Oct. 16, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Oct. 16, 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 10-16-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake clarity is stained. The water level is normal. Bream have moved into deeper water away from the shoreline. The bite is fair; use worms or crickets. Crappie are good. The best bite is found by the state Highway 89 bridge and up Gold and Caney creeks. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are excellent. They are biting all over the lake, with topwater lures working best. Catfish are excellent; use cut shad or nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 10-16-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving 1-3 hours of generation daily. This pattern could change with cooler temps and less power demand. Fly patterns of midges, soft hackles and pheasant tails can be productive. Consider chartreuse and hot pink 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.
(updated 10-9-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “I haven’t decided yet whether the fish like the cooler weather, but I sure do. A light jacket has felt good motoring up the river the last couple of mornings.” The bite has been fair to good on small nymphs and midge pupa. Since the water has been clear, light tippet will produce more strikes. When the fish are rising, small emergers, 18 to 20 in size, are producing with a swing presentation and a slow retrieve at the end of the swing.
The generation has gone to a morning schedule with the cooler weather. Tuesday was a different day, with a half-unit in the morning, switching to two units from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. “Hopefully, this was a special power need and they will return to the light morning schedule as forecast. It’s always best to check the generation forecast before planning a trip,” Greg advises.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Tuesday evening that the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.06 feet msl and falling with generation. It is 1.98 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and will continue to fall with generation needs unless rainfall gets it up. The overall bite is good for the most part from day to day and getting better with cooler water, weather and shorter days. What lies ahead is real good catching until it gets super cold and fish slow down eating about every 3-4 days. Crappie are being caught and are abundant all over the lake. Trolling an, straight-lining are best methods being used by most anglers to catch in 15-30 feet on jigs, minnows, Road Runners, crankbaits, etc. Catfishing is good for the people fishing for them all over lake and rivers with live bait, homemade bait, soap, stink bait, etc. on trotlines, jugs, drop-lines and such in 10-30 feet depth. A lot of bream are up shallow, some at mid-depth and some are active in 25 feet. Try crickets, crawlers, small crankbaits, inline spinners and Road Runners. Black bass are being caught off the bank out to 45 feet using topwater baits, mid-depth baits, baits that can be fished at 45 feet correctly – just about any bass bait will work if presented right to the right fish at the right time. There are areas where lots of schooling fish can be caught as well. A good mid-day bite is happening right now. Walleye are being picked up around and in other schooling fish roaming; others can be caught with spoons, drop-shotted plastics or nightcrawlers and crawlers on jigheads as well on points, secondary points, humps, rip-rap and small pea gravel ambush areas all over the main lake and tributaries, and on some crankbaits at the right times as well. Some anglers are catching them at night using live and artificial bait. Most structure-related fish are in super shallow water out to 45 feet. Hybrid bass and white bass are feeling well and feeding quite a bit with the shorter days, cooler weather and rain cooling the water temps. A lot of fish are still pretty deep, while some are roaming, schooling on top and some at mid-depths eating bait that has moved shallow. Fish from 15-45 feet deep and use topwater baits, Texas Tornados, store bought inline spinners, spoons, grubs, Alabama rigs and Rinky Dinks. Concentrate around baitfish at all times or you will be fishing the 90 percent of water where there are no fish.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-16-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is now clear and the surface temperature has dropped nicely to 65 degrees. Level is normal. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair; the best bite is using minnows and jigs, with medium-sized crappie being caught. Largemouth bass are good. Bass minnows and plastic worms are working best. Catfishing is good using chicken liver, nightcrawlers and catfish dough bait.
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 10-16-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report. Check John’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for any new updates and photos.
(updated 10-16-2019) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait and Tackle at Brewer Lake (501-977-0303), says the water remains clear. The lake is cooling off. The water level is about 1 foot low as of Tuesday midafternoon. The fish are moving and biting, he reports. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are good, with No. 6 crappie minnows working best. Black bass are good using topwater baits. Fish around the shoreline and the brush. Catfishing is good; the best bite is coming on chicken liver. One angler caught about 12 catfish on Monday night, David reports.
(updated 10-9-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature is ranging 78-81 degrees. Largemouth bass are biting well. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and at dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports came in saying the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet and 16-20 feet. Try using chatterbait, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Like the largemouths, Kentucky bass are good. Some reports of the spotted bass 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. The Lake Maumelle Bass League Fall-Winter Club kicked off Sunday, with Robert Kinslow and Sam Drennon catching a Big Bass of 4.93 pounds on the way to a winning 11.16-pound stringer, edging Mike Hammett and Steven Menideth, who caught a 10.78-pound stringer of five fish.
The 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 brushpiles in 8-12 feet. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-type 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 are moving into deeper water around 18-22 feet. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are slow, no reports.
(updated 10-9-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still doing very well. Size 12 bass minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers have been doing well for catching them. Crappie have been hitting No. 6 crappie minnows and some crappie jigs in Tennessee Shad color. Bass have been doing well on brooders and black salties. Bream are fair on crickets and redworms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 10-9-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish in the back pond have been great, eating size 12 bass minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass have been biting dark-colored plastic worms and brooder minnows. Crappie are fair off of No. 6 crappie minnows mainly early in the morning or late in the evening. Bream are fair off of crickets and super mealworms .
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 10-9-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie have been good on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been hitting brooder minnows. Soon those brooder minnows will be the key to the walleye. Just let it get a little cooler. Bream are good on crickets and redworms. Catfish have been taken on black salties and goldfish.
(updated 10-9-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have slowed down since the lake has been drawn down. This lake is part of Benton's water source. Bass are good on brooder minnows and pink spinnerbaits. Bream are fair on crickets fishing on bottom with them. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, Sonny's Dip Bait and bait shrimp.
(updated 10-9-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said she’s still head no reports. “But I did have a customer in this (Wednesday) morning going there.”
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 10-16-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no updates.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-16-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river remains clear and at a normal level. “Not much has changed,” he said of the conditions or the fishing. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair with chicken liver.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 10-9-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the only reports they had heard were on catfish. The bite around Maumelle Park was good, with nightcrawlers working best.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-16-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water is still dingy and the level has risen. It’s high this week with a flow of 54,000 cfs. Use caution. Crappie are good. Use black/chartreuse jigs and fish around the brushpiles, stumps, rocky points and jetties. Black bass are good. Topwaters are working. Also use black Bandit 200s and black/blue jigs around jetties, or try frogs in the backwaters, along with buzzbaits. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 10-9-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says crappie are being caught in the pool in 8-10 feet depth. The catches are good. Anglers are using pink minnows, regular jigs in red/chartreuse, and super jigs. Black bass are good, with the bite coming in the early morning mostly. The best baits are the Bandit 200 series in chrome blue, Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits and topwaters. No other reports. They did not have updated river conditions as of Tuesday afternoon.
(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 10-16-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good using topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms and crickets.
(updated 10-9-2019) Donna Muherin at Herman’s Landing (870241-3731) says the water remains clear and the level is normal; there are no stumps showing. Bream continue to be good on redworms or crickets. The crappie bite also has stayed good for a while, and anglers are trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good on crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good. They’re being caught on jugs and poles using worms or chicken liver.
(updated 10-16-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Trout fishing near Cotter on the bountiful waters of the White River always provides abundant action and produces ample creel-fills. Anglers this week showed us once again that we can hook a trout with a spoon, a rogue, a sculpin or minnow, a sowbug, a jig, spinnerbaits, Woolly Buggers, a midge, worms and San Juan worms, egg patterns, scented and unscented baits, shrimp and corn. What worked best this week? Our choice for the second week in a row is the 3/16-ounce copper Blue Fox cast toward the bank (because we're still experience a little bit of high water from Bull Shoals Dam) using a slow and steady retrieval. That copper hue carried over to the Colorado copper/gold quarter-ounce spoon. Brown rogues (Hot Chocolate or Gold) or dark-colored Rapala Count Downs (gold/black) are a good options if you're looking to cast lures for an afternoon.
“The German Brown bite continues to be slower than we'd like, but don't be surprised if you attract one or two with shrimp and PowerBait. We're waking up to very nippy mornings on the river, but these autumn days warm up nicely and you cannot find a more perfect place to spend a day.”
(updated 10-16-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says this past Saturday was the busiest day they’d seen in months. Anglers are “catching a ton” of rainbows and in nice sizes, including a 5-pounder being caught. The brown trout are slower but will bite. No one was fishing on Monday, as the water was clear and six generators were running. Overall the water is normal. The trout bite rates excellent, and PowerBaits are the way to go.
(updated 10-16-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-4352169) said that during the past week, they had about 2 inches of rain, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.9 foot to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 31.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 1.6 feet to rest at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool and 13.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 4 feet to rest at 6feet above seasonal power pool and 3.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation with no wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last two weeks, all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the next couple of weeks.
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 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 Round House Shoals in Cotter. 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 reports the lake’s elevation at 663.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake is “pretty clear” and is 3 feet high. He says the water is “flipping over.” Bream are fair and are active at 25 feet depth. Try redworms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished in the back creeks. Check out the brushpiles as well. Black bass are fair using topwater lures and jigs. Fish around the shad. Walleye are good if you’re trolling. No report on white bass or catfish. Check out Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his latest video reports and tips on catching the fish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 557.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake water temperature is finally starting to cool and the fishing is heating up – kind of corny, ha-ha. In all seriousness, several species on the lake has been very good and improving daily. The crappie bite continues to be excellent and the larger slabs are starting to move into the brush. Same places as my last report and same methods of fishing. Brush in 30-40 feet of water has been the best, as long as the top of the brush comes up to at least 20-25 feet of water. Vertical jigging a small quarter-ounce spoon has still been working great.
“If you like to live bait fish, set up your rod with a slip float and cast to the brush with your live minnow. Small curly or paddle tail grubs tipped with a live minnow also work very well. Best colors have been pink and white, green and white or a Firetiger-type color. Brush in coves, as well as, main lake brush are both holding some nice fish.”
The bass bite has also been excellent, he said. There has been very good topwater action at sunrise and sunset. You will find largemouth and smallmouth bass, spotted bass and white bass all chasing shad. Cast your favorite topwater bait, such as a Zara Spook or a Whopper Plopper, and you will have a blast. Once the fish go down, work the shoreline, pitching a 10-inch, dark-colored worm right up into the sunken buck brush (2-5 feet of water). If you like to vertical-jig with a spoon for bass, they are starting to school up on deep water flats in 35-45 feet of water. “Some of my guests fishing out of our new Lowe fishing tri-toon found a large school of feeding fish in 40 feet of water off a small ledge. They landed eight nice largemouth bass with the biggest being 18-19 inches long. It will not be long until the jerkbait bite starts working. We just need the water to cool down a little more for the jerkbait bite to really get going.”
The striped bass are finally starting to show up, but very slowly. The heavy rains last weekend pushed the stripers back into the major creeks that had some cooler flowing water. As the water continues to cool the stripers will move out into the main lake and onto the big deep flats.
Norfork Lake level is dropping slowly, with some power generation and gate releases. The current depth is 557.16 feet msl. The lake is currently dropping about 1-2 inches per day. The surface water temperature is slowly falling and is around 73 degrees. The main lake is clear to slightly stained with some of the creeks and coves stained. Overall Norfork Lake is in great fishing condition. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 10-16-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation with no wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last two weeks, all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the next couple of weeks.
The Norfork 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 due to floods. 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. 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.
John also said, “Last week my wife, Lori, had a guide trip on Dry Run Creek. Her client was a 10-year-old girl, Claire. I tagged along. Lori didn’t need any help with just one client. I went for several reasons. I have been guiding on high water and have not been able to wade. Lower water was a welcome change. There have been several changes to Dry Run Creek due to a major maintenance project in the adjacent Norfork National Fish Hatchery that I wanted to check out. In addition, I really enjoy working with Lori, especially on Dry Run Creek.
“It had rained all night, it was raining when we started, and it was scheduled to rain all day. Lori and I prefer to guide in the rain particularly if it is a light rain like this one. Nothing thins the herd like a little rain. The creek was heavily stained from the rain. which can be a good thing. If you can’t see the fish, they can’t see you. The key to success is to fish with brightly colored flies that the trout can easily see in stained water. Lori concentrated on fishing cerise or pink worms (always fish worms after a rain storm) and peach eggs.
“I took a walk up the creek to check out the changes. One of my favorite spots was very different. The place where I would have my client stand and fish was gone. After studying it carefully I decided that I could effectively fish it. Another spot that had been changed in the previous construction project was more like it originally was and was now a bit deeper and held fish again. I decided that the changes were positive.
“I walked down to where Lori and her client were fishing. Claire was petite and had never fly-fished. She was struggling with the casting and the hook set. Lori was patiently coaching her. She first concentrated on improving her cast. Once Claire was casting more effectively, Lori concentrated on having Claire identify strikes and set the hook. As I watched I saw things coming together. She landed a nice rainbow, and a while later another trout. Over an hour she landed several, the largest of which was a stout 15-incher. She hooked a couple of big fish but was unable to land them. She did not give up and was determined to catch more.
“About this time she hooked a big trout. Lori really wanted her to land this one and was carefully coaching her. I walked over and told them that I would net the fish, thereby leaving Lori free to concentrate on working with Claire. The trout was struggling like a wild Comanche. It took several runs. It was difficult to see the fish in the stained water. I patiently waited until it came to the surface and I had an opportunity to net it. I swung and I raised the net. A nice 23-inch brown was in the net.
“Claire’s dad rushed over with his camera and took a bunch of photos. Lori had accomplished her goal. She had taught her client to fly-fish and finished the day with a trophy brown. I was lucky enough to observe the process. Life is good!”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-16-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit high and off-color. The smallmouths are still active. 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 1,126.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake has really come up last week. It sits at 1,126 feet-plus, which relates to 6 feet above normal pool levels. Fishing is fair with the rise and it has slowed down the bite. The river arms are muddy and have debris in them. Toward the dam the lake clears up and stripers are being caught. Spotted bass are coming up early and late and will hit top water baits. Walleye are still being caught on nightcrawlers of main lake points and secondary points. Catfish should be good up river arms with the dirty water. “The lake is cooling down and, with all the mixing of the rains, not sure how the turnover is progressing – time will tell. When all settles down fishing should break loose. Until then, fish can be caught, so go on out and be safe and watch for floating debris.”
(updated 10-16-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity has remained muddy through the past week. The water level is high. Bream are poor. Crappie are good, though, with crankbaits working along with minnows and jigs. Find the crappie around the brushpiles. Black bass appear to be starting a fall pattern. They are biting early topwater baits; then you should go with spinnerbaits or crankbaits. The bite is good. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 10-16-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (470-244-0039) said, “Sorry for the hiatus on reports. It is deer season after all! Since we had all the rain and temperature change, the river has been slightly muddy downstream and clogged with debris. Bass fishing just was not in the picture this past week. However, the trout bite has been good.
“Most trout are being caught on quarter-ounce spoons and various jigs. PowerBaits of various colors, fished with light terminal tackle, have also produced some nice numbers. Our water level is a little high, but not too high for some bank fishing. This week’s hotspot has been the Spider Creek area. There is a nice mixed bag of rainbows and browns. With more weather changes coming up, it would be a good time to get out and fish. Hope you all stay safe and if you are hunting, good luck!”
(updated 10-9-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the clarity returned to slightly dirty over the past week. The water level is normal. Surface temperature is 72 degrees. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, with the occasional crankbait also taking them. Black bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, plastic worms “and really anything you want to throw,” they say. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers. The lake was stocked with catfish two weeks ago, they report. Nobody is fishing for bream, they say.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 10-16-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, had no report.
(updated 10-16-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake has remained high and muddy. Poor fishing reports across the board on bream, crappie, black bass and catfish.
(updated 10-16-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water remains clear and the level is down about 1.5 below normal. Bream are “pretty deep” and the catch is fair. Use redworms. Crappie are being found at 15 feet depth and are good on minnows and jigs. No reports on black bass. Catfishing is good, with best success coming around tree stumps. Use chicken liver for bait.
(updated 10-16-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park said Sunday that only a few fishing reports were passed her way this week, with indications that fishing was slow with the cold front that came through over the weekend. Best days to fish, she says, will be Oct. 25-31. There were no reports on bream or crappie. Black bass were fair with anglers using plastic worms. Catfish were fair using worms and chicken liver.
(updated 10-16-2019) 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.”
Also, District 3 biologists in the AGFC Fisheries Division report that 232 spider buckets have been staged and ready to be deployed in Lake Poinsett. Spider buckets are artificial habitat structures composed of ABS pipe, set in concrete-filled buckets. These new structures will replace degraded woody habitat as part of the lake renovation. These structures have benefits for all lake species. They can be placed on the ground in shallow, shoreline areas to benefit catfish and largemouth bass or on pallet towers in open waters to give a more tree-like appearance for crappie and sunfish species.
Also, The foundation work began on the new water control structure on Oct. 8, with the driving of the first foundation H-piling. In total, nine 50-foot pilings will be driven. The 50-foot pilings will create the foundation and support for the water control structure.
(updated 10-16-2019) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides says water levels are running at 300 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity has been clear. The river is looking great and the temps are perfect. The trout have not been biting the best lately. Lots of short strikes. A Y2K with nymph dropper or an orange blossom special are the go to flies this week. If it’s sunny, get it down to the bottom; if it’s an overcast day, make a downstream cast with a short fast strip back.
Hot pink and orange Trout Magnets are go to for spin fishing. When fishing below an indicator, be sure and make it twitch for hard hits.
“It is beautiful on the river,” Mark says. “This week we have seen eagles, mink, blue herons, osprey, deer and a possible Bigfoot sighting. Great time to be on the water. The cooler temps should get the bigger trout moving.”
(updated 10-16-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a bit high and off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is 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 10-9-2019) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) said there wasn’t a lot to report, the guests who did fish had a big time. They were catching channel catfish on stink bait. They caught three large cats. No other reports.
(updated 10-16-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said that with water being released at Bull Shoals dam, there have been no fishing reports. Water is high.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-16-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temps are in the low 80s and falling. Visibility is about 6 inches on the main channel and up to about 12 inches in protected backwaters. The main channel is flowing fairly strong but not hard enough to prevent fishing in it directly. Black bass are biting well, especially on the main channel along jetties, using shallow crankbaits, bladed swim jigs, and spinnerbaits in turbulent water, then jigs worked along the bottom, soft plastics and topwater poppers in calm water or days with low/no wind. Keep an eye out for schooling fish along jetties; there are black bass mixed in with the striped and white bass that can be caught with topwater plugs moved quickly along the nearby rocks and through the middle of the school.”
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-16-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 10-16-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says the cold spell and rain has caused for a temporary stall in the fishing. Fishing will likely increase in the next few days if temperatures increase as expected. Lake level is still low due to the planned drawdown, so please be aware of your surroundings when getting out beside or on Lake Chicot.
(updated 10-16-2019) 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. Some nice fish reportedly were still being caught in late September, though the lake is noticeably way down now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.57 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said other than the water temperature changing over the week, a lot of the fishing activity has remained the same. Black bass are breaking on shad. There hasn’t been much to report on crappie with the current in Little River. Now that the 2-foot drawdown of the lake has ended, Millwood is slightly above normal conservation pool at 259.5 feet msl as of Monday. The discharge is around 3,700 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was about 227 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level 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 Monday ranged 77-80 degrees. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for stumps, random broken or floating timber. Clarity is consistent from last week, improving daily.
Largemouth bass continue improving their feeding binges, and over the past few days with cooler temps 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 and Chrome Johnson Spoons with a 3-inch curly tail grub in pearl, white, or snow storm trailer. This shallow, lily pad bite can break into a frenzy in several different areas at the same time. Two anglers caught over 20 bass on Bass Assassins and spoons in short order a few days ago where the bass were breaking on shad, chasing them into the lily pads and blowing up. The largemouths are following these schools of shad and chasing them at the surface again with improved consistency over the past week. Square-bill crankbaits like the Echo 1.75 in shad patterns and Ghost Minnow are working. The Bomber Fat Free Fry that run 4-5 feet deep are also catching these schooled-up bass. Mike says his groups caught several doubles simultaneously the other day with shallow Little John cranks and Bass Assassins and square-bills – in fact, he said, “Several times we doubled up. \Catching two bass on a single crankbait happened more than once.”
He adds, “Yum Tip Toads have been getting good reactions over the past few weeks. 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, those areas have held good chunky bass willing to blow up, chasing shad in the lily pads, and exploding on a Bass Assassin or Frog or a weedless spoon on these cooler mornings over the past week.
Over the past week, the schooling bass have returned to surface-breaking in the oxbows, Horseshoe and McGuire lakes – a couple of the better areas for these mostly adolescents and juvenile bass. Clear Baby Torpedoes, chrome black back Cordell Crazy Shads, Heddon Spit'n Image, and Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps are working again in the early morning on surface-breaking, yearling schooling bass. 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 Spoon, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps and a ¾-ounce War Eagle Underspin using a 3-4-inch pearl or white grub trailer.
Over the past several weeks, 1-2 pound spotted bass, with a few white bass in the mix, schooled up and were hitting jigging spoons in Little River behind primary points, on the fringes of current from 6-9 a.m.; then the bite shuts off almost like a light switch. 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.
The best thing we can figure on the crappie is, they scattered over the past week with the increased current in Little River and increase in water stain. Blakemore Roadrunners in white, white/chartreuse or blue/chartreuse and minnows and white and blue jigs were getting bit a couple weeks ago by vertical jigging near standing timber in Horseshoe. Catfish improved over the past week with the increased current in Little River. Hanging yoyos in Little River from cypress trees and baiting with hot dogs and blood bait worked over the last week.
(updated 10-16-2019) 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 535.95 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.76 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Fall is here! A little. Water temperatures have dropped the last two weeks from mid-80s to low 70s. Wow.” The lake level Tuesday was 397.75 with a rise of .07. Shad are on the move to the coves and pockets. Most of the fish are following the shad to some extent. Crappie fishing in the brush is slow. Trolling seems to be the preferred method at this time. Use Bandit 300s with a mixture of colors and eliminate from there. Some white bass are still showing up early around the Shouse Ford area but it’s slowing down. No report on black bass or bream. Lots of suspended fish around the 20-feet depth around the river channel in the mid-lake area. Pull some deep-diving crankbaits (ShadRap) in shad color to the depth of suspended fish. Boat traffic has reduced noticeably (it’s hunting season). There are tons of ridges slightly under water, islands and humps below the surface. Follow the deeper routes for safety and watch for others. Good fishing!
(updated 10-16-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the water temperature has dropped to near 70 degrees and the crappie are definitely stacking up on the brushpiles.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 438.78 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.29 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 10-16-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(updated 10-16-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few crappie being caught trolling and in treetops in the river. Catfish being caught tight-lining. Black bass have slowed down a little. No report on bream.
(updated 10-16-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the clarity is clear, while the lake level has fallen to about a half-foot below normal. Bream are good on redworms. Crappie appear to be trying to move in this week and the bite is fair on jigs or minnows. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair using nightcrawlers.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-16-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, said lake conditions are clear with surface temperature of 69.5 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream are biting well in a depth of 5-8 feet near docks. Worms and crickets are used. “Some bream are being taken a little deeper in 10-15 feet near brushpiles,” she said. Crappie are poor. Black bass are fair, best on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are good; baits being used are stink bait, chicken liver and cut bait. “There have been no reports of white bass taken this week,” Tosha adds.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-16-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports 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. October still holds numbers of white bass although the size is smaller than in a normal year. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig presentations will all draw strikes from these temperate basses from the dam to the bridge as they feed on shad 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 10-16-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) says last Friday’s cold front brought very gusty wind and light rain but left behind a very comfortable weekend. Another front is forecasted to bring some rain and seasonal temperatures for the week. Visibility is limited to only a few feet. No surface temperature was reported. As of Tuesday (Oct. 15) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has held near 345 feet. Ozark tailwater release rose to over 123,000 cfs last Friday and fell to near 60,000 cfs by Sunday. There has been no power generation at Ozark for several months now. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park remains elevated but did fall about 1 foot to 338 feet. The Dardanelle tailwater rose quickly from 8 feet to about 18 feet on Saturday. It has since fallen to about 11 feet. Release there had risen to about 124,000 cfs but has also since fallen to about 66,000 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.
Anglers, 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. There have been several 5-pound bass weighed here and even a few 6-pound lunkers. Baitfish are there for fish to prey on, so mimicking shad may be a good start. The fall tournament season is well under way at the state park. For tournament scheduling and updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 10-16-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is continuing to fall in the mid-70s. River clarity is poor due to the recent rise in the river. A few creeks are clean and some are clearing. The fish have started their fall feed. Largemouth bass have been good if you can find them; spinnerbaits have been good, while Rat-L-Traps have been working great on the schooling fish. Jigs and Bamboozies have been working great around treetops and rocks. The topwater bite is starting to pick up on buzzbaits, frogs and Zara Spooks. Jerkbaits and the soft plastic jerkbaits like the Scam Shad have been working well on points. White bass and stripers has been fair with swimbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie have been improving in the creeks using jigs and minnows, Monkey Milk, black-chartreuse jigs and Electric Chicken. Bream have been good in the creeks on small jigs and crickets. Catfish have been good on stink bait and cut perch.
(updated 10-16-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake temps in the mid to low 70s and water clarity at about 8 feet throughout. Lake levels on Hamilton are down just like all the lakes around the area. Bass are staging and have begun in many areas to go into the annual fall binge feeding of shad. “It’s a really strange fall, so we would urge fisherman to try all sorts of techniques. Especially shallow topwater and deeper drop-shot rigs. Right now is classic junk fishing! Whopper Ploppers, green or translucent trick worms, Crankbaits in shad colors and Zara Spooks in shad colors should really be tied on at all times. Our wives wonder why we have 15 rods? Now you know! They key to all this is to concentrate on areas on or near the main lake points. Bass are not up the creek channels and coves in the shallows. They are near the shallows by deep main points.”
Catfishing is still good in the main creek channel drop offs near or current. Crappie are starting to turn on, especially up in the river sections of the lake where the water is cold. You can’t go wrong with pink minnows under a cork and over brush piles. “Good luck and Go Greeson!”
(updated 10-9-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the water temperature has dropped about 4 degrees and will keep going in the right direction for the crappie to stack up on the brushpiles. They are acting spookier than usual, so stay back from the pile and pitch or cast to them.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.55 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the lake is dingy and the surface water temperature as of Tuesday afternoon was 71 degrees. The level is high. Bream appear to be scattered about and the bite is fair. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie fishing is excellent. Anglers report success using carrot colored Southern Crow, as well as Arkansas Shad. Minnows and jigs will also work fine. Fish the brushpiles; the crappie have moved shallower in the past week. Black bass are good. A white spinnerbait or a gold War Eagle spinner will work best. Catfishing is excellent on trotlines. Just about anything will work as bait, they say, with worms and chicken liver heading the list.
(updated 10-16-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.30 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 10-16-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. The topwater bite is working early, late and on cloudy days. Drop-shot rigging a finesse worm is working well for spotted bass. Walleye are fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are still 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 fair with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair to good. Try a small jig near brush in 20-30 feet of water. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod and reel using live nightcrawlers or hot dogs around brush piles. The water clarity is clear; surface temperature is 78-82 degrees. The lake level Tuesday was 568.18 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 384.40 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-16-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the lake is still a little dingy, while the surface temperature is ranging 69-73 degrees. Water level is back up to normal. The bream remain poor. Crappie fell off just slightly to good. On Monday morning Ronnie and his guest kept 24 crappie. They fish are biting in about 12 feet depth on minnows and jigs. They’re most prevalent under piers and on the bottom. Black bass are excellent. Spinnerbaits are working best, fished among the lily pads. Catfish are good on crappie jigs. Follow Ronnie’s Facebook page from Horseshoe lake, where he has the latest update on the fishing and photos.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 10-16-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 10-16-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) had no updated reports from this week. He also reminds everyone that Cooks Lake will close to fishing Oct. 31 and will reopen in March 2020.
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.