May 20, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for May 20, 2020. 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
Top photo and left: Young Garrett Lemons is wide-eyed and thrilled with a bluegill he caught at Lake Greeson recently. As several of our Fishing Report regulars note this week (including Lisa Spencer at Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton, who supplied the photo), bream can provide the perfect introduction to fishing for children and hook them for life. And as May heads toward its close with Memorial Day weekend upcoming, bream are bedding and active throughout Arkansas lakes. Toss them a redworm (or a cricket), as little Garrett did for his bluegill.
We love the photos that have been sent our way since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March. Fishing provides a great way to have fun while social distancing. Things may be easing up somewhat, reports say, but we all must remain cautious. Grab your youngster(s) and find a fishing hole near you. Read further to find some ideal spots for bream, crappie, bass, catfish and more (hint: Lisa's got some great reports from her area lakes and streams, including Lake Norrell, and we've got the photos to prove it!). Send us your photos directly to email@example.com for publication in this newsletter and in the online Weekly Fishing Report.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir over the next several months. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. 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 the lake until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-20-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake has the expected normal stain, while water is running a little high. Anglers are catching good amounts of bream on worms, crickets and hand-tied jigs. Crappie reports are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass can be caught in good numbers with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, frogs, chatterbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish reports are good as well; stink bait, trotline minnows, goldfish, bream and nightcrawlers are all getting bit.
In the photo at right, one lucky angler caught the quinessential redear bream in Lake Conway recently.
Little Red River
(updated 5-20-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clearing after the heavy rain last Saturday night. The lake level is 467.29 feet msl, which is 4 feet above normal. The Corps of Engineers has been generating on a 12-hour two-unit schedule or a 24-hour 1-unit schedule according to the power demand and the level of the White River. It is best to check each day after 4 p.m. for the next day’s schedule.
The caddis hatch continues, with some days heavier than others. The best fly selection seems to be caddis pupa, caddis emergers, hare’s ear nymphs and midge pupa. The best fishing is by staying ahead of the generation if possible.
Greg adds, “With the holiday this weekend a lot of folks will be heading to the lakes and rivers. Please use caution and watch for the high or rising water on the river. Small craft, kayaks and canoes should only be used by experienced boaters during the generation. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day. Good health, and Good Fishing!”
(updated 5-13-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) says the Greers Ferry Lake level is still above seasonal pool. “Right now the generation pattern is unpredictable, but we are seeing days that have lower water providing wading opportunities.” 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 Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends San Juan worms, caddis pupa, hare’s ear, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and white bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 467.31 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 467.32 feet msl and falling with generation. It is 4.78 feet above normal pool and with the rain that is forecasts we should see another rise, which will help with the fish and shad spawns. The overall bite is good all over lakes and rivers for all species and should continue until mid-July. Crappie are still spawning in lake, and some also in rivers and small creeks; use jigs or minnows and or a beetle spin for best bite. Walleye are done in rivers; some have not got back to lake yet, while lake fish are trying to spawn. Drag crawlers on a variety of methods or a small Rite Bite Senko on jighead in 15-28 feet of water. Bream are coming off a good spawn and preparing for another; use crickets, crawlers, small crankbaits or small inline spinners for best bite behind, in, and in front of bushes out to 15 feet. Black bass are still spawning while some guarding nests and some headed out to deeper water. A lot of techniques are working, and there is good topwater action as well. Catfish are eating all over lakes and rivers, and the flatheads are getting ready to spawn. A variety of ways and baits are working for the cats. Hybrid bass and white bass are gorging on shad all over lakes and rivers; spoons, inline spinners, topwater baits and swimbaits all are working in 10-30 feet of water. Shad are spawning all over lake as well; find the shad and the fish will be close by.
(updated 5-13-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says smallmouth bass continue to bite well on the peanut butter and jelly jig on the edges of bushes, and they’re also hitting the Carolina-rig in 10-20 feet of water. Topwater baits also are working on the smallmouth. Largemouth bass also will hit a PBJ jig on the edge of bushes. Crappie are favoring beetle spins around the bushes on the upper end of the lake.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-20-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said anglers say white bass fishing is good. The white bass are being found in deeper water areas in a 4-5 foot depth. Bream are good on redworms and crickets, with the best activity coming around the shoreline. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are being found around the shoreline and are biting well on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers and trotline minnows. The lake is clear and the water level is just a little high, as they describe it.
NOTE: <meta charset="utf-8">The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has issued an advisory for Overcup Lake until further notice. The temporary advisory is the result of a blue-green algae bloom. AGFC biologists said boating and fishing are allowed but urge visitors to avoid the algae when on the lake. Anglers are encouraged to wash and cook fish appropriately. The AGFC posted signs to alert visitors that swimming is not allowed on the lake until the algae bloom has dissipated or tests confirm that it is safe. The AGFC already prohibits swimming in Lake Overcup, but any incidental contact should be limited. Pets should be discouraged from swimming, wading or drinking the water. Any area of skin that has come into contact with algae should be washed with soap and water. If your pet does ingest lake water and becomes increasingly lethargic or vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some types of blue-green algae produce natural toxins or poisons. When these algae die and break down, toxins can be released into the water. The AGFC, in coordination with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, will continue monitoring the blue-green algae level. For more information on the advisory status on Lake Overcup call the AGFC Mayflower Regional Office at (877) 470-3309 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Also, employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Lake Overcup over the next several months focused on controlling alligatorweed. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. 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 the lake up until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-20-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said Overcup’s water level is up 1 feet above normal, while surface temperature Tuesday was around 72 degrees. Clarity is off merely from the rain and wind. Black bass are doing well on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing also are doing well on jugs and trotlines baited with perch or big trotline minnows. Bream are slow, but they were doing well before the temperature change and the rain. Crappie are being caught on small minnows and jigs. Some crappie are being found in 3 feet of water and others in 6 feet depth. Johnny says, “Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop on Highway 9 for all your fishing needs.” Also, visit Johnny’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for the latest updates and photos. In the photo left, two young men pulled a nice cat out of Overcup recently.
(updated 5-6-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake is slightly stained. Surface water temperature is ranging 65-68 degrees and the level is 4 feet high. Bream are good, and are best when the sun is out in the heat of the day. David says he has crickets with more coming Wednesday, and that’s what the bream like best now. Crappie also are good. They are at 10-12 feet depth on top of underwater brush, and they are pulling out of the buckbrush. Minnows and jigs, naturally, with Monkey Milk and Purple Monkey jigs along with tri-color crappie tubes being the best choices. Black bass are good. Look for them at 4-5 feet depth. No baits were suggested. Catfishing is good on jugs. Use size 20 trotline minnows. David hears that white bass are also biting well.
(updated 5-13-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports that water temperature as of Wednesday morning has been ranging in the mid- to upper 60s. Largemouth bass are good. Most of them can be found around the grass and in 8-12 feet of water at both dusk and dawn, biting a variety of lures. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits for the best results. As an indicator of the bass bite, Stephen Dillon and Barry Wolfe teamed to catch a 12.08-pound stringer to win Tuesday night’s bass tournament (the Tuesday tournaments are ongoing now). That total edged Eric Wallace and Sam Lowrey with 11.7 pounds of fish. Phillip Cole and Jason Bargil hooked a 5.08-pound Big Bass.
Kentucky bass are good. There are some reports of them being found outside the grass line, while they can also be found in 12-16 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass fishing is fair. Some reportedly can still be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet of water. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-type baits. The crappie bite is fair. There have been reports of them being found in 12-14 feet depth, while others can still be found mixed in with the white bass. Use jigs or minnows. The bream bite is slow. Bream are found scattered in 6-10 feet of water; use crickets or worms. Catfishing reports are good; use chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish.
(updated 5-20-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers are still catching catfish on various types of bait. Chicken liver seems to be the favorite, but minnows, black salties, worms, crawfish and stink baits are working, too. Crappie fishing has been slow. No. 6 and pink minnows have caught a few this week but they have been scattered and hard to find. Bass have been biting pretty well on minnows and soft plastics like Zoom Trick Worms, lizards and Brush Hogs. Bream have been really eating redworms and crickets. Fish around the lake in shallow water with grass and/or moss. Set a bobber so your bait is just off the bottom or above the moss and cast into any open spots. Keep your bait clean of moss or grass and be sure the point of your hook is covered with whatever bait you're using.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-20-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been slow this week and all reports have been of small fish hitting small minnows. Bream have been biting crickets and redworms fished around the grass and close to the banks. Bass have been biting minnows, black salties, watermelon/red plastic worms and Kalin’s Grubs. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, worms bait shrimp and stink bait.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-20-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says, “As I write this report the river level is at 16.1 feet. That's about 11 feet higher than I like it. But until the rains came, the fishing was good. Bass were biting minnows, crawfish, Zoom Lizards and Baby Brush Hogs, Zing Tail Spinners and crawfish crankbaits. Catfish were biting well on black salties, goldfish, crawfish, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Crappie fishing was fair with No. 6 and pink minnows in deeper holes and back waters. Walleye fishing has been slow for a couple of weeks now and customers seem to be shifting towards other fish now. Bream fishing can always be fun and entertaining on the river when it's at a safe fishable level. Light line and tackle with crickets, redworms or even a small, fly-type jig will catch red bellies and other sunfish until you lose count or just get tired of catching them. It's a great way to get a kid into fishing. If you want a fairly easy bite with a lot more fight and a challenging fish to land, cast a live minnow close to a surfacing gar. They're plentiful in the Saline and are fun to catch.”
(updated 5-20-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been good early in the mornings. Wacky-rigged Zoom Zlinkys, Trick Worms and Carolina-rigged lizards in pumpkin, green pumpkin and watermelon/red are hot baits for Norrell bass right now. Fish around and under docks or close to any shallow water cover. Catfish are biting at dusk and after dark. Jugs and trotlines baited with black salties, goldfish and crawfish have been working well. If you want to catch them on rod-and-reel try chicken livers or nightcrawlers and fish on the bottom. Crappie seem to have gone deep again and the bite has slowed. Minnows and Kalin’s Grubs have been catching a few good ones still but no big numbers. Bream are about to be the target fish for a few weeks. Norrell has some good bream fishing when the bream fishing overall is good. Crickets and redworms are the perfect big bream baits. Fish around docks and in shallow water where you find beds, but don't dismiss the deeper water just because it's time for the spawn. Drop a cricket or worm on a tight line around any cover in deep water and you'll find some big redear here and there. In the accompanying photo, Dallas Curtis and Bob Elrod caught some nice bass in Lake Norrell fishing plastic worms wacky-style.
(updated 5-20-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting at dusk around the shoreline where the bream are beginning to move up. Minnows, black salties, chicken liver or a big wad of nightcrawler will get their attention and get the bites. Bream are getting ready to get on beds and the bite is slowly getting good. Crickets and redworms will catch a mess now with a little moving around. Soon you'll be able to sit tight in the right spot and get a stringer or live well full. Crappie are still biting fair for some but have moved back out to deep water. Minnows, Bobby Garland Slab Slayer Jigs and Beaver Bottom Jigs in black/chartreuse are doing a pretty good job right now. Bass have been biting wacky-rigged worms, Carolina-rigged worms, lizards and Brush Hogs. Watermelon/red and green pumpkin are hot colors right now. Black or black/blue buzzbaits and topwater baits are working well in low light hours.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 5-20-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said he didn’t have a lot to report from the last couple of days as the river went on a high rise again. But earlier last week, a longtime customer and his wife stopped in after not haven’t been in the area in three years, the flow was around 60,000 cfs and they were catching catfish, particularly flatheads, using sandworms, Charlie reports. The customer then tried skipjack but didn’t fare as well. A week ago Monday, a father and son who also enjoy going after the catfish but hadn’t been out in the area in a while went out with skipjack, nightcrawlers and shrimp, “and everything they caught was on nightcrawlers,” Charlie said. “I don’t know if it’s because they (the Army Corps of Engineers) have been flushing the water through the river, but the water is muddy so worms are probably best.” That pair of anglers was fishing on top of jetties and throwing on both sides, pitching them over on the current side or the noncurrent side and catching fish on both sides in 4-5 feet depth, he said. Other than those reports, it’s been real spotty, he said. “You get back up in some of the creeks, like Point Remove Creek, get back in that when the water is not flowing and the fish are around the wood structure, they are catching largemouth bass on shallow-running crankbaits in various colors – chartreuse, orange with black – and spinnerbaits. They aren’t big, but they are 2-pounder range.” Also on the Petit Jean River when water flow isn’t too high on the river, anglers have been catching both bream and crappie on redworms. Crappie are also biting jigs in chartreuse/black or chartreuse with red heads and dark-colored skirts, he said.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-20-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no reports for this week, other than the water is running high and is muddy. Before the past week’s heavier rainfall, fishing had stayed about same for a two-week period, with bream being caught in good numbers in 2 feet depth on worms and crickets, black bass biting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastic worms, and catfish were going after chicken liver or minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 5-20-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
NOTE: After reaching nearly 40,000 cfs is flow at midweek last week, the Little Rock pool flow was about five times as fast a week later, topping 200,000 cfs on Tuesday. The river is high and muddy. The wooden dock at the Murray Park ramp access was underwater, brush and jetties nearby were also covered. Regular reporters from this pool had no current fishing reports this week. It would be best to check with these reporters for any updates later in the week, or refer to the Army Corps of Engineers levels and flows as well as any small-craft advisories of you are considering fishing the river. We have included the most recent reports on the river before the high rise and flow, listed below.
(updated 5-13-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says clarity in the river remains muddy. The level is high with a flow of 50,000 cfs. They hear good news on the crappie front, with good catches targeting 5-8 feet depth using Beaver Bottom bait (Ashdown Smackdown in blue/chartreuse and black/chartreuse). Also, black bass reports are good. Black buzzbaits, black/blue jigs, white/chartreuse spinnerbaits and black/chartreuse square-bill cranks are working well. Fish ‘N Stuff is also providing reports from Greers Ferry Lake; check out this week’s report in the lake listing above.
(updated 5-6-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reports that white bass are biting great below the dam; use 3-inch chartreuse grubs. Stripers are biting well on 5-inch white grubs below the dam. Bream report are good; you’ll find them biting at 5-feet depth on crickets in the Willow Beach area. Catfishing is good below the dams; use cut bait, skipjack or shad.
(updated 5-20-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-20-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
(update 5-20-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said Tuesday afternoon that anglers were catching good numbers of bream on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair; most anglers were trolling and spider-rigging and using minnows and jigs. She hears that black bass are good, but no baits were mentioned. Catfishing is good using worms, minnows, nightcrawlers and hot dogs.
(updated 5-20-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the river level has been way up and way down this week. “Despite the river changes, the trout are loving it. The high water is great for growing the trout and low water finds them pooled up and perfect for catching.
“The browns have been taking sculpins and minnows, as well as any lure that looks like a rainbow. You can hook your share of rainbows with a pink worm, sometimes tipped with white PowerBait. Live worms have been working well too, the water level changes washing more worms into the river so your bait looks more natural. Tie on something with lots of gold flash if using stick baits, and spoons and spinners with red and
gold blades have also proven successful.
“The low water times have also been great for fly fishing with many wading opportunities opening up. The river has been changing fast so keep an eye on the water level if wade fishing. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and stay safe, keep your
life jackets on or near at all times.”
(updated 5-20-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reports that the generators at Bull Shoals Lake dam are turned off, and river flow is one-half a generator at minimum flow. With reduced flow in the river by about 90 percent, are stuck in a much smaller area, they say. “A couple of guys caught 102 fish in a day using lures and jigs. A 25-inch, 10-pound brown trout was caught off the bank. Fishing is really good right now until they have to turn the generators back up.”
(updated 5-20-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that last week, before the weekend’s rain front, they had several rain events (combined for a bit over 2 inches), cooler temperatures and heavy winds (to include wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.6 feet to rest at 24.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 8.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 1.9 feet to rest at 2.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 12.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 8.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.3 foot below the top of flood pool. The White saw heavy or moderate generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.2 feet to rest at 15 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also saw heavy flows but some wadable water. The Corps of Engineers has opened the spillway gates on Beaver Dam in an effort to lower the water level on this lake quicker.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo is high and off-color. 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 size 14 pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).
Julie Jones (in photo left) and Wendy Rickman went fishing on the White River in and around Cotter last Friday, then made their way down to Buffalo City where Julie caught this major brown trout (a 10-minute fight, they report) on a nightcrawler right off the bank, then taking a photo before releasing it.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 691.55 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said fishing has been about the same for the past two weeks. The lake is “pretty clear,” he says, but the upper lake is really dirty. Bull Shoals is 31 feet high as of midafternoon Tuesday. Bream are fair; fish around the bluffs for the best activity with worms or crickets. A random crappie or two can be caught, Del says; minnows or jigs will work. Black bass are good on topwater baits such as Zara Spooks, as well as poppers. No reports on catfish, white bass or walleye. Visit Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for video with more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 578.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Hoo-ray the Norfork Lake threadfin shad have finally started their spawn and the stripers and hybrids are feeding heavy. The bass are also feeding and with this week's upcoming weather pattern we should see an explosion of fish activity. Get your swimbaits and Zara Spooks ready for a workout.
“We have been fishing from Crystal Cove to Big Creek and finding and catching limits. The fish are relating to bluffs and points near the bluffs and also big flats that drop off into the channel. If the south wind has been pounding a north point for a day or so, make sure you fish it. The fish are chasing the shad that has been blown into the point. With the high water the bait is now in the brush covered by water, the shad must spawn on objects. The fish will be feeding on the shad, so make sure you work the shoreline with your baits. Good places to look are Cranfield Island and points heading north, Crystal Cove, Diamond Bay, and the points heading south like Thumb Point. The walleye are biting on bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers. They are relating to the old shoreline in 18-24 feet off the points. The crappie are still deep and they are being caught trolling flicker shad over deep brushpiles.
(updated 5-13-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last several weeks and should remain the same if not better for the foreseeable future. “It is really hard to say what the best bite is at this time because all species seem to be biting very good most days,” he said. “As is normal for this time of year the best bite is typically at sunrise and then again at sunset. This is not to say there will not be a good bite during the middle part of the day. I guess you just need to spend the whole day on the lake fishing.”
The crappie bite continues to be good and there are still several different fishing methods to catch them, he said. “I have been trolling the Berkley Flicker Minnow, size 7 and 9. Colors vary by day, but I have had success with the following; slick pearl silver, racy shad, slick Firetiger and slick alewife. The crappie that I have been finding are back in coves and the fish are on brush or near the brush suspended 15-25 feet down. The brush can be in 20-40 feet of water, as long as the top of the brush comes up to 15-20 feet of water. I troll at about 1.2 mph. You can also vertical-jig for them with a small 1/8- to ¼-ounce spoon or a small curly or twister tail grub. Also try tipping the grub with a small minnow to get more bites, most times. The third method is to cast out the grub past the brush, let it sink, then retrieve it slowly over the brush. The hardest part about casting is getting the bait at the right depth and keeping it there.”
The bite for largemouth bass has also been very good. A 5- to 6-inch swimbait with a ½-ounce jighead has been working well for Lou when the fish are out a little deeper chasing shad. If you find them close to shore, downsize the swimbait to a 3.5-inch and use only a 1/8- to ¼-ounce jighead. Flukes and suspending jerkbaits are also working well for the shallow fish. At sunrise and sunset, keep your eyes open and look for topwater action. They can be close to shore or out in deeper water, but typically close to a point with sunken brush. Spinnerbaits are also working, especially if there is some wind. Fish the point that the wind is blowing into.
Striped and hybrid bass fishing has also been good, but has been inconsistent – no different than our ever-changing weather. The weather really makes fishing for striped bass interesting. You first need to find the bait and the stripers will typically be nearby. There has been some good topwater action for striped/hybrid bass early in the morning that has lasted until the sun rises above the tree line. If it is cloudy the action can last longer. You can also find topwater action at sunset, but this bite typically does not last long, as they go down as it gets darker out. “I have been finding fish out in 90 feet of water on a main lake bluff. There are good points at each end of each of the bluffs, which have lots of sunken brush. The fish seem to move back and forth along the bluff feeding on shad. Zara Spooks and my larger swimbait has been working great. You will also find striped bass in shallow water next to sunken brush, as long as the brush is holding bait. Striped bass seem to be all over the lake. They have been caught back in the major creeks, as well as on main lake points at both ends of the lake.”
The surface water temperature is falling slightly and is in the low to mid-60s. The lake is fairly stable, but is rising slightly with the rain they have been having over the last couple of days. The current lake level is 570.20 feet msl. The lake is clear with some slight stained water in different areas. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 5-20-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 1.2 feet to rest at 15 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also saw heavy flows but some wadable water. The Corps of Engineers has opened the spillway gates on Beaver Dam further up the White River system in an effort to lower the water level on this lake quicker. The Norfork is fishing better. 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 very well. With the coronavirus there is little pressure. 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 5-20-2020) 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. John’s favorite fly on these waters 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 1,128.86 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake received lots of rain this past week. Water temps are in mid-60s throughout the lake. “The only major change is the mud that is working its way into the lake. It gets really muddy as you go up into White River arm from close to the War Eagle Marina and south toward the U.S. Highway 412 bridge. There is a ton of floaters out there, so be extra careful when running your boat. Lots of new trees are slipping off the banks and into the lake due to really high water and now boat traffic creating lots of erosion in certain areas. Great news for future crappie structure but it is creating lots of debris throughout.
“Fishing is fair for all species. Most fish have spawned and some post-spawn movement has been noted as of last week. Crappie are beginning to suspend in and around 15 feet. Try trolling some cranks. This pattern will get better as warmer temps prevail. Stripers have scattered and still are good when you locate schools. There are some brief topwater bites early and late. Have a rod with a topwater stick bait ready. Bass are setting up on points. Spots are holding off main points with brownies in 20-30 feet of water. Look to tubes and shaky heads to produce. Bream are really good. Take some kids out and introduce them to fishing and bream are willing and able to accommodate. Catfish are good. Walleye are setting up on points. I use slow death rigs with a crawler to put fish in live well this time of the year. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. You can also look up my Facebook page at FishOn Guides Goshen Arkansas. Be safe out there.”
(updated 5-20-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said river arms are strained but that overall “lake clarity isn’t too bad.” Surface water temperature has hit the mid-60s. Beaver Lake level remains high. Bream bites fell back to fair this week, using worms and crickets. Crappie also were fair; they were being caught deeper over recent days using crankbaits or minnows. Black bass catching is good; your best bet is going with spinnerbaits, wacky worms, jerkbaits and wake baits. Catfish appear preparing to spawn, they report, and they’re biting “pretty much anything,” with best activity around the rocky areas. Try any live bait. The white bass run is pretty much over, they report, while striped bass are being found in good numbers in the river arms; best success is by using deep-diving cranks.
(updated 5-20-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says this past week “was tough. First we had weather move in, then the Corps opened the flood gates (at Beaver Lake dam). However, if
you can fish the high, quick flowing water, you can boat a fish or two. Trout were more responsive to crankbaits and spoons of various colors and sizes. Most were being caught in the slack water. Cannot really narrow down a hot spot for this past week, as the conditions were widespread. I did manage to get more bites between Houseman and the 3 bend downstream. White bass were scattered as well; most of them were caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island on soft suspended plastics and crankbaits. A few Kentucky bass were caught with soft plastics, throwing at structure and working the shorelines.
“It seems the Corps has lowered the gates to 1 foot from 1.5 feet. However, I feel this may not last long, as we have more rain in the forecast for the upcoming week. Sorry I do not have more to report, maybe things will change for next week. If you get out, have fun and stay safe!” For more information, contact Austin through his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). In the photo with this report, one of Austin's customers had a big day on the tailwater recently.
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 5-20-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) says smallmouth bass are biting excellent this week from Withrow State Park/Arkansas Highway 23 North bridge access to War Eagle Mill area on live worms or plastic worms. White bass are excellent below the mills to Beaver Lake, and there is great snagging from Mills Bridge for sucker and redhorse. In Big Clifty arm and the Rambo area of Beaver Lake, Kentucky bass fishing is excellent in the clear-water portions and some white bass have been caught in the Hogs Scald area, along with excellent flathead catfishing using perch. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 5-20-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lake is open to fishing.
Lake Fort Smith
(update 5-20-2020) Ralph F. Donnangelo, park superintendent, had no new reports.
(updated 5-20-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) remains closed until further notice. Fishing is allowed on the lake, however.
(updated 5-20-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) says a lot of anglers are out and about at Crown Lake. Water clarity is dingy and is about 1 foot above normal. Bream reports were good using redworms. Crappie are elusive, but there is a fair amount being caught on minnows for some anglers. Black bass are favoring plastic worms with good results. Nothing heard on catfish this week.
(updated 5-20-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said flathead and channel catfish are biting on minnows. Goldfish will also work. Anglers report good catches. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms, but they have been small. No reports on black bass or bream. Shelly says best moon times for this month will come this week, through May 25. Surface water temperature early Sunday was 53 degrees. Water remains murky and high.
(updated 5-20-2020) The lake at Lake Poinsett State Park has been undergoing a renovation with plans to refill it later this year and for fishing to resume at levels far better than in recent years, thanks to improved fish habitat and new underwater structures. The water control structure was also repaired.
(updated 5-6-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are at 520 cfs (350 cfs average) and water clarity has been green tinted. All of the rain lately has kept river levels up for several months now. Water flow has been strong in the main river channel; extra care is needed when wading.
Hot flies have been olive Woollies on overcast days and Y2Ks on sunny days. An extra split-shot sinker about a foot above the fly to get down can be very useful in the fast water.
Mark says, “The (AGFC) trout management plan is still being created, and work on rebuilding Jim Hinkle/Spring River Fish Hatchery has not started yet. These are two key things that will help the Spring River go to the next level as a great place to fly-fish. Once completed, the Spring River will be a much better fishery. Jim Hinkle has been stocking 12-inch rainbows weekly.
“Weekends have begun to get busy early this year. Last Saturday we had a full-blown canoe hatch. All of the campgrounds and public areas are open. Please stay safe and keep the distance.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 5-20-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is coming soon. 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 5-20-2020) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 5-13-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said the river is still 9 feet high and the clarity is murky. The water has been turned off at the dam; there are not a lot of people fishing, but the water was on the decline.
(updated 5-13-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), said fish are biting. There is a gradual increasing chance of precipitation with some thunderstorms over the next few days, so do use caution when going out on Lake Chicot. Lake level is about average for this time of year, not too high, not two low. Water clarity is a bit murky and will likely get worse once rain/storms move in like expected.
(updated 5-20-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 5-20-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-20-2020) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 261.15 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday morning (May 20) the Army Corps of Engineers had opened more games on the dam, and the rate of discharge is up to 23,430 cfs. The lake level had risen 2 feet over normal pool since the weekend and was at 261.18 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Millwood State Park and Marina are open and the state has reopened the state park for campers. See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park
Continue to use extreme caution in Little River navigation this week where logs and floaters may be present this week. Surface temps rose this week with increased radiant heat and are ranging 70-80 degrees. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken, or floating timber in Little River are in effect. Clarity in the oxbows is improving. Little River stain is consistent this week, muddy in locations near Cossatot inflow and Wilton, with increase of current, and with random broken timber and debris. Clarity consistent in the back of the oxbows, with stain this week. Clarity & visibility along Little River at 3-5 inches. The oxbow's clarity moderate stain, ranging about 12-20 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: They improved over the past week on Millwood, many now post-spawn and recovering, upriver and in many locations. Best water clarity is in the back of oxbows but Bass are somewhat less finicky than the past few weeks, with what they are responding to. Buzzbaits, Frogs, Bass Assassin Shads, & Crazy Shads have gotten good reactions from Bass lately. Spinnerbaits improved this week near pads and grass lines, and square-bill crankbaits, medium running Echo 1.5 crankbaits, chatterbaits, and custom painted Little John crankbaits also continued improving this week. Most Largemouths continue to recover from the spawning activities upriver in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud, and Horseshoe Lakes. In the creek channels near the golf course pockets between Millwood State Park and South Hickory, Largemouth Bass improved and were busting top water baits early. Best crankbait colors getting good responses recently are the Bluegill, Red-ear Bream, Tennessee Shad, and Citrus Shad.
Bass Assassin Shads, and soft plastic frogs were getting good responses from 4-8 feet of depth around cypress trees, flooded buck brush, bushes, where water is rising. Dead-sticking Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook near cover, grass, and stumps, have been catching some decent 15-18" Largemouths. Best colors of Shad Assassins over the past few weeks continue to be the Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or Houdini colors. Baby Brush Hogs & 10" Power Worms were getting fair responses over the past week and best colors have been the June bug, blue fleck, chartreuse pumpkin, or solid black grape.
Spinnerbaits in Firetiger color for stained water, or Spot Remover for clear water, and Chatterbaits, continue improving this week too. Best chatterbait colors in the stained water clarity are Firetiger, Chartreuse& White, or Black/blue. Best depth zones we are targeting continue to be cypress trees & knees from 4-7 feet, with 10-15 feet depths in close proximity.
* White bass: Whites continue to migrate back down Little River toward main lake, and have been scattered over the past few weeks. Random schools have been caught between McGuire and Cemetery Slough over the past few weeks, migrating back down river. Trolling medium to deep crankbaits and spoons along primary points extending into Little River will pick up an occasional White Bass. Heavy thumping 3/4 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, 2-3lb Whites over the 2-3 past weeks from 9-16 feet deep. A chrome 3/4oz 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, were working along Little River. The White Bass are still being caught, randomly in the same areas as last few weeks, but the bite has become more scattered.
* Crappie: They continue biting well over the past few weeks. Increased surface temps and rising lake level, continue to position Crappie shallow to spawn. Minnows and jigs have been working away from current and flow of Little River, in the clearer sections of the oxbows and Millwood State Park, Okay Landing and Cottonshed areas near cypress trees from 3-5 feet deep. The Crappie responses continue to improve and hitting small jigs in chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue, and black. Millwood State Park continues seeing good activity in the pockets and coves near cypress trees and grass from 4-6 feet of depth. Cottonshed and Okay landing boat ramp areas continue to be good areas, giving up some nice healthy 2-3 pound crappie over the past several weeks. The photo left gives a good example of the size of crappie now being caught at Millwood, Mike says.
* Bream: have been biting crickets, worms, and bread, from the bank around Millwood State Park, and the floating dock at Jack's Isle, and Yarborough Landing, and in the oxbows upriver over the past couple weeks.
* Catfish: No report.
(updated 5-6-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) says they hear that a few bass are being caught, but they’ve heard no other reports from Magnolia.
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 547.93 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 409.64 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Well, I guess the big story is the weather again. Reports of 5 or more inches of rain locally created quite a rise in the Caddo River. The lake rose around 6 feet in two days. Wow! The lake level is 410.33 and the water is full of trash and debris. Darker water starts around Lennox Marcus and gets darker as you continue upriver.
“The good news is that hybrids and whites are being caught in the Arlie Moore area with surfacing being reported from the state park to Arlie Moore. Still mornings and calm waters are the key. Topwaters like the Whopper Ploppers or Zara Spook are good topwaters to use now. Spoons and crankbaits like the ShadRap also work well. Catfish will be foraging in the recently flooded areas. Stretch short lines across in front of recently flooded areas. Live bait is best.
“The other good news is that the crappie have returned to the brushpiles. With the lake being this high, look for brushpiles in 25 feet of water or more. Fish slowly and minnows are my preference this time of year. Practice social distancing and boat safety. The holidays are coming.”
(updated 5-20-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips DeGray says crappie have completed their spawn and the spotted bass are finishing. Both are moving out to midrange brushpiles fished with jigs or minnows 8-10 feet deep when the lake level is normal and 12-16 feet deep at higher lake levels. As of May 19, DeGray was 2 feet over full pool, “but they are drawing it down pretty quick. I have spotted flocks of birds hitting the water and schools of white bass breaking in the Arlie Moore area.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 443.53 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.95 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-20-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the lake is high and muddy and he had no fishing reports.
(updated 5-6-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) has been shut down for a while due to the coronavirus pandemic, they say. But they are hearing reports from Felsenthal, though the area still has high water. Both bream and crappie fishing have been slow. A few black bass and some catfish are being caught.
(updated 5-6-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said the lake clarity is cloudy and the level is high. Black bass are good. Bass minnows and swimbaits are among the most successful baits the past week. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 5-20-2020) 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 5-20-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that flash flooding occurred late Saturday evening along the Ouachita River watershed with as much as 5 inches of rainfall recorded. Lake Ouachita is now over 2 feet into flood pool and all area dams are running very heavy generation and open flood gates to eliminate the excess waters. Lakes Hamilton and Catherine are now stabilized, but this heavy flow schedule with continue until Lake Ouachita is brought back down below flood levels. This process will take weeks or longer with more rain on the way this weekend. Lake Catherine had been at normal summertime pool for several weeks with quality fishing time available for bank and boat fishermen alike. Most of the year had been lost to fishing due to the flooding in January and February, which interfered with the crappie and walleye spawning times. Conditions are once again dangerous with extremely fast flows and muddy water the norm. Boaters and wading anglers are urged to remain off the Carpenter Dam tailrace until water levels stabilize. Again, this process will take weeks with more recreation time lost due to the unsafe conditions.
The AGFC's Andrew Hulsey Hatchery in Hot Springs recently stocked walleye into a couple of west-central area lakes. Earlier this year, hatchery staff collected adult walleye with an electrofishing boat below Carpenter Dam (upper Lake Catherine). After collection, the walleye were spawned soon after being brought back to the hatchery. Fertilized eggs took about eight ddays to hatch into fry, and then the fry were then stocked into prepared ponds and were allowed to grow to fingerling size by the mid-May stocking time. Lake Ouachita received 75,000 fingerlings, while Lake Catherine received 20,942 fingerlings.
(updated 5-20-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that since midweek last week they had heavy rain move through the area followed by several mild days of sunshine. For this week, the initial forecast calls for sunshine followed by rain late Memorial Day weekend. Rains and high river flow has kept the water clarity muddy. Surface temperature is 69 degrees. The Corps of Engineers reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam near 161,000 cfs. Release at Ozark had risen above 100,000 cfs over the past weekend and has remained high due to recent rainfall. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam is reported near 160,000 cfs. Release at Dardanelle had also risen above 100,000 cfs over the past weekend and has also remained high.
As for fishing, Jason says he has not received many angler reports. “I am hearing that crappie fishing is tough this season as many anglers are finding smaller crappie. The catfishing seems to be good. May is typically a prime month for using live bait to fish for catfish. Be safe while on the river during high flows. Take advantage of the nice weather or time to put a line the water!”
Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to comply with state and federal recommendations for social distancing to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Reservations for the use of our tournament fishing facility have been canceled through May 31. Tournament participants are advised to contact their tournament event directors for details specific to their tournament.
(updated 5-20-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred X-press all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at full pool and visibility up to 8 feet. “The weather just can’t make up its mind what it wants to do this year, and so it’s feast or famine on our lakes. On sunny days the water temp approaches 70 degrees in most areas and fish are beginning to show signs of summertime patterns for bass. Bluffs and chunk rock points are good target areas for the drop-shot and Ned rig. Green pumpkin and June bug are the go-to colors depending on the water clarity that day. Some fish are in the shallow on flats in depths as little as 8 inches of water. Chatterbaits, Texas-rigged worms and lizards have been doing really well! Fish are bigger in the shallows but there will be long periods of time without bites. After cold fronts all we can say is, fishing is a GRIND. Short strikes or no strikes can be very frustrating. Plan your fishing around the weather fronts and fishing will be much more fun!”
No crappie report, and with the weather it’s likely not great anyway. Bream are good everywhere but especially in 10 feet of water near lake points. Catfish are very good on cut bait and cheese in creek channels and main lake flats where they drop off to deeper water. “Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 362.88 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says Lake Nimrod is “really muddy” with a surface water temperature of 65 degrees. The water level is up 13 feet over normal pool. Bream fishing has been good. They report regularly running out of crickets – “can hardly keep them,” they say – while worms also are working. Crappie are good. Target the brushpiles where the water is coming in, they say. Minnows are working best. Black bass reports are fair. Crankbaits and Brush Hogs are getting the most response. No reports came in on catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 580.10 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that the black bass bite is good. Topwater baits and jighead worms are producing good stringers. Walleye are good. Jerkbaits and spinners tipped with a crawler are working best now. Stripers are still good. These fish are being caught on topwater C-10 Redfins and live bait on the central part of the lake. Bream are excellent with crickets or PowerBait in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie are very good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are very good and are being caught with trotlines and jigs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature is ranging 70-75 degrees. There is heavy stain throughout. Lake level Wednesday is 580.15 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 408.77
feet msl (normal pool: 387.00 feet msl).
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-13-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says that Bear Creek Lake has had reportedly high bass activity. Anglers are catching with jigs – generally black or dark in color. Anglers have also seen some bream activity fishing with live bait such as crickets from the bank and with more shallow water.
Meanwhile, Storm Creek Lake has also seen a rise in bass activity, though not as substantially reported as on Bear Creek. Anglers are reporting activity on lighter colored jigs.
(updated 5-6-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says things are still closed down at Cook's Lake due to Covid-19, high water and downed trees. “Hopefully by the time the river recedes from the parking lot, we will be able to reopen,” he says. “I have been fishing some other water bodies around the region mainly in search of bedding bream but have not graphed many. We should start seeing more beds this week with the warmer weather we have experienced and the full moon.”
(updated 5-20-2020) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) had no new reports. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for the latest information and recent photos of his and clients’ catches on the old Mississippi River oxbow not far from Hughes.