July 15, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 15, 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 7-15-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake clarity is the usual Lake Conway stain with normal water level in some parts of the lake, while other parts are low. Redworms or crickets will get you a good haul of bream, they report. Crappie are good using minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits, topwater baits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, frogs and plastics all continuing to work great. Catfish are biting well on stink bait, nightcrawlers, small bream, goldfish and trotline minnows.
(updated 7-15-2020) Angler Dennis Charles says the lake has clear visibility at 3-5 feet and the water level is normal. Bream catches have been slow; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are slow as cover is hard to find on the lake. Largemouth bass are fair. They are chasing their finned food all over. Keep an eye on the barometer; spinnerbaits, topwater lures, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, go to deeper areas. Catfishing is fair; go with cut bait. Some anglers are finding them in the shallows.
Follow Dennis at his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235) for the latest reports out of Beaverfork.
Little Red River
(updated 7-15-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said, “Looks like we have gotten into a summertime water release pattern for the Little Red River of a few hours afternoon generation each day to meet power demand. This pattern provides great wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons.”
For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Purple and cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing.
Be safe while enjoying the river. 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.
(updated 7-15-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the lake is now in the conservation pool, which means that generation will be for power demand only. This schedule has been from about 1-7 p.m. on weekdays and 2-7 p.m. on weekends. This schedule can vary, so check the day before planning your fishing trip. “We had a heavy rain in the upper section of the river on Tuesday with from 1½ to 3 inches falling in a short period of time. This caused the upper and mid-sections of the river to be muddy Tuesday afternoon, but the generation has cleared this section,” Greg reported.
Small mayfly nymphs such as pheasant tails and midge pupa are a good choice of flies. Due to a blue-winged olive hatch beginning to occur, the bite is good.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.28 feet msl as of Tuesday evening and falling. It is 0.26 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl for this time of year and will continue to fall with evaporation and generation as needed. Catching is still good for all species all around if you stay the course. Crappie are still eating well straight up and down on minnows and jigs trolled or small cranks. Target 12-30 feet. Hybrid and white bass are good early late and in the middle of day. Some are up high schooling, while others are on structure eating live bait, spoons and inline spinners in 25-45 feet. Black bass are on structure, schooling, and some are still up shallow eating a lot of different baits; just get it in front of them. Catfishing is going strong for all species. Walleye are on edges of gravel points, humps, bends, on one side or the other, in 18-45 feet eating crawlers and crankbaits. Bream action is hot all over the lake as well; use crickets and crawlers for the best bite.
(updated 7-8-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says bass are biting well at the lower end of the lake in 15 feet of water on crankbaits, and in the early mornings on topwaters schooling.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-15-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the lake is slightly stained but is at normal level. Bream continue to bite well; use redworms, waxworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. The black bass bite is good on plastic worms and topwater lures. Catfishing is good using small bream or perch and fishing it 10-14 feet deep.
NOTE: 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 7-15-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake clarity is “a little cloudy” and the water level is normal. Bream reports are good; use redworms or crickets. Crappie amounts have dropped down to fair, but there are still some pretty good-sized fish being caught, he said. They are in 13-15 feet of water with the crappie suspended at 6-8 feet. The best time for crappie is in the middle of the day. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good, with best success coming on purple jigs fished under the docks or plastic worms thrown in the grassy areas. Catfishing is good using chicken liver, black salties or goldfish.
(updated 7-15-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is 8 inches below normal pool. Surface temperature is around 88 degrees and clarity is good. “We have am abundant amount of small shad across the lake,” Johnny notes. Bass are doing well with crankbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish are slow but anglers are still catching some 6- to 14-pounders on trotlines and jugs using catalpa worms and perch. Crappie are being caught in 12-14 feet of water about 4-7 feet down. Not catching a lot but still some good ones, 2- to 3-pounders. Bream are doing well on crickets and worms in 3-4 feet of water.
“It's very hot out there so keep hydrated and be safe,” he says. “We have started on our new parking lot. All the boat lanes have been remarked and ready for business. Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop.”
(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 7-15-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature is in the mid-80s. The largemouth bass bite has sloed. 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. Kentucky bass are biting fair. Some reports of them being found 18-20 feet off drops and rocky banks. In Tuesday night's black bass tournament, Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley weighed in a five-bass stringer of 10.07 pounds, while Robert White and Mason hauled in the Big Bass of 2.87 pounds. White bass are slow. Some can be found in 16-20 feet in or around the channel. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle baits. Crappie are good. Reports have them being found in 14-16 feet. Some can still be found scattered, mixed in with the whites. Use jigs or minnows. Bream are good and can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 7-8 feet and 12-14 feet of water. Use crickets, worms or beetle spins. Catfishing is fair; use chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish. For information on fishing the Tuesday night tournaments, call the marina.
(updated 7-15-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been hot everywhere, especially here. Fresh chicken livers have seemed to be the most used in landing some good eaters. Some people have reported catching them also on bait shrimp and also on Wild Catblood stink bait. Crappie have been slow, but a few have been caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows, especially early in the morning or right at dark. Bass have hit on some topwater baits or plastic worms wacky-rigged. But minnows or black salties have also done some good for a few anglers. Bream have been very good – the hotter the better, with crickets, redworms, waxworms and super worms all doing well for many at Sunset Lake.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-15-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says that here, too, like at Sunset Lake the catfish have been doing great. Fresh chicken livers have been the key to catching them here. A few take the frozen skipjack and cut it up and fish for them also. Bass do well on black salties as well as on goldfish and also plastics fished wacky-rigged. Crappie are slow but are biting some on No, 6 crappie minnows and assorted crappie jigs, especially early in the morning. Bream have been good everywhere on crickets, especially here.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-15-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been doing well on trotlines baited up with goldfish, black salties and bream. Bass, smallmouth and largemouth as well as Kentucky bass, have been doing well off of black salties, minnows, Zingtails, and plastics in the colors of green pumpkin and watermelon red. Crappie have been fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and on Kalin’s Jigs, especially Tennessee Shad, up on deep pockets and anywhere you can find some brush. Bream have been very good on crickets, and Super Worms work well, too, plus they last a lot longer on the hook than the cricket does and provide more fish just off of one worm. Gar are fun to catch and they are plentiful as well. You can fray up some twine on your hook and throw a minnow on there and land one in when their teeth go to bite into the minnow and get the twine wrapped all in their teeth.
(updated 7-15-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish “yep, doing great here as well. I must say that the catfish is hot everywhere. Black salties, night crawlers and cut bait have worked good here.” Crappie have done fair on No. 6 crappie minnows, especially late in the evening. “One of my customers from out there said lots of them around there have been putting out more structure for the crappie. I know that out of the 35 years that I have been in business that this year has to have been the top year as far as catching good, big crappie,” Lisa says. Bream are excellent drop-shotting with a cricket. There are some huge red ear at this lake. Bass have been hitting minnows, black salties, plastics and spinnerbaits as well as buzzbaits.
(updated 7-15-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow, but No. 6 crappie minnows have been catching some. Bass have been biting fair on minnows, spinnerbaits, Carolina and wacky-rigged worms. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Catfish are biting well late in the day until right after dark in shallow waters close to drop-offs. Minnows, nightcrawlers, goldfish and fresh chicken livers fished right off the bottom are catching them.
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 lease turns 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
(updated 7-15-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) reported the clarity remains clear and the water level is normal. Much like last week, he says, bream have been good on worms and crickets. Crappie aren’t showing much; poor results. Black bass are good, however, with bass being caught in shallow water early in the mornings and late in the evenings. Throw a spinnerbait, a buzzbait or soft plastics for best results. Catfish reports have been good using chicken liver or cut bait.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 10,034 cfs.
(updated 7-15-2020) 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 10,725 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 6,878 cfs.
(updated 7-15-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said Tuesday afternoon the river flow jumped up a little from last week to 20,000 cfs but will probably go down quickly. Bass are being caught 2-3 feet from the jetties on shaky head worms, finesse jigs I watermelon red, square-billed crankbaits and Bandit 200s. In the backwaters, bass will bite buzzbaits and frogs. Crappie are good on Beaver Bottom baits off the jetties in the main channel of the river. Bream reports are good, use redworms or crickets. The river clarity is lightly stained.
(updated 7-15-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream fishing is good on the river, in the backwaters and around Willow Beach in 4-5 feet of water. Use crickets or redworms. Black bass are biting early in the morning on topwater baits fished around the rocks. Crappie are in 8-10 feet depth off the riprap and will bite black/chartreuse jigs as well as minnows. Catfishing is good below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and dam. Use cut shad.
(updated 7-15-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-15-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
(update 7-15-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are good; use plastic worms or topwater baits. Catfishing is good using worms, chicken liver, cut bait, prepared bait and hot dogs.
(update 7-15-2020) Wil Hafner, AGFC Education Program Specialist at Cook’s Lake Potlatch Conservation Education Center near Casscoe, fished Peckerwood recently and said he caught a limit of bream on nightcrawlers, crickets and Bonehead Tackle Stump Bugs. Most were on the bed in about 3 feet of water.
(updated 7-15-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said generation from Bull Shoals Lake into the tailwater known as the White River that flows through the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks has been fairly steady at around four to five units (14,000 cfs) and the lake elevation is finally below 690 feet msl, which puts it about 30 feet above power pool. “We still have a ways to go before river levels decrease significantly, but the trout fishing has been very good. Parents looking for a way to keep their kids active, interested and outdoors find fishing is the answer. Plus it's a great way to teach biology, environmental science, ecology and nutrition!
“Drifting a wriggling redworm or a fat nightcrawler has been a great way to pull in rainbows this week. You can't beat high water for the opportunity to bring out your big stick baits; cast upstream, keep a steady rein on your line, drift and twitch that bait on its way back to you, and chances are good that you'll bring some trout in for pictures and/or dinner. Try the 3/8-ounce, 4.5-inch orange- or silver-bellied Rogues first.
“’Tis the season for sunscreen, but remember to keep it away from your fishing equipment and bait – fish will turn away from the scent of sunscreen.”
(updated 7-15-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says anglers have been catching golden rainbow trout and tiger trout lately in the area. Both species were stocked by the AGFC a few weeks back. Tiger trout is a hybrid of brown trout and brook trout that was obtained from Wyoming. The limit on tiger trout is the same on Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters as rainbows and brown trout if caught outside the catch-and-release area – five trout daily limit, and anglers can only keep one trout over 14 inches regardless of species. All trout must be released in catch-and-release areas.
Golden rainbow trout have the same limit as the regular rainbows.
Rainbow fishing has been great, they say. Anglers are also catching several browns. The river level has been high with eight generators running, as the Army Corps of Engineers tries to lower the level of Bull Shoals Lake, which is 30 feet above conservation pool.
(updated 7-15-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week they about an inch and a half or rainfall in Cotter, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 foot to rest at 29.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.1 feet msl. This is 4.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.8 feet to rest at 8.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 5.8 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 5.9 feet above seasonal power pool and two and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had moderate generation. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell one and three tenths feet to rest at nineteen and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.9 feet and four and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had heavy flows and no wadable water.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes 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 (sizes 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).
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 689.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.20 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 925.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the Corps of Engineers continues to limit access to ramps and parking, so Del urges customers/boaters/anglers to call first, especially on weekends. Summer fishing patterns are in effect. For largemouth bass, fish with topwaters in the mornings. Poppers, Berkley Wake Bait, Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits or chatterbaits are the go-to for power fishing shallow if it’s cloudy or stormy. During the day, smallies and spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are stacked out on main and secondary points, sunken islands, humps, channel swing bluffs and bluff ends. Use a big worm around sunken trees, near ledges, or a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue in 18-28 feet of water. Smallmouth bass will be around gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads. Drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, tubes, the Lil’ McMinnow, and fish a drop-shot suspended off bluff points, main lake points and hump islands at 24-34 feet depth. Lake clarity is dingy to clear. Surface water temperature has reached 86 degrees. The lake is still over 30 feet high but falling. Visit Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for video with more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 573.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.95 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake is in a state of flux. The stripers have migrated from the mid-lake area and are now being caught in Diamond Bay and the points around the dam. The oxygen level is good at 100 feet near the dam, and in the other parts of the lower part of the lake the oxygen levels are OK. “Each morning I start out fishing by 5:30 a.m. but rarely catch a striper until 6 a.m. I cannot figure out where in the early mornings they are hanging out. The thermocline needs to set into its normal level around 34 feet, and the high temperatures this week should drive it down. Right now we are catching stripers in 20-80 feet deep all at one time. It's crazy on what we're doing. My setup has two free-lines and six downlines all set from 20-80 feet. Normally I set the lines all the same, but now you have to stagger your lines just to catch stripers. Today I caught a striper on a free-line, one at 60 feet, and one at 80 feet.
“The other major problem is there is no consistent secondary bite. Once the main bite is over, which usually ends around 7 a.m., we are having a difficult time getting stripers to bite. You can see lots of stripers on the bottom but they just look at the bait. Once we can figure this out we should catch a limit each time we go out and the stripers quit biting due to the oxygen depletion.”
(updated 7-1-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Fishing Norfork Lake has entered its summer pattern with striped bass going deep and most other species hovering 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 60-70 feet down. Some smaller stripers and hybrids are suspended about 20-30 feet down feeding on the shad, which is staying close to the surface down to 20-plus feet of water. The best fishing time for me at this time 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 as well.
“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 crank-baits are all working.”
Lou says 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 the 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 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.”
(updated 7-15-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell one and three tenths feet to rest at nineteen and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.9 feet and four and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had heavy flows and no wadable water.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The Norfork is fishing well. 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 an egg pattern 18 inches below a cerise San Juan worm. 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 and Norfork tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “A couple of weeks ago I had a half-day guide trip on Dry Run Creek with two 13-year-old boys. When I met them at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, I was told that they were twins. Most of the twins that I have met looked very much alike. These boys didn’t even look like brothers. One of them was about a foot taller than the other. Both of them were eager to learn to fly-fish.
“My wife, Lori, accompanied me. Her guide trip that day had canceled and she decided to go with me so that we could give the boys more individual attention. That is the secret to success on Dry Run Creek.
“It was warm and sunny. The temperature did not affect us because it is always cool on the creek. It is located on a tight little valley with a lot of tree cover, and the cold discharge of water from the hatchery contributes to the cool. Frequently, when I climb the stairs out of the creek, my glasses cloud up from the quick change in temperature. There were a lot of young anglers on the stream mostly from the nearby campground at Quarry Park.
“The two lads didn’t look alike and didn’t fish alike. The one that I worked with was fairly laid back but listened to what I had to say and carefully did what I instructed him to do. That is a plan for success. He caught a good-sized rainbow on his third cast and carefully brought it in. A few casts later he landed a trophy 23-inch rainbow. He landed a few smaller fish before catching another slightly smaller trophy rainbow.
He then hooked a big trout. This one was fighting much more actively than any other trout we had encountered that day. It finally came to the net. It was a 24-inch cutthroat. They are harder to come by than rainbows or browns.
“Meantime Lori was working with his brother. It was a struggle. He tended to lower his rod every time he had a big trout on. That allows slack in the line and the trout can easily slip the hook. I gave Lori and her client the spot where we had done so well. My lad and I headed upstream to another spot. We managed to catch a nice brown and a few other trout. We were looking for a brook trout to get our grand slam but never saw one.
“While we were upstream, Lori was patiently working with her lad. He began getting better and was soon into some nice trout. He somehow managed to land the biggest trout of the day, a fat 25-inch rainbow.
“We finished the day fishing nearby and everyone was satisfied with their catch. Every child is different in the way they learn, even twins.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-15-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low. 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 1,126.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake continues to fall toward normal level. Water temps are in the mid-80s. “Dog Days are here. Look very early or at night for the best bite,” Jon says. Crappie are being caught trolling various crankbaits. Stripers are biting the first few hours of the day and shutting down by 10 a.m. “Have heard of some good action at night for stripers in and around main points from Point 6 all the way to the dam.” Bass fishing has been pretty good early and late, especially on cloudy days. Catfishing is good on all methods. Walleye are fair on trolled cranks and crawler harnesses. Bream are excellent on crickets.
(updated 7-15-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is clear and still high. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Night fishing for crappie is really popular right now under the lights, they report. Black bass are fair. Use topwater baits in the mornings, then go with jigs and jerkbaits. Also, follow the crappie anglers’ lead and cast for some bass under the lights. Catfishing is good on trotlines and jugs.
(updated 7-15-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the water is starting to fall; however, the water temps have not. Surface temps between Houseman and Spider Creek have been between the high 70s to low 60s. Up towards the dam, the temps are in the 50s. The trout bite has been pretty good, he says. Most have been caught on light terminal tackle, with various PowerBaits. Quarter-ounce spoons and various crankbaits have produced some nice numbers as well. “No real hot spot to report, as the fish as still scattered. A few walleye are still being caught around Beaver town. Most are being caught with crankbaits and jigging live minnows. No other species to report on. It is hot out there, folks. Makes sure you stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun as much as possible. Be safe, 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 7-15-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said, “Summertime is on, love it, and thank you very much!” Smallmouth bass fishing is happening in War Eagle Creek. Bass are schooled up in spring holes and when catching one, fish that spot a while longer and you may catch a half-dozen it the same pool. Use Ned rigs with red flakes or a Texas-rigged 4-inch or 6-inch watermelon-colored worm. When fish are feeding in the rapids, look for 3- or 4-foot deep small holes and throw a Mepps Spoon or spinnerbait and you just need to throw once in a hot spot while floating through the rapids, and hurry the reel up and cast in the next hot spot. Crankbaits and topwater baits are producing great action, and live minnows are everywhere and will be great bait!
In the Big Clifty arm of Beaver Lake, Rambo Cove access, North Clifty cove, the black bass fishing is excellent. “The old pig-and-jig works great, especially night fishing. The daybreak topwater is excellent on cove main channels! Catfishing on jugs with live perch and on poles will catch some great grilling fish. You can catch perch on live worms by waterfalls and land some perch big enough for grill, also!”
The Carroll County paved road 108 off of Arkansas Highway 23 goes to the easy bass boat ramp and anglers can fish all three coves easy, as well as get to the big waters in the main lake channel connecting coves. Madison County Road 8455 to 8465 off of Arkansas Highway 127 goes to the easy boat access at the end of cove and the no wake zone cove has great kayaking, canoeing and bank fishing access, Loy says. 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
(update 7-15-2020) Ralph F. Donnangelo, park superintendent, had no new reports.
(updated 7-15-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake clarity is a little stained but is fishable. Bream reports are fair; use worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and crankbaits. Black bass are good; throw a topwater bait in the early morning, and use a buzzbait late in the evening. Catfishing is fair; use cut bait, chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-15-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the lake clarity remains clear and the water level is normal. Bream continue to bite well, with best reports coming from fishing under the docks and off points with redworms or crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good using deep-diving crankbaits and jigs. Catfishing is good with chicken liver, and anglers are also catching catfish with perch in the evenings and late at night in shallow areas.
(updated 7-15-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said catfish and bream are still very active. As the water warms up, fish may be in deeper water in the heat of the day. Early morning fishing, or evening and night fishing, may have the fishing moving more. Best moon times coming up are between July 19-23 and Aug. 16-22, Shelly said. Catfish are biting with good results on worms, blood bait, chicken liver, minnows and cut bait. Bream can be found around brushpiles and rocky points and will bite worms, crickets and colored jigs. Anglers have had good stringers. Water temperature Sunday morning was 66 degrees. The clarity is murky and the level is normal.
(updated 7-15-2020) 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 7-15-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are at 490 cfs (350 average), and water clarity has been green tinted. No rain in the last few weeks has water levels coming down. “Still flowing little strong but getting easier to wade. The river has been up for so long the trout are biting really good as river levels drop,” Mark says.
Lately Woolly Buggers in brown, olive and flaming orange have been hot. “We are fishing early and off the water after lunch due to the heat. The trout have been biting great early in the day, and as the day heats up, the bite slows.”
Trout cranks and hot pink and black Trout Magnets have been working well with spin-fishing. “Any type of crankbait is good about getting down to the fish. Like the trout cranks, it must float. Fishing the Spring, it will hang on bottom in the rocks constantly. If it floats just give some slack and a lot of times it will float out.”
Mark also said, “The river is very cold this time of year and feels great! Get out and have a good time. And please keep our river clean.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 7-15-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is here and it can get very crowded. 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).
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 10.12 feet, less than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 13.83, more than 12 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 26.14 feet, slightly above the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 7-15-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the flow at Sanders Lock and Dam was 6,167 cfc.
(updated 7-15-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no reports.
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 7-15-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-15-2020) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.37 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Mike Siefert at .12 said Tuesday that Millwood Lake was near normal level, just 1 inch above normal pool. The discharge was around 1,200 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remained around 227 feet msl and stable with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful link page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Millwood State Park and Marina are open, and the park is open to campers now. See the COVID-19 related information and camping reservation requirements at www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 85-93 degrees depending on location. Clarity in the oxbows is improved. Little River is normal stain this week, with few random broken timber. Clarity consistent in the back of the oxbows with improving stain this week. Clarity and visibility along Little River at 10-15 inches. The oxbow's moderate stain clarity ranges 18-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Early morning continues to be key for the best bite of the day. Good blowups are happening near stumps and cypress trees and knees on buzzbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, Spit'n Images and Stuttersteps, with the lake nearing normal water clarity and stain in the oxbows. Best activity period remains from dawn to around 9-10 a.m. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits continue working near lily pads. Over the past couple weeks 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 improved over the past couple weeks. Bill Lewis Lures' SB-57 and Echo 1.75 crankbait square-bills in Ghost Minnow, Bluegill and Sneaky Shad continue getting good responses over the past few days.
Bass Assassin Shads and soft plastic frogs continue drawing random reactions at dawn from 5-8 feet of depth around stumps, lily pads and cypress knees. The Bass Assassin Shads continue working near lily pads at dawn and near cover, grass and stumps. Best colors of Assassins over the past few weeks continue to be the Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost and Panhandle Moon. Bulky 10-inch Power Worms were getting fair responses over the past week and best colors have been the June bug/red, blue fleck and black grape.
Jumbo Gitzits and large Magnum Tubes with rattles, Texas-rigged, are working in 6-10 feet of depth. Best tube choices in the stain water of the oxbows are pumpkinseed/chartreuse, black/blue tail and bluegill or appleseed. Texas-rigged Senkos, Trick Worms, and Salty Rat Tails continue working near cypress trees and knees, drawing a fair response from lethargic largemouths from 8-12 feet deep. Best colors over the past several weeks have been the watermelon candy, Blue Ice and June bug/blue tail.
* White bass: Vertical-jigging War Eagle Underspins and Kastmaster spoons were connecting with some nice 2- to 3½-pound white bass over the last two weeks in Little River between Jack's Isle and Hurricane Creek. Additionally, white bass were observed pushing shad to the surface and breaking in McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows at dawn on cloudy mornings a week ago. Clear Baby Torpedoes, chrome Dying Flutters and Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic or Splatterback colors, with Spin Traps in chrome/blue back, were catching these random schoolers last week.
* Crappie: Best bite continues to be early, as it has for the past 3-4 weeks. Minnows and jigs have been working away from current and flow of Little River, in any clearer water sections of the oxbows and Millwood State Park, 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 responses continue to improve on small jigs in chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue and black. Millwood State Park continues seeing good activity in the pockets and coves near cypress trees and grass from 4-6 feet of depth. Cottonshed and Okay landing areas continue giving up some nice healthy 2- to 3-pounders over the past several weeks.
* Catfish: 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 baits were working well for 2- to 4-pound blues and channel cats on yo-yo's hung from cypress trees 3-8 feet deep in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows up Little River last week.
* Bream: No report.
(updated 7-15-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had 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 543.88 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.83 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Well, it’s that time of year again. Seems like the fishing report is a stamped copy from last week, this time of year, but here goes: 405.93 feet is the lake level with a slight drop. Water is clear throughout the lake. Water temperature is in the high 80s. No report on bream or catfish. Black bass are in their summer pattern. Soft plastics on the points after early morning topwater fishing over the brush. Lots of Kentucky bass on the move. Small topwaters and crankbaits work for them or a Rooster Tail jig.
“I think the best bite is the whites and hybrids. They are showing signs of finally showing some topwater action. Whopper Ploppers, Devil Horse, Zara Spooks all in the shad color are good topwaters. Rat-L-Traps and ShadRaps are good after they go down and, of course, the always reliable spoons. Count ’em down when fish are deep. Most of the action is from Shouse Ford to Iron Mountain. There are even some surfacers in the harbor out from Iron Mountain. Use your electronics. Find ’em. Get ’em. Be safe and remember social distancing.”
(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.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.45 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.35 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-15-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said lake clarity is dingy and the water level is high. He had no fishing report.
(updated 7-15-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.
(updated 7-15-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, had no new fishing reports.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-15-2020) 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 7-15-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 64 degrees with clear conditions. Heavy rains had stained area lakes, and it takes several days to settle back to normal. Entergy has scheduled an 11 a.m.-11 p.m. generation pattern that has included an open flood gate below Carpenter Dam, which has created a dangerous flow in the tailrace. Boaters are cautioned to remain a safe distance from the dam during this time. Rainbow trout fishing is very slow with the majority of fish migrated away from the dam. The majority of the trout season was lost due to flooding much like last year. Typically, the trout season is over on Lake Catherine and this year is no exception. While the white bass spawn is over, good numbers of fish remain in the tailrace and are feeding on shad. The size is running small but these fish are actively feeding and are being caught on jigs, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and live minnows. Walleye are also present from the bridge to the dam and being taken on the same presentations. The hot weather draws these fish to the tailrace to feed on shad and crayfish. Little topwater action has been observed around the dam this week, which normally marks the feeding patterns of big stripers that migrate in and out of the area to rest and feed. Hybrid bass often accompany these predator fish and both species can be hooked by casting Super Spooks and weightless jigs in a rainbow trout color. Flow discharges can change rapidly and anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to stay alert and always wear a life jacket when on the water.
(updated 7-15-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that during the past week they experienced mostly clear skies with sunshine and humidity. The high-pressure system over the southwestern United States did pull some clouds and rain down from the northwest. The National Weather Service did not sugarcoat the forecast discussion and expected to issue a heat advisory for the next few days as heat indices exceed 100 degrees as the high-pressure ridge becomes stagnant over the area. Above-average temperatures, humidity and chances of afternoon showers can be expected for the week ahead. With less rains and slower river flow the water has cleared up near the surface and visibility reaches a few feet. The surface water temperature is 84 degrees.
As of this Tuesday the Army Corps of Engineers last reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam was at 14,000 cfs. The tailwater is near 338 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam is near 17,000 cfs Tuesday morning. Dardanelle tailwater level has moved between 6 and 4 feet. The pool elevation near the state park has fallen in recent days and is just below 338 feet msl. River flow at both Ozark and Dardanelle has been almost stagnant at times and most, if not all, of the flow has been through the powerhouses, which have been generating most days.
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 the facilities continues to be evaluated. In accordance with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’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 the visitor center at (479) 967-5516.
“Be safe while on the river and take advantage of nice weather or time to put a line the water!”
(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 344.59 feet msl (normal pool: 344.31 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the water is clear with a surface temperature of 87 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream fishing is good with best results coming 3-5 feet on the points. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good in 6 feet depth. Use minnows, jigs and purple/chartreuse Beaver Bottom Jigs. Black bass are good, with topwaters, worms, June bugs, War Eagle Buzzbaits in chartreuse, black and white colors all working well. Catfishing has been good on the limblines and jigs with lines dropped 6 feet deep. Use the usual bait.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 576.42 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are fair. Big Texas-rigged worms and jighead worms are working best right now. Try red bug, plum or blood line colors. Walleye are very good. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best right now. Stripers are still good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the east part of the lake. Bream are good with crickets or worms in 15-25 feet of water. Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are still good and being caught with trot line and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature is ranging 80-85 degrees and the clarity is clearing. The lake level earlier this week was 576.65 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 395.34 feet msl (normal pool: 386.36 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 7-15-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says that the White River has now fallen out enough to be able to open Cook’s Lake for youth and mobility-impaired anglers. There has been no fishing on the lake this year so there is no accurate report to give. However, Wil suggests to fish this lake like any other oxbow. Black bass should be targeted around cypress trees. Try using square-bill crankbaits or flipping black and red tubes or creature baits. Bluegill should be good around laydowns with redworms and crickets. Crappie can be picked off of brushtops using tube jigs. Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Due to current guidelines, Cook’s Lake is opening to fishing during normal business hours, starting Wednesday, July 15, with fishing available each Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. To comply with current guidelines, we ask that you call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-15-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
White River/Clarendon Area
No fishing reports. The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday reported the Clarendon stage at 24.02 feet, almost two feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.