June 17, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 17, 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 6-17-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is slightly stained, while water is at a normal level. Bream are being found in shallow water and the bite is good. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie reports are fair. They’re in deep water in the trees if you can get to them. Use minnows. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater baits. Catfishing is good; use cut bait or shad.
Little Red River
(updated 6-17-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear with a 12-hour generation schedule. The start time for generation has been varying between 9-11 a.m. Because this pattern can change, it is best to check the daily Southwestern Power Administration forecast when planning your fishing trip.
Fishing is good by staying ahead of the new generation. The blue-wing olive mayflies are beginning to hatch, mostly in the afternoons ahead of the rising water. There is also a midge hatch in the morning. Wade fishing is available at the dam until the generation begins, at Cow Shoals until about an hour after the start of the generation, and Winkley Shoal until about 3½ hours after the start. This is the time it takes for the generation to reach these areas. The best flies seem to be small mayfly nymphs, hare’s ear nymphs and midge pupas in the lower water and larger nymphs in the deep areas.
“If you are planning a canoe or kayaking trip on the river, please select a section of the river that will not be affected by the generation while you are on the river,” Greg says. “Avoid the high water and swift current caused by the generation. Be safe, and good fishing!”
(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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.50 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 468.53 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation now. The lake is 5.99 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Crappie are still eating well in outside bushes, over brushpiles and in pole timber on jigs and minnows 15-30 feet. Walleye are set up outside of bushes and deeper on pea gravel and chunk rock flats; drag crawlers 18-30 feet. Catfishing is good all over lakes and rivers, and creeks as well, on a variety of baits and techniques. Black bass are eating on top down to 30 feet and all in between on a variety of baits and techniques. Hybrid bass and white bass really eat in June and July with water like it is; use inline spinners, spoons, grubs, Alabama rigs, swimbaits and topwater lures. They’re in 25-40 feet depth.
(updated 6-17-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says largemouth and smallmouth bass are hitting topwaters early in the morning and late in the evening, while the best fishing in the middle of the day is focusing on 20-25 feet depth with a Carolina rig. The water is a little high; anglers are urged to be cautious with all the boat traffic at Greers Ferry.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-17-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water clarity is fairly clear and the level is high. Anglers are catching a lot of bream on worms and crickets. Crappie are now in the deep areas of the lake, but catch results have been good. Black bass are good fishing on the shoreline with spinnerbaits or throwing a topwater. Catfishing is good; try baby bream and bluegill, live bait, cut shad, and set a trotline.
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 6-17-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake remains slightly stained, while surface water temperature is ranging 72-75 degrees. Water level is still high. Bream continue to bite well, Redworms and crickets will work. Crappie also are good still. They’re in the deep waters (10-12 feet) on top of the underwater brush, he says. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are hitting on top in the middle of the day, and the catch totals are good. Use minnows, jigs, buzzbaits or Rooster Tails. Catfish are good on trotlines with goldfish, and they’re biting Danny King’s Punch Bait, too.
(updated 6-17-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland had no report.
(updated 6-17-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still doing well, especially on fresh chicken livers. Anglers have also been catching them on stink baits and nightcrawlers. Bream been doing great on crickets and redworms. Crappie are slow but will bite crappie minnows. Bass have been hitting on beetle spins, crankbaits and Zoom Trick Worms rigged wacky style.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-17-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the back pond was stocked with catfish and anglers have been catching them with fresh chicken livers. Crappie been slow, but a few were caught off of crappie minnows and black/ chartreuse Bobby Garland Jigs. Bass have been hitting minnows and black salties. Bream have been pretty good off of crickets, redworms and brown Rock Hoppers.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-17-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says trotlines been good baited up with goldfish and black salties catching catfish and bass. Some anglers have been catching catfish off of rod and reels with fresh chicken livers, and also the black salties. Bream have been great off of crickets. A few crappie are being caught off of Kalin's Tennessee Shad-colored Jigs and crappie minnows fishing some of the deeper holes.
(updated 6-17-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow, but the best bet is fishing deep with crappie minnows and Bobby Garland Jigs. Catfish have been good on frozen cut baits such as skipjack and shad. Also, fresh chicken livers and black salties are working. Big redear are being caught off of crickets. Bass are being caught off of chatterbaits, plastics and spinnerbaits.
(updated 6-17-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are good on crappie minnows. Bass are being caught off of black salties, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are hitting bait shrimp, nightcrawlers and fresh chicken livers. Bream are doing excellent on crickets.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 6-17-2020) 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)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 44,473 cfs.
(updated 6-17-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 49,245 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 50,963 cfs.
(updated 6-17-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river level has dropped down to normal, while the clarity is dirty. Crappie are good; focus on 8-10 feet depth with a Roadrunner, or look to 10 feet with a Beaver Bottom bait. Bass reports are good. Black/blue jigs in 3/8-ounce, black buzzbaits in the early morning and late evenings. Also try a chartreuse/black back square-billed bait. Catfishing is excellent. Nightcrawlers and stink bait are working just below the Murray Lock and Dam. No reports on bream.
(updated 6-17-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 6-17-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no 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.
(updated 6-17-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Trout fishing has been spectacular this week. Though Bull Shoals Lake is very near maximum capacity, water releases have been minimal even allowing for wading in places. The morning temperatures have been so perfect, low 60s, clear skies, gentle wind, afternoon temps may be a little warmer than is comfortable for some – just splash some of the icy cold, crystal-clear White River water around and you'll cool off for a good while. Along with drifting worms (bubblegum pink or wriggling redworms), the best bait this week has been a brown and peach or brown and olive jig. The browns have been nibbling river minnows but turning their noses up at sculpins. However, with the minimum flow generation this week, I think the sculpin bite will undoubtedly return, so scare up a few fresh ones and find your brown trout. Remember to maintain social distancing rules, but also know that there hasn't been any reported COVID cases found in a rainbow yet, so you can bring them in close and take a few home without a worry. See you on the river!”
(updated 6-17-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the Corps of Engineers “is hardly running any water (at the dam), even though the (Bull Shoals) lake is full.” With lower water, trout have been excellent. They say fishing has been really good using shrimp, PowerBait and stick baits.
(updated 6-17-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that over the previous week they had 2½ inches of rain from Cristobal, warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 foot to rest at 31.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 foot to rest at 12.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.3 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 7.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation and there was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 22.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had 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 at Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a cerise San Juan worm with a size 14 peach egg suspended below it).
John also said, “We are in the middle of the second straight year of high water. This year we are way over our normal rain amounts and there is no end in sight. I have a friend who was a hydrologist for the Corps of Engineers who once told me that the high-water years seem to happen in three-year cycles. We often have three low water years followed by three high water years. I was hoping for a sooner end to the high water.
“This heavy rain has resulted in very high lake levels. Last week Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes were actually over the top of flood pool. This is the maximum level that the Corps of Engineers allows the lakes to reach. In order to get the lake levels down, they had opened the flood gates to allow more water to flow in our rivers.
“About this time we heard about a named tropical storm, Cristobal, heading our way. This was not a hurricane but was close to it and it was scheduled to cause a lot of rain and flooding everywhere it went. Living in Cotter, a small town on the river, below a dam that was at its maximum capacity, we had some serious concerns. The storm was expected to drop from 2-4 inches of rain in our area in a short time. In addition the weather forecast warned about local flooding.
“There was information from the Corps of Engineers that said that depending on the level of rain we received they would run from 40,000 to 60,000 cfs depending on how much rain we received. The last time we had a situation like this was in 2011. They had to open the flood gates and generators to release a total of 52,000 cfs. This resulted in flooding in low-lying areas of Cotter. The old Miller Trout Dock was flooded so bad it was a complete loss. At 60,000 cfs we could expect even more damage. Properties on the river would be in danger of flooding.
“My wife, Lori, and I did everything we could to prepare. I made sure that my riverboat was covered, my cats were fed and anything that needed to be inside was. Lori fed the dogs early and walked them just before the rain started. They liked that. We watched the storm moving on the television and hoped for the best.
“Somehow the rain did not seem as heavy as predicted. We ended up getting about 2½ inches. As a result there were no additional flows from the flood gates. The lakes did not rise appreciably and there was no flooding.
“Our lakes are still very high. They have begun adding flows on the Norfork through the flood gates, and I predict that they will do the same on the White soon.
“We got lucky this time. We had no flooding and our river levels are fishable. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 693.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 929.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reminds anglers and other lake users that there is still limited access to ramps and parking; call first, especially on weekends. The summer fishing patterns are in effect, he said. The bite has slowed down. Fish the conditions. Smaller Kentucky bass are out on main and secondary points, bluffs and bluff ends and being caught on swimbaits or jerkbaits near shad balls on cloudy and windy days. The spinnerbait or chatterbait on old channel banks and bushes with stained water will work as well. Big worms in sunken trees or a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue is good in 18-28 feet of water. Jewel Special Ops Jig or a Beaver flipping the bushes in less than 10 feet where you can reach the shore. Small poppers will work around fish busting the surface. Overall, the topwater has been slower than normal. For smallmouth, the gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads are good places to drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs Tubes, the Lil McMinnow or Carolina rigs 18-32 feet down. Drop-shot summer patterns are also starting near the bluffs, main lake points and hump islands 24-36 feet down. Check the flooded saddles and near down current areas holding bait.
Water clarity is dingy to clear, he says, with surface water temperature hitting 80 degrees. The lake is 34 feet above normal conservation level and slowing falling. Visit Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for video with more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 578.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “It has been a while since I posted a fishing report on this forum, but that doesn’t mean I have not been out on the lake. I just have not been able to get out as much as I normally do. But if you want to see what our guests or I have been catching, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page and you will see more frequent reports and photos.
“It took longer than normal, but Norfork Lake is warming up and the fish are just starting to enter into their summer pattern. This typically means that most species, especially striped bass, start to go deep to reach cooler water. With the warmer water a thermocline will form, but I have not noticed one at this time, but it will start soon in roughly 20 feet of water and as the warm summer days progress, it will go deeper and deeper. Once a thermocline forms, a lot of fish species will stay close to that level either a little above or a little below. The cold water starts just below the thermocline.
“Striped bass fishing has been good. This has been one of the best years I have seen for topwater action for striped bass in many years. It is still occurring but is slowly coming to an end. Zara Spooks, Flukes, Kastmasters and live bait with no weight have all been working. The best time for topwater action is right as the sky starts getting a little bright, around 5:30 a.m. and it has been lasting for maybe an hour or until the sun comes up. I am finding stripers in the early morning on main lake points from 20 feet of water out to 100 feet of water. The fish at this time are on the surface to 10 feet deep. Once the sun gets above the tree line the stripers are going deeper. I have caught them anywhere from 40 feet down to 70 feet. It can be any depth, but typically I have been in 100-plus feet of water. The stripers are tending to come shallow again right as it is getting dark. Main lake points have been the best areas for me.
“Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have been in the same areas as striped bass early in the morning. They are chasing shad on the surface, and this bite typically has lasted longer than the topwater striped bass bite. When the bass go down, work the shoreline out to 30 feet of water. Fish on points that have a lot of sunken brush on them. The bass seem to be hanging at the top of the sunken brush. Swimbaits, spinnerbaits and deeper diving crankbaits are all working well. Most other plastics are also working, but try and make the baits weedless, as you will need to fish on top of or inside of the brush.
“Walleye are up in the sunken brush or near the old shoreline of 20-25 feet of water. Deep-diving minnow-style crankbaits such as a Berkley Flicker Minnow or Flicker Shad are working. They are scattered out, so keep working the shoreline. Crappie are also scattered out from the old shoreline up to near the new shoreline. Small grubs tipped with a crappie minnow have been picking up a few fish. There is a lot of brush under the water, so the crappie have lots of places to feed.”
The current water depth has been fairly stable the last couple of days and is at 578.93 feet msl as of this report. The surface water temperature is in the upper 70s to low 80s. The water is clear with a slight stain, which Lou says, “is typical this time of year with the warmer water. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(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 6-17-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 22.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had 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 (size 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 River, Norfork tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. 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 6-17-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. 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 1,128.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is holding at a high level. Water temps are in low 80s. Fishing is transition to summer pattern, which means early and late are best bets. Stripers are scattered and the bite has become a little tougher. Look from Rocky Branch to the dam. Use your electronics. Look anywhere from 2-100 feet. They will come up real early for topwater, then drop back to the deeper parts of main points. Crappie are fair. “I have been trolling Bandits with some good success. Also have heard a night bite is going on. Find a bluff wall or main point, drop your lights and you should do well on a mixed bag.” Jon adds, “Walleye are scattered and I am still waiting for the typical summer pattern to set up. Bass are schooling, with some topwater noted early. Catfishing is a bright spot. Trotlines and jugs are killing it lately. Bream are bedding and are excellent.”
(updated 6-17-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is fairly clear and now is just 4-5 feet high as of Tuesday. Stripers are active in the mornings, biting topwater baits. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair; they’re being caught in deep waters now with minnows. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwaters, as well as with drop-shot and jigs. Catfish reports are good; they’re being caught toward Horseshoe Bend.
(updated 6-17-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the water is high, warm (76 degrees), but the fishing is good, if you can locate them. “Really cannot narrow down a ‘hot spot’ because the fish are so spread out,” he says. “Most trout are being caught between (U.S.) Highway 62 and Bertrand Access. Fish with light terminal tackle and various PowerBaits. Quarter-ounce spoons and micro-jigs are working great as well.
“The white bass seemed to have left the area, so no report on them. Due to the warm water conditions, smallmouth bass are being caught further up the tailwaters. Suspended soft plastics and hard baits are doing well. Try fishing structure and chunk rock for these guys.
“Well, that’s all I have to report. Sure hope the Corps of Engineers releases some cold water soon. Have fun, stay cool and catch some fish. For more information, contact Austin through his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 6-17-2020) 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 6-17-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake is slightly stained and at a normal level. Bream reports are good; use worms or crickets. Crappie have been fair; catches are coming in 10-12 feet depth. Best bet is using Flicker Shad. Black bass are good. Anglers report plastic worms and regular worms and other plastics are being the best baits. No reports on catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 6-17-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports the water is fairly clear and at a normal level. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Crappie, though, have been hard to locate now and results have been poor. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is fair; use cut bait.
(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 6-17-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water level has dropped a little. Best fishing dates based on the moon, she said, are June 18-24, and plan for July 17-23 as well. Water remains murky, the water temperature Sunday morning was 61 degrees. Bream are good. Anglers are having most success with bright-colored jigs and are also using worms. Focus on the brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Crappie are good. They like bright colors in worms, along with minnows and jigs. Brushpiles, stumpy areas and rocky points are turning out the crappie. The bass bite is good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver; in particular, Catfish Pro Blood and Chicken Liver is catching the cats.
(updated 6-17-2020) 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 6-17-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are at 550 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity has been poor over the last week. No rain all this week has the river levels dropping slowly and the clarity of the river is slowly clearing. The trout have been biting well, but extra work is required and is key to get the fly down near the bottom of the river. Heavy flies or a split-shot weight will help to get down deep. Brown Woolly Buggers and Y2Ks have been the hot flies. With spin-fishing, trout cranks and Flicker Shad are working great to get down to the fish. “A bunch of 9-inch brown trout were stocked a few weeks ago and they have liked the Woollies fished streamer-style and the cranks,” Mark reports. “Not very big but beautiful browns.”
He adds, “Water levels are above normal; be safe wading. With the warm temps, wet wading can be very refreshing. Tight lines and good luck.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 6-17-2020) 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. 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).
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-17-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperature is in the upper 70s. Visibility is about 12 inches in backwaters, only inches on main channel. Water levels continue to fluctuate; it was about 1 foot low at the writing of this report. A 1-foot drop in water level renders all but steep rock banks too shallow to hold fish here. Black bass were biting fairly well off of large woody cover and along the steeper rock banks where morning shad spawns were active in Lake Langhofer. Typical shad spawn lures, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, square-billed crankbaits and lipless crankbaits are producing. When the shad spawn slows, dark-colored jigs worked along steeper rock banks and through brushpiles located on the first major drops away from the bank produce well, too. On the main channel, look for jetties where water is flowing through/over gaps or low spots in the rocks.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(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.
(updated 6-17-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Cane Creek Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.17 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was approaching normal level again and stable; the elevation was 259.3 feet msl and discharge was around 3,400 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remained around 230 feet msl and falling with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Millwood State Park and Marina are open and have reopened the State Park for campers. See the Covid-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park.
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 79-88 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 improved, at 18-25 inches visibility, though several oxbows have heavy stain and muddy clarity. Little River has normal stain this week with 6-10 inches visibility with few random broken timber.
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 good reactions with the lake back at normal pool. Best activity period is from dawn to around 9-10 a.m. Spinnerbaits continue working near lily pads and grass lines. Most Largemouths are active at night and at early 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 2 weeks. SB-57 square-bills in Tennessee Shad, Bluegill, and Sneaky Shad continue getting good responses over the past few days.
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. The Bass Assassin Shads continue working near lily pads at dawn, and near cover, grass, and stumps, for the past couple weeks. Best colors of Shad Assassins over the past few weeks continue to be the Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost, and Panhandle Moon. Bulky 10-inch Power Worms were getting fair responses over the past week and best colors have been the June bug/red, blue fleck, and black grape.
Texas-rigged Trick & Twitch worms are working near cypress trees and knees drawing a fair response from lethargic Largemouth Bass from 8-12 feet deep. Best colors over the past week or so have been the watermelon candy, Blue Ice, and June bug/blue tail.
Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits in Firecracker, Avocado Shad, or Spot Remover and Brazalo Chatterbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream Black/blue, continue to get random bites this week too. Best depth zones we are targeting over the past week were flooded bushes, alligator weeds, and lily pads from 5-8 feet depths, with 10-15 feet depths in close proximity.
* Crappie: The crappie continue biting well over the past couple weeks. Best bite continues to be early. 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, and near Okay Landing and Cottonshed areas near cypress trees from 3-5 feet deep and planted brush piles from 8-10 feet of depth. 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. Cottonshed 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: They have improved over the past week on trotlines and yo-yos in Little River. Cut shad and buffalo, goldfish (available at Millwood State Park Marina), spoiled chicken hearts and gizzards, or Punch baits were working well for 2-4 pound blues and channel cats on yo-yos hung from cypress trees 3-8 feet deep in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows up Little River.
* 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.
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 relocated in Little River to just above Jack's Isle in washouts behind primary points. Vertical-jigging War Eagle Underspins and Kastmaster spoons were connecting with some nice 2- to 3½-pounders this week.
(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 546.80 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.82 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “Surface water temp is 64 degrees and some crappie are still hanging around the brushpiles but more and more finicky on the bite. Fish small bait and slower. Wave that bacon in front of a fat girl long enough and she’ll eat it. Obviously, they are transitioning off the brushpiles and scattering deeper on points and submerged channels. Anyone see the schooling white bass and hybrids, give me a call. Fish ON.”
(updated 6-17-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer is not here yet, but I can’t tell. Water temperature running from the mid-70s to 80 degrees in shallow water. Bass are being caught early on topwaters and buzzbaits. Try Whopper Ploppers, Chug Bugs and Spooks. Then switch to crankbaits and soft plastics. Bream have finished the bedding for this moon cycle. There are plenty of bream in the brushpiles but finding the bigger ones is the trick. Lots of trotlining and noodling going on, but no reports to share. Surfacing fish are still spotty at the least. Surfacing fish have been reported from Lennox Marcus to Iron Mountain. Get out there early and look for the breakers or groups of boats. Same drill as always: topwaters when on surface like Whopper Plopper and Spooks. Spoons or crankbaits once they go down, or Alabama rigs. Crappie are still being caught in the brushpiles. Look for piles that are out of the thermocline with it running in the low 20s right now. Fish above them with minnows or jigs. Fish from mid-lake to Point Cedar to get them. “Remember: Practice social distancing.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.79 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.22 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-17-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the river is “finally starting to go down,” and fishing is picking up. Catfish are good. Bream are good on redworms and crickets at about 20 feet deep. Bass fishing is fair. Water level remains high, however.
(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 6-17-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said no one is really fishing lately, and he had no fishing reports. The lake clarity is a little murky, while the water level is low.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-17-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita has finally fallen out of flood pool and is currently stable. Flooding has ruined the rainbow trout season below Carpenter Dam and allowed very little opportunity for anglers to launch a boat with the treacherous flows. That scenario continued for months, but now lake conditions are stabilized with Entergy running water in a fashion that allows boaters and waders to safely access the Lake Catherine tailrace. Individuals are encouraged to access the hydro operations information website to be aware of current flow conditions. Rainbow trout are still present and able to be caught on live bait presentations. Small live minnows tight-lined over deep water will draw strikes from larger rainbows that seek to feed on larger prey. Redworms and nightcrawlers are another proven bait that work in cold or hot weather presented under a bobber or fished just off the bottom. Waxworms or crickets will also work well used in the same manner. Numbers of trout caught are low, but the size ranges from 13 to 19 inches. All the trout are beautifully colored and super-healthy. Fly-fishermen can safely access areas and can cast to areas that hold trout. San Juan worms in red or hot pink and egg patterns in white or orange are presentations that these anglers should seriously consider when the fish are finicky and spooky. White bass are thriving in good numbers from the bridge to the dam and feeding on shad. Fishermen casting jigs in grey or white around rocks and sand bars have caught decent numbers of bass when the turbines are running. The majority of fish are in the 1 1/2 range. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current has produced nice catches of white bass and the occasional walleye that also target shad. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge and people are encouraged not to throw trash on the ground or water and help keep the park area safe by social distancing and wearing a mask when appropriate.
(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 6-17-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 363.76 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says fishing remained about the same from last week. In last week’s report, Lake Nimrod had become “really clear,” and the water level was high but falling. 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 577.33 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are fair to good. Topwaters, drop-shot finesse rigs and jighead worms are producing quality outings now. Walleye are good. Spoons and small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the central part of the lake. Bream are excellent with crickets or worms in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie are still good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught with trotline and jigs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature is ranging 76-82 degrees, and the clarity is clearing. Lake level Tuesday was 577.40 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 413.27 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.
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.