July 1, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 1, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir over the next several months. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from the lake until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 7-1-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Lake Conway has its usual Conway stain, and it’s at a normal level. Bream are eating well on redworms, crickets and Dynamax Jigs. Crappie are biting better, with good reports this week. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are favoring spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures like frogs and buzzbaits, and chatterbaits. Catfishing is going well using stink bait, gold fish, nightcrawlers, bream and using trotlines.
Little Red River
(updated 7-1-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the Army Corps of Engineers informed him Wednesday morning that starting Wednesday they would be running two generators beginning with a 16-hour schedule and increasing the hours of generation as levels permit until they reach a 24/7 schedule over the weekend. The lake level is 465.99 feet msl, and high levels of generation will continue until the lake drops to a normal level of 462.5 feet msl, which will take at least 10-12 days depending on any additional rainfall in the area. Because this will include the Fourth of July weekend, please use caution if you are planning a holiday trip on the river. Any pleasure kayaking or canoe trips would be better planned for the lake rather than the river. The combination of cold water and fast current makes the river dangerous. Check the daily generation forecast before planning your trip. ‘The river will be returning to normal soon with good fishing and boating, so please exercise good judgment and respect the river. Be safe and have a Happy Fourth of July,” Greg says.
(updated 7-1-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) had no reports. He says 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 465.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 466.11 feet msl and falling with generation; it is 3.57 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Crappie are eating well on minnows and jigs in pole timber, brushpiles or manmade structure in 10-25 feet, according to weather conditions. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing well on and off all day and night; use live bait, spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and topwater baits in 15-40 feet of water. Bream are biting worms and crickets all over lake. Catfish are no trouble to catch all over lake and rivers on a variety of baits, rod and reel, jugs, trotlines. Walleye are eating if you can find them, and then you can catch some in 15-28 feet on crawlers rigged various ways. Some black bass are set up; the deep water temp has not gotten hot enough yet for all of them to be out. Some are super shallow, and a list of baits and ways to do it from A-Z will work at some point throughout the day or night.
(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 7-1-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) notes that a Fishing Derby is taking place Wednesday, July 1, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for ages 5-16. Lake clarity is clear and the water level is high. Bream are good on redworms, waxworms and crickets. Crappie reports have been poor. Bass are good, with the most activity coming along the shoreline in the early evenings. No baits were reported. Catfishing is good using baby bluegill, shad or goldfish on trotlines.
NOTE: The AGFC’s temporary advisory concerning the appearance of blue-green algae bloom has been lifted. Overcup Lake has been and remains safe to fish, but swimmers, paddlers boaters and anglers are always 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, the AGFC’s Matt Schroeder said.
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.
No fishing report.
(updated 7-1-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the clarity is slightly stained as of Tuesday noon, with surface temperature at 75 degrees. Water level is still high. Bream reports were good; throw redworms their way. Crappie are being found at 10 feet depth over brushpiles, and the bite is good. Use minnows. White bass are good and are showing up on top of the water. Anglers are using spinnerbaits, topwaters, minnows and gold fish. Catfishing is good on yo-yos with stink bait or goldfish.
(updated 7-1-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said largemouth bass are fair. Some can be found outside the grass in 12-15 feet, but most are moving into deeper water biting a variety of lures. Try using drop-shots, swimbaits, deep crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Tuesday night’s bass tournament indicates what can be caught: Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley brought in a winning 5-bass stringer of 12.57 pounds and the Big Bass of 3.35 pounds. Lee Brizzolara and Wes Lowder were right behind with 10.05 pounds. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports have them being found at 18-22 feet depth off drops and rocky banks. White bass are slow. Some are being caught in 20-25 feet depth in or around the channel. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-type baits. Crappie are good. There are reports of them being found in 20-22 feet depth. Some can still be found scattered and mixed in with the white bass. Try using jigs or minnows. Bream are great. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-15 feet of water. Use crickets, worms or beetle spins. Catfishing is great. Use chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish.
(updated 7-1-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still doing pretty good, even though it's been a month since it was stocked. Fresh chicken livers, black salties, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp seem to be doing the job on catching them. Bream have been excellent on crickets and redworms and Arkie Gill Candy Jigs. Bass have been hitting buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and bass minnows. A few crappie have been being caught early in the morning and late in the evening with pink crappie minnows and No. 6 crappie minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-1-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says catfish are still doing really well here on fresh chicken livers. Crappie are slow but are biting pink and size 6 crappie minnows. Bream are good on crickets and redworms. Bass have been good on minnows, plastics and beetle spins.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-1-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been doing well on minnows, black salties, No. 4 green pumpkin lizards and watermelon candy-colored Baby Brush Hogs. Bream are doing well on crickets. Crappie fair on No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on fresh chicken livers, black salties and goldfish.
(updated 7-1-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are doing great on crickets fishing them on bottom. Catfish have been biting on nightcrawlers, fresh chicken livers and cut baits. Crappie are fair on pink and No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been doing well on topwater baits and buzzbaits early in the mornings and late in the evenings.
(updated 7-1-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been good on goldfish, black salties and bait shrimp. Bream are good on crickets. Bass have been hitting minnows, plastic worms and crankbaits. Crappie are good on crappie minnows and crappie jigs.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 7-1-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had big news about the catfishing in the river recently, with good flatheads being caught anywhere from 10-25 feet deep. “They are drift-fishing for catfishing … a lot of the catching is when they’re floating by the tip of the jetties and when they’re floating on the upstream side of the jetties.
“I haven’t seen catfish caught like this in 3-4 years. Of course, the river has been up until now.”
Charlie says numbers of anglers in his area have improved recently, particularly with the river dropping some. “Now, the river is nice, calm, the flows are good. It’s getting in the summer months, and we see mornings where the water is down, not much generating at the power stations, and then it starts building up in the mornings. I like it when the flows are between 40,000 and 70,000 cfs.”
The jetty tips have been good for bream and bass, he says, but where there is grass nearby the bass are moving toward the grass lines. White bass are “basically on the jetty tips” as well. Anglers are using anything from redworms to chartreuse and Firetiger crankbaits and doing “fairly well on that. When the water is starting to clear, they’ll probably have to go to pearl or white colors and they’ll be doing pretty good.” Anglers are also getting a few white bass now below the dam, catching those on crankbaits.
“Then you go up the Petit Jean River, and I had a man who caught some big crappie, not a lot, but some big crappie on live minnows,” he notes.
Bream are starting to move around a lot and are good now where water is coming up to the grass lines, and it’s good for the bass too. The bream are running the edges and biting crickets.
But it’s the catfish that have him pumped up. “The catfish are just going nuts. We’ve had some 40-pounders caught.”
Charlie urges people who stop on the river islands to be aware of the least terns that are now in the islands now and to be careful where they stop. “I’m told they have chicks on just about every island, so be careful where you step if you’re going to get on an island.”
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 44,473 cfs.
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 7-1-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the flow is down in the pool, and they’ve heard some good reports. Black bass are being found in the main river jetties that are parallel to the bank. They’re being caught in mid-driving crankbaits and square-billed crankbaits. They can also be caught at the ends of jetties using shaky heads and finesse jigs. In the backwaters, try a frog or using spinnerbaits for best success. Bream are good around the trees fishing with mayflies or with redworms. Catfishing is good by the dam. The water clarity is stained and the level has returned to normal with a flow of 20,000 cfs as of Tuesday midday.
(updated 7-1-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said catfishing in the river is good below the Murray Lock and Dam and the hydroelectric plant on cut shad and skipjack. Black bass fishing is slow. The water has slowed down, and there is not much current. Crappie are good below the Terry Lock and Dam on black/chartreuse Super Jigs in 8-10 feet depth. Bream are good in the Willow Beach area in 3-4 feet of water on crickets.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(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 7-1-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Summertime is the time to get out of that hot town and get to the river where you can feel a temperature drop of at least 10 degrees as you near the water's edge. Grab your fishing rod and tackle box and find out how the Arkansas Game and Fish Trout Program continues to provide the best trout fishery in the country. (Biased? Only a little.) Steady flows from Bull Shoals Dam have made the anglin' just a little easier since the trout are less agitated from changes in the water level. A near-steady release of 12,500 cfs (approximately four units) has been offered daily for the past two weeks and will continue into the foreseeable future (my forecast). This calls for more drifting, less opportunities to anchor over a favorite spot, but you'll find more pools of trout with your moving bait. Great water for your favorite jerk baits, lots of room to cast and retrieve. If you haven't tried the orange belly, blue back Smithwick or the silver/black Rapala, this is the time. That spot of red near the bill attracts the predators. Quite a few fishers have bragged about brass or orange colored spoons, and you will always catch a few with a yellow/orange/pink mix of power eggs followed by a tiny snack of shrimp on your hook. The swimming hole here in Cotter is a great place for a dip; just a few minutes in the spring and you're cool for the next 45. Remember to honor the social distancing rules so we can keep everything open and moving.
(updated 7-1-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says water is high with eight generators running round-the-clock. Trout fishing, they say, is excellent “if you have a good guide. Browns are still slow, but are coming back. Many, many rainbows are being caught and are a very good size.”
(updated 7-1-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, we have had two rain events (for a total of half an inch), much warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.7 feet to rest at 31.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.6 feet msl. This is 3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.4 feet to rest at 11.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.8 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 6.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 21.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.3 feet and 2.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The 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 peach egg suspended below it).
John also said, “My wife, Lori, has a sister, Terri, who along with her husband, Larry, are regular visitors with us here in Cotter. Terri is a retired nurse and Larry is a retired police officer. Both are avid fly-anglers. We have fished with them for almost 20 years. We always fish together when they visit. Due to the coronavirus they have not visited in a while. We were happy to see them.
“They really prefer to wade. However, the low wadable water that we had enjoyed early in the week had disappeared before they arrived. I decided to take them out in the boat. The flows we were having were around 6,000 cfs, which are a little less than two full generators. This is a near perfect level to fish from a boat.
“We got an early start. We had planned to leave the house at 7:30 a.m. but left at 7 a.m. because we were ready to go and there was no reason to sit around waiting. It was around 65 degrees with a heavy fog. I quickly launched my boat. We used the rods that Lori and I used early in the week because they were already rigged. They featured a red San Juan worm with a size 14 pheasant tail dropper. Lori and I had done well with that rig and I thought it would work well now.
“We only fished for a couple of hours but did quite well. Larry had the hot hand catching over a dozen trout, including a golden trout. I had heard that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission had stocked them but I had not caught one. It was incredibly colorful. He also caught a fine 18-inch rainbow that put up an incredible fight. Terri caught a limit of rainbows.
That night we had a good half inch of rain. It was not enough to muddy the water, although it was lightly stained. We went fishing the next day even earlier than we had the previous day. We started at 6 a.m. The water conditions were the same, as was the heavy fog. We used the same flies and fished the same water. The only thing that changed was the fishing. While we had great fishing the day before, on this day the fishing was quite a bit slower.
“This day belonged to Terri. She had caught three trout before Larry caught one. He finally got in the game with a gorgeous 15-inch rainbow. Terri ended the day with the most fish and Larry ended the day with a few. They still enjoyed the day. It was great to be on the river. It was amazing to see the difference a day could make with the same conditions.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 692.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 927.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says access to the ramps and parking remains limited. “Call first, especially on weekends,” he suggests. Summer patterns are in effect, Del says. It’s topwater for the early mornings. Poppers and Berkley Wake Bait have been a staple of good fishing lately. Whopper Poppers, buzzbaits and chatterbaits are the go-to baits for power fishing for smallies and Kentucky bass out on the main lake and secondary points, sunken islands, humps, channel swings, bluffs and bluff ends, where they are biting well on a swimbait near shad balls. On cloudy days with wind, a bug worm in sunken trees, near ledges, or a ½-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue in 18-28 feet is good. Jewel Special Ops Jig or a Beaver flipping the bushes in less than 10 feet where you can reach the shore will work. For smallmouth, the gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads are good places to drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, tubes and the Lil’ Minnow. Drop-hot bluff points, main lake points and hump islands 24-36 feet deep.
The lake clarity is dingy to clear with a surface water temperature of 82 degrees. Water level remains very high, at 32 feet.
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 576.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake is still in a state of transition. The stripers have not migrated down towards the dam. Limits of stripers are being caught at the U.S. Highway 62 bridge, Float Creek, Panther Bay and Fall Creek. The lake temperature is still around 83 degrees and the thermocline is only at 17 feet. As the water temperature continues to rise, the stripers will be going deeper due to the thermocline should be around 32 feet at its peak. Look at water depths in the 50-100 feet range to find stripers. Trollers are catching stripers at 60 feet in Diamond Bay on swimbaits and A-rigs. “On the lower end of the lake, fish the points at first light then move to the bluff walls where the channel hits the bank,” Tom says. “My first light setup is two long lines 50-plus feet behind the boat with a split shot and gizzards. Downlines are set at 30, 40 and 50 feet. Once the sun is up all the downlines will be set at 60 feet.”
He says bass and walleye fishing is also good. They both are suspended over the shoreline buckbrush. Topwater plugs and flukes are working, and dropping a nightcrawler over the brush will produce walleye. Also, bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers along the old shoreline will produce walleye.
(updated 7-1-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake has entered its summer pattern with striped bass going deep and most other species hoovering around the old shoreline of roughly 23 feet. It appears there may be a thermocline formed in the 20-foot range, plus or minus a foot or two. Hard to tell with a depth finder when it’s this shallow.
Striped bass fishing has been pretty good once you find the fish. They seem to be moving in and out of the major creeks. "I am currently finding them on main lake bluff line points, especially when the point transitions from solid rock to chunk rock or gravel. The stripers seem to be close to the point, but still out in deep water 80-100 feet, and most of the ones I have been catching are suspended 60 to 70 feet down. Some smaller stripers and hybrids are suspended about 20 to 30 feet down feeding on the shad, which are staying close to the surface down to 20-plus feet of water. The best fishing time for me has been around 6:30-9 a.m. There have been many reports of striped bass being caught lake-wide, especially from the mid-lake area down to the dam and from the dam back toward Big Creek. I have mainly been fishing with threadfin and gizzard shad, but vertical-jigging a spoon is working, too.
"Largemouth bass fishing has also been good. The areas that have been best for me have been the same places where I have been finding striped bass. If there is bait on the points, the bass will be from the surface down to about 25 feet. They have been close to the shore all the way to the bottom, especially later in the day, but the times I am fishing they are out in the deep water suspended and feeding heavily on shad. There still has been some topwater action, but this activity is slowing down. Swimbaits, spinnerbaits and minnow-shaped crankbaits are all working.
"Walleye are being caught just outside of the sunken buckbrush or on the old shoreline roughly 20-25 feet down. Dragging a crawler harness with a small spinner is picking up some nice fish. Crappie are in the same area but may move up into shallow water during the day. With our high water, there is brush all over the shoreline so the challenge is locating the fish."
The current water depth has been dropping roughly 3 inches a day with constant power generation and is at 576.76 feet msl. The surface water temperature (Tuesday) morning was 83 degrees. The water is clear with a slight stain, which is typical this time of year with the warmer water. "Happy fishing and see you on the lake. Hope everyone has a happy and safe Independence Day."
(updated 7-1-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 21.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.3 feet and 2.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The 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 (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With summer here there is a lot of 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 7-1-2020) 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 1,127.58 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake continues to lower toward normal levels slowly but surely. The bite has tightened up as of late. Stripers are fair on the clear end of the lake early and late. Crappie are suspended at or near 15 feet and can be caught trolling cranks. Walleye still remain elusive but Jon says he’s still catching a few each trip. Bass are in summer pattern and are fair at best. Bream are good. Catfish are good, also. “Typical summer fishing here on Beaver Lake. If you bowfish there are lots of gar in Kelly Creek. You can also look up my Facebook guide page @FishOn Guides Goshen AR. Feel free to call anytime for updates.”
(updated 7-1-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good trolling with deep-diving crankbaits or minnows, and anglers say they are starting to catch some under the lights. Black bass are good on topwaters in the mornings and spinnerbaits and plastics during the day and evenings. Catfishing is good on the juglines baited with minnows or live bait. The water is very clear and very high, they say. Water, however, is down a foot over last week.
(updated 7-1-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Fishing these high waters the past couple of weeks has been great, depending on where you were. Most trout have been caught on light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. Spoons and Rooster Tails have done the trick, too. The hot spot has been between Parker Bottoms and the dam, the water temperature there is in the high 40s to low 50s. From Spider Creek to Houseman, the temperature is anywhere from 60-70 degrees. A few walleye are still being caught as well. Most of them are being caught trolling various crankbaits in the Beaver town area. No other species were targeted this week.
“Summer is starting to heat up, so make sure you stay hydrated. Have fun 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 7-1-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said War Eagle Creek fishing is going great for smallmouth bass between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Public Access and War Eagle Mills area. Ned rigs are getting the most consistent bite, along with live minnows.
The War Eagle Creek cove arm going into Beaver Lake, when it intersects with the White River all the way back up to the War Eagle Mills area’s $2 dollar access point, the fishing is excellent for largemouth bass, big smallmouth, crappie, all methods of catfishing, bow fishing, and “be expecting any Beaver Lake fish species on the hook!” Bass boats have easy access at War Eagle Cove boat ramp off of Natural Walk Road.
At Big Clifty arm cove off Beaver Lake, spotted bass fishing is going great, especially by springs, runoffs and points. Big smallmouth bass have been seen in the same areas. All catfishing methods will provide a good time in the upper arm back halfway. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 7-1-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says catfish are good on worms. Black bass are also good on worms. The lake is slightly stained and water is high.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 7-1-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water is clear and is about 1 foot below normal. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are poor. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is good with Punch Bait, stink bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-1-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the lake clarity has remained clear while water level is normal. Surface temperature Tuesday was 85 degrees. Bream are excellent; go with crickets. No crappie reports came in. Black bass are good late in the evenings now in deep water. Use a jig. Catfish are said to be spotty, fair results at best.
(updated 7-1-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing seems to have slowed down a little this week. She notes that good moon times for fishing are July 2-8, with best fishing days this month coming July 17-23. The lake remains murky and had a surface temperature Sunday ranging 61-77 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs with color. Crappie are good with minnows, jigs and worms. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, regular worms and topwater lures. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, and specifically Catfish Pro Blood/Chicken Liver.
(updated 7-1-2020) 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 7-1-2020) 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 7-1-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), said catfish and bream are biting on Lake Chicot. Possible scattered thunderstorms expected during the week, with a slight chance of rain in during the weekend. Lake Chicot will be busy with guests for Fourth of July weekend, but there still time to get out there and snag a good fishing spot.
(updated 7-1-2020) 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 259.40 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake is nearing normal pool, currently 2 inches above normal pool and stable. Millwood Lake pool elevation near 259.4 feet msl; and the discharge around 3,800 cfs in Little River according to the Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remains around 232 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, especially during high flow river conditions.
Millwood Lake received 55,000 of 300,000 Florida-strain bass fingerlings stocked recently by the AGFC. Current information indicates another 245,000 Florida bass fingerlings are yet to be added this year by AGFC hatchery personnel for a total of around 300,000 Florida-strain bass. Also, the AGFC added between 40-50 PVC fishing attractors 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 are in effect. Clarity in the oxbows is improved. Little River is normal stain this week, with few random broken timber.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Buzzbaits, frogs, Bass Assassin Shads and Stuttersteps are seeing improved reactions early, with the lake nearing normal pool and water clarity improving. Best activity period remains from dawn to around 9-10 a.m. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are working best near lily pads. Most largemouths continue active feeding at night and at early daybreak for a few hours, in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud and Horseshoe lakes. Reactions to Stuttersteps and shallow square-bill cranks in Millwood Magic have improved over the past couple 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 getting good responses at dawn from 2-5 feet of depth around stumps, lily pads and cypress knees. The Bass Assassins continue working near lily pads at dawn, and near cover, grass and stumps. Best colors of the bait over the past few weeks has been 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 Senkos, Zoom Trick Worms and Salty Rat Tails are working near cypress trees and knees drawing a fair response from lethargic black bass from 8-12 feet deep. Best colors over the past several weeks have been the watermelon candy, Blue Ice and June bug/blue tail.
Best buzzbaits and spinnerbait colors in current water clarity have been Firecracker, Avocado Shad or Spot Remover, while Brazalo Chatterbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream and black/blue continue to get random bites this week, too. Best targeted areas the past week were flooded bushes, alligator weeds and lily pads from 5-8 feet depths, with 10-15 feet depths in close proximity.
* White Bass: Have 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- to 3.5-pounders. Also, white bass were observed pushing shad to the surface and breaking in McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows at dawn over the past several mornings. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic or Splatterback colors and Spin Traps in chrome/blue back were catching these random schoolers this week.
* Catfish: They’ve been fairly consistent over the past few weeks on trotlines and yo-yos in Little River. Cut shad or buffalo, goldfish (available at Millwood State Park Marina), spoiled chicken hearts and gizzards, or Punch Bait were working well for 2- to 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.
* Crappie: They have continued to bite well over the past several 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 brushpiles from 8-10 feet of depth. The crappie response to improve on small jigs in chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue and black. Cottonshed and Okay Landing areas have been giving up some nice, healthy 2- to 3-pound crappie for several weeks.
* Bream: No reports.
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 545.35 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.10 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says the white bass and hybrid stripers are feeding early. A variety of artificial baits from spoons to A-rigs to swimbaits have been effective. Trolling crankbaits have produced well, also.
(updated 7-1-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina asks, “Fourth of July, here we come, ready or not. Water level is at 408.55 feet msl. That is a slight rise. The water temperature is 70s to low 80s depending on your location and water depth. Water is clear and clean pretty well throughout. Many people are trotlining and reports are good. Live bait is the best. Full moon coming, so the bream will be bedding and there will be some good catfishing around betting areas, especially with stumps. Schooling fish is the go-to item this time of year. When you can get a call day, you can find them surfacing through much of the lake. The area around Shouse Ford and Lennox Marcus is a good area to look. Topwaters (Zara Spooks, Chrome Devil Horse, Whopper Plopper), ShadRaps for cranking or trolling, and spoons that you can count down.
“The crappie bite has slowed down. The thermocline is between 22-30 feet depending on your location. Drop-shotting lay-downs for the big ones. Don’t expect to get a bunch in one spot.
“The moon is coming so find your bream beds and get after the bream. The beds look like aw waffle on side imaging. They are out there.
“Practice social distancing.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.94 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 531.05 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 6-17-2020) 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
(updated 7-1-2020) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-1-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that very heavy rainfall in Garland and Montgomery counties Tuesday afternoon forced Entergy to enact a high-water event for lakes Hamilton and Catherine and the Ouachita River. Rainfall amounts from 3-6 inches fell in a few short hours as multiple storm fronts moved in and out of the area, causing flash flooding and power outages. As many as five flood gates were opened below Carpenter Dam to combat the rising waters, which created a deadly environment. Dangerous flows have been the norm this week from area dams as Lake Ouachita rose near flood pool levels. Currently, both lakes are stabilized and using safer generation flows; however, this could quickly change should more rainfall occur or Lake Ouachita rises into flood pool. People should use extreme caution when navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace and be ready to move away from the dam if flow discharges increase rapidly.
A slow summertime fishing pattern has set in on Lake Catherine. While rainbow trout are present, the bite is very slow. Numbers of fish caught are few, but the size ranges from 13-19 inches. White bass are finishing the spawn and the migration away from the dam to the main body of the lake is beginning. Catfish are also completing a spawning run and moving downstream. These fish have been caught in good numbers by jigging spoons and large jigs over deep water near the dam. Live minnows and stink baits have taken catfish in the 20-pound range. Yellow bass are mixed in with the white bass population and are good table fare despite a bad reputation as a nonedible fish. June was a good month for fishing early, but was cut short by flooding and prolonged high generation. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should exercise caution and always wear a life jacket and follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 7-1-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that in the past week they have experienced mostly clear skies with sunshine and humidity. Daytime heating did generate showers in areas on some days. The National Weather Service forecast expects sunshine and heat for the coming week. A heat advisory is possible on Thursday as a ridge builds over the area through the weekend. With less rains and slower river flow the water has cleared up near the surface and visibility reaches a few feet. Surface water temperature is 82 degrees.
As of Tuesday (June 30) the Corps of Engineers last reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam was at 25,000 cfs. The tailwater is near 340 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam is 0 cfs this morning. Dardanelle tailwater level has moved between 6 and 4 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park remains elevated and has kept between 338 and 339 feet msl.
River flow at both Ozark and Dardanelle has been slight at times. Their spillway release has been flowing periodically and then stopping. Powerhouse generation has been periodic as well.
No fishing tournaments 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 state 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 7-1-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded high-performance fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton as of Tuesday (June 30) is a murky, debris strewn, mess. We have had no less than 6 inches of rain in the last 24 hours and the lake shows it. Navigate all waters of Hamilton with extreme caution!
Bass have been good up until this week on deep drop-offs of banks and bridge piers with fish holding and suspended at depths from 10-25 feet. Approaching these fish with drop-shot rigs, wacky weightless rigs and Ned rigs has produced well. With the water clarity becoming murky it is important to go to darker colors like plum, June bug and black for the simple reason that the bait is more visible. Topwaters like frogs and buzzbaits should also produce in and around debris-strewn areas. Bass will be touching hard cover, using it as a reference point to their position.
Crappie should also be doing the same thing in brushpiles and bridge piers. Jigs in darker colors will be the ticket with these fish as they will be mostly reflex strikes. Fish the vertical presentations to get in tight areas where these fish will be.
Bream are good everywhere on worms and crickets fished right of deeper docks. Good-sized eating fish are readily available.
“Again, please use caution, folks! Use those life jackets at all times under power. Good luck, and happy birthday USA!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 347.17 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the water is “really clear” and has a surface temperature of 87 degrees as of Tuesday noon. Water level is 3 feet high, a good drop from recent weeks. Bream fishing has been excellent. Bream are in 3-5 feet of water and hitting worms and crickets. Crappie are good, being found shallow over brushpiles. Use minnows, or definitely throw a chartreuse and pink-headed jig. Black bass are shallow and the bite is good. The June Bug Red Monster Worm is working best, anglers say. Catfishing has been fair, with the catches coming on limblines and trotlines.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.53 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still fair. Topwaters, drop-shot finesse rigs and jighead worms will work best. Walleye are good. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler work best. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the east part of the lake. Bream are still good with crickets or worms in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught on trotlines and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature continue to range 78-84 degrees. Clarity is stained. Lake level Tuesday was 577.46 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 405.74 feet msl (normal pool: 387.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2020) Fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said Horseshoe has had a lot of wind lately and the bite has slowed up. Bream fishing is excellent around the lily pads and cypress trees on redworms and crickets. Crappie are slowing down, and Ronnie says he’s been throwing back a lot of small crappie. Try a crankbait for best success. Black bass are fair. He says he and his groups are usually catching about 20-30 fish per day but now they’re catching about five or so. Catfishing is excellent on stink bait around the piers. “Lots of activities this weekend for the Fourth and the 50th anniversary of Horseshoe Lake.”
(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
White River/Clarendon Area