March 18, 2020
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for March 18, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter 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
(updated 3-18-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is at its normal (stained) clarity. Water level jumped up some; it’s high as of Tuesday. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Try bass minnows or hand-tied jigs for best results. Black bass are good. Anglers are using an assortment of baits to catch them: spinnerbaits, plastic worms, swimbaits, worms, chatterbaits and frogs. Catfishing is good, too. Stink bait is a good method now, along with nightcrawlers, goldfish, and setting up trotlines with minnows.
Little Red River
(updated 3-18-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said Greers Ferry Lake is above normal seasonal pool due to recent rains, so longer periods of generation on the Little Red are expected. If you choose to fish these conditions, you will want to use long leaders and weight. The key for both fly-fishing and Trout Magnet fishing during heavy generation is the ability to get and maintain a good presentation of the fly or Trout Magnet. Working shoreline with streamers is also an effective fly-fishing method during high-water conditions. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends San Juan worms, micro-jigs, egg patterns and streamers during high-water conditions. Hot pink, cotton candy and white bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Army Corps of Engineers website for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 3-18-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “Rain, rain … go away! I think it’s a common thing to see rain each day. The lake is 1 foot above normal and that’s the good news. The bad news is it’s raining and expected to rain for the next few days. The Army Corps of Engineers has informed me that after today (two units for 18 hours) the generation should go back to the 12-hour schedule for the next few days. It is best to check each day since this forecast can change because of additional rainfall.
“It may be best to check with your guide if you have a trip planned during the next couple of weeks. Some are taking trips and others are postponing until we get a better handle on the virus issue. You can discuss the trip with your guide and make your decision. It’s a hard decision to make, since we consider your health as well as our own. Social distancing is hard to practice while guiding in a boat. Again, each of us and you have to make these decisions, so call and discuss it with your guide. Hopefully, we will have a better handle on this in a couple of weeks. Good fishing, and good health!”
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 463.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.12 feet msl and falling with generation. It is 1.08 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The overall catch rate is getting better every day because more people are just out fishing because the weather is getting better; the catch rate never really went down all winter. Some crappie are still out suspended in deep water, some closer in, some right in front of bushes and some in the bushes and on brushpiles. Try jigs, or minnows, or a combination – or a trolled bait. As for walleye, the river fish are in rivers and creeks, while the lake fish are on flats and steep banks and some under and around docks. Try crawlers, Flukes or minnows. Bream are eating up shallow in warmer water – real shallow – the rest are still out deeper. Try crawlers, beetle spins or small crankbaits. Catfish are eating all over rivers and in the lake. Black bass are scattered from super deep to super shallow; use any technique you usually use to get to them and you should have a blast. They are scattered all in between as well. Hybrid bass and white bass, some are upriver, while some are part of the way up and some are in the lake; use spoons, grubs, swimbaits or topwater baits for your best catches.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 3-18-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the clarity is muddy and the water level as of Tuesday early afternoon is high. Bream reports are good, though. Redworms and crickets are both working well. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The crappie are getting close to the shoreline. Black bass are good. They also are around the shoreline now. Catfishing is good; in fact, some folks are catching BIG catfish, they report. Trotlines baited with minnows, trolling and using goldfish as bait are the ways to go about it.
(updated 3-4-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by about 2 feet. Clarity is good with surface temperature around 57 degrees. Bream are slow but should start picking up with this warmer weather. Bass are chasing shad but not many people are fishing lately. Catfish should start picking up with people starting to fish again maybe I can tell more. Crappie are starting to pick up in 4-7 feet of water. A lot of males are being caught on rods and reels using minnows the last few days. Two anglers had 10 crappie Saturday afternoon that was well over 18 pounds.
Johnny also said, “Just a heads up, the Central Arkansas Crappie Association is having a tournament this weekend.”
Crappie also are being caught on yoyo's at night lately.
Visit Johnny’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for any latest updates and photos.
(updated 3-18-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the clarity is cloudy and the surface temperature as of Monday afternoon was 58 degrees. Crappie are fair. They are 10-20 feet deep in channels, David said. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair. The bass are 6-7 feet deep in the evenings, the best time to find them. Catfishing is fair using worms. Cats are staying close to the lake bottom. No reports on bream. The water level is high.
(updated 3-11-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says largemouth bass are good. They’re in transition and can be found outside of the grass around 8-12 feet biting a variety of lures. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and swimbaits. The Blue Collar Bass Buddy’s Club tournament held here last Sunday produced lots of good bass, with Cody and Garry Bryant bringing in a 15.66-pound string with the Big Bass of 4.44 pounds. Eric Wallace and Mike Hammott had a 14.06-pound stringer, and Matt and Mike Collum had five bass weigh 13.76 pounds. The black bass are biting, and not just largemouths. Kentucky bass have improved with a good bite the past week. Reports of them being found in 10-15 feet of water outside the grass line, and they can also be found in 18-22 feet off drops and rocky banks. The white bass are good, too. Reports of them being found still mixed in with the crappie and they are in transition. White bass are staging to make their annual run, which could happen any day. Use Rooster Tails, rattle-type baits and jerkbaits. Crappie are good. Some are reported suspended in 12-18 feet in transitional areas and some are in deeper water, 25-30 feet. Once water is in 53-59 degrees, they should be in the spawning areas. Try using jigs and minnows. No reports on bream this week, but give the worms and crickets a try, anyway. Catfishing is fair; use chicken liver, worms or crayfish.
(updated 3-18-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a few crappie are still being caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been going after plastic worms "pretty good," she said, as well as on brooder minnows. On some of those sunny days the bream were being caught on crickets and small jigs. Catfish have been fair on nightcrawlers, chicken livers and stink baits. Secret 7 has been pretty good lately. In the photo, Bryson Kindy displays the 7-pounds-or-so black bass he hauled out of Sunset Lake recently.
Bishop Park Pond
(updated 3-18-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are good on No. 6 crappie minnows and Beaver Bottom baits. Bass have been hitting brooders and bass minnows. Bream are being caught on crickets and redworms. Catfish been hitting stink bait and night crawlers.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 3-18-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says the Saline was doing great until the rain came. It was at 9.42 feet as of 2:30 p.m. Sunday. “But while it was raining I had a customer report to me of being down at the spillway catching, as he said, a fish on each one of his brooders that he had got from me. Only thing, he didn't catch any walleye, just Kentucky and smallmouth bass. But I have had some others going on the river catching walleye using brooder minnows. A few crappie been caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been fair on goldfish, bream and nightcrawlers.”
(updated 3-18-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some big crappie have been reported by a few customers catching them pretty deep using No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin's 2-inch grubs in Tennessee Shad color. Catfish are fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and black salties. A few bream are being caught on crickets. Bass have been good on brooders and spinnerbaits.
(updated 3-18-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Lake Winona crappie have been good not only on No. 6 crappie minnows, but also on bass minnows. Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Bass have been going after crankbaits, as well as bass minnows. No report on bream, “but not meaning they haven't caught any,” Lisa hints.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 3-18-2020) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no new report. River conditions are high and fast.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 3-18-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no reports through Monday afternoon. The Little Maumelle is muddy, he said, and the water level is high.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 3-18-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) hears that white bass are starting to run. Anglers report good catches. No other catches reported on bream, crappie, black bass or catfish, however.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-18-2020) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) advises anglers and boaters to stay off the river. A craft advisory is in effect. The river was high and fast Sunday afternoon. The clarity is murky. They have heard no fishing reports in the past week.
(updated 3-18-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no information on river conditions (Sunday, though, observers say the Little Rock pool is running very fast from the Murray Lock and Dam). However, there are some fishing reports. Anglers are catching crappie in the Willow Beach area. They report good results using minnows. No other species was reported. South of the Little Rock pool, reports are that catfish are biting well on cut shad. Also, white bass are good below Terry Dam and the hydroplant.
(updated 3-18-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) keeps an eye out on the southern end of the pool, but recently has had no reports from there.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-18-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake is cloudy and at a high level. They have heard no reports of catches the past week.
(updated 3-18-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported that the clarity remains dingy while the water is at a normal level. Crappie catches were good, she reports. Minnows and jigs are working. Black bass are good on crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms and hot dogs. Nothing reported on bream.
(updated 3-18-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Wednesday morning, “We're still fishing and the brown trout bite continues to be great. We're hauling in tons of good browns and a few trophy-sized rainbow trout this week. Minnows and sculpin have still been standout baits for the browns, along with blue-backed, orange-bellied Smithwick lures. We've seen several larger-than-20-inch rainbows caught and released this week. Some were caught on sculpin and some on the tried-and-true shrimp/PowerBait combo; try yellow or orange eggs first. The continued high water means that weighted line is popular for most fly-fishing, or waiting for a glimpse of the sun to do some quick dry fly-fishing has been the way to go. The trout are calling, so come out to the White River for some great fishing.”
In the photo above, Cotter Trout Dock guide Doug Knight helps a beaming Ella Lax with her rainbow trout catch on the White River.
(updated 3-18-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says that they have green-tinted water as this time. The river level is high, with the pool level at 659 feet, reaching 659.3 feet msl this week before more rain came in. Nevertheless anglers are catching trout in good numbers. Reports of a few browns and several rainbows hauled in.
(updated 3-18-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-4352169) said that during the past week, they've had several rain events (combined for over an inch and a half), cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.9 foot to rest at 1.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 34.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.8 foot to rest at 1.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 14.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 5.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 2.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had heavy flows and no wadable water. The Army Corps of Engineers has opened the spillway gates on Beaver, Table Rock and Norfork dams in an effort to lower the water level on these lakes quicker.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Wildcat 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.
Please note that because of coronavirus concerns, the annual Sowbug Roundup scheduled for next weekend (March 26-28) in Mountain Home has been canceled.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 663.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the clarity is murky. Surface temperature as of Tuesday afternoon was 49 degrees. Water level is high, up 2.5 feet. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair using crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs. Fish around the rocky points and into the spawning areas. White bass are good. They’re being caught in the backwaters and the spawning bays. Throw anything white such as swimbaits and Rooster Tails. Walleye are good. They’re around gravel points with bushes in the evening. They’ll hit jerkbaits. View Del’s YouTube videos (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for the latest in what’s biting and what Del is using, plus his tips on how to fish the various lures.
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 559.32 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “I fished this past week in Bennett's Bayou for stripers. The warm weather, full moon and the lake drawdown changed the shad bait pattern. Most of the bait was on the flat by Fouts and the big flat before the Walker's arm of the bayou. The warm, strong winds early in the week moved the shad up the creek arms, and shad was very thick in both arms of Bennett's. I caught fish on the flat by Fouts and on the big flat, but it was slow because the big bait balls were not there. I moved up to the right arm and found bait 20 feet thick the length of the right arm, but by then it was late in the morning and I only had one strike. My son was in the left arm and was looking for bait. The water temperature way up the arm was 64 degrees. He found lots of bait and crappie. The crappie had moved up into 2 feet of water feeding on small shad. The anglers who figured that out were catching them very fast.
"The patterns all changed with the cold rain and temperature drop Saturday. Sunday morning the highest water temperature was 50 degrees and the creeks were 49 degrees. The upper creek arms dropped 8 degrees. The bait moved out to the flat to find their comfort zone. Sean and I had a two-boat trip and we started off with a bang. We each had a little boy and the parents and grandparents split the party up. Each boy caught 12-pound stripers and numerous small stripers. The fish were caught on the big flat before Walker's arm in 40-plus feet of water. We were using small gizzard shad and shiners on longlines and downlines.
“With all the rain and cold weather this week I expect the window to catch stripers is very early and then late afternoon. Until we can get some sunshine and warm south winds, the all-day bite we normally have will not happen.
“Keep fishing the creeks for crappie, find a brushpile with the tops at 15 feet or deeper, and you will find crappie. Minnows, jigs and small spoons are catching limits of crappie. The best three creeks right now are Big Creek, Bennett's Bayou and Pigeon Creek.”
(updated 3-11-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing has been good for most species over the last week. The weather has been fairly stable with cool mornings and warmer afternoons, but the lake level changes has affected the fish most, in my opinion. The Corps of Engineers has opened up a flood gate to evacuate some excess water from Norfork Lake. Our lake is dropping roughly 6 inches a day. What I have noticed is that a lot of the baitfish are moving out of the backs of the creeks and into the main lake or other coves that are close to the deep river channel. This has mainly affected the striped bass in the lake, but will also affect where the largemouth will start to feed.
“The last several days I have been fishing back in a major creek in 15-40 feet of water. Each day I have noticed fewer baitfish in the area. When I moved out toward the mouth of the creek, I found more bait, but they have moved into coves and sometimes all the way to the back of the cove. When I find a large concentration of bait, I have found many largemouth and a few spotted bass feeding heavily. Yesterday in two different coves, in roughly 15-20 feet of water there were many largemouth feeding close to the surface, as well as right on the bank. Small swimbaits and crankbaits are both working, as are jigs worked along the bottom, from 5 feet of water out to 20 feet. I have also gotten into some good topwater action for largemouth. This action has only occurred when there is a lot of bait in the area. Topwater action can occur any time of day, so keep your eyes open.
“Hybrid and striped bass are continually moving around in search of their food source. The common saying, when you find the bait the stripers will be nearby, held true most of the time in recent days. The striped bass are feeding in very shallow water in the early morning and also in the latter part of the afternoon. Start looking at the shallow side of the lake for this species. They are on points with brush and cover. This is normal for springtime fishing, but it is happening a little earlier than usual. The other type of areas where stripers are showing up is in the backs of coves, but only if the bait has moved in. I have been trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows, size 7 and 9. The 7 dives about 15 feet and the 9 dives about 20 feet. I am hugging the shoreline staying in 18-30 feet of water. I have found that the stripers are also relating to brush piles, so don’t hesitate to troll over the brush, but be prepared to lose a few lures. The other method of fishing for stripers is to cast out suspending jerkbaits or 6-inch swimbaits. Yesterday afternoon a few of our guests found stripers right on the bank, on a long shallow point. They were casting a swimbait up in 5 feet of water and retrieving slowing and getting hammered, almost as soon as the bait hit the water. With these shallow-feeding fish, I would have to say that the stripers are continuing to feed after sunset, so if you have interest in some exciting fishing, start slow-rolling a suspending jerkbait on shallow points after dark. Cast your bait as close to the shoreline as possible, then retrieve to the boat very, very slowly. I like to keep the bait on the surface or close to it. Some other fishermen like to jerk it once to get the bait down a couple of feet, then start the retrieval. Try both and see what the fish want.
“Like Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page for frequent fishing report updates. Our fishing derby for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort guests has also started, so if you like a little friendly fishing competition and a chance to win some cash or free stays for your big catch, give us a call at 870-492-5113. Our derby runs throughout the year.
“Norfork Lake is dropping about 6 inches per day with both generators and a flood gate partially open. The current level is 556.04 feet msl. The surface water temperature yesterday morning was 49-52 degrees. The lake is clearing, but still stained. If you head upriver and up in the Bennett’s area, the water is still brown from the heavy northern rain a week ago. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 3-18-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 2.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had heavy flows and no wadable water. The Army Corps of Engineers has opened the spillway gates on Beaver, Table Rock and Norfork dams in an effort to lower the water level on these lakes quicker.The Norfork is fishing better. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole from 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 very well. The weekends can be pretty busy. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 3-18-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. The smallmouths are much less active in the cold weather. 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 Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,127.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says the Beaver Lake area had some pretty good rain last week. Both of the main river arms came up big and that will work its way into main lake. "Gauges on the White River came up from 3.5 feet to almost 14 feet the other day," he said. "That amount of rise will bring lots of muddy water with it into the lake.
“(Tuesday) the mud line is all the way to War Eagle Marina area. The Army Corps of Engineers is trying to lower both Beaver and Table Rock lakes with flood gates open off and on last week. Beaver has little room for water, and I am really hoping we do not get the same amount of water in our system the next couple of weeks. With gates open, muddy water will be drawn a long ways into main Beaver Lake. This will allow lake to warm faster and will bring all species into springtime pre-spawn mode. Bass fishing for those going out is surging forward, and some nice bass for Beaver standards have been caught. I have heard of jerkbait bites and some square-bill activity up shallow in stained water. Stripers are still on a good bite. Reports from mid-lake area are good on brooders. Crappie are good, with fish moving up some from last week. They are scattered from brush deep as 25 feet to as shallow as 6 feet. You need to move. I use a 5-minute rule. If I do not catch a fish in 5 minutes I move on to next mark. If you are sure fish are on a mark and you cannot get a bite, then you need to move on. You can turn a school from negative to a positive bite, but if that first bite doesn't happen quick, I am on to another mark. This is when belief in your electronics will help you put more fish in the live well. Many times I mark a nice group of crappie and cannot buy a bite and move 100 yards to a new mark and it is wide open.”
Walleye, Jon adds, are in the river arms and, once water clears, the bite will pick up. Catfishing should be turning on for targeting them. White bass are in the rivers and the spawn is right around the corner.
“Keep fingers crossed on rain events. We need a break, and I hope we can get ahead of this high water.”
(updated 3-18-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is a little murky. Surface water temperature Monday afternoon was 50 degrees. Water level is high. Crappie are good. Anglers are catching them in the river arms, and they’re around brushpiles. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. A small crankbait is working well. Jigs also will work. Try using crawdad colors. Walleye are biting on minnows and plastic worms, and results are good up in the river arms. White bass appear to be just starting up. No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 3-18-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing this past week has been a little tricky with the water being released from the dam -- not so much the bite, but the different methods employed to catch fish. "I personally like fishing with flowing water. The trout bite has been good. Most have been biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Jigs and spoons have done the trick as well. White bass are starting to make their move up the river. Try fishing for them in 14-20 feet of water. U-rigs and various hard baits are catching them, too. Most of this action is between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Kentucky bass are being caught in chunk rock and around structure. Soft plastics and hard baits have been working well for these guys. This week's hot spot has been toward Beaver with the various species. If you would like more information, please contact me through my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). Have fun, stay dry and be safe!"
(updated 3-18-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water level is still normal. No other conditions were reported. Crappie reports have been fair. Minnows and jigs are being used. No reports on bream, black bass or catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(update 3-11-2020) Ralph F. Donnangelo, park superintendent, says fishing continues to remain slow with cold cloudy waters and unsettled weather. A few locals have been brave enough to venture out on the lake, but stringer bustin’ catches do not seem to be materializing. “However, I did manage to catch a snippet of information from an overheard conversation the other day – it appears there is some developing smallmouth bass action toward the north end of the lake around the Frog Bayou inlet. Sadly, details were few and minimal at best. There was also some word of black crappie beginning to stir in about 15 feet of water around the flooded timber areas toward the southeast side of the lake before you get to the dam.”
(updated 3-18-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is muddy but clearing. Water level is high. Crappie reports were fair. Minnows and jigs are working. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits, swim jigs and regular jigs. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 3-18-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said clarity at Crown Lake is “dingy, stained,” and the surface water temperature Tuesday afternoon was 50 degrees. The water level is up 1.5 feet above normal. Good news from the bass department, though, as black bass being caught in good numbers on jigs. Nothing reported on crappie, bream or catfish, though.
(updated 3-18-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park said fish are starting to bite despite cool water temperatures. Water is high, and the temperature Sunday morning was 41 degrees. Best moon times in March occure March 21-27, she said. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair on minnows, jigs and worms. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and live worms. Catfishing is fair. Use worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver and Catfish Pro Blood.
(updated 3-11-2020) Seth Boone, the park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says the lake remains drained for the ongoing repair work; however, the state park has “continued being the light in the dark for bait. We are looking forward to the lake coming back in about a year for guests to enjoy.” The park’s bait shop is in close proximity to many other fishing destinations in northeast Arkansas while Lake Poinsett is repaired.
(updated 3-18-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides says water levels are running at 514 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity is poor. "We had a monsoon move through on Saturday. River got a muddy look to it. It's starting to go back to green today
(Monday). Should be good by midweek to fish if it would quit raining. Stocking the first of this month has increased getting ready for warm weather. Plenty of trout in the river and smallmouth bass were hitting great before this last rain (accompanying photo of Carl Bedel, fishing the Spring with Mark under wintry-looking skies).
"Olive lead-eye Woolies were super-hot last Friday before this rain. We had been catching big browns and nice smallies. Not many browns lately with the higher water. They are there, just not fishing the right thing."
For spin fishing in the higher water, Mark says, trout cranks by Troutmagnet.com and Berkley Flicker Shad have been doing well getting down to the fish. "When the rain stops, the fishing will be fantastic," he said.
(updated 3-18-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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).
John also said of the Spring River this week, "While most of us have been watching the high water roll by on our tailwaters (rivers below dams subject to wide variations in generation) for the past year, several local fly-fishers have been wade fishing the Spring River on a regular basis and have been doing well. Though there are two dams on the Spring River, they were built for the Rural Electrification Program, a New Deal agency, in the 1930s and are no longer used to generate electricity. As a result, we do not get the high water levels from generation on the Spring River that we get from the dams on the White, Norfork and Little Red rivers.
"I have a special place in my heart for the Spring. This is where my brother, Dan, taught me to fly-fish almost 40 years ago. If that were not enough, this is where I met the love of my life: my wife, Lori. I was teaching a fly-fishing class for my old fly-fishing club, the Mid South Fly Fishers, and she was my student.
"The Spring has a lot going for it. It is a natural spring-fed river. Its source is Mammoth Spring, the largest natural spring in Arkansas and the seventh-largest spring in the world. This spring was discovered by none other than Daniel Boone, though I think the local Native Americans knew that it was there. It has been stocked with rainbow and brown trout and, in addition, it has sustainable populations of walleye and chain pickerel. It has about 12 miles of trout water that is fairly easy to access.
"There are a few problems with the Spring River. It is the most popular stream to float in Arkansas. There are several outfitters that provide canoes, kayaks and rafts to individuals and groups that want to float the river. Most of this action takes place in the summer, traditionally from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It can get pretty busy and is a nuisance to anglers. During cooler weather, this is not a problem. During warm weather you can fish the upper section around the Lassiter Access and not be bothered.
"My other concern is the difficult wading. There is a strong current in many spots and a large portion of the bottom is bedrock, which can be very slick. As a result, I always wear studded felt-soled wading boots and carry a wading staff.
"My favorite place to fish on the Spring River is the Dam 3 Access. It is easy to find just south of the town of Mammoth Spring and has plenty of parking. There is a lot of water to fish and it holds some really good fish. My other favorite is Lassiter’s in Mammoth Spring. It is easy to get to and the wading is pretty easy.
"Fly selection is pretty simple. I have had the most success with an olive Woolly Bugger. I have also caught a lot of trout on San Juan worms, pheasant tail nymphs and Y2Ks. My current favorite rig is a beadhead flashback pheasant tail size 14 under a red San Juan worm with a bit of lead and a strike indicator. I have never done well with dries or soft hackles.
"If you are tired of looking at high levels of generation on our local streams, then give the Spring River a try."
(updated 3-18-2020) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 3-18-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said the river is murky and is 11 feet above normal. They’ve had no fishing activity to report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 3-18-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 3-18-2020) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 3-18-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 3-18-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
As of Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 262.7 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, Millwood Lake is back on a rapid rise from conservation pool level with recent thunderstorms, up 3.5 feet above normal conservation pool, near 262.7 feet msl; the discharge around 11,000 cfs in Little River according Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday is around 242 feet msl with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels, especially during high flow river conditions. Continue to use extreme caution in Little River navigation this week where logs and floaters may be present this week.
Surface temps as of Monday ranged 50-60 degrees. Clarity in the oxbows with the recent 3.5-foot rise is still good. Little River stain is more prevalent this week, muddy in locations near Cossatot inflow and Wilton, with increase of current, and with random broken timber and debris.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: With Millwood Lake back on a rapid rise above normal pool, increased current in Little River and increased stain, largemouth bass females continue staging on structure and drops near spawning flats, and occasionally pulling up shallow to feed near vertical structure. Male largemouths continue roaming in areas of 5-8 feet depth creeks, and bedding flats on warm afternoons, near vertical structure. Heavy ¾-ounce One-knocker Rat-L-Traps, Brazalo Chatterbaits, and Spinnerbaits continue working over the past few weeks, and Echo 1.75 square-bills and Bill Lewis SB-57 MDJ crankbaits are getting decent responses over the past couple weeks from these active roaming bass. Anywhere a creek channel is close by to the deeper creek bends or vertical structure and drops into the oxbows, where stumps and creek mouths drop, have held some decent-size bass over the past several weeks and they were moving shallow on afternoons, best responses from the heat of the afternoon (11 a.m.-3 p.m.). The largemouths were much more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire and Horseshoe Lakes where the water clarity was drastically better, water temps were warmer, and calm/no river current present. The best responses from Bass we are seeing hitting on Rat-L-Traps are on the Red Chrome, Toledo Gold, Ozark Craw, and Red Rayburn Craw. Baby Brush Hogs & lizards continue taking some decent 15-18-inch male largemouth nass roaming flats in the clearer water sections of the oxbows, away from river current. With the water temps continuing into the mid-50s the males are active and females continue staging. Where you find shallow 5-8-foot depth flats with stumps can find a few decent 2-3 pound male bass roaming on warm afternoons, if near to a quick creek bend drop into 8-12 feet structure. More bedmaking activities are being currently observed now. South Hickory Golf Course pockets continue warming up, and are seeing pre-spawn male bass run in and out near stumps and vegetation, as well. We continue to see good reactions from 2-3 pound males over the past couple weeks, pitching lizards and Baby Brush Hogs, Pit Bosses and Beavers around cypress trees, flooded buckbrush, bushes and back of pockets seeing a rapid lake pool rise. An occasional pre-spawn female largemouth will randomly hit if you're in the zone.
Best reaction colors of chatterbaits and spinnerbaits we continue using lately have been the Millwood Mayhem Bream, Spot Remover, or Arkansas River Shad. Best depth zones we are targeting are cypress tree knees from 6-10 feet, with 12-15 feet of depth nearby. We have been seeing the male Bass roaming the flats through the dead lily pad stems from 2-4 pounds each, moving in shallow 3-5 feet deep bedding areas. The larger females are staging further out depth zones, near points or creek channel bends and vertical structure drops where broken timber and stumps are present. Also, 6-8 inch lizards in black neon, blackberry, California 420, and watermelon magic have been picking up some cruising Bass near stumps, on drops into 10-foot structure.
Trick worms, trick sticks, and twitch worms in watermelon candy, black/blue, blue ice, and blue/purple ice, continue working over the past several days in 5-8 feet depths on stumps and cypress tree knees. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, or Pumpkinseed, by dead-sticking on stumps and cypress knees using an extremely-light wire hook, caught a few nice male and female Bass roaming in and out of flats to and from the creek channels. Several nice-size pre-spawn female Largemouth were hitting jigs using Texas Craw, Millwood Mayhem Bream, and Black/blue, using a black frog plastic trailer, upriver, over the last week.
* White bass: As we have been telling everyone for several weeks, the Whites continue their annual spawning migration along Little River and mouths of the oxbows and creek dumps, and running, up Little River. It continues this week also, in much the same areas as last week, (see photo) but the muddy, sudden inflow of rain and runoff, has hampered the White Bass aggressive nature. We continue seeing huge schools of White Bass on our electronics upriver between McGuire Oxbow Lake and Patterson Shoals area, and last week, catching some of the largest White Bass I have ever seen caught on Millwood, many numbers exceeding 3-3.25 pounds each. The sudden inflow of heavy rain and runoff and muddy water, has temporarily slowed the rapid-fire bite we were getting last week. Trolling along upper Little River will still pick up White Bass from the schools still present if you do not have electronics to find the school. Heavy thumping ¾- and 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome, or Splatterback colors, cranked very slow and deep behind primary or secondary points caught some decent, 2-3 pound whites over the past month from 9-16 feet deep. A chrome ¾-ounce Cordell hammered spoon with a red/white hair bucktail vertical jigging behind primary points near the bottom where stumps were located on the backside of points, were connecting with a few nice sized 2-3 pound Whites over the past several weeks. Swimming jigs with a heavy thumping tail swimbait trailer picked up a few White Bass in 10-14 feet swimming and dropping the bait. Deep running Fat Free Shad cranks in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad, H&H Spinnerbaits, red/white Rooster-Tails, Little Cleos, Little Georges, War Eagle Underspins and swimbaits, all have been catching the White Bass over the past two weeks. With the increase of warm water temps into the mid-50s, the white bass spawning run up Little River near Patterson Shoals for annual migration continues. The white bass spawning run is in gear now. (Photo of Tim Narlow of Baton Rouge, La., provided by Mike Siefert).
* Spotted bass (Kentucky bass): No reports.
* Crappie: Minnows and jigs were working last week near standing timber and creek channels in the clearer sections of the oxbows and golf course pockets, from 8-12 feet deep.
* Catfish: Cats continue biting consistent over the past few weeks with the increased current along Little River. Channel Cats and Blues remain good on Punch Bait and cut baits, over the last week on trot lines from 8-14 feet of depth in current.
(updated 3-18-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyflishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 548.78 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said similar conditions are evident here and at DeGray Lake (see below), and that despite the rising and stained-to-muddy water the female crappie and spotted bass are stacking up on the staging brushpiles, 6-8 feet deep, and the males are between there and the shoreline looking for the right conditions. As soon as the water warms back up, they’ll be spawning.
(updated 3-18-2020) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is 547.19 feet msl, or 0.81 feet below full pool of 548 feet, which is up almost 3 feet from last week. Water temps have warmed up to the mid-50s and the upper portion of the lake has some color. The temps were actually higher midweek last week until we got all the cool rain. Fishing is really starting to get good. Bass are trying to move from the winter depths to the spring spawn. Right now, if you find the shad you will find the bass. Bandit 200 Crankbaits in crawdad colors are working on rocky points and flats really well. Booyah Hard Knockers in red or gold are also working well in these areas. Bass can also be caught on Booyah and War Eagle jigs. Black/blue and green pumpkin colors work best depending on water clarity. Suspending Super Rogues and Super Rogue Jr’s are also working very well on windy points. Chrome/Blue and Clown colors are working well. Crappie have been good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep on minnows and Bobby Garland Jigs.
(updated 3-18-2020) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, had no report.
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.20 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said that despite the rising and stained-to-muddy water the female crappie and spotted bass are stacking up on the staging brushpiles, 6-8 feet deep, and the males are between there and the shoreline looking for the right conditions. As soon as the water warms back up, they’ll be spawning.
(updated 3-18-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Well, I guess the water level is the big story here. Water is receding daily. Water color is murky at best. The water temperature is running in the mid-50s. The lake level is at 412.37 feet msl and dropping. White bass and some hybrids are being caught in area around Cox Creek. Trolling shad-colored crankbaits, Alabama rigs and spoons produce in certain areas. Use your electronics to locate schools of bait fish and predator fish. No black bass report this week.”
John adds that crappie fishing is slow. The best report is around the Shouse Ford area. The fish are near the bank around cover. Usually around 6’ deep. The bite is slow but should improve soon. Jigs are the best. Bobby Garland Tennessee Shad and Baby Bass are good colors.
“Better water and weather coming soon. Be ready and stay safe on the water.”
White Oak Lake
(updated 3-18-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said White Oak Upper and Lower are murky. The surface temperature is 58 degrees as of Tuesday afternoon, with water that is a little high. Crappie are good. They are in 6-8 feet depth and biting minnows and jigs. No bream, black bass or catfish were reported.
(updated 3-18-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.
(updated 3-11-2020) Donald Ramirez, the new owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said Monday the lake was a little choppy and the water level is low. Crappie fishing is fair on crappie minnows and jigs. White bass are also biting jigs, crappie minnows and other lures, with fair reports. No reports on bream, black bass or catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 3-18-2020) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 3-18-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that both lakes Hamilton and Catherine have been refilled to their normal summertime levels. Heavy rain beginning Wednesday and continuing through Thursday of this week could possibly force Lake Ouachita to rise back into the flood pool. Should this scenario occur, Entergy will schedule very heavy generation below all area dams to rid the system of excess water. Open flood gates will most likely accompany this heavy flow. All boaters and anglers alike should use extreme caution if attempting to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace. Two to three more inches of rainfall could hit certain areas and will create a treacherous situation in our area lakes. It could take several weeks for the affected areas to return to normal. Thousands of trout are present and thriving in Lake Catherine. When lake conditions stabilize, fishermen can begin to catch limits of trout using redworms or nightcrawlers under a bobber or fished just off the bottom. Worm presentations are often overlooked and will consistently produce results when other baits fail. Other live baits such as wax and meal worms will also perform well used in the same manner. Live minnows tend to catch larger trout that search for bigger prey. PowerBait and Trout Magnets in basic colors are two of the best methods of catching rainbow trout known to man and should never be forgotten by anglers who are serious about catching fish. Fly-fishermen that cast San Juan worms or micro-jigs in black or white under strike indicators can expect a solid bite. Egg patterns in white or yellow will also work very well in slack or current flow. Woolly Buggers have to be included in the best-of fly patterns and should be present in every fly angler’s tackle. The middle of March should be the beginning of good trout fishing on Lake Catherine. The walleye spawn is on in the tailrace with fish spotted in the shallows at dawn and dusk. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current will draw strikes from hungry walleye guarding their beds. Carolina-rigs tipped with live minnows or nightcrawlers is a proven technique in current or slack water. Vertical-jigging spoons in deeper water is often a forgotten method of catching walleye and will outperform many other efforts.
Trout will be king for the next few months, but the crappie spawn is due to begin in the next several weeks. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace must always wear a life jacket and should be aware of the generation schedules.
(updated 3-11-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that they had mostly clear skies with cool mornings and mild afternoons for the past week. For this week, a frontal boundary will bring extended chances for rain. The Little Rock NWS forecasts rainfall is likely with a few strong storms possible, but overall severe risk remains low until Friday. Toward Saturday the frontal boundary will gradually lift back north and bring another wave of heavier rain over most of the area. There are no significant concerns with severe weather, but water issues cannot be ruled out. Rain chances exist throughout the forecast period to next week.
Visibility is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 54 degrees. As of Tuesday (March 3) the Corps of Engineers has reported the Ozark Lock & Dam 12 tailwater is near 343 feet msl and flowing about 49,000 cfs. The Ozark tailwater has fallen slightly, but no major changes. Ozark has been generating power consistently this past week. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has risen some from 337.6 to 338.2 feet msl. The Corps of Engineers has reported the Dardanelle tailwater is near 8 feet (289 feet msl) and flowing about 54,000 cfs. Dardanelle’s tailwater has fallen from 61,000 cfs to about 45,000 cfs. Dardanelle has been generating power consistently this past week.
The Lake Dardanelle State Park tournament hosted the ABA Open Series on Saturday and the TBF High School State Championship on Sunday. The bass fishing was hit and miss for most anglers. About two-thirds of the field weighed fish each day and there were a few 4- and 5- pound bass weighed. Most reported using spinnerbaits (some mimicked crawfish) around points and jetties. Others used crankbaits and chatterbaits. Some of the bass were carrying eggs but Jason says he did not see many worked-over tailfins, which is a sign a nesting. For tournament scheduling and updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 3-18-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred X-press all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels are back to normal pool with water clarity fair and visibility of up to 3-4 feet. Lake temps are fluctuating rapidly in either direction. The median temperature seem to be around 55 degrees. With the onset of semi-heavy rains and old nighttime temps, most fish species have reverted to the early pre-spawn locations. Bass have pulled back and gone into the creek channels at 15-25 feet and can be caught on Damiki rigs, spoons, drop-shot rigs and Ned rigs. With the stained water, consider switching colors to blacks and dark blues. Think outside the norm a little bit and try switching up normal plastics with tubes, crawdads, chigger craws and, of course, Finesse Jigs in black and blue with craw-type trailers. If the weather warms up this week, then jerkbaits and black or white chatterbaits and spinnerbaits should start to produce again.
Crappie have made the transition to spawn and are no longer centrally located over deep brush. Try searching for brushpiles or standing timber in 20 feet or less with minnows and pink or purple jigs.
“Go out and get quarantined on a lake for a while folks. It’s time well spent, especially if your kids are out of school. Make the best of it! Good luck and GoGreeson!”
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 351.92 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake clarity is fair with a surface water temperature ranging 58-61 degrees. Water level is high but, they report that as for overall fishing, “couldn’t ask for better for now.” Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. They are biting at 6 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Specifically, black/chartreuse jigs are taking the most crappie. The males are toward the shoreline. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, beaver liver, redworms and shad.
As of Thursday, March 19, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.30 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. Jerkbaits, crawfish colored crankbaits and Carolina rigs are starting to produce good stringers. Walleye are picking up. Shad-colored crankbaits fished on river points are a good starting point for these fish. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on Alabama rigs, hair jigs or jerkbaits on the west end of the lake. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. No reports on catfish. The water temperature is up to 54-56 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level Tuesday evening was 576.78 feet msl. Call 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 388.89 feet msl (normal pool: 387.00 feet msl; top of the flood pool is 419.00 feet ms.). The tailwater level Wednesday was 362.50 feet msl.
(updated 3-18-2020) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the lake is muddy and high. The temperature is running 50 degrees in the main lake and 4 degrees in the canals. Ronnie said he and his clients only caught one good fish lately shooting the canals. Ronnie also said he informed clients not to go to Horseshoe for a while until lake conditions are better. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for the latest information, recent photos when the fishing was hot, and more on the old Mississippi River oxbow not far from Hughes.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 3-18-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says activity has been hit or miss this week on both Bear Creek and Storm Creek lakes. “Most of our anglers are fishing with minnows and are trying to attract crappie, but we are also having some souls attempt to find the bass that are hiding.”
She adds, “As of now, Mississippi River State Park and all of its facilities are open to the public. We are temporarily suspending all public interpretive programming, but our campgrounds and day-use areas remain open.” Any changes during this ever-involving situation, she says, will be listed here, and patrons of the park can call the phone number listed above.
(updated 3-11-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says the White River at Clarendon is 28.3 feet and falling, “but we still have a ways to go before the parking lot is dry and accessible. Now is a great time to get out and fish lakes that are not highly affected by large amounts of rainfall. Good luck!”