colored spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwater lures during the brightness of the day, and darker topwater baits during the night, to coax that big lunker into aggressively striking. Bream have begun to bite in many places around the state, and it seems like they have begun to wake up around Cane Creek. While the water is stained, fish a cricket or nightcrawler straight down over the edge of the boat, tight-lined. Keep the bait suspended for multiple suspended bream to see. Once the water temp gets above 80 and stays there, start fishing for bream on beds. Catfish are still biting in the late afternoon and after rainstorms. Find places along the shoreline that trees like dogwoods are blooming, trees that are putting of fruit are also good places to go. Catfish will congregate underneath these overhanging trees and catch foodstuffs that falls off. Use a pungent bait made from hot dogs soaked in pickle juice with Kool-Aid mixed in. Canned dogfood has also been pretty successful as of late. The cheaper the better. A good hot spot to look at is the spillway across from the boat ramp. Fish on the spillway side, where the lake water meets the water from the bayou and begins to churn. This is one of the only places that the crappie will bite a jig. White, grub-like, jigs or Electric Chicken-colored jokers will be your best bet.
(updated 5-1-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says catfish are still biting well on stink bait. Worms and minnows have also been effective. No word on crappie or bass. Thunderstorms expected later on this week might be a problem, but right now weather is good for fishing.
(updated 4-24-2019) Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) reports that Lake Monticello is cloudy and the water level is high. Black bass are fair and are found in 2-5 feet of water. They’re hitting topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on worms and chicken liver. Target them in 5-8 feet. No reports on crappie, and no reports on bream. Chris reports that the planting of “coffee bean” stalks by the AGFC in some areas when the lake was drawn down last summer has been effective for the fish habitat and bass can be found in those areas.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday the Army Corps of Engineers closed the gates back to around 1,800 cfs due to inspection further down the Red River. The Red River is still rising and is beginning to back up Little River to the Millwood Dam. With gates closed back, Millwood Lake pool is still rising from thunderstorms over past couple weeks and more torrential downpours are expected midweek with extended expectations of 3-6 inches more of rainfall. As of Monday lake elevation was now about 15 inches above normal pool and rising. The tailwater below the dam is also rising, and as of Monday, with USACE gates release at the dam, was around 239 feet msl. Water temperature rose over the past week, and surface temps Monday ranged 69-75 degrees, depending on location. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Clarity and visibility conditions have stained up again from recent thunderstorms and high wind. Navigation is considered cautious along Little River with the discharge. Debris is present in Little River current; use caution. Further up river finds highest turbidity rates. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging about 3-5 inches. Little River is improving and visibility ranges 2-5 inches, slight stained conditions, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity slightly improved with most recent lake level stabilizing, but stain is obvious in the mouths of the oxbows and ranges about 20-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike says the bite continues in various stages of the spawn for largemouth bass over the past few weeks. Mid-morning activity is improving, and the best bite has begun to shift in the oxbows and pockets (away from river current) to earlier times and during the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. hours. Largemouth bass are in various stages of spawn lake-wide. Most have begun recovering in post-spawn. There are a few areas around the lake where largemouths remain in the spawning mode, though. Excellent reactions continue with chatterbaits, Trick Worms, spinnerbaits, plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads (in 5-7 feet depth) and swimbaits. With increased surface temperature, the bite frequency and patterns improved again. The best locations over the past few weeks have been in the back of the oxbows and pockets along main lake, where water conditions and clarity are best. Anywhere you can see stumps, fresh lily pad shoots or new grass blooming are prime locations. The Millwood State Park area yielded up another fat, pre-spawn largemouth over the past week in the 10-pound class.
Also, bulky, fat tube jigs like Magnum fat 4-inch Gitzits, Shad Assassins, Brush Hogs and Real Deal Custom Tackle Jigs are still working and taking a few chunky largemouths on trees from 3-8 feet deep, and on stumps from 6-8 feet deep. Pumpkinseed and green pumpkin, Blackberry, Panhandle Moon and Salt'N Pepper Silver Phantom continue to be good colors for soft plastic Brush Hogs or lizards from solitary bass. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Texas Craw, black/blue or black/blue/purple, and with black craw trailer, continue getting a few good reaction bites near stumps from 4-6 feet of depth in outer bends of creeks and ditches with cypress trees. Bang XX Fat Jobs continue to draw great reactions in the oxbows in 2-5 feet depth of water in fresh hydrilla, coontail grass, deertongue grass and new lily pad growth. “We have switched from a weightless Texas rig on the Trick Worms and Fat Jobs to a wacky-style presentation. These are seeming to draw a better reaction now that the water continues warming up into the lower to mid-70 degree range,” Mike says. War Eagle Spinnerbaits or Brazalo Custom Chatterbaits in Spot Remover, Hot Bream or Hot Dirty Shad colors are still getting good reactions in the oxbows fished slowly in 6-8 feet depth. If the water clarity is stained and dirty, switch over to a FireTiger color.
The white bass are beginning to wrap up their annual spawning runs up the Little River to Patterson Shoals headwaters above the U.S. Highway 71 bridge. Catches of 50-70 white bass over a few hours have been typical the past couple weeks at all the feeder creeks and dumps over extending points in Little River. Rooster Tails, Rocket Shads, Cordell Redfins, Bomber Crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, H&H Spinnerbaits and Little Georges have all been whacking the white bass pretty good. Crappie were really starting to turn on before all the muddy water and thunderstorms hit Millwood last week. A few good slabs are still hitting if you can find them. Seems like they are beginning to scatter with all the recent rainfall and lake pool rising with stain and muddy current in Little River last week. And no report on catfish since they closed the gates back this week and slowed the current down.
(updated 5-1-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) reports that black bass have slowed down. A few bream and crappie are being caught.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.69 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is almost exactly full pool of 548 feet. Water temps have made it the mid- to upper 60s and lower 70s in the afternoons. The bass are in their spring and early summer patterns. A lot of bass have moved to the post-spawn patterns and can be caught on Yum Pulse swimbaits and Super Spook Jr’s. Shaky head-rigged Yum Finesse Worms are working OK on main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. Carolina-rigged Christie Critters or lizards in watermelon candy or green pumpkin are also working well on points adjacent to spawning areas. Wacky rigged Yum Dingers have slowed, but can still work around spawning flats. Concentrate on secondary points next to spawning pockets. Focus on any shallow structure. Crappie are REALLY good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep.
(updated 4-24-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature was 62 degrees over the weekend. At 549.2 feet msl over the weekend, Greeson was 2.2 feet above normal pool. The bream are good, with the fish in 2-5 feet depth and going after worms and crickets. They’re around brush piles and stumps. Crappie are good. They are shallow at 2-10 feet depth and around brush piles. Either minnows or jigs will work. Black bass are good. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic worms. Bass are in the creeks, as well as around brush and rocky points. Catfish are fair on worms, blood bait and chicken liver. White bass reports were fair.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.67 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina, said, We finally got a break in the rain. Fishing has been on an upswing. Water levels have been fluctuating so it makes it harder to stay on the spawn in shallow water and the fish move in and out. Water level is 407.58ft. Water is tinted from about marker 35 on up river toward Point Cedar. The water temperatures run from high 60s to low 70s depending on how deep the water is. Black bass are active in the shallows. Top waters and buzz baits early. After is warms up move to some plastics. Big bass over 10# seem to be ready to bite. White bass and hybrids are showing up all over. Surfacing from marker 35 on up river. They are surfacing in the mornings if it is calm enough but not staying up long yet. Spoons, rooster tails, top waters best for schoolers. Live bait has been working also. Big shad fished at the depth where fish are and that has been from 12’ to right on bottom. Electronics are the key. They are moving and not necessarily in the same spot two days in a row. Crappie are finishing the spawn. Fish for them on the front edge of the buck brush. If you are using a minnow and bobber fish about 6” off the bottom. Jigs are also producing fished tight lining in the brush also. Jig fishing is faster than minnow for sure. The Electric Chicken is a hot jig color right now. No report on catfish or bream.
(updated 4-24-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says crappie are finishing their spawn. The catch has been fair and very weather-dependent. Recent rains has deposited much debris in the water. Boat safely.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.16 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 531.45 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-2-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, says bream and catfish are biting consistently on worms and crickets. Bass are biting on Flukes and Senkos in the shallows and jigs in the deep water. Bream and Catfish biting consistently on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting live bait minnows consistently and pink and white crappie jigs.
(updated 5-1-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said the river is still 15 feet high. A few black bass, bream and catfish are being caught.
(updated 5-1-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the water is clear and the surface temperature is 64 degrees. Water is high. Bream have improved, with good reports. Use crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; your best bet is to use soft plastic worms. Catfishing is ranging fair to good on yo-yos.
(updated 5-1-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) said last weekend Lake Catherine’s clarity is dingy with a surface temperature of 63 degrees. The water level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are poor; anglers tried their best with minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on plastic worms on a Texas rig or with topwater lures. Frogs are working well. Also try creature baits, crawbugs and lizards. Bass can be found around docks and in shallows, too, and also near overhanging structure. Catfish are good on stink bait and chicken liver, with some success also with cut shad and shrimp. White bass are good on minnows and crankbaits. Tosha Walker, manager of Lake Catherine Marina, reports, “Whites (bass) have been taken in numbers near the creek ‘arms’ and entrances.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 4-24-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch'em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is still almost 2 feet into the flood pool. Entergy has scheduled heavy generation and open flood gates below all area dams in an effort to bring lake level back to normal. This process has been ongoing for weeks and has made navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace very dangerous. Fast flows and muddy water have been the norm with weekly storms creating havoc with water levels all over the state. Very little productive fishing has taken place from the dam to the bridge the past several weeks due to the treacherous conditions. April marks the last month for rainbow trout stocking until November. This season has been the worst on record because of excessive rainfall that began in January and continues through April. Until flows subside considerably, the Carpenter Dam tailrace will remain dangerous to boaters or waders.
(updated 4-24-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) said the past week they had sunshine most days except for last Thursday’s rain. Recent conditions have mostly been sunny with winds, some gusty, as the midweek low pressure system approaches. At the lower end of the lake, weekly rains are keeping visibility shallow and the winds have mixed the surface. Pollen has also stained surface waters particularly near shores. The Big Piney and Illinois Bayou rivers are also turbid. Some of the smaller creeks are muddy also. Surface temperature is 68 degrees. On the upper end, from Spadra to Ozark, tailwater elevation has remained consistent near normal level since last report. Upriver, release at Ozark L&D 12 has also been steadily flowing between 60,000 cfs and 74,000 cfs. At midweek it was flowing near 60,000 cfs. They have been generating all day and spillway release had been steady at over 40,000 cfs. Downriver, pool elevation does not change as dramatically. However, it did drop a few days over the weekend. Release at Dardanelle L&D 10 ran around 73,000 cfs last Wednesday and rose to 112,000 cfs last Friday morning. It has slowly decreased to 74,000 cfs. They have been generating all day. Spillway release is flowing 43,000 cfs.
Jason said no weekend tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park last week. Although there was no angler feedback, Dardanelle is still in prime time for fishing. Water temperatures remain near levels for many species to spawn and there hasn’t been a major river flow to impact the spawn this season. Baitfish and some species of aquatic insects should be a food source. So bass, crappie, catfish and bream should be active.
(updated 4-17-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said the water temperature is 68. River is dirty, with some clear backwater, and some clear creeks with others being dingy. Crappie fishing has been good but has slowed due to the cold front and high water. The majority of the crappie have already spawned and on the move to deeper water. Minnows have been working, and a wide variety of colors – chartreuse, chartreuse/black, Electric Chicken, Cajun Cricket and blue chartreuse – has been working well in a foot and a half to 2 foot deep. Bass have slowed also, but will pick back up after the full moon with a push. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and swimbaits will come into play on that first push if fish move out deep. Lizards, Brush Hogs, and jigs and Bamboozie will catch the shallow fish on the next push of fish. Frogs, scam shad and chiselers will work in the flats with a lot of coon tail; work them weightless. White bass and stripers are moving to the swifter water at the heads of the creeks and blowouts in the jetties. White hair jigs with grubs, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, swimbaits and chatterbaits with a scam shad trailer work great. Bream are starting to spawn in the flats. Use worms and crickets, small jigs and flies. Catfish have moved to the flats; cut bait, nightcrawlers and stink bait will work.
(updated 5-1-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s temperatures in the mid-60s and water clarity of 2 feet or more in most areas. There are still some spawning fish out there on the area lakes, but most are going to be spotted bass (Kentucky bass), as most largemouth bass have already finished up. Early mornings are still the best time of day to put fish in the boat. Topwater baits like frogs, sexy dogs and little Sammys are doing well just off main lake points in the mornings. As the day progresses the fish tend to suspend in 10-20 feet of water and can be targeted with drop-shot rigs, wacky rigs in green pumpkin and crankbaits in shad colors. For those of you out there that have coordination to skip baits under dock, you should have no trouble finding big bass hanging out in the shadows of manmade structures. Jigs and soft plastics that can get under docks are going to be lethal from now until fall. Good luck and Go Greeson!
(updated 4-24-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrids are finishing their spawn. They will be found as far up major creek arms as a boat can get. Stay in the channels and boat safely.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 357.04 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the clarity is muddy and Lake Nimrod is 16 feet above normal pool as of Monday morning. Poor reports across the board, although Andrews was able to get some reports of a little action: Bream are biting crickets, crappie will go for the yo-yos baited with minnows, and catfish are found on the trotlines.
(updated 4-24-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) says conditions are still not favorable for fishing. The clarity there is muddy and the lake is “too flooded.” Level is high. Poor reports on bream, crappie, black bass and catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.18 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are excellent. Jighead worms and Brush Hogs, Flukes and topwaters fished in and around pockets or over points are still working at this time. Walleye are very good. Small minnow-colored crankbaits and spoons have been producing good stringers. Stripers are excellent. Most of these fish are on the west end of the lake and being caught on C-10 Redfins and live bait. Bream are very good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 8-15 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair to good and being caught with jigs or minnows in 8-12 feet of water near brush. Catfish are very good and anglers are having luck with limblines and trotlines using live bait. Water temperature is ranging 64-69 degrees and the clarity is stained. The lake level as of Wednesday morning was 579.05 feet (1 foot over normal pool) and rising. 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 404.58 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(update 4-12-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin reports that the water temperature at Blue Mountain is 66 degrees with water being stained. No one has been fishing for bream but should not be long. Crappie are on fire. Dane says every angler he saw was limiting out and culling. Fish are in buckbrush with females staging in 7-9 feet of water. Most fish are being taken on black and white or chartreuse jigs and minnows. Black bass are active and being caught on spinnerbaits near shallow water or rocky shoreline. Catfish are improving every day with most caught on cut and live bait.
(updated 5-1-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says this is a great time to be fishing Horseshoe Lake. The crappie are just now spawning. The females have gone to their beds to lay their eggs. Lots of 15-20 catches of crappie in half a day by anglers who are using crankbaits in 15-20 feet of water. Jig fishing, you have to move it around if fishing 6-7 feet. Follow Ronnie on his Facebook page for video updates during the week; he’s out on the lake all the time now with clients but checks in with reports to Facebook. “Fish the trees, check different depths, the females are beginning to spawn. Take your time, catch some hogs, have yourself a good time,” he said, recommending that anglers get some yellow nibblets. Bream, crappie and bass all like those. “Put a bobber on and you’ll catch a limit of bream. Not a few, but a limit.”
(updated 5-1-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says bream and crappie are biting at Bear Creek. Folks are using live bait such as crickets and worms. Biting at shallow depths (4-6 feet), and females look ready to spawn.
(updated 5-1-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), there has been little activity to report from Storm Creek.
(updated 5-1-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at the Potlatch Education Center at Cook’s Lake, says the White River at Clarendon refuses to budge from its current high level, and that means there’s no way the Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake can open yet for its youth and mobility-impaired angler fishing days, which would typically – if the parking lot wasn’t flooded – be held the first and third Saturdays of each month. They’ll see where they are before May 18. 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.