June 26, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 26, 2019. If there is a body of water youl would like included in this report, please email email@example.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. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
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. Geoloical 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
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicie – 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 asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water from Lake Conway for lawn or garden use through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 6-26-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is “a little murky” and the water level is “a little high.” No surface temperature was reported. Bream are being caught in great numbers about 20 feet off the shoreline. Excellent reports from the past week, with waxworms and crickets working best. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. They’re hanging around the green cypress trees and brush piles. Black bass are fair, with anglers getting the best reactions from crankbaits or soft plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent. Use trotline minnows, bream or prepared bait. Set those lines and just watch.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) reports that bream are biting well on crickets. Also, catfish reports are good. Folks who are using trotlines and limblines are using whole bream for their catches.
Little Red River
(updated 6-26-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear after about 3 inches of rain Sunday. For whatever reason, maybe it was dry enough to soak in, the rain didn’t cause a lot of runoff and it occurred during the generation, so it didn’t muddy the river. The fishing is good by staying ahead of the new water each day. The Corps of Engineers says that the generation will remain on the 12-hour, two-unit schedule for at least the next 10 days. Check the schedule each day for the hours of generation. These may change day to day but the amounts of generation will stay the same. Please take care while canoeing or kayaking so as to plan your trip on the section of water not affected by the generation while you are on the water. “We had another close call with kayakers when their crafts overturned when caught in the two-unit generation. They lost their equipment but managed to get out of the water. Do not approach a dock on the upstream side because the current will take you and your watercraft under the dock. If caught in the generation, stay away from the banks and docks and avoid obstructions in the river and let the current carry you to your destination. Look ahead to avoid danger by paddling away from any obstruction in your path ahead of time. Don’t wait till the current pushes you against the log or dock. Be safe and enjoy the river.”
(updated 6-26-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing 12 hours of two units of generation daily. This generation pattern is providing small windows of wading opportunities on the upper sections of the river early mornings and on the middle and lower sections later in the day and good drift-fishing on all sections. Greers Ferry Lake continues to remain high from the past few months of rain. An increase in generation on the Little Red River is expected to lower the lake to seasonal pool as soon as possible. How much of an increase and duration will depend on rainfall and potential flooding downstream during the time they are lowering the lake. Until that time, recommended are midges, sowbugs, emergers, BWO’s and streamers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing use hot pink-colored bodies on 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation is 473.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 473.70 feet msl and mostly falling. It came up a bit after the last rain but overall is falling with about 12 hours of generation going on, and the word is they are going to 24/7 generation at some point. It is 11.16 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet. The overall catching is good with the forecast for catching good, also, as everything is healthy and we have a lot of threadfin for them to eat. It looks like we have come off a good shad spawn, which will help the forage level so much. Black bass are shallow to deep and in between, and some are roaming, schooling in open water. Shallow fish are chasing bream around because bream have been spawning. Flukes, topwater baits, small cranks and spinnerbaits are working, and dragging something will catch any and all at all depths now. Crappie are being picked up fishing vertical and trolling around as well over and down to 30 feet of water on beetle spins, jigs,minnow and crankbaits. Walleye have been acting crazy. All the current the lake has been experiencing the last several months has played a role in how the walleye want to get set up. Try dragging crawlers on jigheads or a drop-shot in 12-40 feet of water on chunk rock flats. Catfishing is good and will get even better as the water gets lower, as they will be more hemmed up, so to speak. The high water just has the anglers thrown for a loop other than the fish – all styles and ways of catching them will work now, just get out of there. It is a very underutilized resource we have. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating if you can stay with them, as they are roaming a lot. If anglers keep beating on other anglers’ spots, as the old code of ethics still remains in effect, it will drive them off. Find your own shad and spota with them on it and you will be able to catch them there until they start moving again when water cools back off this fall, and you will be able to learn so much more reading your electronics and it will give you confidence in finding and catching on your own. Try spoons, inline spinners and swimbaits as well as topwater baits in 25-55 feet.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-26-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is ranging 85-89 degrees. The lake is a little high. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair using minnows or fishing with worms. Black bass are fair, with different patterns depending on the time of day. In the mornings, fish with buzzbaits and topwater lures, with neon colors working best then. Dark purple worms are the way to go in the evening. You can fish dark purple worms with bright tails such as the neon/evergreen. Catfish are fair using worms, chicken livers, prepared bait and live bait.
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicie – 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 asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water from Lake Conway for lawn or garden use through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 6-19-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said black bass are doing well on buzzbaits and black plastic worms and some spinners. Bream are doing well with crickets and worms about 18-24 inches deep; they are on there beds. “We are catching some of the biggest bream I have seen in years,” Johnny says. Crappie are being caught in 12-14 feet of water around 8 feet deep on brushtops with jigs and small minnows. Not catching any limits but are catching some good ones. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines with bream, skip jack and catalpa worms. Water level is almost normal levels and the surface temperature is around 81 degrees. “Come visit us at the bait shop, off Highway 9.”
(update 6-26-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) says fishing is nearly as good as last week, with Tuesday’s results probably rating an 8 or 9 on a 10-point scale. Clarity is clear and the lake is at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 78 degrees. Bream are good. Redworms and crickets are working, and the bream are at 8-10 feet depth. Crappie are being found at 13-18 feet depth and the bite is good. Fish the brush piles. Bass are good. White bass are school and “chasing the shad big-time,” he said, adding that he saw about 200 or more white bass schooling. Fish in the creeks for best success with the bass. Black bass are also good. Catfishing is good on minnows.
Correction: In last week’s Fishing Report, Larry should have been noted as saying white bass were SCHOOLING and chasing shad, rather than the report that bass were spawning. Black bass have long since spawned.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in Crystal Hill (501-758-4948) said bream are good on crickets. Black bass are good using crankbaits or jerkbaits. No other reports.
(updated 6-26-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports water temperature is in the upper 70s. Largemouth bass are slow. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and at dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports have come in saying the largemouths can be found in 8-12 feet and 16-20 feet depth. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. The Tuesday Night Black Bass Tournament results reflect that slower bite, as 10.06 pounds, by Josh Womble and Colton McPharson, won the event. Andrew Wooley and Cameron Nesterenko landed the Big Bass of 3.66 pounds and also finished second overall with 8.05 pounds total. The Kentucky bass bite is also slow. Some reports of them being found in 10-15 feet of water outside the grass line at dusk and at dawn. They can also be found in 18-22 feet off drops and rocky banks. Bream are good. They can be found up shallow. They are moving into their shallow beds around 8 feet or less. Use crickets and worms. Crappie are fair. Reports have come in of crappie being found stacking in and around brush in 15-18 feet of water. Some can still be found scattered and mixed in with the white bass. Try using jigs or minnows. The white bass are slow. You’ll find some mixed in with the crappie on flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet of water. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Catfishing is slow. Still hearing that channel cats are moving in to shallow water. Try using stink bait, crayfish or worms.
(updated 6-26-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still doing great on minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bream are doing well, too, on crickets and redworms. Crappie are slow on No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Bass have been biting on No. 12 bass minnows and spinnerbaits.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-26-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are still doing well on crickets and super mealworms. Catfish have been doing pretty well, too, on No. 12 bass minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. “I actually had a guy that caught six total the other day with his child and didn't know that the limit was 10 per person,” Lisa says. “He was thinking it was three per person like at Sunset Lake. But Bishop is not AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program lake and it's not in the regulation book, so you go by the state regulations on Page 8 (in the AGFC Fishing Guide Book).” Crappie have been slow on No. 6 crappie minnows, plus they been small in size. Bass have been good on No. 12 bass minnows and various plastics.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-19-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river has been pretty high. “Let it get back down and we shall be hearing some reports from there,” she said.
(updated 6-26-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are on. The big redear are biting using crickets fishing on bottom. The brown Rock Hoppers work pretty well, too, on the bream. Bass have been good on black salties and No. 12 bass minnows. Crappie are being caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been hitting live crawdads and bait shrimp and nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 6-19-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said bream are good using redworms and crickets. Bass are good and hitting spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on cut bait, skipjack and nightcrawlers. No other reports.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that bream remain good on crickets. Catfishing is good with nightcrawlers or shad. No other reports.
(updated 6-26-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been good on No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish are biting on live crawdads and nightcrawlers. Bass have been being caught on minnows and live crawdads. Bream are good on crickets.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) in Crystal Hill said catfishing are good. Anglers are using cut bait, skipjack and large minnows. White bass are good using crankbaits and twister tails.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 6-26-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-26-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is in bad shape for fishing. The clarity is a stained/dark look, even though the water level is down to normal. “Nobody is really fishing,” he said. No reports.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 6-26-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says black bass are good in the backwaters off the Maumelle Pool and in the Little Maumelle River. Try black buzzbaits such as an Irritator to get bass reactions. Bream seem to be biting in the area very well now, Tony reports.
(updated 6-19-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that in the area off the Maumelle River leading to the river, bream are good. They are bedding with the full moon. Anglers are using redworms and crickets. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures around brush. Catfishing is good using cut bait, skipjack or nightcrawlers. No reports on crappie. Alex urges anglers to stay off the main river. Also, the Little Maumelle is black with dead fish, he reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-26-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) has been urging folks to stay off the river for the past several weeks, and this one is no exception. They say river flow on Monday was 200,000 cfs as of this report. The water is muddy and the river level is high. No reports.
(updated 6-26-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says current has gotten faster since last week’s report, and it’s now up to 300,000 cfs (as of Tuesday morning). Water is muddy and the level is high. Stay off the river in the Little Rock Pool, Tony Z. urges. Some great bream action can be found below the Terry Lock and Dam, though, he said. Excellent reports have come from there this past week. Redworms, waxworms and crickets are getting devoured by the bream. No other reports there. Also in the Little Rock area, Tony has heard some good reports from anglers trying their luck in Fourche Creek, with excellent bream action there. Take redworms and crickets to the creek.
(updated 6-26-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) advises anglers and boaters to stay off the river. The river is muddy and still high. No fishing reports.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) has no reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-26-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water level jumped up over the past week and is fairly high. It’s also fairly clear in terms of clarity. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are good. The bream are at 3-4 feet depth and are hitting redworms and crickets. Crappie are slightly off this week, with fair results reported. Minnows were working best. Fish for the crappie around the cypress trees. Black bass improved this week to good. Best results are happening in the early mornings and the late evenings. Spinnerbaits and topwater lures are the best choice of baits. No reports on catfish.
(updated 6-26-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity remains a little stained while the water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good; trolling and spider-rigging continue to be the approaches for success. Minnows and jigs will work as well. Black bass are good on the topwater lures now. Catfishing is good; use worms.
(updated 6-26-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Summer is officially here and things are getting hot, not only weather-wise, but also in terms of fishing. The river level has been consistently low for the past week, so it's been a great time to pull up to a favorite brown trout spot and throw out a minnow. The rainbow bite has been excellent with many 13- to 14-inch rainbows being brought to the boat daily. The pink worm has been successful – combine that with frozen shrimp for great results.”
A rise in the river level is anticipated in the coming weeks as the Army Corps of Engineers works on its flood control efforts. That means as the river level rises, drifting near the bank with a live or artificial worm will bring in the rainbows. Plenty of sunshine requires plenty of sunscreen. Come prepared, but make sure to keep the sunscreen away from your fishing gear and baits. Seems that sunscreen not only repels harmful rays from above but repels fish as well. Clean your hands of sunscreen before handling rods, reels and baits and don't use a spray in the boat. “Be prepared for the heat and join us on the White River for a some great fishing – regardless of water releases from the dam.”
(updated 6-26-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water looks brown. They’ve had a lot of rain lately, and the river level as of early Monday afternoon was high, with two generators running at the dam. They report a lot of rainbows caught along with a few brown trout. Overall, the bite rates good. Waxworms and PowerBait are the baits to try.
(updated 6-26-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the previous week they had a weather event produce four inches of rain, followed by hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.9 foot to rest at 23.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.73 feet msl. This is 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at seasonal power pool and 14 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.1 feet to rest at 7.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.9 foot below the top of flood pool. The White saw light generation and some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 16.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.48 feet msl and 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had high generation and no wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation in the near future when downstream flooding clears.
The White has fished very well. The hot spot has been 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 pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down).
John also said, “Last week I was fishing on a sunny day, with temperatures in the 90s and little if any wind. When I got off the river, my Suburban had been sitting in the sun for hours and was toasty warm. I was perspiring when I headed home. It took a cold shower and a change of clothing to cool me down. Summer is here and we have to deal with it. Here in Arkansas, summers can get pretty hot. Over the years, I have developed strategies to survive summer fishing.
“The first is to wade. To me, there is nothing like wade fishing, with the water lapping against my waders, being surrounded by gin-clear water and being able to easily see the fish. The water is a constant 57 degrees. If you want to cool off you just wade a little deeper. If it is brutally hot (over 100 degrees) I will wet wade. I wear my wading boots with neoprene booties but no waders. It is minimalism at its finest. Dress to get wet. If you are too hot, take a swim. This is the ultimate hot weather survival strategy.
“There is only one problem. The water has to be low enough to wade. That is great right now, but in a few days downstream flooding is going to clear and the Corps of Engineers is going to begin generation with a vengeance. I expect high water for most of the summer. In situations like that, there are streams like the Spring River, the North Fork of the White, the Buffalo River and Crooked Creek that are not subject to generation.
“You can fish early or fish late to avoid the heat of the day. I prefer to fish early before the sun has risen high in the sky. I will get on the river before sunrise. There is nothing more beautiful than the sun rising and cutting through the fog. The problem here is that my regular fishing buddy – my wife, Lori – is not an early riser. By the time she is up and has walked our dogs, it is getting warm. A lot of times I will go early and meet up with her when she arrives.
“Finally there is the strategy of dressing for the heat and fishing through it. In a boat there is nowhere to hide. You need to protect your skin from the sun and take advantage of any breeze. You want light, breathable fabrics. I wear lightly colored tropical pants and long sleeved shirts. I always wear sun gloves. A lot of my fellow guides wear Buffs (light woven fabric neck gear that can be pulled to protect their faces and ears but I prefer full brimmed straw hats. I wear light wading shoes to complete my gear. All of it is light and quick-drying and I can take a quick dip to cool off.
“It is possible to handle the heat. Get ready, it is coming.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 687.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake level remains way up, and Monday morning it was 27 feet high. The surface water temperature was 79 degrees. The bream bite is poor, but he says the fish are starting to suspend. Crappie, likewise, are poor. Black bass, though, are providing good responses for anglers. Use your topwaters in the morning and come back with jigs for the evening. Also try a swimbait for some action. Catfish are biting fair on the limblines, he says. As for walleye, trolling is doing well for folks. Check out Del’s YouTube channel for his regularly updated video fishing report with various baits and patterns he’s using for the bass, including a new report he put up late last week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 573.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 6-19-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the stripers in Norfork Lake are now in their summer pattern. We have been catching fish from 30-60 feet in large schools in the channels near bluff walls. The best bait has been mid-size gizzard shad 4-7 inches on a downline set just above the fish. The cold overnight weather has dropped the lake from 82 degrees to 77 degrees but should come up fast unless the rain that is predicted this week is cold, then it will remain the same. The thermocline is around 20 feet and the water below is very murky. It will stay that way until the lake returns to its normal pool. Fishing has been good the past week. Both Sean and I have been limited out each day. Sean's client caught a 42-inch striper that was very skinny and only weighted 22 pounds. It should have been in the 30-pound range. The fish could not be released because the fight took too long. It was a shame to have to clean a big fish but that what happens this time of year.”
“On Tuesday I had first-time clients who had not fished for stripers. Nick is 13 years old and by the end of the trip it he was fishing like a pro. We had some luck at our first spot but the bite slowed so I had earlier found fish that were feeding around 7:30 in the morning. I moved there and set up my normal fishing pole routine of two float rods and five down rods. Jeff's rod went down, and right when I netted his fish the front pole went down and that continued around the boat; as each rod went down, I was netting another fish. The same time the two float rods were hit, but we were too busy fighting the other fish. The floats were 30 yards from the boat and by the time we started fighting those fish they had come all the way to the boat. In all we boated all seven fish. We were lucky because some were hybrids and we could release them and the others were kept to fill their limit. It was an experience both Jeff and Nick will never forget, nor will I.”
Tom says he is now fishing the main lake from Thumb Point to Hand Cove and the Dam Area. This pattern will hold true well into September. He adds that the walleye have moved to their summer pattern. They will be feeding in the 28- to 32-foot range. The best bite is usually from 8-11 a.m. Longline trolling crankbaits and bottom bouncers set just off the bottom running spinners with nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-12-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideway Resort said, “Who wants to striped bass fish! The striped bass bite has been pretty good the last couple of weeks. If you like to fish in the dark, when it is cool, quiet and calm, there are several good areas near our resort. I have had guests fishing all night long, and others fishing from sunset until around midnight. Still other guests enjoy the early morning bite and get on the lake around 4 a.m. and fish until about 9 a.m. The best bait has been live shad or large shiners, but vertical-jigging a spoon has also picked up some nice fish.
“This morning I had a difficult time finding fresh bait but had a few leftovers, so I headed to my first area and started fishing around 4:30 a.m. I dropped one bait down to about 30 feet, while sitting in 100 feet of water. I also started to vertical-jig a 1-ounce white spoon at the same depth. It wasn't more than 10 minutes before the live bait rod went singing and I landed a nice 9-plus pound striped bass. I continued to jig and got hammered on the spoon, but lost him halfway up. Over the next 45 minutes I landed two stripers on my spoon and two more on live bait. Not bad for a short time.
“Once it started getting light out, the bait and fish scattered. I headed out to a big main lake flat and found fish, but they would not hit my spoon. I moved locations to part way back into a major creek and found more scattered fish at depths from 10 feet down to 40 feet, and I was mainly in 50-80 feet of water. My only taker was hooked by casting my Kastmaster. I was doing a steady fast retrieval and was stopped dead in my tracks with a big fish taking off the other direction. To say the least, I only got to fight this fish for about a minute before he broke off.” Lou says walleye fishing has been very good whether you are dock fishing or fishing out on the lake. There have been many walleye caught off his dock over the last couple of weeks. Live crappie minnows have been working well, or smaller shiners. The best time has been after dark. The fish under his dock have come off the bottom in about 30 feet of water. The other location that has been producing some nice fish is on the normal pool shore line, which is just outside of the sunken buckbrush. The water depth will vary, but ranges 20-30 feet deep. Slow-trolling a crawler harness with a bottom bouncing weight has been working great. You can also drop shot a shiner to the same depth. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are showing up in the same areas as the walleye. This morning, as the sun was rising, Lou says, he stopped to check out a few main lake points. While he was heading back into a creek, he had his Kastmaster tied on so he casted to the shoreline, letting the bait sink about 10 feet, and started to retrieve the bait, twitching it slightly. It wasn't long before he boated a smallie and a nice largemouth. They were probably in about 20-25 feet of water, he said. He adds that it has been tough finding crappie. With the higher-than-normal water level, the fish have plenty of cover all over the lake. The best areas to find confined crappie are under docks. Live bait or small jigs are working. You can also troll small crankbaits such as a Flicker Minnow or Shad in about 20-25 feet of water. The Norfork Lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 78-79 degrees. The water level has finally stabilized with a very slight daily rise and currently sits at 573.81 feet msl. The lake is clear with some areas having a slight stain. The lake is high, but in great condition for all your summertime water sports.
(updated 6-26-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the previous week Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 16.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.48 feet msl and 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had high generation and no wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation in the near future when downstream flooding clears.
The Norfork has fished slow. 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. With school out, it will be crowded. There is some work being done at the hatchery that has affected access to the upper areas on the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), 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.|
John also said, “(Last Saturday) my wife, Lori, and I had a guide trip on Dry Run Creek. Ron Beasley asked me to take his nieces Emerson (Emy) and Easton fishing on Dry Run Creek. Ron is the fly-tying chairman for the Sowbug Roundup. We have both served on the committee for several years and have become friends. Lori offered to accompany me on the trip in order to give the girls more personal attention and increase the opportunity to land some good trout. I quickly agreed. I always enjoy working with her any chance I get.
“We met Ron and the girls at Dry Run Creek at 7:30 a.m. We furnished all the gear that they needed: waders, rods, flies and all other terminal tackle. Lori and I both carried large boat nets. A small net just makes a big fish angry.
“We decided to split the girls up. Emy was to fish with me and Easton went with Lori. We all walked way upstream. There was construction on the upper end of the fish hatchery. Several of the discharge pipes were shut down. As a result, the water level was about a foot lower than usual. I was concerned but went on hoping for the best.
“Lori and I were working near each other and Ron was moving between us to keep up with the action and take photos. Lori’s client, Easton, caught the first fish, a nice, fat, 20-inch rainbow. Then they caught another. It was a stout 19-inch rainbow. We still had not landed a trout despite having several takes.
“Finally we landed a small trout. In fact, we landed about six trout all under 15 inches over the next hour. We hooked three much larger trout. The first one slipped the hook. The second one broke off. I got a good look at it and it went about 25-inches. A few minutes later we hooked another big trout. It slipped the hook after about a 5-minute struggle. When I checked the fly, it was entangled in another fly. I recognized the fly immediately. It was the sowbug that had been broken off a few minutes before. We had hooked the same trout twice in a matter of minutes.
“We had hooked three trophies with no success. I was a bit frustrated but was determined to land a trophy. I tied on a chartreuse mopfly, an item that I had never fished. A few casts later there was a solid strike. I looked down and saw a huge brown trout on the bright fly. I grabbed my net and eased into the water to have a better angle for netting the trout. I calmly coached Emy on how to fight the big brown. She took her time and slowly wore him down. During the 10-minute fight it never took a long run. We were lucky and the big fish finally surrendered to the net.
“I carefully measured the brown and it was a hair under 28 inches long. It was thick. I don’t know what it weighed but it had to go well over 12 pounds. We moved the fish into quiet water to get a good photo and then took our time to carefully release him. It was the biggest trout that I have seen landed on Dry Run Creek in several years.
“During this time, Lori had netted several trout. After we released the big brown it was like someone had turned the switch off. I don’t think we got another hit for the rest of the morning. I somehow think that we used up all of our luck landing the big brown.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-26-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. 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 1,129.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says, “ Beaver Lake is up, up and up! Floodgates were opened 2.5 feet and will stay open until lake is at 1,128.5 feet msl. Major debris is in the lake at this time. Fishing has been put on hold for me until lake settles.” Jon says he hasn’t heard many reports. “I believe the mudline may reach places that it normally does not. Clear end will probably become stained, which does not happen that often, and when it does the fishing tends to slow down.” He says the fish will seek clearer water, so look in those places. Catfishing should become excellent in the week to come and that will be bright spot. Bass really should be taking advantage of all flooded timber and brush. River arms are dropping but are still chocolate milk in color. Be safe when running your boats. This rise make it a lot more dangerous to run wide open. This amount of water will mix the usual summer thermocline and you will have to search for fish a little harder. “Good luck and stay safe.”
(updated 6-26-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake appears mudy and the level is high. A lot of rain recently has led to the lake rising 11 feet high. The Army Corps of Engineers is trying to dump lake water through the dam to get the level down. Nevertheless, bream reports are good; use crickets. Crappie, however, are poor. Black bass also are poor with this high water. Catfishing has been good using prepared bait and live bait.
(updated 6-26-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Well, prior to the past rain we had, fishing was pretty darn good. However, the Army Corps of Engineers has all seven flood gates open 2.5 feet. The amount of flow has raised the river considerably and has made fishing from the bank impossible and from a boat dangerous. This type of moving water could sweep a tree down the river, right into a boat. I would highly advise to stay off the river until conditions improve. But, like I said, before the rain, the fishing was good. Trout were bitting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Quarter-ounce spoons of various colors were also a hit with the trout. Kentucky bass were hitting on suspended soft plastics thrown in structure, points and chunk rock. A few walleye were still being caught, mostly after sundown, jigging live minnows and trolling crawler harnesses. The walleye were a bit on the small end, so all of them were returned to the water.
“Well, until the conditions improve, I am afraid there will not be much to report from the tailwater. Once again, please exercise good judgement. If you decide to fish the tailwater in a boat, leave a float plan with someone responsible. Be safe, until next time.”
(updated 6-26-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports that the lake still has a little murkiness to the clarity, but not where it was last week. Surface water temperature is 78 degrees as of Tuesday morning. Water level is normal. The bream bite is good. Crickets and minnows are being used with success. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. They report that 18 bass were caught on plastics and minnows this week. No reports on catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 6-26-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, said Heather Hula and the park staff report they’ve been fishing regularly this week and the bite is good, but only after the sun goes behind the mountains. Once the sun goes down, the bass are hitting lures that are moving nonstop across the bottom. It seems like that is the only presentation that they are going for right now. Heather and another staffer also spent a few hours fishing for sunfish. It was a bit slow, but once they figured out the right bait (nightcrawlers), they caught quite a few with some little children at our fishing program. Bream reports from anglers are good with the fish in 2-3 feet depth around rocky points. Use worms. Black bass have been reported in 2-6 feet depth and biting plastic worms and jigs. Work the rocky points. Clarity and visibility is 1.5 feet. Surface temperature is 74 degrees.
(updated 6-26-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said fishing was OK before the storms that came through over the weekend. “But now it’s a mud pit,” they say. The water level is high and the clarity is muddy. Bream are reported fair, with redworms or crickets working. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass were good last week. Catfishing is good.
(updated 6-26-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says the bream are biting excellent on worms and crickets from the shoreline and piers. Catfish are good on worms and Catfish Pro “Chicken Liver.” Crappie reports are fair, with some fish biting around brush piles, stumps and rocky points. Black bass are good on crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater baits. Work your baits around brush or rocky points. Note the moon times – best days are June 29 through July 5, she says. The clarity is murky and the lake level is high. Surface temperature was 63 degrees Sunday morning.
(updated 6-26-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Yes, Lake Poinsett State Park is open for business year-round; however, the lake remains closed for repairs. The visitor information center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To purchase your fishing supplies, stop at the first building on the right as you enter the park. Here you can purchase from a large variety of tackle, including artificial and live bait.” While Lake Poinsett is closed for repairs through early 2020, check out other neighboring lakes such as Lake Charles and Lake Hogue, as well as the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 6-26-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is “a little dingy” but the water level is still at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Bream reports are excellent. Use crickets. Bass also are improving over the past week, with good reports. Best fishing is early in the morning or late in the evening, hence anglers are having best success throwing topwaters. Catfishing is good with chicken livers and night crawlers. Crappie appear to have gone into hiding; no reports.
(updated 6-19-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 415 cfs at the spring and water clarity is clear. Lack of rain over the last week and a half has the river looking great. A dry spell is much needed. On overcast days an olive or brown Woolly Bugger is hot. Just use a simple swing of the fly with a slow strip back. On the sunny slow days the trout have been eating up small nymphs – about a size 14 prince, pheasant tail or a hares ear nymph can be very productive. Don't be afraid to use a small split shot in deep and fast areas. For spin fishers a black, white or red Trout Magnet works great. With smallmouth a simple Ned rig on a 1/8 jig works well. Watermelon or pumpkin colors most days work the best.
(updated 6-26-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and stained. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is here and the river can be crowded, especially on the weekends. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 6-26-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) unfortunately saw fishing return to sluggish after a good week. The river is up 11 feet and they report no much fishing going on around the area; poor reports on all species. Water clarity is muddy.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-26-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that all the ramps on the Arkansas River in this area remain closed.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-26-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said mild weather, with periodic showers and storms, has caused the fish in Cane Creek Lake to fall into a relatively predictable pattern. Bream are still the most prevalent fish biting at the moment. The warm, calm water is making for great fishing in the shallows. Cast away from the boat or shore with a cricket tied below a sinker on a slip bobber. Vary the depth at about 5 foot and drag the cricket through the water just above the lake bed to get some aggressive bites from big bluegill and sunfish. As always, catfish are biting steady. Fish later in the afternoon on into night, using small bream (under 4 inches) as bait. Use a trotline strung across trees in 10 feet or so of water to bring out the big flatheads. Pole fishing is still doing well with fresh chicken liver. Crappie are being reported in some deeper holes toward the middle of the lake on the north end. Fish above structure in water no less than 12 foot deep. Suspend a shiner at about 7 feet for your best chance. Bass are taking advantage of this mild weather and are actually being reported breaking topwater in the shallows. Dragonflies just had a big hatch, so fish will be looking to the top of the water for an easy meal. Fish with light-colored topwater baits mid- to late afternoon, then switch to a dark-colored frog, spinner or buzzbait as the light begins to fade. Now is a good time for fish the shoreline at Cane Creek, which is rare because usually you need a boat to catch anything good. Cane Creek State Park and the park’s public brush piles are now featured on the “fishing spots” app, which you can find for free on the Appstore of your smartphone. For any question, contact Austin Davidson at the park.
(updated 6-26-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report. However, anglers should note that last week the AGFC boat-stocked 150,649 Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings into Lake Chicot in an effort to continue incorporating Florida genetics into the bass population.
(updated 6-26-2019) Angler Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 261.05 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday on Millwood was falling after a few days of rain and was 6 inches above the normal conservation pool at 260 feet msl with a discharge near 16,000 cfs in Little Rock, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Monday, remains rising and is about 246 feet msl. Water temps continued improving over the past week, and on Monday the surface temp ranged near 81 degrees to a high of 89 later under full sun, depending on location. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber.
The best activity levels for largemouth bass over the past week have been early and late, and from dawn to around 10 a.m. Largemouth bass have been fair; cloud cover mornings have offered the best activity over the past few weeks early at dawn and at dusk, and activity levels have slowed during the heat of the day with the increased surface temperatures over the past week. Best baits over the past week or so have been plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook worked in new lily pad growth. Best colors of frogs have been Snot Rocket, black and June Bug. War Eagle spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse, Spot Remover, Firecracker or Firetiger colors continue working randomly around flooded brush and new emerging vegetation for 2- to 3-pound bass. Slow-rolling the spinnerbaits off points, ditches and creekmouths dumping into Little River from 8-12 feet will yield a few random bass. Males can still be caught relatively shallow around new vegetation and lily pads. StutterSteps, Spit'n Images, Ken Pops, Pop-Rs and buzzbaits continue to draw random reactions around vegetation and new pads. Topwater activity levels have slowed later in the day with the increased heat. Topwater is very good at dawn using Moss Bosses and Tip Toads as well in the pads. Shallow-running squarebills, 2.0 and 3.0 S-cranks and Echo 1.75s, deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 7-12 feet deep, will take a few random bass around 14-15 inches in length. In the clearer water of the oxbows, better spinnerbait or chatterbait colors are Firecracker, Spot Remover or Hot Mouse colors. In the more stained areas, the white/chartreuse and Firetiger were drawing best reactions. Best color of cranks in the oxbows for the past week or so have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghost. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic and White Smoke will get a slow, random reaction from 15- to 18-inch bass in creek channels leading in and out of spawning flats. Work them slower and deeper in the creeks. Squarebill S-cranks and shallow-running crankbaits in shad or bluegill and bream patterns are working near creekmouths and points extending into the oxbows as largemouths have pulled out to deeper sections of creek channels and points dumping into the oxbows. Working the cranks in a stop-and-go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves. Hog Craws in black and blue flake, Brush Hogs, Beaver Bugs and Magnum 4-inch Gitzit tubes continue working deeper into the creek channels. Best colors have been South African Special, PB&J, Watermelon Candy, black/blue and black neon. Heavy, big, bulky 10- to-12-inch worms are picking up a few random reactions in creek channels, creekmouths dumping into oxbows and points.
White bass have not been seen in the last couple weeks. Last known location was the points extending into Little River either side of the Cossatot River inflow ditch on either side of the U.S. Highway 71 bridge. Crappie were biting jigs and minnows near cypress trees 4-8 feet deep and around planted brush piles out of river current from 8-12 feet deep. Over the past couple of weeks, crappie seem to be transitioning to deeper drops near standing timber or planted brush piles, but can still be caught early on the base of cypress trees. They have been best vertical-jigging minnows, Arkie Jigs and minnows. Channel cats and blues were fair up to 6 pounds on trotlines set 10-12 feet deep in Little River using chicken livers, gizzards and hearts, and using chum blood baits near the trotlines. Last week, a couple of guys said they were doing OK on yo-yos hung from cypress trees using cut shad and buffalo in Mud Lake, near the back. The yo-yos were set at 8-9 feet depth under the cypress tree limbs.
Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially upriver. The main lake and lower sections of Little River continue to improve, and are not quite as stained or muddy as the upper regions of Little River and Saline River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River's visibility ranged 2-4 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranged 15-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
(updated 6-26-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few bass and bream are being caught. No reports on catfish or crappie.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 547.18 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature Monday was 85 degrees. The lake level is 1 foot below full pool. Bream are good. Use worms around the brush piles and around stumps, and expect the bream in 2-5 feet depth. Crappie are fair and can be found at 20 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs, and work your bait around the brush piles or rocky points. Black bass are good. They continue to go after bait in 10-15 feet depth, so use spinnerbaits or plastic worms around brush areas or rocky points. Catfish are fair on worms, blood bait and stink bait. Fair reports on white bass if you toss a jig their way.
(updated 6-12-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) says the lake level is almost 2 feet above full pool of 548 feet msl and falling until the rain this week. Water temps have made it the 80s. The bass are in their summer patterns. Bass have moved to the post-spawn and summer patterns and can be caught on Yum Pulse swimbaits and Super Spook Jr’s. Shaky head-rigged Yum finesse worms working OK on main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. Concentrate on main lake points. Crappie are REALLY good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep on minnows and jigs. Catches of 50-100 per day are not uncommon right now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.25 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Now is the time to go out and get em. Water temperature is 83 degrees. Water level is up 406.26 feet msl, up over a foot since the big rain we got this weekend. Wow! Water is slightly tinted from Lennox Marcus upriver and the fresh water has slowed down some of the bite until it stabilizes.” Bass are on their summer pattern of soft plastics on the points and early over brush with topwaters and buzzbaits. Hybrids are improving. “We can’t ever seem to get a still day for the surfacing fish do their thing. With the windy weather you have to use your electronics to find them and they are deep. Look for them in the deep pockets and river bends. Spoons do well for casting and vertical-jigging. They are showing up at Arlie Moore north and Caddo Bend.” Crappie have been slow after the rain, but with the lake stabilizing they are picking up again. Fish 12-16 feet deep in the brush piles. They are being caught all over the lake. John adds, “The Fourth of July is coming up, and now is a good time to polish our ‘boat manners.’ Good fishing.”
(updated 6-26-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says white bass and hybrids are schooling and being caught on spoons early in the mornings. Mid-lake is your best bet.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 447.32 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 530.35 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-26-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(updated 6-26-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said
bass are biting well on topwater lures and spinnerbaits. Nice bream and catfish are being caught. No report on crappie.
(updated 6-26-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the clarity is “pretty clear” and the water level is on a slight rise, now up 2 feet over normal and a half-foot or so over last week. Surface water temperature is 79-80 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie picked up this week, with fair reports. Minnows and jigs are being used. Black bass are good. They’re mostly biting at the 10-foot mark on soft plastic worms and jigs. The shoreline seems to be where to look for them. Catfish are good on trotlines and limblines.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-26-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) checked in with Austin Owens of the Lake Catherine State Park Marina, who told him that clarity conditions are improving with a surface water temperature of 75 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream repors are good, with crickets working best. Target 5-7 feet for the bream. Crappie, though, are reported poor. Black bass are good. You’ll find them at 5-10 feet depth, and they are hitting plastic worms, but consider using topwater baits in the morning before the heat sets in. Worms and/or lizards should be fished down rocky banks and around docks as well for a good reaction. Catfishing is fair on blood bait and stink bait. White bass reports are poor.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-26-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita has risen back close to flood pool as another storm hit the state last week. Entergy has regulated the generation schedules so the Carpenter Dam tailrace can be safely navigated and fished. Boaters can anchor in areas holding good numbers of trout and have success casting Rooster Tails in white or brown around rock structure and sandbars. The month of May and June brings huge numbers of shad toward the dam to spawn. Trout will feed heavily on these baitfish and will strike artificial lures that imitate live minnows. Small jigs in gray or white will also work well in the same areas in slack or current situations. Trolling against the current with shallow-running crankbaits imitating shad or crawfish will attract larger trout that seek bigger prey. Bank fishermen should take advantage of slackwater periods by presenting trout with nightcrawlers and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Waxworms and mealworms used in the same manner will allow anglers to catch limits of rainbows that are actively searching for food. Live bait presentations cannot be overemphasized because trout become much more wary as their environment warms and the summer heat sets in. June brings white bass by the thousands into the Carpenter Dam tailrace to begin the spawn. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig presentations will all draw strikes from these temperate basses from the dam to the bridge as they feed on shad for months. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers always migrate into the area in the summer months in search of food and cooler temperatures. Balloon rigs with gizzard shad give fishermen a good chance to hook a big striper, but artificial lures such as Super Spooks and Alabama rigs should not be overlooked. Strong rods and lines are recommended for these predator fish that possess great power and are often in the 20- to 40-pound range. Anyone navigating Lake Catherine should always wear a life jacket and be aware of the generation schedules. All park rules and regulations must be followed in the Carpenter Dam tailrace.
(updated 6-26-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said they have experienced mostly sunshine and breezy winds, except for the thunderstorms last Saturday evening and Sunday. Sunny and humid weather with pop-up showers is forecast for the next seven days. The lake has no visibility below the surface; the water remains muddy. Surface temperature Tuesday evening was 82 degrees. Note: Boat ramps inside Lake Dardanelle State Park are open. As of Tuesday (June 25) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 is in minor flood stage at a level of 362 feet. The tailwaters may not go back under flood stage until Thursday (June 27). Release had been holding steady around 160,000 cfs but recent heavy rains across the watershed has risen release to 245,000 cfs. There has been no power generation. Water has receded around the islands and bottoms at the Arkansas Highway 109 bridge and near Spadra. Dikes are submerged due to the recent rising water. Anglers are reporting that much of the sandbars and sloughs have changed from the Highway 109 bridge and down to Shoal Bay. Access to Shoal Bay and Dublin from the river channel has been silted in and is difficult to navigate. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has returned to normal. The Dardanelle tailwater has risen to 32 feet msl and is forecasted to reach minor flood stage on Wednesday. Current release has risen to 245,000 cfs. The powerhouse has stopped generating.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Most tournaments at Lake Dardanelle State Park were rescheduled due to the dangerous river conditions. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516 ext. 2.
(updated 6-26-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 6-26-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports that lake levels are up slightly and temperatures are on the rise. Pockets not on the main channel are approaching 90 degrees due to the heat and warm rainwater coming in. Bass have moved out to the main lake to find cooler and more oxygen-rich waters. Main lake points that drop of quickly, bridge pillars and deep docks are the only areas to go to this time of year. Areas in the shade during parts of the day are even better! Most people would call you crazy to throw topwater during the heat of the day in the summer, but it works! Target shade and cover with frogs, prop baits and wacky rigs (because they skip beautifully). On the main points try a drop-shot rig, a crankbait or a spoon. “We have heard very little on the crappie (most likely because the warm water is really driving them deeper). Catfish are outstanding on creek channel drop-offs bridges and dams. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
(updated 6-19-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says white bass are schooling early in the morning hitting small spoons and Rooster Tails. Crappie are still biting on live bait fished 13-16 feet deep. Get on the water by first light and reap the results.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 372.82 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water appears “real clear” now, and the surface temperature is 85-87 degrees. The wa ter level, though, is still fairly high for Nimrod (it’s been 26 or more feet over normal pool of late, according to the Corps of Engineers). Bream are biting fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie now are suspended, and minnows are working “really good” for the anglers, resulting in excellent hauls. Black bass are good. They appear to be fairly shallow. A spinnerbait (gold Eagle with white tail) is getting good response, and Carolina rigs, swimbaits and chatterbaits are also good choices. Fish around the brush. Catfishing is fair. Anglers report catching a lot of blue and channel catfish on live bait. Worms and chicken livers on the trotlines are working as well.
(updated 6-26-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water clarity is muddy and the lake level is “way too high,” leading to no fishing going on. No reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.97 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. Texas-rigged soft plastics and drop-shot rigs fished over points are working. Walleye are still very good. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are good. Most of these fish have moved to the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are still very good, with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 8-15 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair and are being caught with jigs or minnows in 20-25 feet of water near brush. Catfish are very good and anglers are having luck with rod and reel using live nightcrawlers around brush piles. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees. The clarity is clearing. Lake level Tuesday was 577.88 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor fishing 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 413.93 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin said the lake at 15 feet high and on the rise. No reports on fishing.
(updated 6-26-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says the lake’s clarity is “a little cloudy,” but the water level is back to normal. No surface temperature was recorded. As of Monday, the bream bite has been good the past few days. Bream are on the bed and are biting redworms and crickets. Ronnie says they are catching limits of crappie every day and the bite is good. Crappie are in 6 feet depth and are nibbling at chartreuse Niblets, minnows and jigs. Look for them around the lily pads, but piers and dock-shooting need to be in your plans, too. Jigs are working better than minnows on the crappie, he says. Black bass are fair. He says they are catchingg a few in the mornings and some later in the afternoons. Catfishing is good. They’re really into chicken liver, and you can find them in 6-12 feet depth.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 6-26-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 6-26-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at Potlatch Conservation Education Center on Cook’s Lake (870-241-3373), said that after experiencing flood conditions all spring, Cook’s Lake plans to open Saturday, July 6. Cook’s Lake will be open for fishing during normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted starting July 6. Due to the remote location, please call ahead for unscheduled closures. This fertile 2.5-mile long oxbow lake off of the White River is open to youth and mobility-impaired anglers. Each angler may be accompanied by up to two people, who may also fish. The lake is open to use of trolling motor only. For any questions or to check conditions and closures, please contact Wil Hafner at 870-241-3373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-26-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.