Aug. 28, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Aug. 28, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
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 8-28-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the lake has its good, usual stain and the surface water temperature is 89 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream have been good for the past week on worms or crickets. Crappie reports are poor; keep throwing minnows and see what happens. Black bass are fair. In the morning, the bass fishing is great, they report. Throw topwaters and fish with plastic worms as well. Catfish reports are good, but that is all they have heard.
Little Red River
(updated 8-28-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “The river remains clear and we have missed the heavy rains. The lake is back to normal level and the generation is power demand only, which means afternoon generation should be the schedule. The Corp has assured me they are watching the river temperature on the lower river and will request enough water to keep the water temps good in that area.”
The lower river levels seem to be producing a larger average size in the rainbows being caught and some nice browns being mixed in the daily catch. A better mayfly hatch during this water seems to get the larger fish active. Small mayfly nymphs are a good choice along with some fish being taken on emergers when the hatch is at its peak. “Have an enjoyable and safe Labor Day weekend.”
(updated 8-28-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they are expecting 2-6 hours generation daily, providing good river conditions over the next week. Fly patterns of midges, soft hackles, emergers, sowbugs and streamers will be productive. Consider pink and cotton candy bodies on chartreuse jigheads for Trout Magnet spin-fishing. Mark your calendars now for the annual Little Red River Clean-up scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7. Detailed information on the clean-up can be found on the Little Red River Foundation’s website and Facebook page. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation is 462.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.60 feet msl, 0.06 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet It had fallen below normal pool for the first time since last fall but came back up a bit with the 10 inches of rain we have had in August; however, it should continue to drop with generation. Crappie are still eating well all over the lake, but not many people are fishing for them. If you do, try jigs and minnows 18-30 feet deep. Walleye are set up on flats and also following schools of other types of fish eating their leftovers; try dragging a crawler in 18-45 feet or fish a spoon. Bream are growing and eating crickets and crawlers, from super shallow out to 30 feet. Catfishing is good. No one has wanted to brave the heat, but do try bends of creeks, rivers etc. on the edge of flats for the best bite with your favorite baits rigged just about any way you like to fish. Black bass are chewing on shad as well all over lake from super shallow out to 60 feet on a variety of baits and techniques. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits, topwater baits and all else in between. Like all other fishes in lake, they are feeling good and on the prowl. Stay with bait or schooling fish. Please be respectable while around other boaters, and wear your life jackets.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-28-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the bream bite is good both early in the morning and late in the day. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair, with the best catching coming in 5-7 feet depth on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair, but things improve to good at night (11 p.m. to 4 a.m.). In fact, they report you can catch your limit fishing late. Crankbaits are working and topwaters during that evening time. Catfishing is good. Blues and flatheads both are being caught. The water clarity is clear. Surface temperature Tuesday was 88 degrees. Water level is normal.
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 8-21-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said it's so hot nobody is fishing. Water temperature is around 92 degrees, clarity is good and water level is about normal. “All I can tell is the catfish are doing good on bream,” Johnny said. “I had four fish in four days days for a total of 138 pounds.”
(update 8-28-2019) Angler Larry Walters had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says largemouth bass are slow. Most of them will be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports coming in this week say the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet and 16-20 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. The Friday Night Bass League tournament weigh-in last week had Kyle Wise and Rod Martinez winning with a 8.66-pound stringer, while second-place Brad Lequieu and Tommy Thompson hauled in the Big Bass of 3.44 pounds. (Anglers, please note that the Fall/Winter Bass League season will start Oct. 6, call Westrock for more information). Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports of them being found in 10-16 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 fair. Reports of them schooling but are not staying up for long. Some can still be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brushpiles in 8-12 feet. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-type 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 and mixed in with the whites. Use jigs and minnows. Bream are good. They can be found up shallow. They are moving into their shallow beds around 8 feet or less. Try using crickets and worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 8-28-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been doing well on crickets and redworms. Bass are good on bass minnows and brooder minnows. Catfish have been biting chicken livers and bait shrimp, even though it hasn’t been stocked since June 13. Stocking should resume again in September when it cools some. “Haven't heard anything lately on the crappie there,” Lisa says.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 8-28-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are good on crickets. Bass are fair on brooders. Catfish have been hitting chicken livers and cut baits. No word on the crappie.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-28-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow but are biting No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on black salties and goldfish on trotlines. Bass been good on topwater baits, plastic lizards and brooder minnows. Bream, especially big ones, have been doing great on crickets. Lyle Park has been doing well on them.
As for hot spots in the vicinity, Lisa says that for two weeks in a row she’s been hearing a lot of people are catching lots of little bass and then some nice-size crappie at Lake Nimrod. Most are using No. 12 bass minnows there. And at Lake Ouachita, some very nice crappie being caught off the No. 4 crappie minnows by several people, and big bream off of crickets there as well. “Plus, I have a guy that has been going to Ouachita and using No. 6 crappie minnows and said him and his wife have been averaging 20-25 crappie but they have been huge slabs,” Lisa reports.
(updated 8-28-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the bream have been doing great on crickets, especially from the shoreline. Catfish have been hitting nightcrawlers. Crappie are fair on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass are good on minnows and plastics.
(updated 8-28-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are slow on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been plentiful on No. 12 bass minnows. Bream are good on crickets. Catfish have been being caught off of goldfish and black salties.
(updated 8-28-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) in Crystal Hill had no report.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 8-21-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says he had a few boats launch in the past week. One was running the river to see what ramps were open. The boater said he caught some nice bass in the Pine Bluff Pool on Tuesday morning. He returned to this pool around noon and fished the jetties, and reported catching a few. They also had an angler from Conway show up, and he fished all the push-ups and brush piles with black and blue jigs. He caught 17 black bass and rated fishing fair. Also catfish were around deeper brush piles. Use nightcrawlers. The catfish bite looks good. No reports on bream, crappie, white bass or stripers.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 8-28-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream reports are good; use redworms or crickets. Crappie reports remain poor; fishing for crappie is slow, Ray says. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and worms. Catfishing is the standout; Ray reports excellent catches of catfish using chicken liver or shiners.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 8-21-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says bream reports are good. They are at 3-4 feet depth of water and are biting redworms or crickets. Crappie reports are fair. Use a Bobby Garland Bone White/Chartreuse Jig, and fish off the ends of jetties. No other reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-28-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water clarity is murky. Water level is high by about 1 foot. Bream can be caught in good numbers now. They are found in 2-5 feet depth and are biting redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair. Black/chartreuse crappie tubes are working best, though also use the usual minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Bandit 200s are working around the jetties. Jig Sooie Finesse Jigs in black and blue are also a good call in the backwaters and in current. Fish the grass and wood areas and around brush. Use topwaters around the sand drops. No reports on catfish.
(updated 8-28-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reports that the river level and current returned to high the past week. There is about 100,000 cfs of water running (“that’s a lot of current”), but the river will be back down and should be better next week.
(updated 8-28-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports that at the Terry Lock and Dam, the water is clear. Surface temperature is 90 degrees. The level and current there are normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Poor reports on all other species, though.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-28-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is its natural clear and at a normal level. Bream are biting well. Use worms or crickets for good results. Everything else, though, is slow. Reports for crappie, black bass and catfish all were poor. Surface water temperature is ranging 88-93 degrees.
(updated 8-28-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Trout fishing in the Arkansas Ozarks is always exciting and never stops – even during the annual August doldrums. The last two weeks of August always bring a slowdown of traffic on the river and a chance to catch our breath before the busy Labor Day weekend. After a few weeks of steady released from Bull Shoals Dam, which caused a drop of nearly 10 feet in lake elevation (and a big sigh of relief from all of us downriver), we are being treated to some lower flows for a few days and an opportunity to lay an anchor on the river bed over a deep fishing hole and lower a hook baited with a minnow. Keep your eye on the tip of your rod for a little tremor and watch that big brown start tugging. Turn to some quicker action fishing for rainbows with a little bit of lemon-lime PowerBait and a pinch of shrimp. Word is that upriver we've got a lot of brook trout trying to make their way to maturity; they might make it since we're still working on the perfect bait to lure them in. School is back in session most everywhere, so watch out for the kids on your way to the river and be patient with the bus drivers – they're carrying the real treasures.”
(updated 8-28-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water has been up and down the past week. The Army Corps of Engineers has turned the water off after flooding downstream at Newport, they say. The river level at the resort was low as of Tuesday morning. Trout are favoring Power Eggs and PowerBait along with marshmallows. Anglers are not catching any browns as of the past few days. Rainbow fishing, though, is “really good,” they report. Golden rainbow trout are being caught now, they say, adding that it’s pretty rare that anglers are catching those usually.
(updated 8-28-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Monday that they had several rain events (combined for over 4 inches of rain), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 1.7 feet to rest at 16.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 17.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 foot to rest at seasonal power pool and 14 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.3 foot to rest at 4.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had heavy generation in the afternoon and wadable water in the early morning. Most of the lakes in the White River System are at or over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future. Hopper season is in full swing. Use a short (7½ foot) leader to turn over the big fly. “Cast near the bank and hang on. The takes can be vicious. I prefer large western foam hoppers so that I do not need to dress them. Add a dropper nymph to increase your catch.”
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 cerise San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it. Use long leaders and plenty of lead to get your flies down).
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 week my wife, Lori, and I had a guide trip with Warren and Karen, a nice couple from Houston. The goal of the trip was to introduce Karen to the quiet sport and they thought that Lori would be the perfect person to do it. As everyone around here knows, the Corps of Engineers has been running heavy water around the clock on the White and Norfork. Lori is a wade guide and took me along to run the boat. This also gave her time to concentrate on teaching Karen to fish high water.
“Conditions were tough. They were running about 12,500 cfs. This required us to use long leaders, two heavily weighted, a heavy split shot and a big strike indicator. It was all new to Karen. Warren had a lot of experience fishing salt water but not much trout fishing. I worked with him. It was brutally hot. The high was to be 96 degrees with severe heat advisories. It that were not enough, there was a dense fog on the river that made navigation difficult.
“The first day went well. Karen caught a limit of trout and had a great time. Warren was a natural and was soon casting the heavy rig easily. They both enjoyed it so much they booked a trip later in the week. The conditions were virtually the same except that the generation was about 20 percent heavier, making the casting even more difficult.
“The second day went well. Karen caught several nice trout, including a fat, colorful, 15-inch rainbow. Warren did well catching more trout than on the previous day. He had tied some flies when preparing for the trip and was intrigued with the idea of catching one on the grasshopper that he had tied. He had heard a lot about our brown trout and was interested in catching one. The idea of catching one on a hopper that he had tied was too much to hope for.
“After lunch break in the shade, we returned to the river. Karen had caught enough and was taking a break. Warren had also caught several. I suggested trying his hopper. We had rigged a separate rod with a hopper on the previous day. I moved the boat over near the bank and we began fishing the bank.
“He missed the first hit. I do the same thing time after time. The adrenaline is pumping and then you see a take on the top. I invariably strike too soon and pull the fly out of the trout’s mouth. Lori does the same. The next strike was a small trout that slipped the hook before it got to the boat.
“It was about quitting time. We decided to do two more drifts. The first was a bust. When we were about finished with the second and final drift, things took a turn for the better. Warren made the perfect cast to a spot 3 inches from the bank. His fly drifted a few inches when there was a violent strike. He deftly set the hook and a big trout was on.
“It was a stout, 20-inch brown and Warren was stoked. The brown swam around the boat and fought like a demon. It took several deep runs before it surrendered to the net. It was the perfect ending to the trip, a big brown on a fly that he tied.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 677.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-21-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake clarity is stained with a visibility of 5-10 feet. The water level as of Tuesday early afternoon was still 19 feet over normal pool level. Bream reports are good, with redworms or crickets working well. Crappie are good; they are biting spoons and are mostly on the creeks now. Black bass reports are fair. Del is finding them in about 20-30 feet of water. In the morning there is a topwater bite. Nothing to report on catfish or white bass. Check out Del’s YouTube channel (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his regularly updated video fishing report with various baits and patterns he’s using for the bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 565.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the August full moon has helped the striper bite this year on Norfork Lake. “I had five guided trips this past week and all but the last one caught their limits. (Sunday) we boated eight and missed or broke off 10 more. The bite has been awesome for us. I'm fishing at the dam and caught limits of stripers that must be kept because of the depth of the water column the fish are in. My son is fishing north on the Missouri side of Norfork Lake and catching big stripers that can be released.
“I went with him on Tuesday and boated seven that were between 12 and 20 pounds. The last two days he has boated a 22-pound and 26-pound striper, again all of them have been released. They are also catching stripers above the state line before Udall but those must be kept since the water is warmer. The fish are in 30 feet of water on the bottom.”
Tom said he planned on going up Monday to find the fish and also fish for the bigger stripers. “We are using small baits south and big 8-10 inches baits up north. Again all the fish begin caught is within 500 yards of the dam, Quarry swim beach, the buoys and Dam Cove, and Long Point are holding most of the fish. A trick that has been effective is a short 10-pound leader with very small hooks. Almost all the fish being caught is on live bait. This pattern will continue until the oxygen bubble burst and the stripers can start moving from the deep water. This will only happen when the lake cools down so expect this pattern to continue until mid to late September. The water above Calamity Beach is starting to cool so it will not be long before I begin to fish north.”
(updated 8-21-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideway Resort said fishing on Norfork Lake continues the summertime pattern with no dramatic change over the last week. The water temperature is on the rise with the unseasonably warm air temperatures. The thermocline may have dropped a foot or two, bur is still in the 25-foot range, plus or minus a foot or two. Striped bass fishing is still the best at the dam area. You can find many of the stripers 70-90 feet deep on the bottom or very close to it. “I have noticed that they seem to have moved a little deeper since last week. I fished for striped bass last Sunday and Monday and caught a few and missed a few, but most were 80-90 feet down on the bottom. Live bait is working, but you will need to change out your baits often as they are not surviving long in this deep and cold water. Vertical-jigging with a spoon is picking up a few fish and trolling with downriggers or a lot of inline weight is also picking up some fish. I am hearing that the fishermen trolling swimbaits or umbrella rigs are catching a few stripers suspended 40 feet down, but the fish I am finding are mainly very deep.
“Today (Tuesday) I headed toward the Cranfield area and upriver a short way and fished in 20-35 feet of water. I was vertical-jigging a spoon, casting deeper-diving crankbaits and slow trolling deep-diving crankbaits. I caught crappie, bluegill and bass. Crappie have moved into brush that is in 25-30 feet of water. I started out vertical jigging a quarter-ounce spoon with lightweight line. I was marking fish at the tops of the brush, about 15 feet down. I received no bites. I switch to my 1-ounce spoon and on my first drop it was hammered by a 10.5-inch crappie. I fished this brush with the 1-ounce spoon for about 30 minutes and landed five more in the 10-inch range. Why they liked the bigger bait over my normal go-to size, I have no idea, but they were aggressive. I switched methods of fishing and started casting a deep-diving crankbait over the tops of some brush where I was marking fish and landed a nice 12 crappie and a few bass. You can also troll with deep-diving crankbaits in 18-30 feet of water and catch many different species of fish. You will need to have your bait reach around 15-20 feet deep. I have in the past added some big split shots about 6 feet or so from the bait to help it get deeper.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature is on the rise and was 87 degrees Tuesady morning. The lake is somewhat stained, but clearer in the main lake. The water depth continues to drop 2-3 inches per day due to the Army Corps of Engineers keeping the power generators on for part of the day. The current depth of Norfork Lake is 565.5 feet msl. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 8-28-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the previous week Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had heavy generation in the afternoon and wadable water in the early morning. Most of the lakes in the White River System are at or over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future. Hopper season is in full swing. Use a short (7½ foot) leader to turn over the big fly. “Cast near the bank and hang on. The takes can be vicious. I prefer large western foam hoppers so that I do not need to dress them. Add a dropper nymph to increase your catch.”
The Norfork has been fishing slow. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole from past 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 also is fishing slow. With school back in session it will be less crowded during the week. 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-28-2019) 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 the 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 1,125.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake remains above normal level. Fishing is still in summer pattern. Trolling is your best option for putting fish in the boat. This will continue for a few more weeks, then will transition as the lake turns over. Crappie are fair. Look for fish in and around structure at the 20 feet depth. Walleye are still good on crawler harnesses. Bass are schooling early and late and deeper during day. Stripers are moving. The best action is in the Horseshoe Bend area down to the dam. Catfish are good in the river arms. “This will be the same pattern until we get some cooler nights, and that will be here sooner than you think,” Jon says.
(updated 8-28-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said it was a slow week for fishing on Beaver Lake. The lake is clear and the surface water temperature is 88 degrees. Lake level is finally at about normal level for this time of year after being up a while. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good for anglers using minnows or trolling crankbaits. Black bass were good, mainly for the anglers who went for late night fishing. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are working best. Anglers found the fish up around or in the brush. Catfishing is fair on live baits.
(updated 8-28-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing this week has been great, even with the rain they have been having. “This week’s hot spot has been between Houseman Access and the first upstream bend, as well as the areas between Bertrand Access and Spider Creek. Fishing in those areas have produced some really nice trout.” He says the method preferred has been various spoons, along with PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. “The Kentucky bass have been a little more active this week as well. Most of that activity has been towards Butler Creek and Holiday Island. The bass responded well to hard crankbaits and suspended soft plastics, thrown at structure. Hope you are able to get out this week and catch some fish. Have fun and stay safe!”
(updated 8-28-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is a little murky and the water level is just a little high. Bream are good on a redworms and crickets, as well as minnows. Fish the shaded areas along the shoreline. Crappie reports are poor; still, try throwing minnows or a jig this weekend as temperatures drop some. Black bass are good in the mornings. Throw topwater baits. No reports on catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 8-14-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, said the lake is still here and the fish “are kinda, sorta biting when it’s not quite so hot outside.” Heather Hula, a park interpreter, reports this week the fishing has been fair. With the water up a couple of feet due to the recent torrential rains, new vegetation is submerged and the fish are seeking out this new territory. The bass are on the move and are working on schools of shad, and if you time it just right you can catch some lunker. But you’ve got to hit it just as the bass coral the shad up in the shallows in the evening just before dark. Look for bass in 4-6 feet depth. The sunfish are as active as ever and are biting well on worms and topwater insect lures like a Trout Popper. Look for the bream in 1-4 feet of water around brush or rocky points. Angler reports are good. No reports on crappie or catfish. The lake clarity is fairly clear, though there is debris in coves. Visibility is 2 feet. Surface water temperature is 82 degrees.
(updated 8-28-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake clarity is clear. Surface water temperature is 89 degrees. The lake is about 1 foot low. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair using minnows or jigs. Black bass reports were poor. Catfishing is excellent; use Fly Heads.
(updated 8-28-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says they are gearing up at Lake Charles for a beautiful cool Labor Day weekend. She says to stop by the Visitors Center; they have nightcrawlers and crickets “and a great selection of artificial bait.” Catfish and crappie should be in the shallow shoreline enjoying the sunshine and feeing. Catfish are biting worms on the bottom and the reports are good. Crappie are around brushpiles. The best fishing days are Aug. 27-Sept. 1 based on the moon. Bream are good and in shallow water. Fish around the brushpiles with worms or crickets. No reports came in on black bass.
(updated 8-28-2019) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said there is not much to report. Bait sales at Lake Poinsett have slowed down quite a bit. Anglers are coming in for a few pieces of bait here and there, but nothing major. While Lake Poinsett is closed for repairs through early 2020, check out other neighboring lakes such as Walcott Lake, Lake Charles and Lake Hogue, as well as the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 8-28-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water temperature is in the high 80s and the clarity is clear. Water level is normal. Anglers are catching big bream, they report. Excellent catches of bream in the past week on crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are biting well late in the evening, mostly. Good reports for anglers targeting 20 feet depth. Catfish are good on chicken livers.
(updated 8-28-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels at the spring are at 400 cfs and water clarity has been a little cloudy after recent rainstorms. Great conditions for bigger flies and hard strikes. The trout have been hitting olive Woollies well. Cast straight across with a gentle mend, then most importantly let the fly swing to a stop downstream, then slowly retrieve the fly with short fast strips. Smallies have been hitting sculpin heads and Stump Busters hard. Best technique for smallmouth is a cast at an angle downstream and a short fast strip back. Basic streamer fishing. A lot of the hits will be when the fly first hits the water and sinks. Mark says, “Hot pink Trout Magnets catch trout and smallies. Pumkin Crappie Magnets are perfect for smallmouth, too. And I will tell ya right now, a smallmouth bass on a trout Slayer Rod is a complete blast!”
(updated 8-28-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a high and off-color. 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 8-28-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 8-28-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 8-28-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says the fish do appear to still be biting, but access to the lake is getting more difficult as the drawdown continues, so reports are getting less. Creel limits during the drawdown are cut in half. All the docks in Lake Chicot State Park are out of the water, and this appears to be the same case all around Lake Chicot. As of now it does appear the boat ramp at Lake Chicot State Park is still accessible, but do use caution for the water level will continue to drop and this may change sooner than what is expected. Some of the other public ramps along the lake already appear inaccessible. It could be possible to walk out to the lake and attempt fishing from the shore, but this shoreline either extremely damp, muddy, or vegetation has taken over in parts limiting visibility, thus making the shoreline more hazardous. For those who do come fish Lake Chicot, please be aware of your surroundings and use extra caution at all times! Nothing ruins a great day fishing like serious personal injury, or even damage to one’s boat.
(updated 8-28-2019) No reports. The lake is being drawn down for repairs. No limits on game fish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 257.46 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said they are finally about to get a break from this heat, albeit brief, in southwest Arkansas. Millwood Lake continues undergoing a planned, 2-foot drawdown for maintenance at the dam and millet planting for fall migratory flight paths, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The discharge was reduced to 172 cfs in Little River on Monday. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday is around 224 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels, especially during drawdown conditions. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 83 degrees early to 88 later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for stumps, random broken or floating timber while the drawdown remains in effect. Clarity and visibility worsened over the past week with high wind and thunderstorms. The main lake and lower sections of Little River are better than upriver near standing timber. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging 5-8 inches. Little River's visibility ranges 3-6 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranges 25-30 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
Largemouths continue in their typical, full-blown summer patterns, Mike says, with not a lot of changes over the past week. The best level of topwater activity continues to be early mornings with cloud cover, best from dawn to around 9-10 a.m. Once the sun climbs and begins surface penetration, the surface temp will climb several degrees and the bass continue retreating 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. The topwater bite over the past few weeks seems to be best for overall surface activity just after daylight, especially cloud cover days, and “it appears to us the largemouth bass are night feeding. Some mornings when we arrive at dawn, we can hear bass breaking shallow before we ever get to them and it’s apparent we are arriving at the tail end of their cooler surface temp, overnight feeding binges. The bite slows considerably during the heat of the day with the bass pulling out to deeper, vertical structure.” The best baits drawing early morning reactions have been buzzbaits, plastic frogs, and chrome Johnson Spoons in lily pads. “This method has been working for several months, and a cloudy morning we are getting the best reactions using a gold spoon with a 3- to 4-inch tail thumping Bang Die Dapper swimbait on the single hook. If the sun is bright on cloudless 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 says schooling bass can be found randomly in the oxbows like Horseshoe and Mud Lake and McGuire Lake, most being adolescents and juveniles. Heddon Dying Flutters, Baby Torpedoes and Cordell Crazy Shads continue working on early morning breaking yearling and adolescent schooling bass. Soft plastic frogs are still drawing random reactions in the pads as well. Hot Firecracker or Hot Mouse buzzbaits are still randomly working at dawn. StutterSteps and Spit'n Images continue to draw random reactions near grass, vegetation or lily pads. Numerous anglers have been chasing the random, schooling yearling bass and white bass near daybreak in the oxbows over the past few weeks. These mostly juvenile bass are randomly breaking for 30-60 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 Guppies 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.” Crappie have slowed this week, but planted brush piles along Little River, in ditches and ridges where stumps and standing timber, still hold black and white crappie. Minnows have been seeing the best bite over the past few weeks with an occasional largemouth or white bass stealing it. “Seems like the size tapered off this past week, with best slabs around 2 pounds, best from daylight to around 10-11 a.m. when the bite almost shuts off like a light switch. Most of the crappie have been holding from 4-9 feet of depth around cypress trees where deeper drops are nearby. From daylight until around 8-9 a.m., one can catch some slabs using minnows around the deeper side of the cypress tree. Once the sun starts heating the 3-5 feet depth range, the crappie are retreating to standing timber or planted brush piles, nearby in 10-17 feet of depth, and the bite slows considerably. Blues and channel cats improved late last week “and several folks we spoke to at dawn were having good action at night using chicken gizzards and livers, hot dogs and punch bait with fair to good catches of cats from 2 to 4 pounds.” Best yo-yo activity was in the back of the oxbows, hung from cypress tree limbs and timber from 8-12 feet deep. Trotlines in Little River have not done as well lately since the USACE reduced current in Little River. No reports on bream.
(updated 8-28-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) has heard 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 541.27 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) 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 399.60 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Summer blues here. Water temperature 87 degrees. Lake level 399.6 feet with a slight drop. Water clear and free of debris. Very little reports coming in with the holiday weekend coming; traffic is low on the water.” Black bass are being slow. Some topwater action early. Whopper Plopper and a Chug Bug are good choices. After light, go to the points and soft plastics. Crappie are really scattered. Most are around 20-22 deep but the bite is slow. Trolling is not producing any better. Hybrids are few and far between. No reports of surfacing hybrids lately. “I think the best report is schooling fish upriver around Goat Island/Point Cedar area. Rooster Tail jigs are good for surfacing fish and small topwaters. It’s a holiday weekend. Be safe and courteous.”
(updated 8-28-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid bass are schooling at first light till about 8:30 a.m. Silver, white or chartreuse spoons have produced well.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.19 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 523.78 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 8-28-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(updated 8-28-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said the fishing has picked up. Bass, crappie and catfish are biting well. Still some nice bream being caught.
(updated 8-28-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the clarity remains clear while the surface water temperature is ranging 89-92 degrees. The water level has ranged from high to normal the past week. The bream action is fair, with worms working best. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair, with soft plastics the most effective bait. Catfishing is fair on the limblines and yo-yos. Use shad or small perch as bait.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-21-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) spoke with Lake Catherine State Park Marina Manager Tosha Walker, who reports that water conditions are clear clarity with the surface temperature of 84.2 degrees. Bream are excellent. They are at 5-8 feet and biting worms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms and Flukes. Catfishing is good; use worms, stink bait or chicken liver. Tosha also told Steve that she had “no reports for white bass,” adding that “we have had a few reports of striper (striped bass) being caught near the (Carpenter) dam on shad.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-28-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Catherine water temperature is 63 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is running 6- and 7-hour generation times beginning around 1 p.m. each day with Lake Ouachita a full 7 feet below flood stage. Sadly, small numbers of rainbow trout are left in the area because of the heavy flooding early in the year; however, these few trout will be gone through migration and predation in the next several weeks. 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 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. August still holds numbers of white bass, although the size is smaller than in a normal year. 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 8-21-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the high 80s. Water clarity in the river is good. Creeks are clear and backwater is clear. Largemouth bass have been good. Frogs re working well in the thick stuff; worms and crankbaits are working well on shell beds and points; chiselers and scam shad are working well in backwater and creeks; and jigs and Bamboozie are working well around rocks and jetties. Large worms have been working well on sandbars. Striped bass have been good on spinnerbaits, rattle-style baits and topwater baits, as well as jigging spoons. White bass have been fair in the creeks with inline spinners, small crankbaits and topwater baits. Crappie has been fair with minnows and jigs around deep trees with no current. Bream have been good around river rocks with crickets, worms and grasshoppers. Catfish have been good on bream, live or cut, in deep holes in the main river and along deep drops.
(updated 8-14-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said the week ended with overcast skies and humidity, but extreme heat and humidity arrived after the weekend, resulting in heat advisories. A summer cold front is forecasted to arrive and bring a break from the humidity. Visibility is limited to about 1 foot. Surface water temperature is about 1 foot. As of Tuesday (Aug. 13) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 is at 345 feet msl. It did briefly rise to 350 feet after the scattered heavy rains late last week. Release also spiked to about 100,000 cfs before falling back to 60,000 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. Dredging continues between Shoal Bay and Spadra between river miles 221 and 225. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has risen significantly. Pool elevation was raised to aid the dredging operation upriver and is expected to remain elevated for a few more weeks. The Dardanelle tailwater spiked to 15 feet last weekend and has now returned to about 11 feet. Release also spiked to about 90,000 cfs but has since fallen to near 60,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for about the last month.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. The catfish are hungry and biting well on shad. 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 8-28-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels down just slightly and temperatures starting to fall back into the mid-80s throughout. The excitement is building here in the fishing Mecca of the world! Bass have already started to blend into their fall patterns. The shad binge is beginning to appear and the bass are HEAVY with full bellies. Largemouth are starting to move into shallow areas in creek channels and near or in grass, brush or docks. Target these fish with frogs, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits in shad-like colors like silver or white. Spotted bass can still be found offshore in water depths up to 25 feet and actively hunting large baitfish balls in open water or over chunk rock and brush. These little, aggressive fish will take drop-shot rigs with Flukes or Trick Worms, crankbaits and Senkos in silvery colors. It is not uncommon lately to see spotted catch numbers in the 50s. Spots don’t get very big usually, so it’s a tradeoff of size vs. numbers. Catfish are good everywhere but especially near main channel drop-offs. These scavengers love cheese and hot dogs! “Crappie are fixing to really pop off when the water temps drop a little more! The days are getting shorter, folks so get out there while you can! Good Luck and Go Greeson!”
(updated 8-28-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid bass are schooling at first light till about 8:30 a.m. Silver, white or chartreuse spoons have produced well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.46 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-21-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is a little dingy, but the lake is at a normal level now and the surface temperature as of Tuesday early afternoon was 87 degrees. Bream reports are good; anglers are doing best with crickets. Crappie are excellent. They are in 10 feet of water and being caught at 5-foot depth. Use white/chartreuse jigs. Minnows are great choices as well. Anglers report catching limits. Black bass are good and the ones being caught are in the 2- to 3-pound size. Wacky worms and Carolina-rigs are the best ways to catch them. Catfishing is good on noodles and trotlines baited with shad or bream. Everyone, they report, is catching fish of all kinds now. “Fishing is really good right now,” they said.
(updated 8-21-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reports the clarity is clear and the lake level has returned to normal summertime pool. Bream are poor, they hear. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass reports are poor. Catfish are being caught in good numbers using chicken liver, shad, bream and perch.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 570.75 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) 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, drop-shot rigs and spoons fished over points are working at this time. Walleye are fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are good. These fish are located in 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 still good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using live nightcrawlers around brushpiles. Water temperature is ranging 86-90 degrees and the lake is clear. Lake level Tuesday was 570.83 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 385.90 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-28-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin had no report.
(updated 8-21-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said Tuesday that the lake remains clear and the water level is about 1 foot high. The bream bite is good as of Monday, he said, but it has slowed down some. Use redworms or crickets. The crappie bite has really slowed down, even under the piers, he said. Black bass reports were poor. Catfish catches have been good, with stink bait, shrimp and shad working best for bait. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for the latest information and photos of his excursions with clients.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 8-28-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said there’s not a whole lot to report these days – fishing activity on both Bear Creek and Storm Creek has slowed way down with the looming deer season approaching. Some anglers are still having luck catching small bass and some catfish back in the shady coves, but nothing of magnitude to report.
(updated 8-28-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the fishing is still improving. Black bass are being caught flipping creature baits in green pumpkin or black and blue as well as jigs in those same colors. Success has come from targeting hollow cypress trees. Now is also a good time to use square-bills and buzzbaits around the trees. Bluegill are being caught 2-4 feet deep around cypress trees using crickets; they will be moving off before long. Crappie are being picked off of brushtops using jigs. Action should pick up as the water continues to fall and the crappie move into their fall pattern.
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.