Sept. 9, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Sept. 9, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication.
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Quick links to regions:
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 through September. 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 9-9-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Lake Conway is fairly clear and the water level has dropped to low. Bream are fair. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie appear to be slowing down with fair results this week. Crappie minnows and small jigs were working best. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater baits. Catfishing is good; use stink bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish, trotline minnows and regular catfish bait.
(updated 9-9-2020) Angler Dennis Charles said this week’s fishing mirror last week’s. He reports that bass are excellent early and late. Anglers are finding success using anything in the box. Bream are slow all over. Crappie are still poor. Catfish can be found deep in channels; go to deep water for your best chances. Lake clarity is down to 4 feet in spots due to runoff from storms; the barometer and storms have been playing havoc with their feeding times.
Little Red River
(updated 9-9-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports the river is a little stained and at a normal level. Brown trout are good on little gold spoons, crankbaits or maribou jigs in any dark or bright colors.
(updated 9-2-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is a little high and muddy due to the storms and heavy rain Tuesday. A tornado hit the Arkansas Highway 337 area, crossed the river, and hit the Wildflower and Primrose Creek areas. There was a lot of damage and downed trees. As of the latest reports, there have been no injuries. I'm not sure if any of the debris or trees are in the river in that area, but it would be wise to motor carefully in this area.
The lake is beginning to rise, but is still about 3 feet low, so generation should stay about theh same for the next few days. If the rain stops, the generation should help clear the river over the next few days.
(updated 8-26-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River is receiving a few hours of afternoon generation each day. This pattern provides wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and lower river in the afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says smallmouth bass are good on Ned rigs and drop-shots in the lower end of the lake in 20-25 feet of water. Fishing is also good early in the day and late in the evening on Whopper Plopper or Zara Spooks around the shoreline.
(updated 9-9-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake has come back up to 461.67 feet msl; that is just 0.87 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Crappie are biting on cranks, jigs and live bait fished all over place, 10-30 feet. No report on walleye. Catfish are eating with new run-ins and the like, on a variety of baits. Hybrid bass and white bass are around the shad, which are scattered everywhere, in 15-80 feet; use spoons, topwater baits, Largo Muskie Brute Baits, inline spinners and swimbaits. Bream are eating; they are real active up shallow. Use inline spinners, small cranks, crickets and crawlers. Black bass are scattered all over, super shallow out to 50 feet. Use topwater, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, drop-shots, or drag something.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-9-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports clarity is improved to a little dingy. Water level was low. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Crappie improved this past week to good; minnows and jigs will both work, but your best bet is probably with Bobby Garland Jigs in shiny shad and monkey milk colors. The black bass continued to improve, with good results this week. Best fishing is early in the morning using white frogs. Catfish are good on the shoreline with glow worms, goldfish and being caught on trotlines.
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the AGFC are conducting herbicide applications to Overcup through September. 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 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 9-9-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said Overcup is clearing up. The lake is high by about 10-12 inches as of Tuesday afternoon. Bream reports were fair. Anglers are catching less than previously, but they’re still catching good-size bream. Use redworms or crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good, with best success coming close to the shoreline. Use a crankbait or Rat-L-Trap. Catfishing is good; bait with shad, bream or black salties.
(updated 9-9-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report.
(updated 9-9-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), had no reports.
(updated 9-9-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reported that water temperature is in the 90s. The largemouth bass bite is fair. Some can be found in shallow water or just outside the grass line biting a variety of lures. Try using swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Kentucky bass are also fair. Some of them are reported being found in 15-20 feet of water off drops and rocky banks. Try using jigs. In last Saturday's 3 p.m.-to-midnignight bass tournament, Cody Bryant and Brad Lequieu caught a stringer totaling 16 pounds, including the 4.12-pound Big Bass. Also, Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley were the Tuesday night black bass tournament Anglers of the Year with 185.45 points.
White bass are biting slow. Some are reported being found in 20-22 sfeet in or around the channel. Try using minnows, Rooster Trails, jerbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are fair. There are reports of them moving out of deeper water and being found in 12-18 feet in shallow brush. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the white bass. Use jigs or minnows. Bream are great. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Try using crickets, worms or beetle spins. Catfishing is good on chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish. Call the marina for information on fall bass tournaments.
(updated 9-9-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Sunset Lake is temporarily closed for renovations.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 9-2-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says a few small crappie being caught off of crappie minnows. Bream are being caught on crickets. And bass are being caught off of brooder minnows, which are also drawing some catfish. Otherwise, fishing has been pretty slow.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 9-2-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says that before the rains the catfish were doing great on trotlines baited with goldfish. Bass were going after the brooder and bass minnows “pretty good.” Crappie are fair off of No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin's Jigs in Tennessee Shad color. Bream are great on crickets.
(updated 9-2-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the crappie were doing well on No. 6 crappie minnows in the deeper water. As for bream, the big redears are going after the crickets drop-shotting them. Bass have been good on minnows, especially the bigger ones fished around the docks. Catfish have done well off of cut baits such as skipjack and shad.
(updated 9-2-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie are biting slow on No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on goldfish, bream and bait shrimp. Bass are good on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and brooder minnows.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 9-9-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no reports.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 9-2-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says river conditions are not good. The clarity is muddy and the water level as of early Tuesday afternoon was high, with more rain coming. Fishing is poor and will remain so until the rain clears up, Ray said.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 39,540 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 37,334 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 39,327 cfs.
(updated 9-9-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said black bass are good in shallow water, in the backwaters and jetties for anglers using Texas rigs, buzzbaits or square-billed cranks. Catfish reports are good below the Murray Lock and Dam; use nightcrawlers. The river clarity is muddy and the water and current are a little high.
(updated 9-9-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reports that catfishing is excellent below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam. Use skipjack (especially cut skipjack). Bream are fair in 4-5 feet of water on crickets fishing below the dam and around the rip-rap. Crappie reports are good from around the Burns Park area. Anglers are targeting 6-8 feet depth around the pylons and using regular minnows.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-9-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
(update 9-9-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said Peckerwood remains a little dingy and now the water is low, but no stumps are showing. Bream continue to display a good bite on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair; she says that while they’re slow, anglers are catching some trolling. Black bass fishing is good, but anglers aren’t sharing any tips on baits used. Catfish are being caught in good numbers still; use hot dogs, minnows and other live bait.
(updated 9-9-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) reported that Bull Shoals Lake is being held steady at 677 feet msl. “We have seen a significant change in the daily generation this past week. Water levels have been extremely low (minimum flow), providing wonderful wading opportunities, until late in the afternoon when releases climb to 16,000-plus cubic feet per second (about 5 units or more). It takes about two days for the trout to acclimate to the changes in water levels, but if a pattern is established, they will adjust and the bite returns to normal activity.
“They are seeking deeper holes during the morning hours when crawdad tails and shrimp will lure them out for a nibble. Later in the day, as the water rises, bring out the nightcrawlers and watch the rainbows snatch at dinner. We haven't seen as much of a decrease in river traffic after Labor Day as usual, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission trout program is keeping up well with demand! Come on over and catch a rainbow.”
(updated 9-9-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reports that the river “is empty. Fishing is a slaughter because the fish have nowhere else to go. Since they started minimum flow, we’ve never seen it this low. Boats can’t get up and down the river very well.” They report the Newport gauge on Tuesday was at 15 feet, but if it hits 12 feet the Corps of Engineers can turn on the water again from the dam. The clarity is “real good.” The dam is moving water at 700 cfs, or “not even a half a generator,” they say. Nevertheless, trout fishing is excellent, they report.
(updated 9-9-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week they had several rain events that totaled an inch and a half in Cotter, along with hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.7 foot to rest at 16.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 17.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 foot to rest at a 1.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.3 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot above seasonal power pool and 8.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had no generation most of the day. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 8.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes are still near the top of flood pool.
John says, “The grasshopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. My favorite fly is a Western pink lady size 8. Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.”
He says the White has fished well. The lower flows have been extremely productive. The hot spot has been 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 suspended below it).
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 677.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.20 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 915.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the bite is changing a little every day. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pumping water out of Bull Shoals Lake, and this has the fishing moving out on the points. There is also baitfish suspended deep off the points. Del says anglers should target fish at 10-15 feet deep dearly, then switch to 20-28 feet later in the day. If it’s hot, go deep, he says. If it’s cloudy and windy, go shallow. Throw topwater baits in the mornings. Berkley Wake Bait, poppers, a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait or chatterbaits are best for power fishing shallow if it’s cloudy or stormy. Target shallow flats close to old creek channels with shad.
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. With shad present, fish position will change depending on sun, wind, current, clouds, etc. Still a lot of places for them to hide with high water, so keep it moving. Use a big worm in sunken trees, near ledges, or a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue in 20-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are at gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads. Drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, tubes, the Lil’ McMinnow, and fish a drop-shot suspenders off bluff points, main lake points and hump islands at 26-32 feet depth.
Lake clarity remains dingy to clear depending on location, while the surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Lake level is just over 20 feet high and 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 563.93 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.95 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report.
(updated 9-9-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 9-9-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 8.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water every day. Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes are still near the top of flood pool.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during from flooding over the last two years. 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 school starting, expect less pressure during the week. On weekends, you should fish early or late to avoid the crowds. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms are still closed. 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 and North Fork rivers 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 9-9-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. John’s favorite fly 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 1,121.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, I hope everybody enjoyed the Labor Day weekend! Beaver was turned into the Gulf of Mexico with all the boat traffic. Fishing was a very early proposition and it was a fairly tough bite. Some nice stripers were caught but very low numbers to be had.
“The lake is getting ever so close to normal pool levels and has cooled 7 degrees in the last two weeks. The thermocline is dissolving daily and this is scattering fish. Looks like an early turnover may happen. Fishing will remain a little tough next few weeks, but the silver lining is the fall pattern. Stripers are anywhere from Point 6 to the dam and around the 40-foot level. Look for bait and troll around it with brooders or shad and you should pick some up.
“We did manage to catch some nice brownies and spots last week trolling for striper. That leads me to believe bass fishing should be good. Look at main lake points and drop-shot or Ned rig. I did get on some topwater action up the War Eagle the other day catching schooling blacks. Crappie are being caught trolling Picos in 18 feet of water. Flats and points will produce. As the lake cools, crappie will locate on brush in 15-25 feet of water and the bite will improve. Keep at it!
“Fishing has been hard for the guides that fish daily, including myself! Still, with some determination you can put fish in the boat or on your stringer. Good times ahead in the coming months.”
(updated 9-9-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said stripers are fair, but better on guided trips. They’re favoring brooder minnows and shad. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair; use minnows or jigs. They’re being caught trolling, and they are around the brushpiles. Black bass are fair. Use topwater baits early in the day and late in the evening; go with jigs and worms the rest of the day, and focus on the brush. Catfish are biting well. Some people are catching really good-size fish now. Use minnows, goldfish or bream. The lake is clear and as of Wednesday morning it has reached normal conservation pool. Surface temperature is 80 degrees.
(updated 9-9-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the bite this week as been all over the place. The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water around 9 a.m., which means tactics have to change once the water starts flowing. Most trout have been caught using various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons and soft plastics have done nicely as well. This week’s hot spot has been between Parker Bottoms and the dam (if you can get up that way). The evening bite has been good as well with the same methods. “I did not fish for other species this week, as I have been tied up on trout trips,” Austin said. “Hope some cooler weather dips in to the state soon. That’s all I have to report this week. Have fun, stay safe and get out and fish!”
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 9-9-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) had no recent reports. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 9-9-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake is starting to clear up and the level has returned to normal. Bream fishing is fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good; focus on 8 feet depth of water with minnows or jigs. Trolling is your best bet. Black bass are good. Anglers are going with topwater baits early and then late in the day, then live or plastic worms the rest of the day. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers, glow worms and basic catfish bait.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 9-9-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water clarity is clearing and the level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports have been poor. Black bass are fair; use spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is good; use cut bait or nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-9-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) says the lake is clear and has a surface temperature of 80 degrees as of midday Tuesday. The water level is normal. Bream are good. Try redworms, crickets, nightcrawlers or wigglers. No reports on crappie. Black bass are biting well on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good; use chicken liver.
(updated 9-9-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said they had a beautiful Labor Day weekend at the park, and fishing really picked up. The water is high and cool. She says they received reports on bass, catfish and bream being caught from the shoreline. Some nice channel cats were caught on stink bait as well as on artificial frogs. Bream are biting worms, crickets and jigs, with good catches reported. Crappie are biting minnows and jigs (Firetiger jigs, mainly) around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Anglers were using spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures, live worms to catch ample amounts of black bass, focusing on the brush areas as well as rocky points. Bass were coming into shallow water, which worked well for the shoreline anglers. Catfish can be caught with worms, cut bait, blood bait and chicken liver in addition to the attractive stink bait. Lake Charles always seems to have a murky clarity. Water level the past week was very high.
(updated 9-9-2020) The lake at Lake Poinsett State Park has been undergoing a two-year 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 9-9-2020) 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, especially on the weekends. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 9-2-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 400 cfs (350 is average). Water clarity at the moment is poor from rain on Tuesday morning. Great thing about the Spring River is it clears quickly. Always check Mark’s blog page for latest river conditions. Over the last month river levels are lower. Wading the river is never easy. Be safe out there and a wading staff is highly recommended. The bottom of the river is very slick.
The trout have been hitting olive Woolly Buggers consistently. For the browns a downstream cast with short fast strip back works well. Big nymphs and Y2Ks can work well other days when the bite is slower.
The smallmouth bass have been hitting well on Clouser-style patterns. Mark says one of his favorites is an olive Woolly tied with lead eyes. It’s got to be a quick dropping fly. Like brown trout, a cast downstream with a short quick strip back can be hot. A 5 or 6 weight with floating line makes for a fun day and use lightweight for a full day on the water. Poppers can be a lot of fun but have been inconsistent for him, Mark says.
For spin-fishing lately, it has been hard to beat crankbaits. “We like the trout cranks and Berkley Flicker Shad. Great for catch-and-release, just carry big pliers. They get down quick and work. And for a fun time catching trout, a hot pink Trout Magnet fished just off the bottom always produces.”
Mark adds, “With some dry weather the fall season is looking really good. Nice-size trout stocked weekly and the wintertime holdovers that start feeding when it gets cold out are gonna make for some great adventures.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 7.42 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 11.58, more than 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 25.82 feet, slightly below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
No fishing reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-2-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reported that water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s. Visibility 1 to 1.5 feet in backwaters and Lake Langhofer, 0.5 to 1 feet on the main river. Water levels were up a few inches and the river was flowing strong Wednesday. Black bass were biting a bit slow but they were eating buzzbaits worked over woody cover, and dark-colored craws/jigs within woody cover. Keep an eye out for schooling activity and be ready with shad-colored lipless crankbaits or small topwater plugs, as black bass are schooling with white bass in Lake Langhofer. You can continue to catch black bass after the surface schooling has stopped by working the lipless crankbait slower along the bottom in the same area.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 9-9-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no reports.
(updated 9-9-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 9-9-2020) No report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.38 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake is undergoing a 2-foot drawdown by USACE for boat ramp repair, shoreline work, erosion abatement, Millwood Dam inspection and repair as needed. Due to recent thunderstorms in the region, lake level jumped dramatically but is now falling and is currently back at normal conservation pool, on the way back to 2-foot drawdown conditions. Millwood Lake discharge is around 7,900 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Tuesday around 236 feet msl and falling. 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 current 2-foot drawdown conditions.
See the CV-19 related information and camping reservation requirements for Millwood Lake State Park and Marina at www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. The Corps recently closed access roads to River Run East and River Run West for dam inspection and work during the 2-foot drawdown. Continue to use caution in Little River navigation during the pool drawdown. Stumps and hazards will be at or near surface pool during drawdown conditions that are expected to run into mid-October.
Surface temps have been stable over the past couple weeks, ranging 85-88 degrees. Clarity in the oxbows is improved. Little River is normal stain this week with few random broken timber.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Lake level is normal and falling back to drawdown conditions. Flow rates along Little River have decreased with less incoming fresh water and continue dropping back. Largemouth bass in Little River have pulled to creek channel dumps and points. Early morning continues to be key for the best bite of the day in the oxbow lakes where the best water clarity exists. Soft plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits, crankbaits and Stuttersteps are still working early in the oxbows. Best activity period remains from dawn to around 10 a.m. Juvenile largemouth continue random surface-breaking on schools of threadfin shad in early mornings at multiple locations, near and in lily pads. Bass Assassin Shads, Johnson Chrome Spoons with a short grub trailer, or H&H Short-arm Spinnerbaits will work through the pads when bass move into to feed for quick cycles, chasing shad. When the shad schools move to vertical structure and bass follow the shad schools, a ¾-ounce Rat-L-Trap, Cordell 3/4-to-1-ounce Hammered Spoons, MR-6 crankbait in Millwood Magic, Louisiana Shad or Tennessee Shad, and a Little John custom painted crankbait have been connecting with the suspended bass over 14-18 foot depths in the oxbows.
Over the past several weeks, best surface activity has been early daybreak for a few hours in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud and Horseshoe lakes. Baby Torpedoes, Spitn' Images, Stuttersteps and Dying Flutters fished where juvenile bass are schooling and breaking on shad have worked for a few fish at daylight. As the sun rises, shallow square-bill cranks in Millwood Magic, Splatterback and Tennessee Shad were drawing random reactions. Bill Lewis Lures' SB-57 and Echo 1.75 crankbait square bills in Ghost Minnow, Bluegill and Sneaky Shad and MR-6 Crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Splatter Back or Louisiana Shad colors continue getting good responses. Target ditches with vertical drops near 12-20 feet structure. Points of creek dumps into Little River have been holding small schools of juveniles from 2-3 pounds. The points extending into Little River, with large stumps and pads nearby, have been holding good schools. Mann's Baby Minus-1 cranks were taking a few subsurface bass on flats with long tapering points into the oxbows.
Texas-rigged Baby Brush Hogs, shaky heads, and Salty Rat Tails have been working for a couple weeks by working randomly near cypress trees and knees 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: For the past two weeks they have been roaming the oxbow lakes up Little River, some days surface-breaking on shad and willing to bite crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps between 12-25 feet of depth.
* Crappie: Best bite of the day continues to be early, as it has for the past 3-4 weeks. Minnows and jigs have provided the most consistent response, with minnows having a slight edge, being worked along Little River in planted brush, and in any clearer water sections of the oxbows in planted brushpiles from 8-15 feet of depth.
* Catfish: Continued to bite consistently on trotlines along Little River this week. Cut shad, sour/spoiled chicken livers/gizzards, and dough baits have been working with the current along Little River.
*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 546.53 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.68 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-2-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “It’s been raining. Water on the rise. Water level is at 404.46 feet and rising with more rain to come. Wish I had some better news but between the hot water and now the rain, it’s been tough.
“Catfishing should be on the upswing with the rising water. They will be foraging in the shallows at night, and so will the bream and baitfish. I prefer to fish inside the cover on the rise and on the outside edge on the fall. Live bait is a must. The moon is full, which normally is the bedding trigger for bream, but it is September and lots of rain water, but may be worth a try. Use your side imaging to locate the beds. Crickets and drop-shot for bream beds.
“Crappie are about as finicky as they can get. Vertical timber holds some suspended fish and deep brushpiles and laydowns right on the thermocline are the best bet. Fish slow. The bite is so light.
“Schooling fish, that is a spin of the wheel. They are reported from Point Cedar to Iron Mountain. Topwater on the surfacing fish, crankbaits and spoons after they submerge. Trolling is getting mixed bags of fish but not large counts.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 440.84 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 551.84 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 9-2-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) reports catfish being caught in good numbers. Use stink bait or nightcrawlers. He said water is clear except for algae bloom. Water level is low.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-9-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the Carpenter Dam tailrace remains dangerous to navigate due to last week’s record-setting amounts of rainfall. Muddy water and extremely fast flows have been the norm all week and this pattern will continue as Lake Ouachita remains almost 3 feet into flood pool. Around-the-clock generation will be scheduled until Ouachita falls below flood levels. At least one flood gate will be open below Carpenter Dam to aid in the lowering process. Additional gates can be opened at any time, which would create treacherous conditions on Lake Catherine. All boaters and fishermen are advised to use extreme caution and strongly consider staying off the water until safer flows resume. Mask wearing and social distancing should be adhered to when visiting the park area.
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 9.711 cfs.
(updated 9-9-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said the past week’s rain to begin the weeklong period was replaced by warm sunshine and humidity over the last several days. The National Weather Service has been busy forecasting the cold air located over the Rockies and expects that low-pressure system to be cut off from the main jet stream. This will delay the arrival of the low. Rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday before the cut-off low arrives on Friday. This is certainly not the cold front we have been expecting. Another front is expected Monday next week. Rain chances will be possible as these fronts move through the area. The cooldown is not expected to be much with temperatures a bit below normal. The water clarity has become turbid and less clear as rain and flows have increased. Surface water temperature is 80 degrees.
As of Tuesday the Corps of Engineers reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam below 10,000 cfs. The Ozark tailwater has fallen about 10 feet since last report to 339 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam has also fallen below 10,000 cfs as of Tuesday morning. Dardanelle tailwater level has fallen back down to about 4 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park has remained just below 338 feet msl. Most, if not all, of the flow at both dams has been through the powerhouses, which have been generating most days. No fishing tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park this past weekend.
For details or questions about any tournaments or fishing, contact our visitor center at (479) 967-5516. Be safe while on the river and take time to put a line the water.
(updated 9-2-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton temperatures in the low 80s and water clarity at 4 feet or more. “It’s been a really strange week for bass fishing in general. The fish seemed to have lockjaw this weekend on Hamilton. It’s very likely the weather and fluctuating pressures are messing up the bass, but other species seem fired up!” Bass have been spotted busting shad under and near the Arkansas Highway 7 South bridges in the mornings and evenings. Spooks, suspending jerkbaits and unweighted fluke imitations will get strikes, most of which will be short. The same goes for drop-shot and Ned rigs. Bluegill and walleye are tearing up these two presentations but the bass are resistant to bite well.
“We took a detour over to Lake DeGray this weekend and found out quickly that black and blue half-ounce jigs are getting crushed! This may be the solution for Hamilton, also. Bluegill are outstanding on worms or crickets in 15-20 feet of water on points and deep docks. It’s easy to fill a 5-gallon bucket right now! Crappie are fair, but they are short-striking most presentations except dropping vertical on them. The fish will bite it on the fall more than anything else. Catfish are excellent everywhere on cheese and cut bluegill.
“Fall is here even though we don’t quite feel it yet. This ‘funk of fishing’ is normal before the fishing really gets good! Be patient and Go Greeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 365.89 feet msl (normal pool: 344.31 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says water on Tuesday was still high but was on falling. Bream are fair. They’ve moved to more shallow water around the bear area and Gardner Point. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good and are being caught in 8-10 feet depth, with best location around the brushpiles. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. Anglers are catching them on spinnerbaits, with the best bait being a War Eagle white spinner with gold willow leaf skirt. Catfishing is good on limblines. Surface water temperature is ranging 87-88 degrees as of Tuesday midafternoon.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 580.52 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. The topwater bite is picking up, and spotted bass are schooled up chasing baitfish. Try a small 3/8-ounce spoon in submerged schools and your favorite topwater in those same areas. Major creekmouths and up the rivers have had the best reports. Walleye are good. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best. Stripers are still fair to 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 15-25 feet of water. Crappie are slow. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught with trotlines and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature has been ranging 76-80 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake leve, at 580.52 feet msl, is 2.52 feet above normal conservation pool. 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 411.17 feet msl (normal pool: 386.36 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday reported the Clarendon gauge at 25.47 feet, slightly below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 9-9-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said Hurricane Laura is still having effects on the fishing at Cooks Lake. The lake is high but the water has a good color. No one has been fishing since the river entered the lake. Before the rain, Black bass were being caught around the dead and hollow cypress trees as well as any running water. Most were being caught flipping black and blue tubes or jigs. Bluegill have slowed down and may be about done for the year. No report on crappie or catfish.
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 will be open to fishing during normal business hours Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 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, please 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, call the center at 870-241-3373.
(updated 8-26-2020) Fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said fishing is not good at this time. He’s found a real bad bite trolling or fishing under the piers, he said Tuesday afternoon. A lot of recreational boaters makes fishing on Horseshoe really rough, he said. Ronnie plans to continue fishing Horseshoe Lake through September and then plans to move to Mountain Home, where he will guide for trout fishing or guide crappie trips on Bull Shoals Lake and other locales.
The clarity at Horseshoe is clear with a surface temperature of 85 degrees. The water level is 2 feet low.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 9-9-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.