May 27, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for May 27, 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
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 5-27-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is murky and with a normal stain. Water level is high as of early Tuesday afternoon. Bream reports have been good. Redworms, crickets and hand-tie jigs are being used. Crappie are good, with minnows, jigs, hand-tie jigs and crankbaits all bringing them in. Black bass are good. Try topwater baits, frogs, worms, lizards, swimbaits and live minnows. Catfishing has been good using worms (particularly nightcrawlers), stink bait, big minnows, bream and goldfish.
Little Red River
(updated 5-27-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is muddy due to recent rains. The generation is on a two-unit, 12-hour schedule with starting times varying each day, so anglers and paddlers should check the schedule before planning their trip. The lake level is 469.3 feet msl, which is 7 feet above normal. Since the White River reservoirs and the White River itself are high, this generation pattern on the Little Red will probably be the maximum for the next several days. With the generation, the river should be clearing after the rain moves out.
The caddis hatch seems to be slowing. Caddis pupa, midge pupa, sowbugs and Woolly Buggers seem the best choices.
Please continue to be careful when using small watercraft, canoes and kayaks and limit your outings to the low water times on the river. Here are some helpful tips:
- Generation begins 1 hour before the posted time on the Southwestern Power Administration forecast.
- Arrival times for the generation at certain locations on the river after the generation begins:
- JFK Park – immediately (when the horn sounds, you should leave the river)
- Swinging Bridge (Barnett Access) – about 3½ hours
- Libby Shoal – about 4½ hours
- Lobo Landing – about 5 hours
- Dripping Springs – about 6 hours
- Ramsey Access – about 7½ hours
If you’re caught in the high water, go to the center of the river and avoid docks, trees and any other obstructions and get to your take-out.
(updated 5-27-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) says the Greers Ferry Lake level is still above seasonal pool. Recent rains have caused the Little Red River to be off-color occasionally. However, daily generation helps clear it up to fishable conditions. Generation pattern has been unpredictable recently, but most days see lower water providing wading opportunities especially in the mornings. 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 469.40 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 469.30 feet msl and rising. It is 6.76 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet. Crappie catching continues to be good in and around bushes and now out to pole timber and brushpiles from super shallow out to 25 feet on jigs and minnows. Catfishing is good all over the lake and rivers, with the flathead spawn up on us; use cut and live bait for any application. Walleye are scattered with the new rise and not a lot of sun; when things level out they should get grouped up good right outside of bushes and even in some bushes. Grubs and crawlers are working best. Hybrid and white bass are eating at will all over lake and rivers as well on grubs, inline spinners and spoons, right in front of bushes out to 30 feet. Black bass are chewing well with shad spawns and just plain eating after their spawns on a variety of baits in a variety of places. Bream are doing well all over lake, with limits coming in use crawlers, crickets, small inline spinners and crankbaits.
(updated 5-27-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the water has risen 3-4 feet, while the temperature is in the 70s. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are both being caught in 10-15 feet depth on Carolina rigs, buzzbaits, flukes and jigs in the shallow brush. Crappie can be caught trolling a crankbait in 15 feet of water on the main lake points. Bream are biting redworms and can be caught from 10 feet deep all the way up in the shallow bushes.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-27-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is clear, while the water is high. Bream fishing is excellent. They report anglers catching lots of bream, with many big bream. Worms (specifically redworms and waxworms) and crickets will work. Crappie fishing is good. They are active in 5-6 feet depth in the early morning. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; anglers report catching few white bass as well. No baits were specified. Catfishing is good; use nightcrawlers on the bank. Evenings have been best for catfish.
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ANGLERS: 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. 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.
(updated 5-27-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), had no report.
(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. 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.
(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 5-27-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water is high and moving fast, and it’s muddy. He had no fishing reports.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 5-27-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
ADVISORY: As of Wednesday, river flow at Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 189,435 cfs; at Murray Lock and Dam it is 194,861 cfs; at Terry Lock and Dam it was 196,225 cfs. Throughout the Arkansas River system of dams, flow Wednesday ranged from a low of 181,791 at Hardin Lock and Dam to a high of 206,160 at Ozark Lock and Dam.
(updated 5-27-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says the river is muddy and high with a small craft advisory. No reports.
(updated 5-27-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 5-27-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-27-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
(update 5-27-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake is slightly dingy and is at a normal level. Bream reports are excellent; use worms or crickets. Crappie fishing is good using minnows and jigs, trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good; no baits were reported. Catfishing is excellent; use hot dogs or big minnows.
(update 5-27-2020) Wil Hafner, AGFC education specialist at Cook’s Lake off the White River, reports having made a few trips Peckerwood Lake recently. The bream are really starting to pick up and can be caught on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting frogs and jigs. The bream should really lock on to beds in the upcoming week with the next full moon being June 5.
(updated 5-27-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Memorial Day weekend ushers in summer and it appears we're going to have some sustained sunshine and warmer weather beginning Friday. “The weekend was blissfully normal following the COVID-19 confinement; lots of families enjoying the river, fresh air and sun, and folks working hard to maintain social distancing suggestions.
“The first thing the seasoned angler works on, after ensuring rods and reels are up to snuff, is determining what baits should work best for the day based on weather and water conditions. If you're fishing for browns on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam, you'll make sure you have a few sculpins and river minnows with you. Drift that bait between the railroad bridge and the Rainbow Bridge for the best shot at a good, strong bite and maybe enough pizzazz to bring a healthy, fighting brown to the boat. We've had a lot of success with various spoons this past week, especially the bronze Colorado ¼-ounce spoon. A steady catch of rainbows follows an orange/yellow/pink egg pattern (i.e. Sunrise PowerBait) and shrimp.
In the coming weeks, stay informed about water releases from Bull Shoals Dam since the lakes in our water shed have all reached maximum capacity. The Corps of Engineers is working hard at lowering the lake levels in an expedient and safe manner; there may be some warmer water released over the top of the dam, so stay where the water is coldest and fish right down the middle of the channel. But when you see the river high enough to cover grassy areas, drop a line close to the water's edge – the trout will be munching there on the fresh food source. Best advice for boaters in the next few weeks: Wear your life jackets.
(updated 5-27-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reports that the water is down. They say anglers did not get a lot of browns the past week, but rainbows have been “really good.” A lot of people were on the river this past weekend for the first time in a while, they report. The Corps of Engineers plans to open the spillway Wednesday, they have been told. Trout (rainbows mostly) are good on PowerBait and corn.
(updated 5-27-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that last week they had several rain events (combined for a bit over 2 inches), cooler temperatures and moderate winds. “This is the same thing that I wrote last week,” he noted as it was still raining. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 3.1 feet to rest at 30.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 5.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 7.1 feet to rest at 9.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 5.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 7.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White saw moderate generation and significant wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 7.6 feet to rest at 25.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had moderate flows and reliable wadable water.
The White River system lakes are very near the top of flood pool. As soon as the flooding clears downstream, expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).
John also said, “During the last few months of being hunkered down because of the coronavirus pandemic, my wife, Lori, and I have escaped the tedium of the lockdown by going fishing as often as we can. Fresh air, sunshine and the excitement of fighting trout has been just what the doctor ordered.
“Last Saturday was another chance to get out of the house. It had been raining for a few days and we worried that the water could be off-color. However the predicted flows for low wadable water drew us to try. When we arrived at the access, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the water was fairly clear.
“I launched the boat and checked our fly rods. We stayed with the same flies (size 14 pheasant tails with a size 18 ruby midge) as we had used the last time we fished. We did adjust the strike indicator to accommodate the lower flows.
“The weather was a bit cool with light winds and cloudy skies. We began fishing and were into some nice trout almost immediately. The fishing was phenomenal. We had three doubles on the first two drifts. We fished for a couple of hours and landed around 40 trout. Unlike recent trips that featured small stocker trout, on this trip the average fish was in the 14- to 16-inch range. An 18-inch rainbow was the big fish.
“Lori turned and noticed some storm clouds forming south east of us. She was so concerned that she pulled out her iPhone and checked her weather app. The radar feature would not come up. She decided it was time to head home. She had caught plenty of fish and wanted to avoid the coming storm. I ran the boat over to the ramp to drop her off. She gathered up her fishing gear and walked over to her car. She drove home and arrived just as it began to rain.
“I was so stoked from the phenomenal fishing (we were fishing right in front of a front, which is always good fishing) that I stayed for a few more drifts. It started to sprinkle. Though I had a complete rain suit, I opted to just wear my rain jacket, leaving my rain pants in my boat locker. It turned out to be a bad idea. The rain increased and I decided to take one more drift. It turned out to be a drift too far.
“All of a sudden lightning began popping, accompanied by very loud thunder. I turned toward the ramp just as the bottom dropped out. I was immediately deluged by an extremely heavy rain. The water quickly rose in my boat as I reached the ramp. I got my boat on the trailer as fast as I could and pulled the plug in my boat to drain it. My bottom was soaked, as were my feet. I headed home but took the back roads to avoid traffic because I had trouble seeing the road in the heavy rain. By the time I got home the rain quit. It took me an extra day to dry my gear out.
“I should have left with Lori.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 694.79 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 579.08 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 5-27-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 7.6 feet to rest at 25.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had moderate flows and reliable wadable water.
The White River system lakes are very near the top of flood pool. As soon as the flooding clears downstream, expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
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 pandemic there has been 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.
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 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 1,129.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says, “Rain and more rain. Holiday boat traffic and high water are making fishing a little on the tough side.
“Stripers are good. Short periods of topwater are happening in mid-lake area early and late. Good spots are Rambo, Rocky Branch and Fords Creek. Walleye are still fair/good. You need to hit all points on lower end with crawler harnesses. Bass are setting up in post-spawn areas. I have graphed some big schools of spots as of late and picking them off of big boulders on main lake points that have those large rocks in 25-30 feet of water. Crappie are fair to good. Again you have to move to find them. Some are really shallow and some very deep. Be flexible when targeting crappie. We also have been pulling Bandit 300s in mid-lake arms, catching some big crappie last week with white bass mixed in. Catfishing is a bright spot with some large fish caught on jugs and trotlines. Rivers are going to come up next few days, pushing muddy water into river arms. Catfishing up in those areas should be fantastic this week. Bream are starting to bed and can be caught throughout the lake.”
(updated 5-27-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said they had a very busy weekend with a lot of people on Beaver Lake. The water is turning muddy, they say, with the surface temperature hovering between the mid- to upper 60s. Water is also “as high as it can get,” they report. Bream fishing was excellent this week. Crickets were the go-to bait. The crappie bite is good, with 8-12 feet being the target depth. Anglers were trolling crankbaits for best results. Black bass are fair, with topwater baits, jigs and plastics working best. Catfishing is good; use goldfish or prepared bait. Stripers were being caught early and late in the day on topwater baits and big minnows.
(updated 5-27-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says this past week “has been a weather roller coaster. The river is swollen and the water is moving. Fishing for multiple species has proven to be quite the task, so I just focused on the trout. If you can find the right areas by boat, you can get on a few fish. Most fish were caught with light terminal tackle, fished with various PowerBaits. Trolling crankbaits also produced some numbers as well, if you could get past all the debris.
“I really could not narrow down a hot spot this week. I can tell you that I got most of my fish above Highway 62 bridge. Sorry I do not have more to report. I am afraid the conditions are only going to get worse with all the rain we have received. The Corps of Engineers has opened all seven spillway gates a half-foot as on today, the 26th. If you get out and fish, be safe and be mindful of the conditions.”
For more information, contact Austin through his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
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 red horse. 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 5-27-2020) 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 5-27-2020) Ralph F. Donnangelo, park superintendent, had no new reports.
(updated 5-27-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) remains closed until further notice. Fishing is allowed on the lake, however.
(updated 5-27-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that they were so busy in the shop, they did not even talk to an angler to get a report. A lot of people were fishing and they sold a lot of minnows. The clarity is dingy and the lake is high by about 6 inches.
(updated 5-27-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said they had a great turnout of anglers, both men and women, on Memorial Day, with lots of fish caught. Water is still high and murky, and the surface temperature as of early Monday morning was 57 degrees. The best moon times for June will fall on June 18-24. She also notes that they have nightcrawlers for sale in the baitshop. “Stop in and see us,” Shelly said. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Crappie are good using minnows, jigs, worms and Crappie Magnets. Catfishing is good; use Catfish Pro blood bait. No reports on bass.
(updated 5-27-2020) 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 5-27-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels have been at 560 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity has been poor. Constant rain has had the river high and murky. Good news is clear skies in the forecast. With a dry spell the Spring River will clear up quickly. Best flies have been Woolly Buggers and Y2Ks. May have to use extra weight to get down. Hot pink and flaming orange Trout Magnets and trout cranks have worked well for spin-fishers. For the Spring River the rainbow and brown trout cranks are the best colors. For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 5-27-2020) 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 5-27-2020) 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 5-27-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the mid-70s. Visibility is up to 1 foot in protected backwaters and only inches on the main channel. Water levels have been fluctuating a bit and will probably continue to do so. When the water is up, focus on shallow-flooded vegetation with spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, swim jigs, square-billed crankbaits and/or frogs. Especially good areas will have both wind and shade. When the water is down, focus on the first substantial drop-off from the bank and look for brushpiles with square-billed and medium-diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs and finesse worms on shaky heads. Be on the lookout for schooling activity in the afternoon to early evening; white and hybrid bass have been aggressively schooling near some of the sandbars and drop-offs away from the bank. Fishing has been good all-around.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(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 5-27-2020) 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)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-27-2020) 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 260.99 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake continues on a rise from recent thunderstorms and is 19 inches above normal pool and rising. Millwood Lake pool elevation near 260.8 feet msl; the discharge is around 19,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates remains around 249 feet msl and rising with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels, especially during high-flow river conditions. Millwood State Park and Marina are open and the state has reopened the park for campers. See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park.
Surface temps are stable this week, 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. Clarity in the oxbows is stained and is consistent, with 10-15 inches visibility depending on location. Little River is muddy this week, worse further upriver in locations near Cossatot inflow and Wilton, with increase of current, and with random broken timber and debris, with 2-3 inches visibility.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Fair to good over the past week in many locations. Best water clarity is in the back of oxbows, and bass attitudes and feeding have improved early morning. Buzzbaits, frogs, Bass Assassin Shads, Spit'n Images and Baby Torpedoes have gotten improved reactions lately. Spinnerbaits continue working near pads and grass lines. Square-bill crankbaits, medium-running Echo 1.5 crankbaits, Bill Norman Deep Little N's 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, largemouths improved and were busting topwater baits early. Best crankbait colors getting good responses recently were the Splatterback, Tennessee Shad, Citrus Shad and Millwood Magic.
Bass Assassin Shads and soft plastic frogs were getting good responses from 4-8 feet of depth around cypress trees, flooded buckbrush and 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- to 18-inch fish. Best colors of Assassins over the past few weeks are Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse or Houdini colors. Baby Brush Hogs and 10-inch Power Worms were getting fair responses over the past week and best colors have been the Junebug, blue fleck, chartreuse pumpkin or solid black grape. Spinnerbaits in Firetiger color for stained water, or Spot Remover for clear water, and chatterbaits, continued 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 around cypress trees and 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: The bite continues to be good, with the best bite being early this week, as they continue to remain 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 Saratoga areas near cypress trees from 3-5 feet deep. The crappie responses continue to improve on 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. Saratoga and Okay landing areas have been giving up some nice healthy 2- to 3-pound crappie over the past several weeks.
* Bream: They are biting well on crickets and worms from the bank around Millwood State Park, the floating dock at Jack's Isle, and Yarborough Landing, and in the oxbows upriver over the past couple weeks.
* Catfish: Improved over the past week with increased current in Little River. Blood baits, cut shad and buffalo, chicken livers and Punch Baits were working well for 2-4 pound blues and channel cats on trotlines and yo-yos hung from cypress trees.
(updated 5-27-2020) 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 551.985 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) 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 409.71 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “lake level is 409.83 as I write this. Water temperatures in the mid- to low 70s. Debris everywhere. Water color is clearer mid-lake, dingy around Lennox Marcus, dirty at Shouse Ford, and muddy at Point Cedar. The further you go upriver the more water hazards there are. I have no current report on several species since the weekend was a holiday. Surfacing fish in mid-lake areas from the state park area to Lennox Marcus. Calm waters and early rising is the key. Whopper Plopper and Zara Spooks are great for topwater. Spoons (Sam Richardson makes some great ones) and Rooster Tail Jigs work good. A-rigs work well even trolling. Remember: social distancing.”
(updated 5-27-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says the crappie are still biting on the mid-range brushpiles fished 8-12 feet deep. “Other anglers have told me they are catching them as deep as 16 feet.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 451.61 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.53 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-27-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said both catfish and drum are good on nightcrawlers. The clarity is muddy and the water level is high.
(updated 5-27-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
(updated 5-27-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said the lake clarity is clear and the water level is normal. He says that not a lot of people fished this weekend due to the weather forecast, but it never rained. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair. Catfish are fair using worms. No reports on bream.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 5-27-2020) 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 5-27-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that continued heavy rainfall and flash flooding in Montgomery and Garland counties has worsened area lake conditions from last week. Lake Ouachita is now over 3 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 as more rain is forecasted this week. 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 already been lost to fishing due to the flooding in January and February, which also interfered with the crappie and walleye spawn. Conditions are once again dangerous with extremely fast flows and muddy water the norm. Boaters and wade fishermen 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. Anyone visiting the park area is cautioned to follow all rules and regulations as the Corona virus is far from being neutralized.
(updated 5-27-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that in the past week they have a mix of sunshine and humidity with periods of heavy rain move through the area Memorial Day weekend. The upcoming forecast calls for an end to the rain going into the weekend and then clear skies with mild temperatures. Rains and high river flow has kept the water muddy. Surface water temperature is 72 degrees. As of Tuesday (May 26) the Corps of Engineers reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam rising to about 178,000 cfs. Release at Ozark had been holding around 150,000 cfs over the past weekend but began to rise on this past Monday due to recent rainfall. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam is reported about 173,000 cfs. Release at Dardanelle had slowly fallen to near 140,000 cfs but then began to rise late Monday.
“I have not received many angler reports. I am hearing that crappie fishing is tough this season any many anglers are finding smaller crappie. The catfishing seems to be good. I netted some shad running under a bridge yesterday. I got a few dozen after several casts and got some medium size and only a few smaller ones. Also, netted several yellow bass. Be safe while on the river during high flows. Take advantage of 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 the coronavirus. Reservations for the use of the 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 5-27-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at full pool and water temps in the low 70s throughout. Bass have been doing pretty well with the water temps being in this predator’s wheel house. Topwater baits such as Zoom Horny Toad in white or green watermelon work well all day but especially under docks in the middle of the day. “Big fish love shade, just like we do!” Other techniques that are on right now are the drop-shot rig, and Ned rig in green pumpkin worms. Power fishing is fun, but so is catching fish regularly!
Catfish are really hitting stride right now and can be easily caught just about anywhere but especially on the drop-off between feeding flats and deep water or current. Cheese and cut bait are the go-to on the bottom. Bream have been doing very well! Crickets, worms and the occasional marshmallow shed around 10-15 feet of water on some type of structure (including docks) are producing some quality-eating fish right now. “Be safe out there, everyone! Hamilton is a pleasure boater’s lake. Keep your head on a swivel and expect the irrational boater to come along. Good luck, and Go Greeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 368.39 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says Lake Nimrod is “really murky” this week, at a high level, and its surface water temperature is 70 degrees. Bream have been fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair. You’ll find them in 6-8 feet depth; use minnows or jigs, with a black/chartreuse jig the best bet. Black bass are fair. Use spinnerbaits, with the War Eagle Spinnerbait with gold will leaf skirt being the favorite here. Catfishing is good on limblines, jugs and yo-yos; bait with black salties.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 581.58 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still good. Topwaters and jighead worms are producing good stringers. Walleye are still good. Jerkbaits and small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best right now. Stripers are 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 being caught with trotline and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water surface temperature is ranging 70-75 degrees. The clarity is stained. Lake level is 581.58 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 418.33
feet msl (normal pool: 387.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says the lake is still not accessible, but “be sure to keep checking back in for when we reopen. Surely by the reopening, the fish will be more than ready to bite!”
Wil reports having made a few trips recently to Peckerwood Lake in Arkansas County. “The bream are really starting to pick up and can be caught on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting frogs and jigs. The bream should really lock on to beds in the coming weeks with the next full moon being June 5.”
(updated 5-27-2020) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said that fishing is “on fire” under the piers shooting the docks. Target 8-10 feet depth and you’ll get a good crappie bite, as well as some black bass. Crappie are also in 7 feet depth in the lily pads, and he has found them on the beds of the trees where it is slower. You can also catch them trolling, but they aren’t very big, he said. “The big ones are under the piers and docks.” Bream fishing is excellent. Ronnie has found them around cypress trees in the shallows in in the canals, biting worms or crickets. Black bass are good. Target the lily pads as well as the piers and docks. Catfishing is excellent. They are spawning in the shallows from 2-8 feet deep. Dragging on the bottom of the shallow end of the lake will get a bite from catfish. 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.
White River/Clarendon Area
(updated 5-27-2020) Jim Harris, editor of the Fishing Report, found all manner of catfish biting live bait in oxbows off the river this past weekend. Channel cats, blues and the occasional flathead were biting black salties on trotlines in the shallows, and many were in spawning mode. We returned a flathead fat with eggs back to the water. Gar were hungry as well, taking a few of our black salties. We tried fishing for crappie near brush in the sloughs and just off main channels but got no bites. The water was high throughout the area, with heavy current at times, and muddy.
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.