Oct. 23, 2019
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Oct. 23, 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 10-23-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is stained/dingy. The level is normal. Crappie are god on minnows and jigs. They’re best around the state Highway 89 bridge or in Pierce and Gold creeks. Black bass are good. They’re hitting topwater plugs and they’ll also go after plastic worms. Fish the edges of the shoreline. Catfishing is good on cut bait and nightcrawlers. Like the crappie, the catfish are biting around the Highway 89 bridge. Bream were poor this week.
Little Red River
(updated 10-23-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving very little amounts of generation, creating very low water conditions. Fly patterns of midges, gold-ribbed hares ear 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 10-23-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains extremely low and clear with no generation. They were scheduled to run one unit Tuesday but did not. Generation is scheduled for two hours late Wednesday so we’ll wait and see if this happens. Check the Army Corps of Engineers app or the website to find if the release occurs. The shoals are very shallow and the fish are holding in the deeper sections. Small flies and a good presentation are the best bets for success. With the water this low, be careful while motoring. You will hit obstacles that haven’t been a problem all year.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 10-23-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Tuesday evening that the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.98 feet msl, or 2.06 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and staying pretty steady with some generation from time to time. The rain and cooler nights have all species feeling better with more dissolved oxygen in water, and the cooler water temps and shorter days have them feeling good and eating. For the next two months the bite will be on fire. Crappie are hot, going on live bait, beetle spins, spoons and crappie jigs in 12-45 feet. Some walleye are roaming and some holding on flats eating minnows, crawlers and plastics fished a variety of ways. Some bream are roaming while some are grouped from super shallow out to 30 feet eating crickets, crawlers and inline spinners. Lots of baits will work, even some topwater baits. Catfish are on the prowl all over lake and river eating good as well on various baits on various techniques. Not a lot know or want to fish for them this time of year but they’re are missing out on some good action. Hybrid bass and white bass are all over the place unless the high pressure beats them back, but even then some should be able to be caught – use spoons, topwater baits, inline spinners, Texas Tornados, buckshot baits, grubs and swimbaits and don’t forget Alabama rigs. Fish super shallow out to 45 feet; just stay close to the shad. Black bass are busting shad all over lake and rivers, creeks, etc. Of course, topwater baits or just about all bass baits will work now and will continue to do so if you put them in front of fish, on top – medium depth and out to 45 feet dragging something will work, and the spinnerbait is back working and will get nothing but better as we move forward, which is a whole lot of fun.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-23-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is muddy and the surface temperature is 66 degrees. There are stumps showing in places with the low level of the water. Crappie are fair; most action is coming in the early morning on minnows and jigs. Largemouth bass are good. Plastic worms will work, especially in a purple. Also try a bass minnow. Catfishing is good at night. Use worms, chicken liver or dough bait. Bream reports were poor.
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 10-23-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) says water level is about normal and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 72 degrees. Bream are slow, but anglers are still catching some on crickets and redworms. Bass are doing good around brushtops and structure with topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and minnows. Crappie are slow but should start picking up with this cooler weather. Visit John’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for any new updates and photos.
(updated 10-23-2019) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait and Tackle at Brewer Lake (501-977-0303), says the water remains “pretty clear.” The surface temperature Monday midmorning was 76 degrees. The level is slightly below normal. Bream are biting fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are good. Use No. crappie minnows or Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Monkey Milk. Black bass are good. They are in the shallows during the evening. Worms, crickets, buzzbaits and white Rooster Tails were all working. Catfishing is good. They seem to be coming up off the bottom and are eager to feed on chicken liver.
(updated 10-23-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature is ranging 66-68 degrees. Largemouth bass are good. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports have come in that say the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet and 16-20 feet. Use chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are good. 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 fair. Reports of them being found stacking in deeper water around 18-22 feet. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream have slowed. They are moving into deeper water around 18-22 feet. Try using crickets and worms. Catfishing is good. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish.
(updated 10-23-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still biting well for customers using chicken livers, minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Crappie fishing has been fair with size 4, 6 and pink minnows. The bite is best very early in the morning and slows as the sun rises. Bass have been biting minnows and soft plastics in watermelom seed and green pumpkin colors. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 10-23-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting chicken livers and minnows. Crappie are biting slow but some are catching a few on No. 6 minnows. Bass are hitting minnows, soft plastic and small jigs with spinners. Bream are biting crickets and redworms fished on the bottom.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 10-23-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says that, finally, enough rain to put a little flow back in the river should improve the fishing. Bass are biting minnows, small plastic worm and lizards, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Crappie have been slow and only a few report catching some in the deeper holes on No. 6 minnows and jigs. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and black salties at night. Bream will bite crickets or worms almost anywhere the water is deep enough to hold a fish. Gar fishing is fun and they are plentiful on the Saline. Fish a No. 12 minnow on a sharp hook and strong line for a good fight. A few recent reports of walleye being caught on the Ouachita River means they should start to bite soon on the Saline. I hope to give some firsthand reports soon. “Get out there and fish, hunt or whatever you like to do outdoors. Be safe and keep our beautiful outdoors clean,” Lisa says.
(updated 10-23-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting early in the morning and for an hour or so after dark on No. 6 minnows fished in some deep coves. Catfish have been biting minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has been slow to fair with minnows, soft plastics and crankbaits. Bream fishing is fair with crickets and redworms fished close to the bottom around deep structure.
(updated 10-23-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing is picking up for customers using No. 4 minnows and small jigs. Bass have been hitting larger minnows, crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastics. Catfish have been biting fair on minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bream are biting fair on crickets and worms and a few big ones have been caught on the No. 4 minnows while crappie fishing.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 10-23-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few anglers are out. The fish are in transition, setting up for cold waters. Bass jigs are best for the time being for fishing for bass. Catfish are based off the jetties and on the downstream side of the dam. Use skipjack or shad. No reports on crappie. No reports on bream. Here are a few works for the duck and goose hunters with the waterfowl season coming: “It would be best to check out the rivers and use your GPS. Use your ramp as home. Use the main channel as a highway, then go 90 degrees; turn when you want to get out of the channel to your hunting way points. Hope you have good hunts.”
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-23-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river muddied up after the rain of the past week. The water level is high. Bream reports were poor. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass were fair on crankbaits. Catfish are good; use worms or chicken liver.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 10-23-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says crappie are fair. They’re found in 15 feet of water. Use minnows or try Super Jigs in black/chartreuse. Striped bass are being caught on topwater lures early in the morning, as well as minnows. The results have been good. Catfishing is good using worms or minnows. No other reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-23-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water is
“pretty muddy” and they report the level is a little high. Crappie are good and are being caught in 10 feet of water. Use a blue/chartreuse or red/chartreuse jig. Fish around the rocky points. Bass are fair. Try spinnerbaits or black crankbaits, as well as a black/blue jig and chatterbaits. No reports on bream and nothing reported on catfish.
(updated 10-23-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says crappie are fair. They are found in 15 feet of water. The best bite is coming on black/chartreuse Super Jigs. Also try regular jigs and minnows and fish the rocky points or jetties. Black bass are good. Topwaters are working in the early morning. Catfishing is good below the Terry Lock and Dam and the Murray Lock and dam on cut shad and skip jack. No reports on bream.
(updated 10-23-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says that in the Terry Lock and Dam area of the pool, black bass are fair. Use crankbaits or worms and fish around the rocky points. They hear good reports on catfish, with worms and cut shad working best. Poor reports on bream and poor reports on crappie.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-23-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water remains clear and the level is down just a little low. Bream results the past week were poor. Crappie, however, were good. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair on crankbaits or worms. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 10-23-2019) Donna Muherin at Herman’s Landing (870241-3731) says the water is clear and the level is normal. Bream are poor. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Catfishing is good; use stink bait, chicken liver or hot dogs.
(updated 10-23-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 660.59 feet msl Wednesday morning, which is 2 feet above power pool of 659 msl, as we continue to see release of 11,000 to 12,500 cfs from the dam. The releases have slowed some (from 4½ to 3½ generators) in the last few days, so you may have noticed a decrease in the river level and the speed of the current. Rain is forecast in the coming week; we'll keep an eye on generation schedules and lake level increases across the White River basin.
Drifting is the best means if fishing from a jon boat unless you can shimmy into a shallower area to lay down an anchor for a few minutes. By now, you've adjusted your fishing technique and bait selection to the higher water so you might decide it's "business as usual, but keep in the mind the effect of the spawn on your angling approach and your catch-and-release habits. Be mindful that during the spawn, trout will probably not be interested in most of the baits in your arsenal, so your best bet may be to pester them: Drop your line in front of them repeatedly, again and again. They may strike at your bait in an effort to protect their area or to get rid of you. Release those females for now and improve our chances of seeing more trout fry in our waters.
What's working? Sculpin are making a comeback after a few weeks of slow or no bites. White baits; white jigs (pink heads work well), white worms, white Rooster Tails, white PowerBait are catching like crazy. Add a touch of shrimp to the barb and you'll be reeling ’em in all day long. “Good luck from all of us at Cotter Trout Dock and enjoy the beauty of the Arkansas Ozarks this autumn.”
(updated 10-23-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Monday at midmorning that no one has been fish due to it being cold and windy. The river level was high with six generators running at the dam. However, they report that the trout bite for them is god. PowerBait is working, along with spinning and drift rigs. “A lot of good-size rainbows” were caught. “They are a lot bigger than this time last year.” The biggest brown caught was 18 inches. Caught some others but they were not very big.
(updated 10-23-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-4352169) said that during the past week, they had about a half inch of rain, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.8 feet to rest at 2.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 33.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 foot to rest at seasonal power pool and 14 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 5.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.7 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 2.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23.4 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 at or over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the next week or two.
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 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 Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a cerise high water 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 660.91 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 556.18 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 10-23-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 2.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23.4 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 at or over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the next week or two.
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 things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. 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 up stream. 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. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-23-2019) 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 1,126.24 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-23-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is still above normal. “We had some wicked weather here and it did some pretty good damage around the area and some major damage to Prairie Creek marina and other boat docks on Beaver Lake. Fishing is in limbo and remains fair for all species.” Bass are schooling early and late towards the lower Dam area. Look for clearer water and you will find stripers; use shad and/or brood minnows. Walleye still are fair on nightcrawlers. Look on main lake points in 25 feet of water. Crappie are good on any structure in 12-25 feet of water and are being caught on black/chartreuse jigs, or minnows will catch a limit. Just use your electronics and locate the fish. Catfish are good up the War Eagle. “When river arms get clear I would expect fishing to really ramp up. Another round of weather is expected to dump a good amount of rain this week, so lake looks to remain high for the foreseeable future
(updated 10-23-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is murky. There is mud in the river arms. The water level is high. Crappie are fair. They are transitioning to a winter pattern. Fish around the brushpiles for best success. Black bass are good and are now in the shallows. They are biting topwater baits in the early morning. The rest of the day, your best bet is using a shallow crankbait. Also try a drop-shot with small worms. No reports on bream or catfish.
(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 10-23-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the clarity returned a little dingy. The surface temperature has dropped nicely to 63 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms “and pretty much anything.” Catfishing is fair; use nightcrawlers or glow worms. Poor reports this week for bream.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 10-23-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is stained. The level is normal. Fishing picked up from the previous week. Bream are fair on redworms. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair; use stink bait or cut bait. Crappie reports were poor.
(updated 10-23-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and the level is down about a foot. Bream are good on redworms. Crappie are good and can be found in 15 feet of water biting minnows. Lots of bass were caught the past week, just not many big ones). The bite is good though. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers.
(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 10-23-2019) 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 10-23-2019) 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 10-9-2019) 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 10-23-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said that water has been better this week. Though it’s still high, it’s just up a little compared to recent weeks. The clarity is clear. Black bass reports were fair, with crankbaits and jigs working best. Walleye are fair and are biting minnows, jigs and live bait. Catfish, bream and crappie were all poor, they say.
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 10-23-2019) 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 10-23-2019) 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 259.76 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 10-23-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake remains 6 inches above normal conservation pool, currently 259.7 feet msl; the discharge is around 3,700 cfs in Little River according to Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was around 230 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, especially during drawdown conditions. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 67 degrees early to 72 later under full sun, depending on location. More stain increased with current in Little River over the past week, and Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 3-5 inches. Little River's visibility ranges 5-6 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranges 12-15 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.
The largemouth bass continue chasing and busting shad over the past week with cooler temps during early morning. The overall surface activity improved in the pads and on shallow flats adjacent to creek channel swings. Bass continue moving in an out of lily pad stands chasing shad and blowing up with abandon on Bass Assassin Shads, Chrome Johnson Spoons with a 3-inch 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. When bass begin chasing and breaking on shad into the lily pads can be mayhem It’s a GREAT TIME TO TAKE A KID FISHING on Millwood Lake.
The largemouths are following these schools of shad and chasing them at the surface again with improved consistency over the past few weeks. Square-bill crankbaits like the Echo 1.75 in shad patterns and Ghost Minnow, the Bomber Fat Free Fry and Fat Free Guppy are also catching these schooled-up bass. “We caught several doubles simultaneously, multiple times, on Little John cranks, Rat-L-Traps, Echo 1.75s and Square-bills. 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 a weedless spoon on these cooler mornings over the past several weeks,” Mike says.
Over the past week, the schooling bass are in the rear part of Horseshoe and McGuire lakes surface-breaking, mostly adolescents and juvenile bass and tons of fun for kids. Clear Baby Torpedoes, chrome black back Cordell Crazy Shads, Heddon Spit'n Image and Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps are working again on the morning schooling bass when surface breaking. Mostly, juvenile bass have been randomly breaking for 30-60 seconds at a time in the rear of several oxbows up Little River. When the bass are not surface-breaking, you can still locate the large schools on your electronics where you see huge clouds of shad. These large schools of juveniles and adolescent Kentucky bass and 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, 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. Trolling medium to medium-deep crankbaits from 6-12 feet deep will connect with large mixed-bag schools of black and white bass. Once you locate a large blob or school of shad on your electronics, that is a good place to begin slow trolling crankbaits from 30-40 yards behind the boat. Most of these schooled-up bass are suspending under the shad from 12-15 feet deep. War Eagle Underspins, Heddon Rattling Sonar or Heddon Gay Blade will be able to cast and reach any surface breaking Bass that may randomly appear.
The crappie have scattered over the past couple weeks with the increased current in Little River and increase in off color, increased water stain and remain elusive. 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, jug lines and tight-lining in Little River between Horseshoe Lake on Little River and White Cliffs Campground worked early in the week, best in the afternoon, using blood bait, Punch Bait or chicken liver.
(updated 10-23-2019) 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 536.34 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.99 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-23-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that as every day goes by, the crappie are stacking up on the brushpiles in 15-20 feet of water. Fish jigs and minnows 8-12 feet deep. Use the faux spawn to your advantage. The females are staging, and you might find a few males in shallower water. Once the water temp drops into the 50s they'll move back out to the staging brushpiles.
(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 Monday 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!
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.83 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 523.24 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 10-23-2019) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) in Camden reports that crappie are deep in both Upper and Lower lakes and the bite is fair. Anglers are using shiners. “We sent a lot of bait that way this weekend,” Curtis says. No other reports.
(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 10-23-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the clarity is “pretty clear,” while the lake level is just a little lower than 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 10-23-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, said lake conditions offer clear clarity with a surface temperature of 67.3 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream have been good. They’re being found in 5-10 feet of water and are biting worms and crickets. Crappie remain poor. Black bass are fair with the fish being found in 15-25 feet depth. Anglers having success are using a CC Spoon. Catfishing is good. Stink bait and chicken liver will work best. Tosha says she still has not heard any reports of white bass being caught lately.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-23-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports the water temperature is 64 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 9 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 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 10-23-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the mid- to lower 70s. River clarity is poor with flow. Some creeks are dingy, some are clearing on the upper end some are clear throughout the creek. Shad is starting to move into the creeks, which makes for a shallow bite. Bass have been good on jigs and Bamboozie around wood and rocks. Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps have been working well in pockets and the mouth of creeks. Frogs and buzzbaits have been working well on the outside of vegetation. Crappie have been hit-and-miss in and around 8 for the water; minnows and jigs (Monkey Milk) have been working good, while chartreuse and Electric Chicken jigs have also been producing. White bass are in some of the creeks. Rat-L-Traps have been working well along with small white swimbaits. Bream have been fair in the creeks and in the back of the pockets and along the jetty rocks with vegetation. Crickets and worms have been working well. Catfish have been good in the creeks and backwater areas. Fish with large minnows, small bream and worms. Large catfish have been biting well on cut bait such as skipjack and bream just inside of pockets.
(updated 10-23-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) says they experienced mostly sunshine and mild temperatures for the past week until a front moved through early Monday morning. Gusty winds brought white capped waves across the lake earlier this week. High pressure is forecast to remain in the area until a cold front arrives late in the week. Visibility is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 64 feet. As of Monday (Oct. 21) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has risen about a foot since last report to 346 feet msl. Ozark tailwater release has risen over the past weekend from 58,000 cfs to 67,000 cfs. There has been no power generation at Ozark for several months now. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has held near 338 feet msl since last report. The Dardanelle tailwater has held at 11 feet. Release there has risen slightly to about 73,000 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 fishing is tough, and bites have come on soft plastic and jigs. The fall tournament season is nearing its seasonal break 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) 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 10-23-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that as every day goes by, the crappie are stacking up on the brushpiles in 15-20 feet of water. Fish jigs and minnows 8-12 feet deep. Use the faux spawn to your advantage. The females are staging, and you might find a few males in shallower water. Once the water temp drops into the 50s they'll move back out to the staging brushpiles.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.42 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-23-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the lake is “pretty clear” and the surface water temperature as of Monday midmorning was 71 degrees. The water level is normal. The bream bite has fallen off, with poor reports. Crappie are good and they are shallow. They are being caught at 3 feet deep in 8 feet of water. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Use a white spinnerbait with gold willow leaf. Also, buzzbaits are working in the early morning. Bass appear shallow now. Catfish are good. They’re being caught noodling and just about any other way, they report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.48 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 10-23-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still 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 still fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are still producing good stringers. Stripers are also still good. Find these fish in the eastern part of the lake; they're 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 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 brushpiles. The water clarity is clear; surface temperature is 78-82 degrees. The lake level Wednesday was 568.49 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 384.24 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-23-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) describes the clarity as “decent,” with a surface temperature ranging 65-66 degrees. The lake level is low by 8-10 inches. Crappie fishing is excellent. Ronnie says they have been trolling with great successes and they’re doing well shooting under the piers. Minnows and jigs will work. Black bass are excellent. He says they fished for three hours in one outing and caught 20 pass of bass. Go with a crankbait. Catfishing is good. He suggests dragging the bottom with your bait: stink bait, shrimp or catfish bait. Bream fishing is poor. 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 10-23-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 10-23-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says fishing has been slow but anglers putting in the time have been catching enough for a meal. Even with the slow fishing, it is a great time for fall photography as the cypress trees are changing colors. This will be the last weekend for fishing at Cook’s Lake until spring of 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.