June 24, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 24, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
AT TOP AND LEFT: Smallmouth bass are quite active in the Spring River now, as guide Mark Crawford tells us in his report below. He took an angler from Memphis, Lesley (left), to the hot spot for a big thrill in catching a "smallie."
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 6-24-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is back to its normal lake stain, but the water level as of early Tuesday afternoon was high. Bream continue to bite well on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, topwater baits, regular worms and frogs were all getting hits regularly. Catfish are good. Use stink bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish, bream, dough bait and trotline minnows.
Little Red River
(updated 6-24-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clearing after a hard rain Monday morning. The generation is still on a 12-hour schedule and has been 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with two units of generation. Everyone planning to use the water still should check each day because this can change.
Rainbows are taking large nymphs in deeper water and small midge pupas and mayfly nymphs on the shoals in shallow water.
“Large numbers of boats and anglers have been on the water especially on the weekends,” Greg says. “Please be courteous when motoring by others while they are fishing. Slow down to no wake when passing, especially when others are standing in boats. Be safe and enjoy the river."
UPDATE Friday, June 26: Greg reports that the Corps of Engineers is down a generator at the dam and will be moving water through the other unit 24/7 through the weekend. This means a water flow of about 3,000 cfs, which would mark a 4-foot rise in the water and make boating in small craft or paddling dangerous; use caution, he urges. The Corps is hoping to get its other unit back on line Monday and will return to 12-hours on, 12 hours off generation then in an attempt to get the Greers Ferry Lake level down to normal.
UPDATE 1 p.m. Friday, June 26: Greg says the Corps has informed him that due to one generator going down Thursday, the generation schedule will change to the one unit as mentioned above, plus about 500-700 additional cfs from the floodgates running 24/7 through the weekend. This will make the flow about 3,500 cfs over the weekned. The projection is to increase to about 5,000 cfs on Monday, increasing to about 7,000 cfs by Tuesday if the second generator is back online, and continuing 24/7 until the lake returns to the normal summertime level of 462.50 feet msl. The lake level now is 466.95 feet msl. Based on this forecast, the river will be high through the July 4 weekend. Please use extra caution when on the river with the higher water and faster current. People with small craft such as canoes and kayaks should avoid the river unless you are experienced in handling your craft in swift water. Avoid docks and other obstacles such as logs, limbs and trees extending into the water because drifting against these will cause your craft to be sucked under with you aboard. All other boaters should also use caution because this current can also swamp larger boats if caught upstream of an obstruction. Respect the river and have a safe trip.
"If there are any changes in this forecast, I will try to post them next week," Greg said. "It is always wise to check with the Corps of Engineers' next-day forecast before planning your trip. The app for your phone is USACE Little Rock. Also, click on the Southwestern Power Administration (swpa.org) forecast for the next-day forecast and releases for current generation. These times and amounts of generation are subject to change, so be aware of changing conditions on the 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.
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 6-24-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 467.45 feet msl and falling with generation. It is 4.91 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Walleye have just kind of disappeared somewhat and are feeding here and there; try dragging or throwing crawlers around on different types of rigs and spoons in 15-40 feet of water on points, humps, shelves, etc. Bream are going strong all over the lake and rivers. Fish crawlers, beetle spins and small cranks in super shallow out to 30 feet. Black bass are super shallow to 40 feet – they are chasing bream shallow, to eating crawdads deep, and all in between with a lot of different baits working. Crappie are as good as always, in and around any wood or manmade structure on jigs and minnows in 12-30 feet of water. Catfishing is going strong, of course, with the cats “pretty much eating around the clock all over the lake and rivers with this type of weather. Just pick your poison and equipment as well, super shallow out to 40 feet,” he said. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing well on the upper and lower ends on spoons, inline spinners, hair jigs, grubs and Alabama rigs. Look in 15-50 feet of water. “Remember to wear a MASK to keep everyone safe and be ready for the dust storm that’s coming.” (Tommy is referencing the Saraha dust storm that is crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the upper atmosphere and predicted to swing up into the U.S. and over the Midwest and Southeast regions, according to weather forecasters.)
(updated 6-24-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is a little high and clarity is clear. Smallmouth bass are responding well to Carolina rigs and Whopper Ploppers at the lower end of the lake. They’re in 15-20 feet of water. Largemouth bass are prominent in the upper end of the lake, actively biting the Horny Toad in the early mornings.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-24-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear, surface temperature is 77 degrees and the level is normal as of 3 p.m. Tuesday. Bream reports have been good; use crickets, waxworms or redworms. Crappie are good, though they have moved to deeper areas. Fish with jigs, especially a pink jighead, and shiner minnows. Black bass are good. They’re being caught near the shoreline. Best success is coming on a plastic worm (particularly in black and watermelon colors). Catfishing is good. Use nightcrawlers and gold worms, or bait trotlines with goldfish or bream
NOTE: The AGFC’s temporary advisory concerning the appearance of blue-green algae bloom is in the process of being lifted, according to AGFC’s Matthew Schroeder. Signs are ordered and soon will be placed that indicate the advisory of a blue-green algae bloom is lifted. Overcup Lake has been and remains safe to fish, but boaters and anglers are urged to use caution and avoid any algae that could appear on the water during warmer months. The algae can break down and release toxins into the water, and the AGFC has been monitoring the blue-green algae level for the past several weeks. Recent tests show that the advisory can now be lifted, Schroeder said Wednesday.
For more information call the AGFC Mayflower Regional Office at (877) 470-3309 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Also, in another note that doesn’t prohibit fishing but is a warning for anglers on the lake, as well as homeowners around the lake: Employees and contractors with the AGFC are conducting herbicide applications to 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 lake water through 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 and, if left uncontrolled, could restrict access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hinder native wildlife and fish populations.
(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.”
(updated 6-24-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake is still slightly stained and the surface water temperature is ranging hovering around 75 degrees. Water level is remains high. Bream are good around the shoreline, with redworms and crickets both working. Crappie are good in 10-12 feet depth over the underwater brush; fish them with minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; topwater lures, jigs and minnows have been working well. Catfishing is good on jugs baits with goldfish and Danny King’s Punch Bait.
(updated 6-24-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says bream are good in about 12-15 feet of water. Use worms and crickets; fish the rocky and grass points. Largemouth bass are slow, biting best at dusk and at dawn on swimbaits, jigs, Alabama rigs and spinnerbaits. Crappie are fair in about 16-18 feet of water, biting on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is great using stinkbait or worms. Westrock Landing is open daily. Update Friday, June 26: They report that crappie good today from 20-22 feet deep, and they received a few good crappie reports this morning.
(updated 6-24-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and stink bait. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Crappie fishing has been slow but some are still catching a few early in the mornings on pink minnows. Bass have been hitting wacky rigged plastics, chatterbaits, buzzbaits and live minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-17-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says bass are hitting live minnows, topwater baits and floating worms. Bream fishing has been good with crickets, redworms and nightcrawlers. Crappie have been biting fair on pink or No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s Grubs. Catfish have been biting well on chicken livers, bait shrimp and worms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-24-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says bass fishing has been good on the river with minnows, plastic worms, lizards and Brush Hogs or small crawdad crankbaits. Catfish have been biting at night on trotlines baited with black salties and goldfish. Crappie are hitting No. 6 and pink minnows. Bream are biting crickets and worms. Gar are fun to catch and will hit live minnows, black salties or goldfish.
LEFT: Little C.J. (no last name provided) hauled in this huge bream while fishing with crickets at Horn Lake. Photo provided by Lisa Spencer.
(updated 6-24-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is good with crickets and redworms. Crappie have moved back out deep and are biting fair on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s Grubs. Bass fishing has been good early and late in the day as well as at night. Buzzbaits, topwater baits and floating worms have been working. Catfish are biting nightcrawlers, chicken livers, black salties and goldfish.
(updated 6-24-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets, redworms and nightcrawlers. Catfish have been biting great at night on black salties, chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Crappie have been slow to bite but some are still being caught on No. 6 minnows and pink minnows fished 8-10 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Bass are biting in the mornings and evenings on floating or Carolina-rigged plastics, topwater baits, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits.
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 6-24-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
LEFT: Scotty Lewis caught this 61-inch, 55-pound alligator gar on rod-and-reel (then released it after the photo) just south of Toad Suck Dam, and gets style points for his hat and protective face mask
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 44,473 cfs.
(updated 6-24-2020) 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 6-24-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is muddy but is down to a normal level now. Surface temperature Tuesday midafternoon was 80 degrees. Black bass are good around the jetties and are hitting chartreuse/black square-bills, the back Bandit 200 Series, and a black/blue chatterbait in the backwaters. Use a black/chartreuse buzzbait in late evenings and early mornings.
(updated 6-24-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 6-24-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
LEFT: Kristen Tittle caught this albino catfish with stink bait as she fished at Camp Robinson. Photo provided by Lisa Spencer.
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 6-24-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream continue to be caught in decent numbers, with good results this week on worms or crickets. Crappie have fallen off; poor results this week. Black bass are good; no baits were suggested by the anglers. Catfishing is good using worms, chicken liver or hot dogs.
(updated 6-17-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Bull Shoals Lake and the lakes behind it are being managed very closely by the Corps of Engineers. Although the lakes all remain very high, water releases have been moderate but gradually increasing through this past week. Most days end with a little over five units being generated from Bull Shoals Dam, but we've been treated to morning releases of around 6,000 to 8,000 cfs.
“We ushered in the summer season with a week of sunshine and great trout-filled creels. Father's Day saw lots of dads being gifted with a day or two on the river. When water level remains near 6,000 cfs, the anglers have been successful with jigs – tri-olive, crawdad colors or the orange/brown skirted jigs. Give the kids some shrimp and chartreuse PowerBait and they'll bring a mess of rainbows to the boat, maybe even one of those glowing golden rainbows. Once in a while we're surprised by a good-sized brown snacking on the shrimp, too, but most often you'll need something more attractive to them before they'll show themselves. If you can round up a few crawdads or some 2-inch sculpins, your odds will improve. Don't let the higher water levels intimidate you; just add some extra weight on your line to ensure the bait is staying near the bottom and remember that fish really, really like water. Come and enjoy the sunshine and the cooler temps near the river's edge.”
(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 6-24-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said, “This week we have had some of the best flows for fishing that I have seen in quite a while. Each day as the water level dropped the fishing has gotten better. It is even lower today and I cannot wait to go. My wife, Lori, and I have been fishing nonstop to take advantage of the excellent conditions.
“The big advantage of living here is that we can take advantage of these unexpected changes. I check the Southwestern Power Administration predictions every day as soon as they come out. Then every morning I followup by checking the actual generation by referring to the Corps of Engineers website.
“Yesterday we got a later start than I wanted but it did not seem to matter. I got to Rim Shoals about 9 a.m. It was sunny with a temperature of 71 degrees and a gentle breeze. The water level was about 2,200 cfs or the rough equivalent of two-thirds of one full generator. There were a few boats there before us but they were fishing somewhere else.
“I rigged the rods. On mine I put a pheasant tail (size 14) dropper below a red San Juan worm. On Lori’s rod I put a ruby midge (size 18) below the same pheasant tail. I added an AB split shot and set the strike indicator 5 feet above the bottom fly. The idea is to rig two different ways and then see which is the most productive and then change the less productive rig.
“I launched the boat and began fishing. Lori arrived a few minutes later. She had fed and walked the dogs. I ran the boat over to the ramp and picked her up. We began fishing. I caught five on the first two drifts. Lori only caught two. We re-rigged her rod so that it was the same as mine. We began catching at the same rate.
“The fishing was hot. We were catching five or six on each drift. We had five doubles. While we did not catch a huge fish but caught several in the 16- to 18-inch range. All were rainbows. It was the best day we have had in a few months. When we were fishing or loading my boat on the trailer I talked to other guides and anglers. All were having a good day and all caught plenty of trout. Everyone, including Lori and me, were stoked.
“Now today, we have even lower water. We have wadable water on both the White and Norfork rivers, as I write this. I am chomping at the bit. Lori assures me that she is all fished out, so I will go by myself. I would prefer that she accompany me but I understand her situation. We have been fishing a lot for the last few days and she wants to take a day off. Take advantage of this great water, it won’t last forever.”
John adds that the recent hot spot on the White below Bull Shoals 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).
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 6-24-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says there is still limited access to ramps and parking with the lake so high. It’s 34 feet high as of Tuesday early afternoon but is slowly falling, he said. Surface temperature is 80 degrees and the clarity is dingy to clear. Call ahead, especially on weekends, about access to ramps and parking. Summer fishing patterns are in effect. In the early morning, use topwater baits, poppers,. Berkley Wake Bait for smallies and Kentucky bass on the main and secondary points, along with the sunken islands, hump, bluff and bluff ends. They’re also biting well on swimbaits near shad balls. On cloud days with wind, the Big Worm is good in sunken trees. Use a ½-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue and target 18-28 feet. Also, try a Jewel Special Ops Jig or a Beaver flipping the bushes in less than 10 feet where you can reach the shore. Smallmouth bass are being caught around the gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads – good places to drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, Tubes, the Lil’ McMinnow or Carolina rigs from 18-32 feet down. Drop-shot summer patterns are working near bluff points, main lake points and hump islands from 24-36 feet down.
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 6-24-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said 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
LEFT: Young Porter Fugitt noodled this Ozark bass on the Buffalo River last week. Photo provided by Jamey Fugitt.
(updated 6-24-2020) 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 6-24-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver is coming down SLOWLY. The lake has dropped 1 foot or so in the last few weeks. Water temps in the lower 80s. Fishing is fairly good for all species. Crappie are being caught trolling cranks and with jigs. Look in 20 to 30 feet of water for fish. Stripers are still good. Fish moving toward the clear water end of the lake. Walleye are being caught in fair numbers with lots of smaller fish with worm harnesses and trolled cranks. Bass are early and late hitting on top and drifting deeper as the day moves on. Catfish are good and Jon said he’s had lots of reports of catfish at night being caught on black spinnerbaits throughout the lake by nighttime bass fisherman. Bream are good on crickets and redworms.
(updated 6-24-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair for anglers who made the switch to crankbaits this week. Black bass appear to be spawning, and it’s a hodgepodge on the type of baits anglers were catching them on. Catfish are spawning, but they can still be caught. Lake clarity is fairly clear. Beaver Lake is still quite high, but did fall close to a foot.
(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 6-24-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said fishing going great on War Eagle Creek for smallmouth bass; they are biting about all day, he said. Topwater baits are on for summertime. Big Clifty Cove of Beaver Lake is loaded with catfish and they’re being caught on all fishing methods. Good Kentucky bass are being caught close to rock ledges on points. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 6-24-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake still has a stained clarity and is at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 78 degrees. Crappie are still good despite the rising temps, and the crappie are hanging out at 10-12 feet. Use minnows, jigs or Flicker Shad. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No reports came in on black bass. Catfishing is good using worms. Try gold worms for the best response.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 6-24-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports the water is clear and at a normal level. Bream remain good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are in a hiding mode now with very few caught. Black bass are good on plastic worms and buzzbaits. Catfishing is good with worms or stink bait.
(updated 6-24-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the lake clarity has clear while water level is down to normal. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are good late in the evenings and early mornings in shallow water; use your favorite topwater bait. Catfish are good on perch or goldfish.
(updated 6-25-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the lake had "a lot of guest and visitors fishing this past weekend. Lots of reports of bream hitting worms and bright-colored jigs." Crickets were also working with bream. Bass, she added, were hitting topwater baits, and bass hauls were good. Anglers are also using spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Crappie are also following along with the bream by going after worms and brightly colored jigs, with good results. Throw a minnow their way, too. Catfishing is good on stink bait, chicken livers, blood bait and worms. The lake is at a normal level and is still murky in clarity. Morning surface water temperature is 61 degrees.
(updated 6-24-2020) 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 6-24-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said the rain in the region lately has gone around the Spring River area. “Not much rain is a really good thing. River levels are running at 530 cfs at the spring and clarity is green tinted. Not completely clear yet, and still about a foot above average flow, but looking better than it has all Spring.” The trout have been hitting olive and brown Woollies and Y2Ks mainly, he said. “Most important part lately is getting the fly down deep. Heavy flies or adding a split shot is key. Got to get down with the higher water. A sink tip fly line can help but takes a lot of work. Trout cranks and Flicker Shad have been working great to get down with spin fishers.”
Smallmouth have been biting well this week, Mark says. “Catching a bunch on brown Woollies mainly. Tying them like Clouser minnows with lead eyes. It appears crawfish is on the menu lately. Get out and enjoy the river. Be safe wading! Tight lines and good luck!” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 6-24-2020) 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).
(updated 6-24-2020) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 6-24-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.
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 6-24-2020) 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 6-24-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake is on the rise again from recent thunderstorms; it’s currently 7 inches above normal pool and rising. Millwood Lake pool elevation near 259.8 feet msl with a discharge around 3,400 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remains around 231 feet msl and rising 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 Lake received 55,000 Florida bass fingerlings stocked last week by AGFC. Current information indicates another 245,000 Florida bass fingerlings are yet to be added this year year by AGFC hatchery personnel for a total of around 300,000 Florida bass. Additionally, AGFC added between 40-50 PVC fishing attractors last week in the Saratoga, Beard's Bluff, Cottonshed and Okay Landing areas. These attractors should be uploaded to the AGFC website/active map shortly.
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 85-90 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 and consistent in the back of the oxbows, with moderate stain ranging 18-25 inches depth of visibility. Little River is normal stain this week, with few random broken timber, and has clarity and visibility of 6-10 inches.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Soft plastic jerk baits like Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs, Ken Pops and Pop Rs 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 two weeks. SB-57 square-bills in Tennessee Shad, Bluegill and Sneaky Shad continue getting good responses over the past few days.
Texas-rigged Trick & Twitch Worms are working near cypress trees and knees drawing a fair response from lethargic bass from 8-12 feet deep. Best colors over the past week or so have been the watermelon candy, Blue Ice and Junebug/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. We are targeting the flooded bushes, alligator weeds and lily pads from 5-8 feet depths, with 10-15 feet depths in close proximity.
* White Bass: Have be relocated in Little River just above Jack's Isle in washouts behind primary points. Vertical jigging War Eagle Underspins, and Kastmaster spoons were connecting with some nice 2-3.5 pound White Bass last week.
* Crappie: Continue biting well. 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. Crappie are hitting small jigs in chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue, and black.
* Catfish: 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-yo' hung from cypress trees 3-8 feet deep in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows up Little River.
* Bream: Biting well on crickets and worms from the bank around Millwood State Park and the floating dock at Jack's Isle, Yarborough Landing and in the oxbows upriver over the past couple weeks.
(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 6-24-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says crappie are slowing down but the white bass and hybrids are heating up. “Trolling crankbaits or Alabama rigs most anywhere from the middle to the up end of the lake has worked best for me and my buddies.” Darryl says. “See you on the water.”
(updated 6-24-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina asks, “Anyone seen any rain lately? Wow, rain is hit and miss.” He notes that water level is at 408.11 with a small rise. “You still have to watch the surface for trash in many places like Goat Island, Point Cedar and along the islands at Lennox Marcus.
“The water has cooled down considerably. Mid-lake it is around the low 80s. Bream are being caught in the brushpiles and fishing edges of cover. The bream in the brushpiles are hit and miss on their size. Full moon coming. The bream will be getting ready to bed soon. So, use your electronics and start marking bedding areas now.”
John adds, “I think the best report is on hybrids and surfacing fish. Reports from Lennox Marcus to Iron Mountain of hybrid catches. Go early and look for the breaking fish, or boats. Be ready to fish deep with a spoon or A-rig. Black bass reports say topwater early, Chug Bug, Whopper Plopper and Zara Spook. Then soft plastics or crankbaits. Carolina rigging works well. Crappie can still be pulled out of some of the brushpiles between 12 and 18 feet, but most important is the thermocline – stay above it. Time is right before the rough water of the Fourth. 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. Use a Little Missouri Flathead. 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 6-24-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is comfortably out of flood pool and currently stable. Water temperature is 61 degrees below the dam. 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 hydroelectric operations information website to be aware of current flow conditions. Rainbow trout are still present and able to be caught on live bait presentations although the action is painfully slow. 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 – present them 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 but small fish are the norm from the bridge to the dam. Anglers casting jigs in gray or white around rocks and sandbars have caught decent numbers of bass when the turbines are running. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current has produced nice catches of white bass and the occasional walleye that also target shad. Blue catfish are being caught on cut bait in the deep water close to the dam. These fish spawn in June and migrate into the tailrace. 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 6-24-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that since last Tuesday (June 16) they have experienced mostly clear skies with sunshine and humidity. Some showers moved through this past Sunday and Monday. The National Weather Service forecast expects sunshine and below average temperatures until late in the week when a high-pressure ridge builds over the area bringing in moisture and chances for afternoon pop-up showers. With less rains and slower river flow the water has cleared up near the surface and visibility reaches a few feet. Surface temperature is 82 degrees.
As of Tuesday (June 23) the Corps of Engineers last reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam had fallen from about 50,000 cfs down to about 35,000 cfs and is now up to near 60,000 cfs. The tailwater is near 340 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam is reported about 32,000 cfs this morning and has been fluctuating between 20,000 and 40,000 cfs over the past week. Dardanelle tailwater level has moved between 8 and 6 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park remains elevated and has kept between 338 and 339 feet (msl). Powerhouses at both Ozark and Dardanelle have been generating throughout the day.
No fishing tournament were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park this past weekend. Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to comply with state and federal guidelines and directives for social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The status of our facilities continues to be evaluated. In accordance with our 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 our tournament regulations regarding COVID-19. For details or questions contact our 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!
(updated 6-24-2020) 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 6-24-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the water clarity is good and clear, while the surface temperature is 86 degrees. Water level is high. Bream reports are good, with fish still being caught around the picnic tables covered by the high water. Use worms, crickets or nightcrawlers. Crappie are good, with anglers having best success fishing in 20 feet of water with the crappie suspended at 12 feet. Minnows and jigs will work. Black bass are good on topwater baits, Chug Bugs and worms. Catfishing is good using floating lines and limblines. Follow Andrews Bait Shop and More on its Facebook page for the latest updates.
LEFt: 16-year-old Sarah Bailey of Malvern marvels at the mess of big crappie she caught recently at Lake Ouachita. Photo provided by Jacob Bailey.
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 6-24-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are fair. Topwaters, drop-shot finesse rigs and jighead worms are working best right now. Walleye are still good. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best. Stripers are still very good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the east part of the lake. Bream are good with crickets or worms in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie remain good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are still good and being caught with trotline and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature continues to warm upward, ranging 78-84 degrees this week. Clarity is stained. Lake level Tuesday was 577.05 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 6-24-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says the Cook's Lake fishing access is still closed due to high water. The White River is on the fall, if the trend continues that will really help our chances of reopening. Wil adds, “I have made a few trips around the region recently and fishing has been slow.”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-24-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
White River/Clarendon Area