June 10, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 10, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
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 6-10-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is its normal stain. Water level is back up high. Bream are good using redworms, crickets or Dynamax Jigs. Crappie are good on minnows, regular jigs, hand-tie jigs and Dynamax jigs. Black bass reports are good on spinnerbaits, lizard imitations, buzzbaits, worms, frogs and poppers. Catfish reports are good, with stink bait, goldfish, bream, trotline minnows and nightcrawlers all working well.
Little Red River
(updated 6-10-2020) 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 is 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 Army 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.
(updated 6-3-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with one unit running round-the-clock. They are using Greers Ferry to regulate the electrical grid due to large releases at Bull Shoals and Table Rock on the White River. Due to heavy spring rains these lakes are at their maximum level and both generators and spillway gates are being used to lower these levels. “I was informed that this schedule would continue for several days, so it would be best to check the daily Southwestern Power Administration (swpa.gov) forecast before planning your trip,” Greg says.
“Wade fishing is not an option on the Little Red while we are on this schedule. Drift fishing with large nymphs, San Juan worms, and micro-jigs is the best option. Be aware of docks and obstacles while drifting since the current will be stronger than the last few mornings. Stay safe, and good fishing!”
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 469.07 feet msl and rising; it is 6.53 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. 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 6-10-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says bass are being caught on a 3/8-ounce salmon craw in about 15 feet of water. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits should be used on the upper end of the lake. Crappie can be caught trolling on Bandit 300 Series crankbaits on the main lake points. Walleye are being caught drop-shotting nightcrawlers in 15 feet of water on the main lake points.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-10-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water clarity is clear and the level is high. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. The crappie bite is good on jigs and plastic lures. Black bass reports are good with nice catching around the shoreline using plastic worms. Catfishing is good particularly at night using nightcrawlers.
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 6-10-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by 5 inches. “Clarity is good but we are still monitoring the blue green algae. At the moment the lake has remained open but it all depends upon the saturation levels. Not sure about the temperature,” Johnny says.
Crappie are being caught in 12 feet of water 7-9 feet down trolling. “They are catching 10 to 15 from 2- to 3-pounders,” he said. Bass are being caught with Rat-L-Traps, buzzbaits and plastic worms. Bream have been doing well. They are on the beds and it seems the sizes are bigger than the past years. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with slicks and shad. “We had a 44-pound blue come in last week,” Johnny reports. “We weighed it, took pictures and released it back.”
He adds, “Hope everyone is staying safe out there. Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop on Highway 9.” Also, visit Johnny’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for the latest updates and photos.
(updated 6-10-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake is slightly stained, while surface water temperature is in the mid-70s. Water level is high. Bream are good on crickets. David says they are biting around the shoreline and buckbrush. Crappie are good. They’re still down deep at about 12 feet and biting minnows. Focus on the underwater brushpiles. Black bass are good. Anglers are finding them 4-5 feet deep. In the evenings they move shallower, he reports. Topwaters will work when it is sunny out and clear. Catfish are good on trotline bait and big goldfish, as well as size 20 bass minnows.
(updated 6-10-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland had no report.
(updated 6-10-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the lake is hot, as the AGFC stocked it with catfish on Thursday, June 4. Chicken livers, stink baits and worms have been doing well for a lot of people for the catfish. Bream have been doing well off of crickets and redworms, and some artificial bream baits. Black bass have been going after spinnerbaits, black salties and plastics. Crappie have been fair early in the mornings on crappie minnows, and pink ones, too. They’re also biting late in the evening right before sundown.
Don't forget that as of this noon Friday June 12, until midnight Sunday night, June 14. It is Free Fishing Weekend (no fishing licenses or trout permits are required).
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-10-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some nice-sized catfish has been reported being caught off of chicken livers, nightcrawlers and stink baits. A few crappie were caught off of pink and regular crappie minnows. Bass are good off of live crawdads and beetle spins. Bream are pretty good on crickets and redworms and Rock Hoppers.
Don't forget that as of this noon Friday June 12, until midnight Sunday night, June 14. It is Free Fishing Weekend (no fishing licenses or trout permits are required).
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-10-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says bass have been going after Zoom Trick Worms, minnows and beetle spins. Crappie are good on crappie minnows and Kalin's 2-inch grubs in Tennessee Shad color. Catfish have been well on trotlines with goldfish, black salties and small bream. Bream have been doing excellent on crickets and redworms, also waxworms.
Don't forget that as of this noon Friday June 12, until midnight Sunday night, June 14. It is Free Fishing Weekend (no fishing licenses or trout permits are required).
(updated 6-10-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been good with crickets fishing deep, and also with redworms. Catfishing has been good off of live crawdads, bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bass have been hitting plastics, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Crappie been hitting minnows and crappie jigs.
(updated 6-10-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been very good on crickets. Catfish are doing great on live crawdads, black salties and chicken livers. Small bass are plentiful off of crappie minnows. Blue/silver jigs, especially grub type, are doing well for the crappie; also pink crappie minnows.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 6-10-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-3-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water has clear up and is stable. Water level has dropped to normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports are fair. The good spring bite is pretty much over; crappie have spawned and have moved off the banks into deeper water. Black bass are good. Anglers report catching them early as well as late in the day. Go with a spinnerbait, worms or soft plastics. Catfishing is good using chicken liver, cut bait, prepared bate “or pretty much anything,” Ray said.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 6-10-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-10-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river level is coming down, but there it’s still dirty water. Small craft advisory in effect. No reports.
(updated 6-10-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 6-10-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says this portion of the pool is muddy and high. They heard no fishing reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-10-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the lake is far from clear, rather a little murky. It’s also high. Bream catches have been good; use worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and worms. No reports on catfish.
(update 6-10-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake is a little dingy but is at a normal level. Bream reports are excellent. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair; best results are with trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good. Catfishing is excellent; use hot dogs or 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 6-10-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “The lakes in our watershed – Beaver, Table Rock and Bull Shoals – remain very high. While the weather forecasts tend to worry many of us, the Army Corps of Engineers is keeping an eye on the ground here in Arkansas and much further downstream on the Mississippi River to alleviate flood situations all around us. Even with the rains this past week, the releases in the White River below Bull Shoals have been relatively gentle. The flood gates were utilized a couple of weeks ago for several days, but have not been employed since and may not be used throughout the lowering of the lakes. With all that, we still expect to see consistent high water in the weeks ahead. What's that say about the fishing? It's good news. Trout fishing on high water is all about drifting big baits to lure those big and growing fish. River minnows and sculpins drifted near the grassy banks will bring the browns out of hiding. Every kind of jerk bait is a worthy agent in your search for the biggest trout to reach your personal best. The rainbows have been biting at just about any worm especially when a bubblegum pink or fluorescent orange worm is used in conjunction with shrimp; but don't discount the red wiggler and the old time nightcrawler for catching great rainbows. Seems the copper-colored spoons and spinners are the baits to cast this time of year if that's your style of fishing. Whatever form your fishing takes, bring it to the river and enjoy Arkansas, our Natural State.
(updated 6-10-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says fishing was good until about Monday. The Corps of Engineers threatened to open the spillways, so all the boats would pulled out preparing for flooding, but nothing happened Tuesday. Anglers are catching a lot of rainbows and a few browns. Clarity is clear and 6 generators are running as of Tuesday. Overall, the trout fishing is good.
(updated 6-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that over the past week they had several rain events that combined for less than an inch of rainfall, with warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.1 feet to rest at 32 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 1 foot below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.3 feet to rest at 12.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.2 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.9 foot to rest at 7.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation supplemented by numerous flood gates. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 22.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy flows and no wadable water. The lakes in the White River System are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. It has been very crowded. 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 covers the topic of fishing high water: “Can you catch trout fly-fishing on high water? By high water, I mean the level of water that is currently coming through Bull Shoals Dam. When my wife, Lori, and I were fishing below the dam (Friday) the Corps of Engineers were generating at the level of 14,750 cfs or about 4½ full generators. They were letting another 11,750 cfs or about 3½ full generators through the flood gates for a combined total of 26,550 cfs. The approximate total of the eight full generators at Bull Shoals Dam is 26,400 cfs. So, this was slightly above the designed maximum generation level for Bull Shoals Dam. That is a lot of water.
“Many of our local anglers look at this much water and don’t even try. The water levels look intimidating. In fact, it is important to note that the fish are still there and, believe it or not, they are still feeding. With this much water you need to keep your head in the game and be on the lookout for other boats, trees and other obstacles. On big water, things happen fast.
“Lori and I began our fishing at Rim Shoals and noted that the water there was stained. We did not do any good and decided to try elsewhere. When you encounter stained water you move upstream till you find clean water. The water coming through the generators is always clean. When Lori and I arrived at the dam we were pleased to see clean water.
“I took a few minutes to prepare the boat to launch. I had topped off my gas tank before I left the house. You don’t want to run out of gas on the river. I carefully rigged our rods. I used a 7½-inch 4X leader. I tied on a 2-foot tippet and attached a red San Juan worm. I tied another 2-foot tippet to the bend of the hook on the San Juan worm and tied a white mop fly to it. I pinched down all barbs and attached an AAA split shot above the leader tippet connection. I finally attached a large strike indicator at the top end of the leader. This gave me a little over a 12-foot leader-tippet combination.
“We began fishing and before long we were catching trout. It has been my observation that I do not catch as many fish here as other places but I generally catch bigger fish. This day was no different. The average trout was about 20 inches long and fought well. We didn’t count but caught enough to satisfy our needs. We decided to leave a bit after noon.
“Lori and I took on high water and did well. Don’t let high water keep you from fishing.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 694.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said anglers and other lake users will find limited access to the ramps and parking at this time; call first, especially on weekends. Del says the summer angling patterns are in effect. Black bass are going after jerkbaits near shad balls; they like spinnerbaits and chatterbaits on the old banks and bushes with stain. A big worm will work in the willow trees, while a jig in green pumpkin orange of green pumpkin blue in 18-28 feet will work, too. He’s also been finding success with a Beaver Jewel Special Ops Jig flipping bushes in less than 10 feet where you can reach the shore. Topwater, small poppers and lots of other baits are working if you can get around the fish busting. Overall topwater action has been slower than normal, he adds. For smallmouth bass, the gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads are good places to drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs Tubes, the little McMinnow or Carolina rigs from 18-32 feet down. Drop-shot summer patterns are also starting to appear near bluffs, main lake points and hump islands from 24-36 feet down.
Water clarity is fairly dingy, he says, with surface water temperature at 78 degrees. The lake is 35 feet above normal conservation level. 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 579.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Norfork Lake is hot. Literally the lake temperature went from 72 plus last week to 85 degrees today. It might cool down a little with coming rains but don't expect much. From now through September it is advised to not throw back any legal stripers. Studies have shown that 75% of stripers caught in water temperatures above 75 degrees will die within seven days. Catch your limit, call it a day, and enjoy your striper dinner.
“The full moon this past weekend had the stripers feeding before light, then about an hour after light, and once the sun came up the shallow water bite quits. For the early bite we are using threadfin shad on a freeline with a small split shot. The stripers and hybrids are about 20 feet down and feeding on schooling shad. If you're lucky you can catch your limit very quickly but all things have to go your way.
“Once the early bite is over I switch gears and move to bluffs with a channel swing and set out two freelines 100 to 150 feet behind the boat then six downlines set at 60 feet. Most of my fish are caught on the downlines. I target water around 80 feet deep. The stripers are feeding heavy on crawdads and will attack the shad swimming just above them. This technique will become the standard way you fish for stripers for the next three months. Stripers are being caught at Cranfield, Panther Bay, Crystal Cove, Diamond Bay and the main lake points heading towards Big and Brushy Creeks.”
(updated 6-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 22.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy flows and no wadable water. The lakes in the White River System are near the top of flood pool. 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 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 6-10-2020) 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 1,128.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver is at 1,128.59 feet msl as of Tuesday, holding at a high level. Water is warming to near 80 degrees throughout the lake. Stripers are good from Rocky Branch to the dam. Look for bait and catch stripers. Do not waste time where you do not see bait on your graph. Crappie are starting to school up at and around 20 feet deep. Trolling Bandits is a productive way to fill live well this time of year. Bass are schooled up and, again, use your sonar and look off main points in 20-30 feet of water. Bream are excellent. Catfish are good. Walleye are fair. Lake has a ton of boat traffic especially on weekends. Side note: Nighttime under lights is starting to work on crappie and white bass in and around the Highway 12 bridge.
(updated 6-10-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake clarity is fairly clear and it remains near flood level height, though down a half-foot from this time last week. Anglers report fair catches of bream on redworms and crickets. Crappie have been poor; best opportunity to catch them is trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good on flukes and Senkos during the day, and using topwater/plastics/spinnerbaits in the early morning and late evenings. Catfish are providing good results for those using limblines and trotlines. Stripers are good on brood shiners and live shad; find them in 15-20 feet of water.
(updated 6-3-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says that with all the water in the river, along with seven spillway gates being opened and 1 generator online at Beaver Lake dam, fishing has been quite tricky. However, if you could get out in a boat, you might be able to catch a few trout. “I have not caught any other species other than trout. Most were caught upstream from Bertrand Access, throwing various spoons and crankbaits. The trick was to get the bait down as far as possible. Where it is normally 6 feet, in some areas it was 20 feet. So using deep-diving crankbaits or letting the spoons fall was the key.
“No hot spot to report, as the fish were to spread out. As of (Monday), the gates have been closed and the river has already dropped a couple of feet in a few hours, so the bite should pick back up. We have some good weather ahead and it will be perfect to get out and fish. Have fun and stay safe.” For more information, contact Austin through his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 6-10-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) had no new reports. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) has reopened. The lake is a little stained with a surface water temperature of 68 degrees. Lake level is normal. Bream are good using worms or crickets. Use minnows for the good crappie bite. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and wacky worms. Catfish reports are poor, as they are preparing to spawn.
(updated 6-10-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) has conditions as fairly clear clarity with a normal water level. Bream reports are fair, with redworms working best. Crappie are fair, with most caught off the shoreline in 5-7 feet depth. Use a crankbait for best catches. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is fair; try stink bait or cut bream.
(updated 6-10-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the lake clarity has improved since last week and is fairly clear. Water level is high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good, use a drop-shot and redworms. Catfishing is good; try chicken liver or perch.
(updated 6-10-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water remains high but fish have been active. Anglers are catching lots of bream off shore. Catfishing is good using worms, Catfish Pro dip bait and chicken liver. Black bass reports have been good. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs in bright colors. Use bright colored jigs also for the bream, along with worms. Clarity is murky and the surface water temperature earlier this week was 61 degrees.
(updated 6-10-2020) 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 6-10-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 600 cfs and water clarity is poor at the time of writing this report. Rain has been a problem lately keeping the river up. A great forecast over the next week should have the river looking good by this weekend. Hot flies have been olive and brown Woollies. A little extra work to get the fly down has been needed. Reach way upstream and mend hard. A small split shot can help get down also.
With spin fishing the crankbaits are a great way to get down deep. Trout cranks and Flicker Shad have worked well.
Mark adds, “Once the rain takes a break and the water gets back down to normal, the catching will be on! Jim Hinkle (Spring River State Fish Hatchery) continues to stock really nice rainbows weekly. With the high water the trout are stacking up. Just need a little clear water. Tight lines and good luck.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 6-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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 6-10-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), said this week’s recent storms has cause a temporary stall in fishing. The lake is currently very muddy after the storms. The forecast for the rest of the week is showing sunny, and limited chance of precipitation, so fishing should pick back up by this weekend.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(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.
(updated 6-10-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-10-2020) No report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.90 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake was approach normal pool again at 259.23 feet msl with a discharge around 8,800 cfs into Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, but then rose 2 inches with the discharge jumping up to 15,100 cfs Wednesday morning. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remained around 240 feet msl and falling with discharge. Check the most recent lake levels on the guide service’s website linked above, of the Corps of Engineers’ website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling levels.
Surface temps stable this week ranging between 77-85 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 in the back of the oxbows with 12-18 inches visibility. 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. Clarity and visibility along Little River at 3-6 inches.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Soft plastic jerk baits like Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs, Ken Pops, and Pop R's are seeing improved reactions over the past few days with the lake approaching normal pool. Spinnerbaits continue working near lily pads and grass lines. Most Largemouths are active early at daybreak for a few hours, in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud, and Horseshoe Lakes. Echo 1.75 crankbaits in ghost minnow and Millwood Magic are on an improved reaction bite over the past week. SB-57 square-bills in Tennessee Shad, Bluegill, and Sneaky Shad are getting good responses. Bass Assassin Shads and soft plastic frogs are still getting the best responses at dawn, from 2-5 feet of depth around stumps, lily pads and bushes. Dead-sticking Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook near cover, grass and stumps has been catching some decent 15-1-inch largemouths up to 5 pounds each for the past few weeks. Best colors of Shad Assassins over the past few weeks continue to be the Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse or Houdini colors. Bulky 10-inch 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 and chatterbaits in Firetiger color (for stained water, or Spot Remover if you can find clear water) and chatterbaits continue to get random bites this week, too. Best chatterbait colors in the stained water clarity are Firetiger or black/blue. If you find any decent water clarity far away from current of Little River, best color was Millwood Mayhem Bream. Best targeted areas over the past week were flooded bushes, alligator weeds and lily pads from 1-4 feet depths, with 10-15 feet depths in close proximity.
Bream: Continue biting well on crickets and worms, from the shoreline around Millwood State Park, and the floating dock at Jack's Isle, and Yarborough Landing, and in the oxbows upriver over the past few weeks.
Crappie: The crappie continue biting well over the past couple weeks. Minnows and jigs have been working away from current and flow of Little River, in any clearer water sections of the oxbows and Millwood State Park, Okay Landing and Saratoga areas near cypress trees from 3-5 feet deep and planted brush piles from 10-14 feet of depth. 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. Saratoga and Okay Landing areas continue to be good areas, giving up some nice healthy 2- to 3-pound crappie over the past several weeks.
Catfish: Continue to improve with increased current in Little River. Cut shad and buffalo, chicken livers and Punch baits were working well for 2- to 4-pound blues and channel cats on trotlines from 8-12 feet deep and yo-yos hung from cypress trees.
White bass: They have become more scattered over the past few weeks with the muddy current in Little River. No reports.
(updated 6-10-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said several nice bass are being caught. Bream are a little slow.
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 548.13 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.91 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says, “Believe it or not, we are still catching crappie from 6 feet to 15 feet deep on brushpiles using live bait when the water temp is 82-degrees. I don’t know if I’m just that good or maybe it’s the effectiveness of the (Garmin) LiveScope sonar.”
(updated 6-10-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Well, Arkansas has struck again. Rain and storms again. Water levels are higher than normal for this time of year. Lake level is 407.68 feet msl at the time I am writing this report. Water temperature has reached the low 80s and there is debris from Marker 35 upriver.
“Bream are on the beds but wrapping up. Use your electronics to locate the ‘waffle’ pattern, stand off and work on them. There are several types of rigging to do. Drop-shot, barrel sinker and, of course, cork and sinker. Look on rocky points and back of pockets for the beds. White bass and hybrids have not shown much surface action lately with all the water activity and boating. Crankbaits trolled show some success. Black bass are kinda slow as expected. Everything from topwaters, spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs, and drop-shot being worked. Crappie are still in the brushpiles around the mid-teens. Lots of smaller fish in some in of the piles thick. Minnows with slip sinkers are my way. Drop-shot will work now. Fish just above the thermocline or on the top of piles if they are suspended above the piles. Lots of noodling and trotline fishing going on for catfish but I have not report on catches.
“Remember: Practice social distancing.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.29 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.30 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-3-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said that this week the water is so high and muddy, fishing has been curtailed. Last week, he reported both catfish and drum were good on nightcrawlers, despite the high, muddy water.
(updated 6-10-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream have slowed down. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, vibrating jig and crankbaits. A few crappie are being caught on lower side.
(updated 6-3-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said that this week he has no anglers as the lake has been recently fertilized. The clarity is spotty – it is clear in some spots and cloudy in others. Water level is normal. Before this week, he had said crappie were fair on minnows and jigs, Black bass are fair. Catfish are fair using worms
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-10-2020) 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 6-10-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is falling but remains just under a foot into flood pool, forcing all area dams to continue to run very heavy generation and open flood gates to eliminate the excess waters. Several inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period on Monday and prompted Entergy to open three flood gates at Carpenter Dam to prepare the area for flash flooding. Lakes Hamilton and Catherine are now stabilized, but a heavy flow schedule will continue until Lake Ouachita is brought back down below flood levels. This process should not take many more days with a dry week forecast ahead. The majority of the year has already been lost to fishing due to the flooding in January and February, which also interfered with the crappie and walleye spawn. Conditions remain 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. Conditions should improve enough in the next week for individuals to safely navigate the tailrace. Anyone visiting the park area is cautioned to follow all rules and regulations as the coronavirus is far from being neutralized.
(updated 6-10-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said they had a storm move through the area in the middle of last week. Then they had a stretch of sunny, humid days before tropical depression Cristobal moved through the area on Monday. The weather forecast calls for sunshine and average temperatures throughout the weekend and into next week. Rains and fluctuating river flow has kept the water muddy. Surface temperature is 79 degrees.
As of Tuesday (June 9) the Corps of Engineers last reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam has fallen from 145,000 cfs to about 60,000 cfs over the past week. The tailwater fell to near 345 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was reported about 73,000 cfs Tuesday morning and has fallen from about 147,000 cfs over the past week. Dardanelle tailwater level fell from about 21 feet to near 12 feet. The pool elevation here has risen to almost 339 feet msl.
Lake Dardanelle State Park last Saturday hosted its first bass fishing tournament since March., the 8th Annual Wade Walters Memorial tournament. About 55% of the tournament field weighed fish. The winning sack weighed a little over 19 pounds and the big bass for the day weighed 5.24 pounds.
Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to comply with state and federal guidelines and directives for social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The status of the facilities continues to be evaluated. In accordance with the governor’s directive, tournament officials are required to submit an event plan and permit application to the Arkansas Department of Health before their event. Tournament officials are also required to present their ADH permit and event plan to Lake Dardanelle State Park and agree to the park’s tournament regulations regarding the coronavirus. For details or questions contact the visitor center at (479) 967-5516. “Be safe while on the river and take advantage of nice weather or time to put a line the water!” Jason said.
(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 368.32 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says Lake Nimrod has become “really clear,” and the water level remains high. Bream are at their peak in catches, with excellent reports. “Any place where a picnic table is covered with water” is a good place to start with your bream fishing, they suggest. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are 8 feet deep around brushpiles and trees, and biting minnows and black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are fair – “off and on” they say – and will hit a spinnerbait, buzzbait and particularly a War Eagle Spinnerbait in white with Colorado leaf. Catfish are good; go with cut shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 578.67 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. Topwaters and jighead worms are producing good stringers. Walleye are good. Jerkbaits and small spinnerbaits tipped with a crawler are working best right now. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the central part of the lake. Bream are still excellent with crickets or worms in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie are good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are still very good and being caught with trotline and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature has been ranging 74-79 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level is 578.54 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 416.54 feet msl (normal pool: 387.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-10-2020) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said fishing was about the same this week as last week. Early last week, everything was on fire, he said. Ronnie said no could fish the last few days, though, because of wind and rain. A week ago, when things were hot, Ronnie reported catching 17 crappie Tuesday morning, all in the 10- to 13-inch size range. His party turned 30 smaller ones loose. Ronnie says that on the weekends now on Horseshoe it’s very hard to fish with all of the recreational activities going on at the lake. Ronnie suggests fishing early morning or during the week. He says that some of the recreation boats moving around will sink a fishing boat, so anglers should “be careful during the summer while fishing on the weekends.” Before the change in conditions, bream were good on worms and crickets and found around the lily pads, cypress trees and piers. Anglers were urged also to target the cypress, the piers and the docks for crappie and use minnows or jigs. 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.
(updated 6-10-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says Cook's Lake access is still closed to youth and mobility impaired anglers due to high water. The White River is on the rise again and it looks like it might be a while before the lake is out of the parking lot. As always, keep checking in for updates.
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 6-3-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says that Bear Creek Lake has had 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.