Sept. 4, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Sept. 4, 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. 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 9-4-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the lake has its normal stain. Water level is normal. Bream continue to be good; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are favoring small to medium minnows or small jigs with an orange jighead. Black bass are good. Go with a spinnerbait, crankbait, buzzbait or plastic worm. Catfishing is good. Cut bait, nightcrawlers, trotlines baited with gold fish or minnows and stink bait are the baits of choice.
Little Red River
(updated 9-4-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said, “We are getting 2-4 hours of daily generation on weekdays and lesser amounts on weekends, providing good river conditions on all sections.” Fly patterns of midges, soft hackles, emergers, sowbugs and streamers will 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 that is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7. Detailed information on the cleanup 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.
(updated 9-4-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains low and clear. The last two days the generation have been in the afternoon starting about 1 p.m. with two units for 5-6 hours. This is due to the return to 90-degree temperatures. This amount of generation is good for the river because it will keep the water temperatures good in the lower sections of the trout area. Check this when planning your trip because it is subject to change with the demand for electricity.
The bite has been fair to good on rainbows and picking up an occasional brown trout during the trips. Small flies still seem to be the best choice with midge and blue-wing olives being the main insect activity.
Saturday, Sept. 7, is the river cleanup sponsored by the Army Corp of Engineers, Little Red River Foundation and Trout Unlimited Chapter 722. For those wishing to participate, it will start at Lobo Landing at 8 a.m. with participants selecting a portion of the river and picking up cleanup supplies such as gloves and trash bags. “You do not have to own a boat because there are areas that don’t require you being on the water. If you do have a boat, of course, please bring it. After gathering the trash, you will return to Lobo where trash bins will be provided. At this time, hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided for the participants. Please help give back to the river that gives so much!” Greg urges.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation is 462.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 9-4-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.30 feet msl and falling. It is 0.24 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. The overall bite is common for this fall transition of bait-and-fish cool-off-warm-up, but every day is getting better and better catching schooling fish, etc. “Also we have a bunch, I mean a bunch, of small shad 2 inches long all over the lake.” Crappie are eating minnows and jigs floating around at 30 feet deep for the most part. Bream are guarding fry, and eating crickets and crawlers in super shallow out to 25 feet. Catfishing is going well overall, and some fish are coming to the top as they always do this time of year; use your favorite baits to catch them to have fun or put some in the freezer. The walleye bite is getting more stable in 28-43 feet on crawlers and small minnows. Black bass are super shallow, mid-depth, out in 60 feet and also feeding on the surface at certain times. You can use about any technique you like. Scale down some on bait size. Hybrid bass and white bass are enjoying all the young shad as well feeding down and on surface at certain time. Just stay around the shad. Use spoons, under spins, inline spinners and swimbaits, as well as topwater plugs, for the best catches.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-4-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is murky and the water level appears low. There has been no wind and the lake is starting the clear up, they report. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Anglers are catching them in the mornings on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good, with crankbaits working best. A crank was being used when an anglers brought in a 6-pounder the past week. Catfish are good on worms and chicken liver.
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 9-4-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said surface temperature is around 86 degrees. Water level is high by about 1 foot. Clarity is good. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. Some are catching a lot and some not so good, seems to be doing well on the south bank. Bass are doing good around brushtops and structure around the banks with spinners and crankbaits. Crappie are slow but still catching some good ones in 7-9 feet of water around stumps. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream, minnows and salties.
(update 9-4-2019) Angler Larry Walters had no report.
(updated 9-4-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says largemouth bass are fair. Most of them can 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. Better bass numbers were evident last week as the Friday night Bass League weigh in had Robert Kinslow and Sam Drennon winning with a 14.74-pound stringer and a Big Bass of 4.48 pounds. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports of the spots 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 not staying up for long. Some can still be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are slow. Reports of them being found stacking in and around brush 12-15 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 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) 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.
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 9-4-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the past week went about the same as the previous one. The river remains 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 9-4-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water clarity is muddy. Water level is a little high. No reports on bream. Nothing reported on crappie. Black bass reports are good. The bass appear to be biting shallow at a depth of 5-8 feet. Anglers are having success with the shaky head, wobble head and black/blue jigs, as well as with worms. Catfishing is good blow the dam using night crawlers or stink bait.
(updated 9-4-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports that at the Terry Lock and Dam, bream fishing is good using redworms or crickets. Black bass are biting Bandit baits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good using skipjack. Nothing reported on crappie.
(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.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-4-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is still clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature was not reported (last week it ranged 88-93 degrees). Bream are good on red worms or crickets. Catfishing is good with skipjack. Everything else is slow. No reports on crappie and black bass over the past few weeks.
(updated 9-4-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said that anglers are having good success catching black bass and bream now. A few anglers were on the lake late last week. Donna’s phone has been out recently, but Herman’s Landing is open.
(updated 9-4-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, The White River that flows past Cotter in the north central Arkansas Ozarks, 18 river miles below Bull Shoals Dam, continues to produce wonderfully wild catches of trout, day after day, season after season. The river served as the backdrop to a lot of Labor Day weekend visitors
and delighted fishers of all ages with bountiful catches of rainbows, a fighting brown or two, and several colorful cutthroats. The rainbow catches were lured in mainly with Sunrise or pink PowerBait tipped with shrimp (don't use anything much bigger than a size 8 hook), but our favorite spoons were making a splash, too: The nickel and gold Colorado and the red/gold Thomas Buoyant hooked some trout (quarter-ounce).”
Water levels have fluctuated quite a bit this week, rises coming in the late afternoon in Cotter require switching baits. “You'll do best dangling a redworm or a nightcrawler near the bank during rises in the water level, then return to a heavier spoon or added weight to your line when it levels off.” The browns are getting finicky; while sculpins continue to cause a nibble or two, you'll have better luck with a 4½-inch Smithwick stick bait: steel blue/gray or olive brown/green, suspending depth 0-6 feet. The mighty midge has been working for fly anglers all week, and water levels from one to four generators (3,000 to 9,000 cfs). “With Labor Day behind us, we're focused on serious fall fishing. Come out and test the waters.”
(updated 9-4-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water has mostly been high the past week, and the clarity is clear. Trout fishing is good. “A lot” of rainbows were caught by anglers, along with a few brown trout. Use drift rigs for best results.
(updated 9-4-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that last week they had just a trace of rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals was at 15.5 tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 3.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 8.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had heavy generation in the afternoon and wadable water in the early morning. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. 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. John says he prefers large western foam hoppers so that he does 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.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 676.03 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 563.93 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 9-4-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the bite continues at the dam. “Our clients limited out on each outing this week. The fish have gone deeper due to the low oxygen. The latest report said the oxygen was 2 percent, which is enough to keep the stripers alive and semi-active but not much more than that. We are still using 4-ounce sinkers to get the bait down on the bottom, then we bring it a foot and keep the baits at 1 foot off the bottom no manner what depth were fishing. Again all the fish begin caught are 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 are on live bait, he says. “Every day I fish I see less and less fish. I feel within the next week or so the fish will leave the dam and scatter around the lake. Try the creeks and Robinson Point. One trick is go up the creeks until you find a drop in the water temperature; the stripers will be close by. The water above Calamity Beach is starting to cool, so it will not be long before I begin to fish on the north end of Norfork Lake.
(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 9-4-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the previous week Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 8.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had heavy generation in the afternoon and wadable water in the early morning. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. 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.
The Norfork 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 over the past couple of years. 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 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.
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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 9-4-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. John's favorite fly is the Clouser Minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these steams. 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 1,124.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-4-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says, “Well, we have had some breaks in the weather but it is expected to get hot again this week. Fishing remains fair for most all species. The lake turnover will happen towards the end of the month, and then on to some great fall fishing.” Crappie remain good on trolled crankbaits and spider-rigged minnows and jigs. Walleye are still responding to slow death rigs with crawlers. Stripers are scattered throughout the lake. Try the Indian Creek/Big Clifty area. Catfish are good up in river arms. Bass are schooling real early, then can be caught later in adjacent points on plastics. “I cannot wait for fall fishing, my favorite time on the lake, when the crowds are gone and fishing is awesome!”
(updated 9-4-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the fishing picked up a bit this past week. The water is clear and the surface water temperature has been in the 80s. Water level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good around the brushpiles using minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Use topwater lures, heavy jigs and large worms. Catfishing is fair. Walleye are biting minnows and nightcrawlers on the trotlines on the lake bottom.
(updated 9-4-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing was great this past weekend. The trout are still pretty hot, with the "hot spot" being around Bertrand launch ramp. Various quarter-ounce spoons and PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle have been the way to go. You can also find some nice trout about a mile upstream from Butler Creek. Kentucky bass and smallmouth have been caught around structure and chunk rock, points and humps. Most of that action has been between Beaver and Holiday Island and up into Leatherwood. Various soft plastics and suspended crankbaits have been the best options. A few small walleye are still being caught in the deeper water, focusing on bends and points around structure. “The preferred method has been jigging with artificial and live minnows. Well, that's all I have to report this week. Hope you are able to get out and fish, 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 9-4-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, had no report.
(updated 9-4-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is "stained a little." Water level is normal. Bream are found at 4 feet depth and the bite is good. Use worms or crickets. Crappie reports have been poor. Black bass are fair, with best success coming on plastic worms. Catfishing is good with cut bait of bluegill.
(updated 9-4-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says they had a full house at Lake Charles over the Labor Day weekend. "Lots of catfish caught," she said. "Bass were biting early morning until around 9:30 a.m. Bream were caught off the shore, little ones." Bream are biting good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good with anglers using jigs and worms. Fish the brushpiles. Use spinnerbaits or topwater baits for the good bass bite. Morning will be your best bet. Worms and chicken liver are attracting the catfish in good numbers. The clarity is murky and the water level is normal.
(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 9-4-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is “very clear” and is at a normal level. Surface water temperature is ranging 85-87 degrees. Bream are excellent with most of them biting redworms. Use crickets as well. Fish under the docks for best results. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good, at night mainly, they report. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are working best. Catfishing is good with nightcrawlers and chicken liver.
(updated 9-4-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 380 cfs (350 average), and water clarity has been mostly clear. The river is looking great. The trout have been hitting well on big nymphs and olive Woollies. On the hot sunny days it’s all about finding deeper pockets and getting the fly down. The overcast cooler days can make for a great day of catching. The smallmouth have been hitting well on single hook streamers. Sculpin heads and Stump Busters work great. Waterfalls are key areas for smallmouth. Above waterfalls can be really fun on the fly where there are big boulders. The bass hide under the boulders to get away from the heat. And always fish the seams of strong currents. “It has been hot out there and the Spring River is cool and refreshing 58 degrees year-round. Labor day weekend was the last big canoe hatch. Most of the resorts will close at the end of September. Really expecting to have a great fall and winter season on the Spring River this year,” Mark says.
(updated 9-4-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is officially over. 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 9-4-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reports that the water is clear and high. The surface water temperature is ranging 88-92 degrees. Live worms are working well for catching bream. Anglers report a good catch. Black bass also are good. Make sure you are using a bait with green pumpkin color. No reports for crappie, catfish or walleye.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-4-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 9-4-2019) 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 9-4-2019) No reports. The lake is undergoing a draw down so that the dam can be repaired and the habitat rebuilt. There are 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 9-4-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the heat returned with a vengeance this week in southwestern Arkansas. Millwood Lake remains under a planned, 2-foot drawdown for maintenance at the dam and millet planting for fall migratory flight paths, according the AGFC and the Army Corps of Engineers. Millwood is currently 20 inches inches BELOW normal conservation pool at 257.5 feet msl; the discharge is 179 cfs in Little River, according to the Corps. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Monday, is around 225 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s webpage linked above, 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 Monday ranged 86-90 degrees. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for stumps, random broken or floating timber while the planned drawdown remains in effect. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over the past couple weeks. 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 ranges 25-30 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
Largemouths continue in their typical, full-blown summer patterns. The bass have become lethargic over the past week and the bite subdued. The best level of topwater activity continues to be early mornings with cloud cover, best from dawn to around 9 a.m. Once the sun climbs and begins surface penetration, the surface temp will climb several degrees and the bass 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. “It appears to us the largemouth bass continue feeding at night,” Mike said. “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 have been buzzbaits, plastic frogs and chrome Johnson Spoons in lily pads. This method has been working for several months, and a on cloudy mornings they are getting the best reactions using a gold spoon with a 3-4-inch tail thumping Bang Die Dapper swimbait on the single hook. If the sun is bright on cloudless mornings, 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.
Over the past week the schooling bass have been less visible, yet can still be found randomly in the oxbows like Horseshoe and Mud lakes and McGuire Lake, most being adolescents and juveniles. Heddon Dying Flutters, Baby Torpedoes or Cordell Crazy Shads continue working, as do StutterSteps & Spit'n Images. 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 30-60 seconds at a time, early just after dawn, in the backs of several oxbows up Little River. When the bass are not surface-breaking, you can still locate the large schools on your electronics. These large schools can be caught randomly using Bomber Fat Free Shad and Fat Free Fry in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad colors, along with jigging a Cordell Hammered Spoons, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps and War Eagle Underspins with a 3-4-inch pearl or white grub trailer.
No reports this week on crappie. Blue cats and channel cats improved a couple weeks ago and “several folks we spoke to at daylight 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, hanging them 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 540.30 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.70 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 437.17 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 523.53 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(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 9-4-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said little changed at all from last week. 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 9-4-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) spoke with Lake Catherine State Park Marina Manager Tosha Walker, who reports that the lake clarity is clear with a surface temperature of 82.3 degrees and normal water level. Bream are excellent. Fish in 5-8 feet depth for the best bite with worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is slow, she says. “We have received a few reports of bites on jigs.” Black bass re good. Use spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on stink bait and chicken live. “I have not heard of any reports of white bass taken,” she said.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-4-2019) 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 nearly 8 feet below normal pool. Sadly, only 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. Last summer 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 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. 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, which 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 9-4-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said the week ended with sunshine and humid weather, but not as oppressive as the previous heat wave. The forecast expects continued heat in the mid-90s but with somewhat drier conditions. Clarity and visibility is limited to about 1 foot. Surface water temperature is 86 degree. As of Tuesday (Sept. 3) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 is at 345 feet. Release had been around 69,000 cfs going into the weekend. There has been no power generation. Dredging continues between Shoal Bay and Spadra between river miles 221 and 225. Pool levels will remain elevated during the dredging operations. This will also submerge several of the jetties and sandbars. The USACE has released a navigation notice regarding this area. https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1937765/mkarns-nav-notice-swl-19-62-update-shoaling-between-nm-2217-and-2225/
Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to remain elevated to aid navigation and the dredging operation upriver. The Dardanelle tailwater rose to near 13 feet Saturday but has since fallen to 11 feet. Release also spiked to about 72,000 cfs but has since fallen to near 63,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last few months.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. According to reports, the shad have been schooling in some areas, which should mean good fishing. The catfish have been biting on live and cut bait. Lake Dardanelle State Park hosted the second annual DAV Big Bass Tournament on Aug. 24-25. The event raises funds to benefit area disable American veterans and their families. Many 4- and 5-pound bass were weighed during the two-day event. The overall Big Bass, caught on the first day, weighed 5.69 pounds. The fall tournament season is just getting started at the state park. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(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 9-4-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels normal, and clarity is up to 5 feet in the upriver sections. “Well, it looks like summer roared back in, just when we thought it was going to change over to fall. Lake temps are up a little into the mid- to high 80s in the lower and middle parts of the lake.” Bass are in limbo right now with many largemouth making an attempt to move into shallower areas of the lake. Target mouths of creeks and grassy areas with frogs and topwater baits early and late. As the day progresses and the sun gets high, the drop-shot rig and the Ned rig in shad silvery, plum purple or watermelon seed green are the go-to choices. Fish these setups slowly and with little or no movement on main lake points near the channel. Lots of little fish like spotted bass cannot resist these setups. Every now and then a good keeper will take it, too. Catfish are good everywhere but especially near creek channel drop-offs to the main channel. Bream are doing really well around 20 feet of depth and near or on dock pilings. No crappie report. “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 343.16 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-4-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water looks a little cloudy, but the lake level is normal. Bream reports are good. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are biting topwater plugs and plastic worms, with good results. Catfishing is good using worms or chicken liver.
(updated 9-4-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 570.30 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-4-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair to good. Texas-rigged worms, drop-shot rigs and spoons fished over points are working at this time, but the topwater bite is picking up early and late. Walleye are still fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are still 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 good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. No reports on crappie. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using live nightcrawlers around brushpiles. Water temperature is ranging 86-90 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 570.34 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 385.49 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-4-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the fishing is getting better as the White River level falls. Black bass are still being caught flipping creature baits in green pumpkin or blue sapphire as well as Jig-Sooie jigs in river craw. Success has come from targeting hollow cypress trees. Now is also a good time to use square-bills in shad colors around the trees. Bluegill are starting to slow down. 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.
(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.