July 31, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 31, 2019. If there is a body of water you 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 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 asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from Lake Conway through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 7-31-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reports the lake with its normal stain and a level that’s is “just a little low, but pretty normal.” No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets, as well as jigs. Crappie are fair and biting small jigs and minnows. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worms and hard baits. Catfishing is good with worms, bream, goldfish and nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 7-31-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear after missing the rain the last couple of days. The lake is about 4.5 feet high and they are seeing two-unit generation from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. With this generation, the lake should be back to normal levels by mid- to late August. Because the generation is continuing until 11 p.m., the river never gets to low water levels before the new water arrives. This shortens the time for fishing falling water. During this period, Greg says, his best flies are still the size 14 weighted mayfly nymphs and weighted midge pupas.
Greg urges anglers to please exercise caution and be aware of the rising water. All anglers should be cautious when drifting the high water – especially small boats, kayaks and canoes. “In my opinion, the risk is too high for the pleasure you want from your trip,” he said. “If you do decide to fish the high water, a guide is a good investment because he will maneuver the boat, watch for obstacles while you fish and has a good knowledge of the river. Be safe while enjoying the river.”
(updated 7-31-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said Wednesday morning the Corps of Engineers is releasing 18 hours of two units of generation daily, normally beginning the generation at 6 a.m. Midges, sowbugs, emergers, hares ear, and streamers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use red and white bodies on chartreuse and gold 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 468.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 468.08 feet msl and falling. It is 5.54 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Summer patterns are going on; be mindful of that as you venture out, and wear your life jacket and kill switch as well. Shad are galore all over the lake and rivers leading to it. All species are eating off and on all day and night. For crappie, try trolling or fishing straight up and down in 30-45 feet with jigs or minnows. Bream are eating crickets, crawlers, inline spinners and small crankbaits from super shallow out to 30 feet. Catfish are feeding at will all over the lake – anyway you usually catch them will work, be it on flats and beds of creeks or rivers. Walleye are more active on corner ambush points and on end of point contours. Drag crawlers on a drop-shot or jighead in 18-28 feet. Black bass are scattered as usual up super shallow out to 60 feet. Drag something or throw reaction baits. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating away as well in 25-60 feet of water; use inline spinners, spoons, hair jigs or swimbaits.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-31-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is a hot 94.1 degrees. The water level has dropped; they say it’s low now. The bream fishing is excellent. Fish around the brush piles for best success with worms or crickets. Crappie are fair with the best bite coming mainly in the early morning. Use minnows or jigs. Largemouth bass are good both in the early morning and late evenings. Anglers report catching good-sized largemouths, with the brush the areas to hit. Catfishing is good. “They are eating everything right now,” we’re told.
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 asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water 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 7-31-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report.
(update 7-31-2019) Angler Larry Walters had no report.
(updated 7-31-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says the surface water temperature is in the mid-80s. Largemouth bass are fair. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports coming in this week are saying the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet and 16-20 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots, and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are slow. Some reports of them being found in 10-15 feet of water outside the grass line at dusk and dawn. They can also be found in 18-22 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass are slow. Some can be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are fair. Reports of them being found stacking in and around brush 15-18 feet of water. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are good. They can be found up shallow. They are in their shallow beds around 8 feet or less. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are slow. Reports are coming in that the channel cats are in shallow water. Try using chicken liver, crayfish or worms.
(updated 7-31-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said early mornings the crappie have been doing pretty well for a couple of her customers. They have been hitting it in a boat, using No. 6 crappie minnows, getting out to those deeper places of the lake. “One guy said the biggest he caught was over 17 inches long,” Lisa said. “I know I have seen some big crappie come out of there before.” Catfish apparently have been on, too. Some anglers are catching them on redworms, cut shad, bait shrimp and fresh chicken livers. The bass have also been doing well off of redworms and brooder minnows. Bream have been good on crickets and super mealworms. “I have seen times where I would catch a lot more and bigger ones off the supers,” she says.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-31-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said there has been no mention of crappie from here. However, bass have been hitting No. 12 bass minnows and plastics. Catfish have been hitting fresh chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream have been plentiful off of crickets and redworms. “I have had reports of the back pond being black in color, too, which I am not sure what that means!” Lisa said.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-31-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said, “Well, if you haven't heard yet, one of the boat ramps is shut down for about two years or so for the construction of the I-30 bridge. Lots of people call it Jackmon Trail, the gravel road that runs past Sunset Lake and under the I-30 bridge to the boat ramp. But it has to be done and there are two other boat ramps to put into the Saline River to fish. So just think of it like this: Once all the construction is done down that way, that will also be a lot better place to fish. With it being a little bit harder to get down around that area to fish and all , it will build it back up.”
But anglers can still put in at Lyle Park and at Peeler Bend. Bass have been doing well off of Zing Tails. They are like Rooster Tails but a lot cheaper and they spin a lot better, too. Plus, they’re biting off of No. 12 bass minnows and brooder minnows. Crappie have been fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and beetle spins. Bream have been good on redworms and crickets. Catfish are being caught on brooders, goldfish and black salties, especially on trotlines.
(updated 7-31-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow, but will bite No. 6 crappie minnows. Bream have been good with crickets fishing on bottom. Bass have been good on No. 12 bass minnows and topwater baits. Catfish have been good on redworms and black salties and nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-31-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said she hasn’t haven't heard any reports lately of crappie from there, but she adds that doesn't mean none have been caught. Catfish have been doing well on goldfish and also cut shad. Bream are good on crickets. Bass are biting on large minnows and topwater baits.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 7-31-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says, “I have gotten a few basic operations going. I have gas, a place for transit for boaters to the dock, and my boat ramp is clear.
“This has been one of the five top adventures of my life. Please, when you get on the river, go slow and watch for logs and other trash that cause boat and motor damage.”
“No fishermen have been out. The best place to fish is where you have ponds behind the jetties. These will be tons of fish of all kinds that have been trapped. Best yet, you can walk down to most of these ponds. Use worms, shad and or a wobble spoon.”
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-24-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said conditions have changed dramatically there. Now, the water is really low, he said, and the clarity is strained. Fishing for bream has been poor, but toss a redworm or cricket out there and see what happens. Also, poor reports have come in on the crappie bite. However, things get great with black bass and catfish. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, live worms and plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent mainly with chicken livers but also with worms.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 7-31-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says this pool, like Little Rock, is clearing up. Surface water temperature is in the 80s and the level has finally returned to normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. The crappie reports range from poor to fair, with minnows being your best bet. Black bass are excellent early in the day. Throw topwaters, particularly frogs, as well as black/red Speed Worm buzzbaits. Catfish are good using worms or skipjack.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-31-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water is just a little high now. They’ve received black bass reports that they term “very awesome.” The excellent bite can be had with chartreuse and black back crankbaits, as well as black buzzbaits early in the morning. Switch to black/blue jigs later in the day. Catfishing is good using Catfish Pro stink bait. No reports on bream and nothing heard on crappie.
(updated 7-31-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the river is clearing up. They’re getting reports that bream are biting fair on redworms and crickets. A fair number of crappie are being caught using minnows. Black bass are excellent if you get there in the early morning or try again later in the evening. Topwater baits are working, as well as black/red buzzbaits and frogs. Catfishing is good using worms and skipjack. In the pool below the Terry Lock and Dam, bream reports are fair on worms and crickets. Poor reports on crappie. Black bass are good early in the morning and late in the evening with topwater lures. Catfishing are hitting worms and skipjack with good results.
(updated 7-31-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no river reports this week.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-31-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and the lever has returned to normal. The conditions are favorable for bream again, with a good bite on worms or crickets. Catfishing has been fair using worms or chicken liver. No reports, though, on crappie or on black bass.
(updated 7-31-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the lake clarity is clear and the water level is normal. No surface water temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair trolling jigs and spider-rigging. Also try minnows. Black bass are good on topwater baits. Catfishing is good using worms, chicken liver and hot dogs.
White River (Augusta-Des Arc section)
(updated 7-31-2019) Angler William McCoy had no report.
(updated 7-31-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “We're excited: The water releases have finally begun (and in such a reasonable format!) and the fishing gets better every day. Mornings start out with about one and a half generators operating (between 4,000 and 6,000 cfs), a near-perfect floating level. An angler can anchor in his favorite places or can drift without hanging up too often. There are fewer places to safely wade fish but bank fishing is not out of the question. Both boaters and shore anglers can catch a creel full of rainbows with red wigglers or nightcrawlers. Higher releases are planned for the afternoons with up to six units (18,000 cfs) or more being issued through Bull Shoals Dam.
They say the best bait is the Berkley pink worm, better when drift fishing from a boat. You might try the orange Power Worm, too, to lure the more curious ones. “We're still having success with the scented egg pattern and shrimp, but the faster water takes the bait before the trout can get to you. Spinnerbaits are a good option in the morning before the higher releases. You may have heard that Arkansas Game and Fish stocked some golden rainbow trout; they're hanging around Cotter and seem to be partial to purple baits. I'd try the Trout Magnet purple grub small jig (add some weight for the high water). Keep anglin' and stay aware of surroundings with the higher water.”
(updated 7-31-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river is clear. There hasn’t been a lot of fishing, but what fishing there is has been great, they say. The water level is normal – up during the day and down again at night. Trout are good on PowerBait. Small lures and small stick baits will catch the larger rainbows, while the PowerBait is bringing in smaller rainbows. Overall, rainbow fishing is excellent and very good size, though. The brown trout have slowed down a little, but the fishing is still fair. Some moss remains, but overall clarity is good. “This is the best fishing in the 15 years I’ve been here,” they report.
(updated 7-31-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the previous week they had a minor rain event (just a trace in Cotter), hot temperatures (to include heat index warnings) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 1.2 feet to rest at 24.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 2.1 feet to rest at 0.9 foot above seasonal power pool and 13.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 6.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation early in the week with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 14 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 10.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy generation in the afternoon and wadable water in the morning. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future.
The White has fished very well. The hot spot has been the Narrows. 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 cerise San Juan worm with a size 14 pheasant tail nymph suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down).
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 685.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-24-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake level is 27 feet above normal, while the clarity is cloudy. Surface temperature Tuesday midafternoon was 86 degrees. Black bass are fair on topwater baits. Catfishing is fair using trotlines or limblines. Some walleye are being caught, he says. 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 569.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is in its summertime fishing pattern. “This means that the fish have gone deep and will stay deep until the lake starts to cool. My fishing time has greatly been reduced this summer. I have only been able to get out once or twice a week. I will get back to my every day fishing habit shortly. I will try my best to start doing more frequent fishing reports, as well.”
Lou says most species of fish are at or around the thermocline, 25-35 feet deep. “I spent (Tuesday) morning fishing at this water depth. I was casting swimbaits, letting them sink to the bottom, jigging spoons off the bottom and at the same time dragging several live shad on the bottom. I moved around slowly in 25-35 feet of water and caught many different species of fish. I was mainly fishing the shallow sloping banks. I was looking for walleye, but catfish and bass were hanging around and liking the live shad. I did land many walleye, but I could only find the nursery fish. The walleye that I caught were only 12-15 inches long. The catfish were nice-size and really fought hard. I actually broke off two, but not before seeing them several times before they dove for the bottom again. All the cats that I have caught have been well over 8 pounds. My live bait caught the most fish, but jigging the spoon caught all the walleye.”
Striped bass fishing has been a little difficult, Lou says. This time of year, once the water temperature gets into the upper 80s, many of the striped bass head toward the dam area. Lou says he fished for striped bass on Monday. “I headed out before light to search. I looked at several typical areas but found very few fish. In the fourth area, I started to mark fish 60 feet down and deeper. It was about 6 a.m. and was getting light. I set our four live shad rods, two at 60 feet and the other two at 70 feet, and was moving around in 60-90 feet of water. It was not long until a fish hammered one of the baits, and then once I landed this fish a second rod took off. I thought that the bite was on! I continued to mark lots of scattered fish, but it took another hour before I caught my limit. The stripers that I have caught over the last couple of weeks have mainly been feeding on crawdads. Stripers need to go deep to get to the cooler water, which takes them away from the shad, as most of the shad are staying around the thermocline.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature has been in the mid 80s in the mornings and rising slightly in the heat of the day. The water level is dropping about 2 inches per day with both generators being run 50% of the time. The current lake depth is at 569.48 feet msl. The main lake is clear and some the creeks and coves are slight stained. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake,” Lou says.
(updated 7-31-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “The Norfork Lake stripers are not acting normal this year. From July 4 they have gone deep and we are catching them from 60-80 feet using both threadfin and gizzard shad. In years past during the month of July we would be fishing the flats in 50-60 feet of water and the stripers would be schooling and feeding on crawdads. Usually the stripers go deep in the middle of August and quit biting after Labor Day on the lower end of the lake until the water cools. This year they are feeding on craws, but we cannot find any schools and they are holding in deep water along the bluffs in the channel and open water off the channels.
“This has been the most frustrating year of fishing I can recall. No matter how good of bait we have, it's a struggle to put together a quality limit of stripers on a regular basis.
“Every method is being used on the lake and each method is producing fish but not every day. Inline spinners, spoons, trolling and live bait all are producing catches. Each day you can find stripers, but getting them to hit is another story. We continue to search for new places to catch active fish on our off days to make sure our clients have the best opportunities to catch a striper. The best places to look is the main channel to the dam, the area around the cell tower, Koso front and back, the channel from Hand Cove to the Dam, Shoal Creek and Dam Cove.”
(updated 7-31-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the previous week Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 14 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 10.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy generation in the afternoon and wadable water in the morning. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future.
The Norfork fishing has been slow. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole due to flooding. 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 can be crowded. There is some work being done at the hatchery that has affected access to the upper areas on the creek and some of the hatchery discharge pipes are not running, resulting in lower flows 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 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, “Over the Fourth of July weekend my wife, Lori, and I guided Steve and Binky and their kids, Fulton and Eva, on the White River and Dry Run Creek. The kids caught trophy trout on Dry Run Creek and the parents had a spectacular morning at Rim Shoals. The only problem was that their oldest daughter, Lily, had missed the trip due to a road trip with her lacrosse team. Once she heard about how good the fishing was, she wanted to get involved. The problem was that she will turn 16 next month, when she would be too old to fish Dry Run Creek, and the clock was ticking.
“Steve asked me to call him the next time we get some good wadable water. He wanted to get Lily on Dry Run Creek before her birthday and wanted to get in some fishing himself. I saw a window of opportunity, due to Hurricane Barry. Because of downstream flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers had cut back on the generation. I gave Steve a call and asked if he was interested. He was enthusiastic. Eva and Binky would not be able to make the trip because Eva was having some serious dental work done. Fulton and Lily were ready to fish. The goal of the trip was to get Lily on a trophy trout.
“They arrived on Friday afternoon and I met them at Dry Run Creek. The going was a little slow, but Lily caught a few trout, including a brook, to Fulton’s chagrin. He had been trying to catch one. He had landed rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout toward achieving his grand slam, but the brook had eluded him. He set his goal to land a brook trout.
“The next day, in the cool of the morning, we fished the White and did well. There was a heat advisory that day and we drove over to Dry Run Creek to get Lily’s trophy and to escape the heat. I fished with Lily, while Steve and Fulton visited a local fly shop to pick up a few souvenirs of the trip. There were few anglers there and we had plenty of places to fish.
“We went to a likely spot and began fishing. We caught a couple of small trout but nothing big. We began working our way upstream. We continued catching fish, but no trophies. We ended up at a favorite spot. On the first cast, Lily hooked a huge rainbow. I slipped into the creek to get ready to net it. It came close and I pushed the net under it. It managed to slip out. I made myself relax and calmly coached Lily to bring it closer. I once again tried to net it and this time succeeded. We had accomplished our goal: Lily had landed a trophy trout. It was a 24-inch rainbow with a huge girth. We posed for some photos and regretted that her dad and brother missed seeing it. We had released the trout but it stayed nearby. About that time, they walked up and were able to get a good look at the fish.
“The view of the trophy served to enthuse Fulton and he began fishing in earnest. He saw a brook trout and began casting to it. He was excited when he got a take. It was special to him as it was his first brook. It was a great way to end the day. Lily and Fulton had accomplished their goal. Life is good!”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-31-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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 1,127.49 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is above normal levels and is very warm, typical for midsummer. And typical for summer also is the pattern Beaver Lake anglers are smack dab in, hence the summer pattern. Fishing is an early/late day proposition. Fish are driven down by heat and/or boat traffic, and both are in full force. All species are fair. Bass show some schooling very early and late some days. Look deeper later in day. “Use you electronics, as I preach this almost every report. It is essential to locate the fish in relation to thermocline,” Jon says. Crappie are fair/good on trolled cranks. Hot/n/tot and Bandits work well now. Walleye are 25-35 feet deep on worm harnesses look at Point 5 and Point 4 for walleye. Troll SLOW. Stripers are roaming all main point areas and are deep this time of year. Be careful with them summer is a hard time to release stripers so if you fish for them and they are legal size it is almost better to keep them. Do not keep on fishing and releasing them because mortality rates rise in summer greatly. Bream are good. Catfishing at night has been productive on all the usual methods. Be safe drink lots of water. Fish are there just fish the early /late times and you can put some in the boat.
(updated 7-31-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and is high, sitting at 1,127 feet msl as of Tuesday early afternoon. The surface water temperature is in the mid-80s. Bream reports range from poor to fair. Crappie reports also are fair, with anglers nightfishing under lights. They’re using minnows and working the brush piles. Black bass are ranging poor to fair. The bass have moved into deep water, but they’re coming up at times to hit topwater lures. Catfishing also comes in ranging poor to fair for the past week. They are being caught on jugs and trotlines.
(updated 7-31-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been great this week. The trout are hitting on just about anything, however, Austin says, he has gotten the best response with spoons and jigs this week. The hot spot have been in the area of Spider Creek and Bertrand access. Walleye are still being caught between Beaver and Holiday Island jigging minnows and soft plastics. You may need a graph to locate them; fish below the thermocline. Kentucky bass and smallmouths are still on points and around structure. Fishing with hard crankbaits and suspended soft plastics is the way to go. Follow the bait and you will find the fish. “Hope you all have a safe week and catch some fish!”
(updated 7-24-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the clarity remains murky and the water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms. Nothing reported on crappie over the past week. Black bass are good using soft plastic worms. Catfishing is fair with live worms or stink bait.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 7-31-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, had no report.
(updated 7-24-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake clarity is clear and the water level is normal. No temperature was reported. Bream are found in the shallows and are biting well on redworms. They are still bedding. Crappie is active around structures and biting artificial baits. The bite is reported good. Black bass are good on topwaters and swimbaits. Catfishing is good using stink bait, cut bait and worms. They also have moved up shallow with the cooler weather.
(updated 7-31-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says they are still getting reports of bream, crappie and catfish biting well off the shoreline or in the boat on the lake. No reports on bass. Best moon times for fishing fall on July 29 through Aug. 4, she said. Use worms and crickets for bream. Crappie are biting worms and jigs. Now is the time to use crankbaits or plastic worms for bass. Catfish are favoring Catfish Pro blood bait and worms.
(updated 7-24-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Thank you, Lord, for cooler weather. Lake Poinsett State Park has seen a greater number of fishermen stop in to get their live bait and other supplies. Some are going for goldfish to catch some nice catfish. Others are just wanting to relax and enjoy putting the crickets on their hook to have fun with the bream. We don’t have any rice slicks, but we are keeping plenty of minnows, redworms and nightcrawlers (as well as frozen bait) on hand. Hopefully, this cooler weather will stay around for a while.” 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 7-31-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the lake remains clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on mainly crickets, but they’ll bite redworms, too. No report on crappie. The black bass bite has improved and has been good of late, with early mornings and late evenings being the best times. Fish with a topwater lure. Catfishing is good on stink bait and chicken livers.
(updated 7-24-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels at the spring are running at 370 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The river is looking great and with the nice temps this week, and the catching has been great. On the overcast days olive and brown Woollies are working great. The sunny days are all about getting the fly down to the bottom of the river. Y2Ks and White Lightnings are working well on the sunny days. As water levels start to get back to average flows, the fishing just keeps getting better. High water all year has the trout stacked up and the lower water flows have the trout feeding more. Mayflies and caddis are hatching well, too. “Prince nymphs and pheasant tail can be very productive fished Euro-nymphing style. And it’s is a fun way to fish, also. We usually run two nymphs for maximum effect,” Mark says.
(updated 7-31-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said The Spring River is a navigable and greatly cleared. 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).
Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park)
(updated 7-24-2019) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) is cloudy and the water is warm with the hot air temperature around it. Water level is high. The largemouth bass bite is fair. Bass are about 8 feet deep and will hit a topwater. No other reports.
(updated 7-31-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 7-31-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-31-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said a week of cool and stable weather followed by a few rain showers has caused the fishing at Cane Creek Lake to once again become unpredictable. Bream are reacting to the cooler water temperatures by going a little deeper in the water (5-7 feet). Worms have been the bait of choice for enticing them to bite. Fish tight line over the side of the boat in about 6 feet of water, give or take a foot, using a nightcrawler or red wiggler. As usual, crappie are still deep and are only caught by people who know where to find them. Fishing over deep holes that have structure on the bottom give you the best chance at catching a slab. Use a shiner on your hook, and suspend your line at about 9 feet to increase your chances. Bass will enjoy the cooler water and may ease out into the more open areas near lily pad fields. Find a good transition zone where a lily pad or lotus field turns back into open water, and fish around the edge. Topwater will still be your best bet in low-light conditions, while an earth-colored soft plastic played around plant stems or a bright-colored spinnerbait burned just under the surface of the water will cover your bases during the majority of the day. Catfish will be reacting to recent rains and will gather up in the shallows to catch any food that has run off into the water. Fish anywhere between 4-10 feet, around structure, with shiners (alive or dead) drug along the bottom. The recent conditions even have blue and channel cats eating other small fish alongside flatheads.
(updated 7-31-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says the Lake Chicot drawdown continues, with gradually more lakeshore being exposed. Fishing has stalled, with very little activity reported. Chances of scatter thunderstorms expected through Wednesday night and on into the week. Remember Daily Creel Limits are half of what they normally are during the drawdown. The boat ramp at Lake Chicot State Park should remain accessible during most if not all of the drawdown; but, some of the other area docks will prove inaccessible as the lake level continues to drops.
(updated 7-31-2019) No reports. Lake Monticello is being drawn down completely for repairs. During that time, there are no limits on any fish caught in the lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 257.32 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, they continue to see a slight relief from all this heat and humidity in southwest Arkansas. Millwood Lake is undergoing a 2-foot drawdown according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The lake on Monday was 23" inches BELOW normal conservation pool and falling at 257.3 feet msl; the discharge was near 1,620 cfs in Little River according to the Corps. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Monday, is around 227 feet msl. Water temps have been stable over the past week (81-88 degrees). 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, especially during drawdown conditions. Use extreme caution navigating on Millwood Lake during affected drawdown conditions –stumps, timber and debris will be at or near surface pool, and river buoys are missing. Clarity and visibility continued improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially upriver.
Mike says largemouths continue in their typical, full-blown summer patterns. There’s been little change over the past week or so. The best level of topwater activity continues to be early morning, best from dawn to around 9-10 a.m. Once the the sun climbs and begins intense surface penetration, the surface temp will climb several degrees, and the largemouths retreat to the first and second drops out of the flats and deeper sections of the creeks or the river behind primary and secondary points out of river current. Over the past few mornings, cloud cover mornings have bveen best for overall surface activity. The bite slows considerably during the heat of the day. Best baits drawing early morning reactions over the past few weeks have been buzzbaits, plastic frogs and Johnson spoons in new lily pad growth. “Cloudy mornings we are using a gold spoon with a 3- to 4-inch tail-thumping Bang Die Dapper swimbait on the single hook. On bright mornings we simply change from gold Johnson spoon to a chrome version with the same Bang Die Dapper trailer. At daylight, throw the spoon and trailer as far back in the pads near creek channels and work it out to the creek over the tops of the lily pads. This presentation has drawn some ferocious topwater explosions lately in the pads from 1- to 3-pound largemouth bass cruising shallow just before daylight and meandering their way back to the creeks as the sun rises and heats up the surface temps,” Mike said.
Heddon Dying Flutters, Baby Torpedoes and Moss Bosses are still good for a few reactions, also working at daybreak. Best color of frogs in the new lily pads have been Snot Rocket or Black. Hot Firecracker or Hot Mouse-colored buzzbaits are still randomly working at dawn. StutterSteps and Spit'n Images continue to draw random reactions around grass, vegetation and lily pads from largemouths.
Numerous anglers have been chasing the random, schooling yearling black bass and white bass near daybreak in the oxbows over the past few weeks. These mostly, juvenile bass are randomly breaking for 10-30 seconds at a time, just after dawn in the backs of several oxbows up Little River. “We have been catching those schooling yearling largemouths and whites with Bomber Fat Free Shads and Fat Free Guppys in Citrus Shad, along with a Cordell hammered spoons, clear Baby Torpedoes, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black, Clear/Blue Nose or Moon-Eyed Shad colors.
“At daybreak, we continue to see juvenile largemouths from 1-3 pounds surface-breaking and schooling on threadfin shad with the white bass in the oxbows up Little River – like Horseshoe Lake, Mud Lake and McGuire Lake – all along Little River. These aggressively feeding bass are pushing shad to the surface just after daylight, and surface-breaking for 15 seconds to a minute at random intervals. You have to be on point and location when they begin pushing shad to the surface or you miss it. A requirement is to have a Bomber Fat Free Shad, Fat Free Guppy or Fat Free Fry, Rat-L-Trap, a hammered CC Spoon with a bucktail, Spit'n Image, Clear Baby Torpedo, Heddon Dying Flutter or Cordell Crazy Shad in chrome/black back to get a fast reaction from these juvenile surface-breakers. In addition, a Cordell Red Fin, Boy Howdy, Super Spot or Gay Blade will be able to cast and reach these fast surface-breakers very easily. We keep a CC Spoon rigged up and ready, on a 6.5-foot MH CastAway casting rod, for when the melee begins unexpectedly, and maybe anywhere from 30-50 yards out from the boat. A clear Heddon Baby Torpedo or Baby Lucky 13, Heddon Spit'n Image and Chrome/Black Cordell Crazy Shad, we have found, are the best surface-breaking baits to hit the school with. But many times the school is just out of casting range with those surface lures, the exception being the Heddon Spit'n Image, since its body is more aerodynamically designed and will cast long distances to the school of surface breakers. “We expect this trend to continue well into the fall and become more frequent in nature as the photoperiod is reduced and cold fronts begin arriving by September. There are days right now where two anglers can catch 25-30 surface schooling, breaking fish, largemouths and white bass together, in just 15-20 minutes if one is prepared with a rod rigged up and on standby, on deck, and anglers are on constant watch and listening for the action to fire up just after dawn.
White bass were found several weeks ago schooling with juvenile largemouths on shad in the oxbows at dawn, and surface-breaking on shad and bait in Horseshoe and McGuire lakes in the oxbows up Little River, where water clarity is best. Hammered Cordell Spoons with red/white bucktails, chrome/black or chrome/blue, and Millwood Magic-colored Rat-L-Traps, Spin Traps and Bomber Fat Free Guppy cranks in Citrus Shad were catching these surface schoolers breaking on shad along with a host of topwater in the middle of the mayhem, like chrome/black or clear-blue nose Cordell Crazy Shads, clear Baby Torpedoes, Cordell hammered spoons and Heddon Dying Flutters. Crappie have been consistently biting jigs and minnows for the past few weeks in the standing timber of the oxbows and planted brush piles along Little River, just out of river current behind primary or secondary points. Minnows have been seeing the best bite over the past week. Good slabs up to 3 pounds are biting well. “It’s a HOT SPOT!” Channel cats and blues are still feeding in Little River up to 3-4 pounds on trotlines and yo-yos set 10-15 feet deep in Little River. Use cut bait or spoiled chicken livers. Yo-yos set under cypress trees in Mud Lake from 9-10 feet, using cut shad and buffalo, were catching some decent blues over the past few weeks. Bluegills and Mason bream were biting again over the past week, especially at the Millwood State Park off the bank, and at Jack's Isle on the floating dock with picnic tables. “Redworms, crickets, waxworms, and bread were catching some nice, good-sized bluegills bigger than your hand this past weekend,” Mike says.
(updated 7-31-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.
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 549.20 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-24-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature Sunday was ranging 85-90 degrees, and the water was very turbid. The lake is 9.21 feet above full pool as of 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Bream are poor, but there is a little bite on worms at 5-10 feet depth. Crappie are reported fair. They are in 10-25 feet and are biting minnows and jigs. Fish the brush piles or rocky points. Black bass are fair, and they appear to be in depth of 10-20 feet. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms and fish near brush. Catfishing is poor. The best bite is on worms or blood bait. White bass reports are poor, with the water level too high. Flood waters have really affected the fishing over the past weekend, Tamara reports.
(updated 7-31-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 401.80 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said schooling bass are going crazy at when dawn breaks on spoons to topwaters. After that, you should see success trolling crankbaits.
(updated 7-24-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Wow, what a weather change, 60s at night and 80s in the day? This must be Arkansas.” Water level is 404.29 feet msl and water surface temperature mid-80s. “I think the best fishing is in the schooling fish. Whites have been surfacing a lot lately all over the lake. Rooster-tailed jigs and spoons are great baits. The wind is the issue. Look for schooling fish in smoother water. Reports are from Iron Mountain to Shouse Ford that schooling fish can be seen.” Bream have been on the beds with the full moon. Electronics using side scan are used to find beds then back off and cast to them with slip sinker and cricket. Crappie fishing is slow. Trolling crankbaits or spider-rigging is your best bet. Remember to stay above the thermocline. No report on black bass or catfish. “Enjoy the cooler weather while you can. Go early or late and look for schooling fish in smoother water. Good luck.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.46 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.68 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-31-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(updated 7-17-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said a few bass, bream and catfish are being caught. No report on crappie. The river is back on the rise.
(updated 7-31-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake looks good. It’s clear and at a normal level. And, as such, the bream bite is good, she said. Worms and crickets are both working. Crappie are biting fair on jigs. Black bass are doing better this week, with anglers reporting good results. Plastic worms and soft baits (Beaver in particular) are the way to go. Catfishing is good on the limblines with bream or perch as bait.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-31-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) relates that Lake Catherine State Park Marina Manager Tosha Walker says the lake clarity is clear with a surface temperature of 75.7 degrees. Water level is normal. The bream bite is excellent. Find the bream in depth of 5-8 feet and use worms and crickets. “Crappie are very slow to bite,” Tosha says. “You’ll have your best luck with minnows or jigs.” Poor reports on crappie over the past week. But bass are fair. Tosha says, “Black bass have been resting near the banks and shoreline to about 10 feet out.” Anglers are having best success with plastic worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and creature baits. Catfishing is good using stink bait and chicken liver. As for white bass, there are no reports of late.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-31-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature is 62 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has regulated the generation schedules so the Carpenter Dam tailrace can be safely navigated and fished, as Lake Ouachita is now a full 3 feet below flood stage. Numbers of quality rainbow trout are still present in the area because of the heavy flooding early in the year; however, these trout will be gone through migration and predation in the next several weeks. Boaters can anchor in areas holding good numbers of trout and will have success casting Rooster Tails in white or brown around rock structure and sandbars. The months of May and June brought huge numbers of shad toward the dam to spawn. Trout 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 slack water 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 brought white bass by the thousands into the Carpenter Dam tailrace to begin the spawn. July still holds numbers of whites, although the size is smaller than in a normal year. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig presentations will all draw strikes from these temperate bass 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 anglers 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 7-31-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said they have experienced mostly sunshine with tolerable heat and humidity. Mostly cloudy skies are forecasted until afternoon rain chances arrive for the weekend. There is limited visibility in the water; water continues to clear up in several areas, he reports. Surface temperature is 85 degrees. As of Tuesday (July 30) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has risen slowly from 345 feet to 350 feet. The pool has finally receded below the small craft advisory mark of 70,000 cfs. Release held steady above 100,000 cfs last Wednesday and rapidly dropped below 70,000 cfs. There has been no power generation. Water has receded some around the islands and bottoms at the Arkansas Highway 109 bridge and near Spadra. Some dikes may still be submerged and new sandbars are emerging, so please use caution. Access to Shoal Bay and Dublin from the river channel has been silted in and is difficult to navigate. Two dredge barges are working the channel between Shoal Bay and Spadra near river miles 221 and 225. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has been near normal and doesn’t fluctuate much. The Dardanelle tailwater has fell below 10 feet. Release has also rapidly fallen from over 100,000 cfs to about 60,000 cfs. Power generation has been consistent for several weeks.
For those fishing: Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park has no scheduled tournament events until Aug. 23-25. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 7-31-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake temps in the high 80s at the surface and throughout the lake. Clarity is good with visibility at 3-5 feet. Bass species are semi-shallow around grass and rocky bottomed areas in the early mornings and late afternoons where the shade lays on the water until the sun is high. During that day, bass are mostly suspended at the openings of pockets and off-shore on inclines and declines of lake bottom. Target the shallow fish with topwaters like frogs, spooks and poppers and the suspended fish with drop-shot rigs, jigs and spoons. Catfish are good everywhere as usual this time of year, but bigger fish will remain near structure that blocks or disrupts current on the main channels. Bream and also very good on crickets and worms in 15 feet of water and near docks. Good luck and Go Greeson!
(updated 7-31-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said schooling bass are going crazy at Hamilton (and at DeGray) at first-light on spoons to topwaters. After that, trolling crankbaits have produced.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 360.18 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said their bass tournament last week produced a lot of bass caught, though they were not “super big.” Bass fishing overall is fair. Bream are good on crickets. Like the bass, the bream are not “super big” but two anglers caught 80 bream together in one outing. Crappie are good and are in 8-10 feet depth of water. They’re favoring minnows and black/chartreuse jigs, as well as Arkansas Shad. Catfishing is good on limblimes and noodling with hot dogs. The clarity of the lake is muddy and as of Tuesday it was still 17.5 feet above normal.
(updated 7-31-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reports the clarity is muddy and the level is still high. They say anglers are starting to fish, finally, though the water is still high. It appears to be dropping about 4-5 inches each day. Water was over the dam at one point. No specific catches were reported.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 573.40 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still fair. Texas-rigged worms and drop-shot rigs fished over points are working. Walleye are still good. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are good. These fish have moved primarily to the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are still good, with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are slow and being caught with jigs or minnows in 20-30 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 84-88 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level has dropped to 573.38 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, and Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.32 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-31-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin had no report.
(updated 7-31-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said Tuesday that the lake is clear and the water level is normal. Crappie are fair on jigs. It’s best to try for them with jigs under piers or shooting the docks. Bass are fair, but Ronnie reports catching 30 fish in four hours. Crankbaits will get their attention. Catfishing is poor, and bream fishing also is poor. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for the latest information and photos of his excursions with clients.
(updated 7-31-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the water is high but dropping and the action has been picking up. Your best bet would be to target bluegill. These tasty panfish are being caught on crickets fished about 3 feet under a cork near laydowns. For black bass try green pumpkin or black and blue jigs around cypress trees and laydowns. Shad have spawned so a swimbait would also be a great way to cover water and search for a bite. Crappie should be biting on jigs and minnows around the cypress trees and channel.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile-long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility-impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 7-31-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.