Oct. 2, 2019
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Oct. 2, 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 listed 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: https://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: https://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 10-2-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reports the lake clarity is the “normal Conway stain” and at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and small jigs. Black bass reports are good. Buzzbaits, chatterbaits and bass minnows are your best bet for baits. Catfish are good using dough bait or nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 10-2-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is low and clear with afternoon generation varying each day, so check the forecasted generation before planning your trip. The last couple of days has been about 4-5 hours of one unit starting about 2 p.m. Wednesday’s schedule was to start at 1 p.m.
“I have been visiting a new grandson in New York City the last week and have not fished,” Greg said. “ I am back and going out this week to check it out. It was great visiting my son, his wife and my new grandson but I’ll tell you it’s wonderful to be back to the peace and serenity of the Little Red.
“My friends tell me that the small midges are still a good bet with light tippet. When the water gets this low and clear, a good presentation is important. Use the smallest indicator possible to help your presentation. The less disturbance when your fly hits the water the better.”
(updated 10-2-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said, “We are in a generation pattern on the Little Red of 2-3 hours of generation daily with lesser amounts on weekends. This pattern is providing good river conditions on all sections of the river.” Fly patterns of midges, gold ribbed hares ear and pheasant tails can be productive, Lou says. Consider chartreuse and hot pink-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Army Corps of Engineers website for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.55 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.55 feet, msl, or 1.99 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and falling, with a little generation as needed. “Again we are faced with low dissolved oxygen in the lake due to high water since last fall and things are decaying. Wind and rain will replenish it and the fish won’t feel as though they have a hangover. After the two cold fronts coming, give it a few days and the bite will improve a lot. Just stay with your program,” Tommy says.
He says crappie will still eat if you put something in front of them: crank bait, live bait, jigs, etc. in 15-45 feet of water. Some walleye are ganged up on edges of flats while others roam; use drop-shots, jigheads, crankbaits and spoons in the 18-45 feet zone. Bream are still guarding some and eating crickets, crawlers, spoons, inline spinners, crankbaits, etc. all over the lake in real shallow out to 45 feet. Black bass are scattered everywhere and ganged up as well; they can be caught super shallow out to 60 feet on a variety of ways. Drag something or throw it and/or in between random stuff. Catfishing has been good on some of the species; try jugs, lines and/or rod-and-reel. Some cats are shallow and also eating 28-60 feet as well. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating spoons, inline Texas Tornado, Rinky Dinks and topwater baits. They’re eating vicious at times – with black bass, crappie and walleye mixed with them helping them eat as well – in super shallow out to 60 feet of water. All the catching will improve every hour now for all species until mid-January, Tommy says.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-2-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported that the clarity is clear and the water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are excellent. They say anglers are real picky on bream because they are catching large bream and throwing back the little ones. Redworms and crickets will both worth. Crappie are good on live minnows. Black bass are good on plastic worms and large minnows. Catfish are good using worms, large minnows, crappie minnows and crickets.
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 for lawn or garden use with water from Lake Overcup through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 9-25-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said surface temperature is around 78 degrees and clarity is good. Lake level is about normal. Bream are slow but still catching some on crickets and redworms. Bass are doing well around brushtops and structure around the banks. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline, but are slow. Crappie are slow but should start picking up any day now with this cooler weather; still catching some good ones but not a lot.
(updated 9-25-2019) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait and Tackle at Brewer Lake, says the water is clear and is 1.5 feet below normal. Surface water temperature Tuesday morning as 84 degrees. Bream are fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie fishing is good. Anglers having success with the Bobby Garland Baby Shad, while minnows will also work. Fish those brush piles. Black bass are good. Live bait is the way to go, especially crickets. An 8-year-old angler caught a 20-inch, 5-pound bass fishing with crickets on the shoreline earlier this week. Catfish are fair. They’re on the bottom, use worms.
(updated 9-25-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said the largemouth bass bite is good. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports coming say the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet also. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are biting well. 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 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 in 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, around 8 feet or less. Try using crickets and worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 10-2-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) the AGFC recently stocked the lake with catfish, and folks have been having fun catching them on minnows, worms, chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms. Crappie are picking it up a little if you can get there before the sun gets up too high; fish around the piers with size 6 minnows, pink minnows or try your favorite jigs. Bass are biting well on minnows, Carolina-rigged soft plastics and topwater baits or shallow-running baits early in the mornings and at night. Please keep in mind that Sunset Lake is a Family and Community lake and daily limits are reduced. Pick up a regulations guide book and check it out before you go.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 10-2-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish were recently stocked in one of the ponds for a fishing derby and are still being caught on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass and crappie have been biting minnows and small jigs like Kalin’s Triple Threat and Bobby Garland Jigs in various styles and colors. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 10-2-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is low and reports have been fair at best. Bass will bite a minnow or small soft plastic bait as well as small crankbaits or spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting large minnows, black salties and goldfish on trotlines and limblines at night. A few crappie have been caught recently on size 4 and size 6 minnows in some of the deeper holes. Bream will bite crickets or redworms about anywhere in the river and you'll find a big one now and then. If you're just looking for some fun fishing, get some minnows and catch some gar. “Cooler weather and some rain should be here soon to improve fishing on the river and everywhere else. Fish when and where you can. Be safe and keep the outdoors clean.”
(updated 10-2-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been good for some customers fishing at night. No. 6 minnows fished around a light have caught some good ones lately “and that's all the info I could get them to share about that,” Lisa said. Bream are still biting fair but seem to be scattered a bit. Crickets, redworms and determination will still get you a good mess of big ones. Bass fishing has been better at night and early in the morning. Live minnows, Texas- and Carolina-rigged plastics, topwater baits and just whatever you like to throw at them might get the bite. Catfish are eating up minnows, goldfish and black salties on juglines and trotlines at night. Please follow the AGFC trotline and jug fishing regulations.
(updated 10-2-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said, “We haven't heard anything from customers about Winona lately. Has the fishing been slow or has it been too good to talk about? Somebody might want to check that out.”
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 9-25-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says the river level is still bouncing up and down. They are seeing a little more barge traffic. If you have never traveled the river, now is the time to do it. You will see how powerful Mother Nature can be, Charley says.
He reports that catfish are in deeper water. Anglers should drive a bait 10 feet to the bottom; use buffalo. A lot of nice 5-pounders and up and being caught. He rates catfish as good. Black bass are on grass and wood structure now. Use chatterbaits. The bite is fair. Drum are going crazy, he says. Use crankbaits, nightcrawlers and buffalo, or just about anything. The bite for drum is very good. White bass are schooling on jetty tips. Use crankbaits in pearl and shad color. The bite is fair.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-2-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and at a normal level and current. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and soft plastic worms. Fish for them early in the morning or late in the day. Catfish are good, mainly at night. Use chicken livers or shiners.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 10-2-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says white bass have been biting well. Anglers report using Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits, square-billed crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Catfishing is fair on shad. Bream are excellent; use crickets.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-2-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water is stained to muddy. Surface temperature is in the mid-80s. Water level and current is normal. Black bass are reported good. They’re being caught on black Bandit 200 and 300 series baits, as well as a 5/16-ounce jig in black, blue and green pumpkin. Catfishing is fair below the Murray Lock and Dam on nightcrawlers or stink bait.
(updated 10-2-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the clarity is a little cloudy but the river level and current are normal. Bream are excellent on crickets. Crappie appear to be in 10-12 feet depth of water and the bite is fair. Look for them around brushpiles and fish with minnows. Nothing reported on black bass. Catfishing is fair; use shad. White bass reports have been good. Use Bandit crankbaits in the 200 series (black/shad color). Below the Terry Lock and Dam, they report an excellent bream bite in the backwater. The bream are at 4-6 feet depth and are biting crickets. Crappie are fair in the 10-12 foot range on minnows around brushpiles. Catfish are biting shad with a fair result. White bass are the same as in the Little Rock pool, biting well with Bandit crankbaits working best (200 series, black/shad color).
(updated 10-2-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the river is clear and at a normal level and current near the Terry Lock and Dam. Bream reports are poor. Crappie also are poor. Black bass, however, are good. Anglers are having success using crankbaits and worms. Catfishing is good using cut shad.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-2-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the lake is clear and is now a little low. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good using minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits or worms. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 10-2-2019) Donna Muherin at Herman’s Landing (870241-3731) says the water is clear and is at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. The crappie bite continues to be good by trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good on crankbaits. Catfishing is good. Use stink bait, chicken liver, hot dogs or “pretty much anything,” Donna said.
(updated 10-2-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the tailwaters for Bull Shoals Lake have dropped to within 3 feet of power pool; currently sitting at 664.01 feet msl. This is a good indicator that the Southwestern Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers will decrease generation, causing water levels on the White River below the dam to become lower and a little slower; it will also provide the possibility of wading or anchoring. The brown trout bite is getting tricky, and more patience is required to get their attention. If fishing within a few miles of the
dam, down to Wildcat Shoals area, tie on a white jig or try a white, 4-inch Head Hunter with a touch of orange on its belly. Further downriver, nearer to Cotter, the rainbow Rapala, CD5 or CD7, will cause a stir. The rainbow catch has been very, very good. Bubblegum pink worms, sometimes used in conjunction with white PowerBait, floating mid-depth, will pick up the pace, as will a live and kickin' red wiggler. If that doesn't draw enough attention, add a small bit of shrimp to the barb and catch your limit.
“The Weather Channel is promising some cooler days by the end of the week; that, added to the lower water, will be too much incentive to stay away. See you in a day or two.”
(updated 10-2-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the clarity is clear and the river is high. Nothing has changed much at their location over the past week, they report. There is still evidence of the late summer shad kill in the river. The trout bite is excellent. PowerBait is the bait to use. Anglers caught some walleye, some nice brown trout, and a lot of rainbow trout, they report.
(updated 9-25-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, that had about an inch of rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3 feet to rest at 4.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 29.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.6 below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.7 foot to rest at 0.7 foot above seasonal power pool and 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 3.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 20.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw moderate generation all day.
Hopper season is on the wane. 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 the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam where they have had an unseasonal shad kill (white shad flies have been the ticket). 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 (size14), 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.
John also says, “As a fly fishing guide, I am obsessed by the water level of our lakes and rivers. When people ask me the best time to go fishing I tell them it is not the weather, calendar or the insect activity that drives our fishing, it is the water level. Due to rain in our area or other areas the lake levels and discharge from our dams can change in a matter of minutes. If the lakes fill overnight, they can literally take months to be drawn down.
“It has been a high-water year. We had heavy spring rains. The lakes filled to near capacity early in the year. There were a couple of times during the year when the lake levels were almost down to power pool only to rise again due a heavy rain event. The only wadable water we have received this year was due to flooding downstream. On those occasions, the Corps of Engineers held back water to lessen the impact of the flooding.
“I read a recent article from a local guide that claimed fishing high water was the best. I do not agree. I personally prefer wade-fishing low water (there is something about water lapping around my waders) or fishing from a boat in moderate generation (one to two generators). As a result, I monitor the lake and river levels several times every day. Every afternoon I look at the Southwestern Power Administration’s posting of the projected loading schedule for the next day. On Friday, they post the schedule for Saturday-Sunday-Monday. Every morning I look at the Army Corps of Engineers actual releases to determine that they are actually releasing the amount of water that they scheduled. From time to time I find a discrepancy.
“As of this writing, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Beaver Dam is inches away from power pool. Table Rock is almost 2 feet below current power pool. Bull Shoals is 6 feet above current power pool and Norfork Lake is less than 4 feet from its current power pool. It should be noted that the power pool level for all of the dams is due to drop two feet on Oct. 1.
The lake level at Bull Shoals is dropping about 3.5 feet per week and Norfork is dropping about 1.5 feet per week. I estimate that Bull Shoals will meet the new power pool level in about three weeks (from Sept. 28) and the other lakes will reach power pool at about the same time. This means that we could see some wadable water or at least some greatly reduced flows on our rivers by the middle of October.
“I don’t know about the rest of you but this is good news to me. I am tired of high water!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 664.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the Bull Shoals Lake level is high again, at about 5 feet above normal level. Surface temperature is 80 degrees as of Tuesday midmorning. Clarity is cloudy. Bream reports fell off, with poor results. Crappie are fair. Anglers have found it hit or miss. The best crappie bite is found in the creeks; use minnows or jigs. Black bass are in their traditional fall pattern, with the typical baits for that pattern working, Del says. Go with topwater lures. Walleye are found in 32 feet or water and are being caught with bottom bouncers. No other reports. Check out Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his latest video report on what’s biting and techniques to use.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 558.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said summer-like weather is hanging on longer this year than normal. “I’m really getting anxious waiting for the fall fishing season to begin. Even with the warm water temperature, my fishing guests and I have been doing pretty well fishing for a variety of species in Norfork Lake. Crappie, largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill, catfish and walleye are all being caught.
The crappie bite is still one of the better bites at this time, with several of the big slabs starting to show up. Crappie are being caught from 15 feet down to 35 feet, suspended and on the bottom in and around large brush piles. The best areas have brush from 22 feet of water out to 35 feet of water. You will be able to stay in one area longer with the brush covering such a large depth range. What I try to do is start in the shallow part of the brush and fish close to the bottom. As the sun gets to the treetops, I move a little deeper and will start to find fish suspended toward the top of the brush. But once the sun gets high in the sky the fish seem to move inside of the brush. If you are not getting bites you need to move to another brush pile. The bite may stop after you catch several fish and if it does, make the move then come back to this brush after you give it some time to rest. I have been using a quarter-ounce white with chartreuse back spoon, as well as ones with a pink and green back. These colors seem to be my go-to colors, but if the bite seems to be slow, I do switch out to other colors until I find one that the fish are wanting. I currently have several guests fishing for pan fish with live minnows and crickets. They are doing quite well catching big blue gills, along with some nice crappie and bass. The best depth so far for my guests have been 25-30 feet towards the bottom close to or inside of brush piles.
“I currently have another fishing guest that is strictly fishing for bass. The bite has been good for him, but he does have to work for them. He has been fishing a dark-colored 10-inch worm and working it in shallow water. His best areas have buckbrush that is still under water or large underwater rocks close to the shore. Yesterday he did land a nice 5.5-pound largemouth bass, but most fish he has caught are in the 2-3.5 pound range. A few days ago, another guest was crappie fishing and saw topwater action occurring along a deep bluff line across the lake from him. He headed that way and started to throw a Zara Spook and landed several nice 16- to 17-inch largemouth bass. These fish were out in 80 feet of water chasing shad at about 9 a.m. on a sunny day.
“I have also been spending quite a bit of time looking for striped bass and walleye. The striped bass have totally eluded me at this time, but I am finding walleye, but all have been short. My best areas for walleye have been on points off the rock bluff walls in 20-30 feet of water. I have caught these fish vertical jigging a ¾-ounce spoon off the bottom.
Norfork Lake continues to drop about 2 inches a day. The lake is currently at 558.36 feet msl. The lake is currently 4.6 feet above normal seasonal pool. The lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning ranged from 79.6 degrees to 81.5 degrees. “The main lake in our area is slightly stained to clear and most of the creeks and coves are also slightly stained. Great fishing color. From what I can see on my depth finder the thermocline has dropped to somewhere between 35-40 feet. Over the last several days I have found many fish on the bottom at this depth. This is one of the main reasons I have started checking out deeper brush and have actually caught crappie 35-feet-plus deep on the bottom. The better bite for crappie is still on 25-30 feet deep brush. As the lake continues to cool, what we call a lake turnover will happen and fish will then have the freedom to move around at any depth. Basically, this means the oxygen level will be high at all levels and the water temperature will become more consistent from top to bottom. Happy fish and see you on the lake.”
(updated 9-25-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said September is still hot with no rain and cold weather. We have had some cooler days but the weather needs to turn cold with rain which is only cure for the dam stripers. Once we get some rain and cooler weather the stripers will be able to move from the depths. We continue to catch limits of stripers above the state line. The stripers are in the water depths from 18 to 24' and the water is cooler with plenty of oxygen. We are using 3 to 5” gizzard shad on downlines and long lines.
The bass are schooling early morning off the main lake points feeding on small shad. Small topwater lures and spoons will produce lots of action. The crappie are schooling over deep brush piles in waters no shallower then 30' and the crappie are suspended around 15'.
High water, no rain, high water temperature, little current, small dam releases, and almost no oxygen has resulted in a striper kill this year. Stripers need 5 ppm to be active and as the summer passes and the high water the oxygen level has continuing to decrease. It's now less than 2 percent and we are seeing some dead stripers at the dam. Once we get some rain and cooler weather the stripers will be able to move from the depths and the kill will be over. We can only pray this happens soon.
If you do not want to travel that far wait until its start getting cooler at night and the water temperature gets into the mid-70s then 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.
(updated 9-25-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 3.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 20.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Norfork saw moderate generation all day. The Norfork tailwater has been fishing better on the moderate flows but has been a bit crowded. The dissolved oxygen level is slightly improved. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole from flooding. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (size 14). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing better. The browns have begun making their annual migration upstream. With school back in session it will be less crowded during the week 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. 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 10-2-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,121.66 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says, “Well, it looks like the first fall front will blow through here late this week and bring some cooler weather. Everybody I talk to are looking forward to this.” Beaver is still above normal levels. Stripers have been doing fairly well and should just keep getting better. Big Clifty, Horseshoe Bend and up the War Eagle Arm are areas to look. Crappie are fair to good with trolling and minnows the best bet. Walleye are fair and will continue to get better next month. Watch for lake turnover next few weeks and that will switch pattern on all species. Catfishing is good.
(updated 10-2-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and has risen over the past week to where it’s 2 feet high. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are good. Anglers are trolling and using jigs. Fish the brushpiles. Black bass are good. They are starting to school in some areas of the late. Fish with topwater baits. Catfishing is good. Use worms, minnows or nightcrawlers. Walleye are in the deep end of the lake by the dam and are biting on minnows and bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-25-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (470-244-0039) said fishing this past week has been great. The trout have been biting on just about anything from various PowerBaits, jigs and spoons. This week’s hotspot has been the U.S. Highway 62 bridge area. The white bass have been hot as well. “You have to find the right water temperatures (70s) and you will find them, just watch for them busting schools of bait fish. If you have a graph, even better.” The whites, he said, have been hitting U-rigs with white grubs and various crankbaits. The Kentucky bass are in the same area (temperature range). Throwing toward structure and chunk rock will produce the best results. A few walleye have also been in the mix as well, most of them were caught jigging live minnows. “Well, deer season is right around the corner. For all you hunters, get your fishing in before hitting the deer woods. Be safe, have fun and catch some fish,” he said.
(updated 10-2-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the clarity has cleared. The water level is normal. Surface temperature is 74 degrees. Bream reports are poor. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, and anglers are spider-rigging. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and jigs. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers. The lake was stocked with catfish last week, they report.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 10-2-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, had no report.
(updated 10-2-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are fairly shallow. Anglers are fishing with swimbaits and chatterbaits. Catfishing is fair. Use stink bait or punch bait.
(updated 10-2-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and surface temperature is ranging 78-80 degrees. The level is down by about 1 foot. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good and being caught in 15 feet of water. Use minnows. Black bass are good late in the evenings, with anglers using surface baits. Catfishing is good using chicken liver or shrimp.
(updated 10-2-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park says that with the cooler water, bass should move into shallow water to feed. The docks are a good to fish in fall weather. Crappie will be on the hunt for food to fatten up for the winter; fish old creek channels. October is a good month for dock fishing. October moon times look good between the 10th and 16th. The best days will be Oct. 25-31. The lake is murky and the Sunday morning surface temperature was 60 degrees. Bream are fair now on worms and crickets and are being caught around the brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Crappie are fair on worms, minnows and jigs. Your best bet is a chartreuse/brown or FireTiger bait. Check out the brush, stumps and points. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. The best bass fishing is coming in the early morning and late evening. Catfishing is good on worms, chicken liver, Catfish Pro and blood bait.
(updated 10-2-2019) Lake Poinsett is closed until next year as repairs continue on the habitat. The Lake Pointsett State Park Visitors Center sells bait still, and the shop is in proximity to many other fishing destinations in northeast Arkansas. Ome Coleman at the Lake Poinsett State Park says, “We are still selling plenty of minnows. Although the lake is still gone, we are still here to supply your fishing supply needs.”
(updated 10-2-2019) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides says water levels are running at 330 cfs, 350 average, at the spring. Water clarity has been clear. Early mornings have had some beautiful hatches of tan caddis and blue-wing olive mayflies. Nymphs are working well early in the mornings. Olive Woollies and Guppies have been the hot flies the last few weeks. On cloudy days it has been all about swinging the fly with short strips back upstream. On the hot, blaring days it’s all about getting down and fishing big rocks where the fish are hiding from the sun. Lots of vegetation can give the fish cover, also. Swing the fly along the edges and wait for a strike.
Trout Magnets in hot pink and orange are working great just off the bottom of the river. “It always impresses me how well the Trout Magnets work. For local creeks I like to use a hot pink Trout Magnet on a fly rod. Cast to the shore line and strip it back for catching plenty of smallies and panfish.
“Cooler weather just around the corner should get the trout moving and start the fall season. The trout have not been liking the afternoon heat we have been having lately. Fishing early has been very productive for numbers but the big fish have been hiding out in the heat of the day. Cooler temps should get the big fish moving and feeding. As always keep an eye on my blog for the latest fishing report and river conditions.”
(updated 10-2-2019) 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 10-2-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-2-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-2-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 9-18-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says the lake is low from the drawdown, but the fish are still biting. The boat ramp in the state park is still usable. A 46-pound catfish was caught last week. The lake is still usable for fishing and some boating, but do use caution while boating and fishing on Lake Chicot.
(updated 10-2-2019) The lake is undergoing a drawdown so that the dam can be repaired and the fish habitat rebuilt. There are no limits on game fish during the drawdown.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.24 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake's 2-foot drawdown ended at end of September and is now near normal conservation pool, at 259.1 feet msl on Monday; the discharge was around 250 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was around 226 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps as of Monday were ranging near 85 degrees early up to 89 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity was consistent from last week, improving daily. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging 6-10 inches. Little River's visibility ranges 5-8 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranges 15-20 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms.
Early morning topwater activity for largemouth bass has improved over the past couple weeks and is definitely better with cloud cover. The topwater bite is best from dawn to around 9 a.m. Largemouths 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 once the sun gets above the trees. Over the past weekend, and last few days with cloud cover during early morning, the overall surface activity improved in the pads and on shallow flats adjacent to creek channel swings. Bass were moving in an out of lily pad stands and blowing up with an improved consistency on Bass Assassin Shads on light wire Owner hook, Chrome Johnson Spoons with a 3-inch curly tail grub in pearl, white or snowstorm trailer. This shallow lily pad bite slows considerably during the heat of the day with the bass pulling out to deeper (vertical or diagonal) structure near or behind points with stumps. “Yum Tip Toads have been getting good reactions over the past few weeks,” Mike says. “We have been dipping the feet of the Tip Toad in JJ's Magic chartreuse dipping dye for a trigger/splash of color for a different appearance.” Good lily pad stands remain in Mud Lake and Horseshoe Lake and where a creek channel is close by to the deeper creek bends with lily pads. They have held good chunky bass willing to blow up on cloudy mornings lately.
The bass that were schooling and surface-breaking in the oxbows a month ago have been less visible at surface recently, yet can still be found randomly in the oxbows up Little River, Horseshoe and McGuire. Most are adolescents and juveniles. Clear Baby Torpedoes, chrome black back Cordell Crazy Shads, Heddon Spit'n Image and Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps were working on the early morning breaking yearling and adolescent schooling bass for the past month, when they are surface breaking. Mostly, juvenile bass were 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 of juveniles and adolescent largemouths, when not surface feeding on shad, can still be caught randomly using Bomber Fat Free Shads and Fat Free Fry in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad colors, along with jigging a Cordell Hammered Spoons, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, and a ¾-ounce War Eagle Underspins using a 3-4-inch pearl or white grub trailer.
White bass continue roaming and schooling up with juvenile largemouths and spotted bass following shad in Little River at creek dumps and the oxbows at dawn, most surface-breaking diminished over the past couple weeks in Horseshoe and McGuire lakes in the oxbows up Little River. Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fingerlings and Fat Free Guppy cranks in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad were catching a mixed bag of bass following schools of shad along both sides of points extending into Little River with stumps present. Some mouths of creek dumps held very large schools of whites and Kentucky bass over the past several weeks along the river.
For several weeks, juvenile and adolescent Kentucky bass have been roaming and schooled up with the largemouths and white bass chasing shad. Spin-tail Rat-L-Traps, Bomber Fat Free Frys and Fat Free Shads in Citrus Shad or Tennessee Shad colors were catching some spotted bass from 1-2 pounds over the past couple weeks near creek mouth junctions and points extending into the river. As for crappie, Blakemore Roadrunners in white, white/chartreuse, or blue/chartreuse were getting bit a week ago by vertical jigging near standing timber in Horseshoe. No reports on catfish this week.
(updated 10-2-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) has heard no reports.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyflishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 536.23 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, had no report.
(updated 10-2-2019) 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 397.83 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Fall is coming, finally. It has it been a kicker. Fishing is just slow, we’re awaiting the weather change. Water temperatures have dropped from the high 80s to lower 80s, and a couple more degrees will make the difference.” John says shad are abundant everywhere, so food is plentiful. Hybrids, white bass and black bass are still surfacing from Caddo Bend to Shouse Ford. Just look for the boats, but be early. “Same drill as far as topwater, crankbaits as they go down (or Rat-L-Trap chrome), then spoons counted down. Spoons can always be thrown at surfacing fish, also.” He recommends a 1-ounce CC for whites and blacks (“and hope a hybrid don’t hit it,” John added) and 2-ounce for hybrids. Alabama rigs work, also. Use small bodies and white color. Crappie are still deep in brush and very slow on the bite. Trolling Bandit 300s in the pockets that have lots of shad is another option. John’s heard a few comments on topwaters and buzzbaits over brush for black bass. No report on catfish or bream. “Fall fishing around the corner. Be safe and courteous.”
(updated 10-2-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips had no report.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.62 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.54 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 10-2-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are still biting fairly well. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. Good catfish being caught tight-lining in the river. Crappie are a little slow.
(updated 10-2-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the clarity is now “really clear” and the level is normal. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. They’re being caught off the shoreline. Crappie are fair on jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No other reports.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-2-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, reports the lake clarity as clear with a surface temperature of 81.4 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream fishing is excellent. You’ll find the fish in depth of 5-10 feet and biting worms and crickets. No reports on crappie this week. Black bass are good. They’re at 15-20 feet and are biting spinnerbaits and crankbaits, as well as drop-shot rigs. Fish around brushpiles or rocky points. Catfishing is good. “Catfish are biting good using cut bait and chicken liver. Look for them in creek channels and near current,” Tosha says. White bass are fair. “There have been reports of white bass taken near the dam. They are small in size. Try using spinnerbaits and jerkbaits.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-2-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the water temperature is 70 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is alternating a minimum flow pattern along with selected days of generation that last several hours as Lake Ouachita remains almost 10 feet below flood pool. What few rainbow trout that were living close to the dam have now migrated downstream as much warmer water temperature has been the norm the last month. Rainbow trout become stressed in water over 70 degrees. Quality trout fishing will return to Lake Catherine in late November when the trout stocking program resumes for the winter season. These fish are stocked in the tailrace and ready to be caught the week of Thanksgiving. September 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 that are everywhere in the tailrace. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening. 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. Blue catfish in the 4- to 6-pound range have been caught next to the dam on live minnows and stink baits. 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 10-2-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) says one more week ended with sunshine and unseasonably warm weather. The forecast expects a return to fall weather as a cold front moves in by the weekend. Another cold front is also expected to arrive early next week to reinforce the cooler and drier weather. Visibility is limited to only a few feet in Lake Dardanelle. Surface temperature is 84 degrees. As of Tuesday (Oct. 1) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has risen over the past weekend to 346 feet from 340 feet. Release has also risen to about 60,000 cfs from around 25,000 cfs. There has been no power generation at Ozark for several months now. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park returned to near normal but then rose about a foot over the past weekend. The Dardanelle tailwater has also risen from 7 feet to about 11 feet. Release there has also risen to about 69,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last several months. The Dardanelle lock is undergoing maintenance and the anticipated completion date has been changed to Oct. 25. Mariners are asked to contact the lock via radio on Channel 16 or by phone (479) 890-4987, in advance of arrival, for current conditions.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to host tournaments every weekend this fall. Reports from anglers are that the bass have been biting on soft plastics, jigs and buzzbaits. Baitfish are there for fish to prey on, so mimicking shad may be a good start. We have observed another small mayfly hatch in recent days. Small yellow bass and channel catfish had been biting on worms. The fall tournament season well under way at the state park. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.27 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the lake is clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 81 degrees. Bream are excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie are good. Minnows and jigs will work, of course, but also try popsicle jigs too. Minnows, they say, are working best. Fish for the crappie at a depth of 8-10 feet. Bass are found in shallow water and the bite is good. Crankbaits are working well. Also try a drop-shot on a crankbait. Catfishing is excellent. “Everyone is catching catfish right now,” they report. They’re in 6-8 feet depth and biting crickets and nightcrawlers. “If you want to fish, you need to come now,” they said.
(updated 9-25-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is clear and at a normal. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good with minnows and jigs. They hear black bass are fair, but that’s about it. Catfish are biting well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.44 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 9-25-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. The topwater bite is working early, late and on cloudy days. Walleye are fair, with 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. “We have been receiving sporadic reports of fish being caught with small jigs on brush in 20-30 feet of water,” he said. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using live nightcrawlers around brushpiles. Water temperature has been ranging 84-88 degrees. The clarity is clear and Lake Ouachita has fallen to 568.91 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or 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 384.51 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-2-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the clarity continues to be clear and the level is normal. The surface temperature has been 79 degrees in the morning and 83 degrees in the afternoon under full sun. Bream improved a little over the past week, with fair catches on redworms and crickets. Crappie were good over the past week. Ronnie suggests vertical fishing on the outside of the pilings, as well as fishing on the bottom under the piers. The crappie can be found in 8-10 depth of water. Use minnows or jigs. Make sure to fish around the lily pads and brushpiles. Black bass were poor this week. Catfishing is good on worms or chicken liver.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 10-2-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 10-2-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said this is the time to be fishing Cook’s Lake. He also reminds that fishing at the lake will close on Oct. 31. 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 is 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 use only trolling motors. 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.