Oct. 7, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 7, 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 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 10 a.m. the day of publication.
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Quick links to regions:
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geoloical Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://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 conducted herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir through September. The herbicides will 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 10-7-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake still is showing the normal Conway stain and is at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms, crickets and hand-tied jigs. Crappie are ranging fair to good. Crappie minnows in either small- or medium-sized and also pink minnows are working well, along with jigs. The black bass continues to be good. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater baits, buzzbaits, worms and creature baits were also getting good response. Catfishing is good. Stink bait is still the go-to, but also try nightcrawlers, goldfish, dough bait and trotline minnows.
(updated 10-7-2020) Angler Dennis Charles had no report.
Little Red River
(updated 10-7-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that trout are biting fairly well on maribou jigs, Trout Magnets, spoons and Rooster Tails in 5 feet of water.
(updated 10-7-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River received unexpected generation the past few days due to the Army Corps of Engineers requiring use of the Greers Ferry Dam to regulate the power grid. The generation is a welcome surprise for this time of year. However, we are not expecting this generation pattern to continue much longer. Until then enjoy the good water flow that’s providing good drift and wade fishing opportunities. For fly-fishing, we recommend 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 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 9-30-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear and low with minimum generation in the afternoons. The last two days the schedule has been one unit for 2 hours beginning at 4 p.m. Rainbows are taking small flies in the 18-to-20-inch range with mayfly nymphs, emergers and midge pupa being good choices. Small tippet and good presentations are required in the low-water conditions. The river is the lowest it has been in some time, so use care when motoring. The rocks always win!
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.62 feet msl and falling with generation. It is 2.92 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and, with the weather forecast, it looks like it will continue to fall. Fishing is on fire all over the lake as follows: Crappie are very abundantly eating lots during day and night at certain places under certain conditions on a variety of baits such as cranks, jigs, Road Runners and live bait from 12 to 30-40 feet. Black bass are on the surface down to 45 feet schooling, roaming and sitting on structure eating away; drag something like topwater baits and spoons at mid-depth, and moving baits are all working well. Catfish seem a little slow but are eating nonetheless with rod and reel; all types of lines have been baited with a gauntlet of baits. Bream are still active up real shallow out to 25 feet on crawlers, crickets, cranks, Road Runners and inline spinners. Walleye will eat crawlers, cranks and live bait from about 25-45 feet on certain type of structure all over the lake. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing with or without wind right now at certain times throughout the day all over lake and rivers on spoons, inline spinners, basically any piece of metal you want to drop, and also a lot of topwater baits. Stay with the shad as usual for best results.
(updated 10-7-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the water remains a little low and clear. Smallmouth bass are good on a wobble head dragging on the bottom and on Carolina rigs dragging the bottom. Early in the day or later in the evening, they’re biting Whopper Ploppers and other topwater baits. Crappie are good in 15 feet of water using blue/white or natural-colored crappie jigs. Walleye were caught drop-shotting nightcrawlers in 10-15 feet of water on main lake points and secondary points.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-7-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water returned to being a little murky, while the level is normal. Bream reports dropped off somewhat with fair response on redworms and crickets. Crappie showed some improvement with anglers getting fair results. Try minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair with the action being best around the shoreline still. Plastic worms are getting the best action.. Catfishing also was fair this week. Chicken liver continues to work, while some are being caught on trotlines baited with shad, goldfish worms and small crappie.
(updated 10-7-2020) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reports that crappie are starting to pick up on Bobby Garland Jigs in popsicle, shiney hiney, glimmer blue, bbq chicken, cajun crickets, blue ice, shimmer, monkey milk, crystal, bone/chartreuse, gumdrop and pennyback shad, along with 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Black bass are hitting buzzbaits and minnows, worms, lizards and Brush Hogs. White bass are biting on popsicle, slab slanger, baby shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r, and Cajun Spin and silver minnow. Bream can be caught on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper.
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the AGFC conducted 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 10-7-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake is clearing up and remains high, though down quite a bit from last week, about 4-6 inches above normal. Crappie continue to improve, with good catches reported this week. Use minnows or jigs (white, pink and chartreuse). No reports on black bass or bream. The catfish bite fell off with just fair results this week. Your best bet if fishing them with nightcrawlers. Randy reported that the AGFC recently stocked 1,200 channel cats into Overcup.
(updated 10-7-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says the water temperature is in the low 70s. Largemouth bass are good. 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 fair. Reports of some being found 15-20 feet off drops and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass are slow. Reports of some anglers catching them while trolling. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are fair. There have been reports of crappie 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. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are great. Bream can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Crickets, worms and beetle spins will all work for the excellent bite. Catfishing is good. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish.
(updated 10-7-2020) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reports that crappie are being caught on Bobby Garland Jigs such as popsicle and slab slanger, as well as minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting slab slanger, baby shad, cajun spin and silver minnow in the jigs. Black bass are being caught on worms, lizards and Brush Hogs. Bream can be caught using crickets, worms and Rock Hopper.
(updated 9-30-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been excellent, especially off of fresh chicken livers. The lake was stocked Sept. 21, last Monday. “One of my customers has been catching some nice crappie there, too, off of crappie minnows. Bass have been fair off of spinnerbaits and minnows. Bream are good on crickets.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 9-30-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been reported doing well off of fresh chicken livers and stink bait. A few smaller crappie are being caught off of the crappie minnows. Bass have been hitting bass minnows and brooder minnows, as well as spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. A few bream have been caught off of redworms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 9-30-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a few walleye have been caught especially on brooder minnows. But she also has had a few reports of one or two being caught off of the 4-inch lizards. Catfish and bass have been both doing well off of brooder minnows as well. Bream have been doing well off of crickets as well as redworms.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 10-7-2020) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) says catfish are being caught on minnows and worms. Bream are biting crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Black bass can be caught using worms, lizards and Brush Hogs.
(updated 9-30-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie have been good on crappie minnows and Kalin's Jigs. Bream have slowed down somewhat, but still a few are being caught off of crickets. Bass have been caught off of plastics and brooder minnows. Catfish have been fair on bait shrimp, nightcrawlers and bass minnows.
(updated 9-30-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been good off of black salties, bait shrimp and bass minnows. Crappie have been hitting blue and white crappie jigs. Bass have been good off minnows, plastics and Zing Tails. Bream are fair on crickets and redworms.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 9-23-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said catfishing is mostly what’s going on just off the river in his area. Catfish are being caught on limblines with yo-yos up the Petit Jean River and Point Remove Creek using cut bait. Also, anglers are drifting across the points, mainly the jetties, and going upstream and dropping down on the drift to catch cats, also using cut bait.
“Then, we’ve got our bass and they are weird,” Charlie said. “There is really no pattern right now.” He said anglers are catching them where you can find slackwater off the river, between 0 and 30 feet. Anglers are fishing these jetties just above his area. “What they’re doing, they’re using jigs, black and blue. And they’re using crankbaits and those will be in the shad color or pearl color still.” On up into the mouth of the Petit Jean and at Flag Lake Cutoff, anglers are getting into some white bass and fishing the mudlines with crankbaits early in the day for success. And that’s basically it, he said. No reports on crappie or bream. A little less than two weeks ago, he adds, bream were being caught on Rooster Tails and going down the grass lines.
Charlie adds that he’s not getting many anglers, but he is seeing goose hunters come in and “they’re doing real good.” Canada goose season is open, as is early teal season. “The teal are not here yet up around me. A few are getting shot but not much.”
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 9-30-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is fairly clear and at a normal level. Crappie reports are fair; use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good using chicken liver or basic catfish bait. No reports on bream.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 11,497 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 11,223 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 11,088.
(updated 10-7-2020) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said black bass are good on small spinnerbaits and chrome Rat-L-Traps, as well as shad-colored square-bill cranks. Crappie have been good using white/chartreuse or orange/chartreuse crappie jigs in 7-8 feet of water. The river is stained and as of Tuesday midday was at a normal level and current.
(updated 9-30-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says stripers and white bass are schooling in the Little Rock pool around the former Cajun’s Wharf area. Catch them on topwater baits and white grubs. Catfishing is good below the Murray Lock and Dam using skipjack or shad. Crappie are fair off the rocky areas in 10-12 feet of water; use minnows. Black bass are good early in the mornings throughout the pool on topwater baits.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-7-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
(update 9-23-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the lake conditions as clear clarity and a low level with no stumps showing. Bream continue to be good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs; trolling still will provide your best response. Black bass are good and have taken to the chicken liver, Donna says. Anglers have a tendency to keep their baits secret here, but something tells us a topwater might work well now, as well as plastic worms. Try an assortment of things and see what works. Catfish are good on hot dogs, minnows and other live bait.
(updated 10-7-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “These perfect Arkansas Ozark autumn days — cool mornings, warm, sunny afternoons — are unmatched for making memories on the White River. After several months of steady to heavy generation from Bull Shoals Dam, the lake is approaching the October power pool of 659 elevation so expect the flow of water from the dam to decrease some time in the next few weeks. Over the next couple of weeks, though, continue to keep your baits nearer the banks where the river is running swifter and deeper.
“The rainbow bite has been steady and plentiful here on the tailwaters of Bull Shoals Lake in the Cotter area. The brown bite has slowed some, but a sculpin drifted near the bottom can still generate the desired outcome. The Vibrax Blue Fox spinner, 3/16-ounce gold, or the bright chartreuse with a partially silver blade, were providing a steady catch of 12- and 13-inch rainbows.
“October has brought a lot of anglers to the Arkansas Ozarks and our natural resources have stayed strong. The rainbows have been healthy and brightly colored ... and growing! The German Brown bite continues to be a little slower than we'd like, but don't be surprised if you attract one or two with just shrimp and PowerBait. Join us. The river will capture your heart.”
(updated 10-7-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says fishing is “absolutely great.” They say that anglers are starting to catch browns again. Overall, people are catching a lot of fish. One guide on Monday had over 70 fish, they report, including 4-5 brown trout. River level Tuesday afternoon was normal; they report that eight generators are running round-the-clock from Bull Shoals Dam.
(updated 10-7-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said this weekend that over the past week they had about a half inch, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.7 feet to rest at 7.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 28.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.9 foot to rest at 2.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.8 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 4.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had wadable water at night. Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are dropping at an increased rate and wadable water could be three weeks away.
“The grasshopper bite is upon us,” John says. “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.” The White has fished well. 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 girdle bug suspended below it).
Remember that the White River is 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.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 664.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reports that with the water now just 6 feet above normal and dropping, the ramps at open. The Corps of Engineers has been pumping the water out. There are baitfish suspended throughout the lake. Del suggests starting in the back third of a major creek. Some of the shad balls are getting bigger but suspended over the old creek channels. Topwater is good; poppers and wake baits are good as well. Try Whopper Plopper, buzzbait, and if they miss try throwing a popper until the bite stops, then spinnerbait, Chatterbait, and square bill for powerfishing “shallow” if it’s cloudy or stormy. Target shallow flats close to old creek channels with runoff. As the sun comes up, change tactics and move out. Smallies and Kentucky bass are stacked out on main and secondary points, pockets, channel swings, bluffs and bluff ends but are closer to main lake points with wind. With shad present, fish position will change depending on the sun, wind, current, clouds, etc. The shad are moving and so are the fish. Also try a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or GP blue orange. Smallmouths are on gravel banks.
The lake clarity is dingy to clear and the surface temperature is now down to 70 degrees. The level is falling fast now.
Check out Del’s YouTube reports under Del Colvin or Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock for the latest news and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 557.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says September was a difficult month for striper fishing. The lower end of the Norfork Lake was oxygen-deprived and the stripers were shut down completely. The Missouri side of Norfork Lake offered some good fishing but was very inconsistent. The upper part of the lake had cooler water and better oxygen, but the fish were smaller. “We are now starting our fall pattern as the oxygen has returned to the mid-lake area, like Robinson Point area and the creeks. The water temperature at Udall is 62 degrees and near Point 10 is 67 degrees while the main lake is around 70 degrees. The cool nights will keep the water temps from going up much, but this week we will see some 80-degree days that will keep the water temperature stable.”
Tom says he has tried fishing Big Creek and found little success but that should change as the water cools. “The best bite is still at the state line and above but again as that 62 degree moves down expect to see more fish at Calamity Beach and Twin Coves in the next several weeks. I did fish Robinson Point with some success but again it's very inconsistent. The stripers are staying between 35-45 feet of water on the ridge along the channel off the Robinson Point Island. They are also suspended at that depth in small groups all around the area in deep water.”
He says the largemouth and white bass are starting to school and some topwater action is happening in the early morning and late afternoon on the flats all around the lake. As the shad begin to move from the shallows and school, you will see lots of action in the next several weeks. Crappie are now on the brushpiles and biting on small spoons, jigs and minnows.
(updated 10-7-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing in October can be lots of fun, but also can be inconsistent. There are many changes going on in the lake, which affect the movement of the predator fish and bait. The water temperature starts to cool and the main thing is that the lake turns over. The lake is in the process of turning over, but it has been very gradual. The thermocline has dropped to somewhere between 50-60 feet and will continue to fall until the lake totally flips.
There has been a really good bite for bass. Largemouth and spotted bass can be found all over the lake. If you like topwater fishing, throw your favorite topwater bait onto points where you can see sunken brush still out in the water. The fish are inside of it and will come up and slam the bait. Spinnerbait, lipless crankbaits, regular diving crankbaits and jigs are all working in different areas. The bass are also on the bluffs, especially on points of large coves or small cuts in the bluff wall. Smallmouth bass are starting to show up as well. Keep your eyes open for topwater action. The bass will chase shad out in open water just about anywhere, but especially on the large flats.
Crappie fishing is also picking up nicely. This species has been moving back to the brush and they can be found at varying depths. Brush in 15 feet of water out to brush in 35 feet of water may be holding crappie. Small spoons, small twister tail or paddle tail grubs and live minnows on a slip float are all working. The fish can be at any depth over the brush from 7 feet down to the bottom. The depth of the fish will vary depending on the time of day.
White bass have finally come out of the depths of the lake and are showing up in different locations. Lou says, “Last evening, I was checking out a large flat outside of a cove and starting to hear what I thought was surface-feeding fish. I could not see any, so I started to head toward the sound. I finally saw white water on the other side of the lake along a long deep bluff line. There were schools of whites feeding heavily. They didn’t stay up long, and kept moving around. I stopped the boat in an area where I had seen the fish come up and waited. It was not long before they came up again and again. I had my half-ounce Kastmaster tied on and started to cast. I worked the bait in a jerk, stop and reel motion and kept it close to the surface and they loved it. From about 5:45 p.m. until 6:45 p.m. they were active. When it started to get dark, the topwater in this deep-water area stopped. I heard some activity on the shallow side of the lake and headed that way. I found hybrids and whites feeding heavily in very shallow water, 5 feet or less. The hybrids were coming completely out of the water at least a foot above the surface; it was amazing to see and very fun to catch. Topwater baits such as a Zara Spook would have worked great, but I can cast a Kastmaster farther.
“Striped bass fishing has been very inconsistent. I have found them off a large flat in the mid-lake area, as well as out in very deep water. On the flat the fish were in 45-55 feet of water suspended to the bottom, and in the deep water they have been suspended 35-60 feet down in 100-plus feet of water. I have caught fish in this area by vertical jigging a ¾-to-1-ounce spoon. Live bait may work better. As the lake continues to cool and the turnover completes, this species will become very active and start to feed very heavily.”
The surface lake temperature has ranged 69-73 degrees depending on location and time of day. The lake is still falling about 3 to 4 inches per day and currently sits at 557.05 feet msl. The water is stained, but does start to clear more as you head south. “I forecast a great fall fishing season, so get ready to have some fun. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 10-7-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Monday that Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 4.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had wadable water at night. Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are dropping at an increased rate and wadable water could be three weeks away. 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 eighteen inches below a cerise San Juan worm. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is less pressure with school starting, we can expect less pressure during the week. Brown trout have begun moving into the creek. 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), mop flies and egg patterns.
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.
John also said, “I had a call from a prospective client requesting a guide trip on Dry Run Creek for his two sons, age 5 and 7. This is usually a bit young to fish the creek. We talked about whether we would fish a full day or a half day. We agreed that it would be a challenging to keep their attention for a full day and we agreed on a half day.
“My wife, Lori, was not busy that day and agreed to join me to help with the two lads. That way we could give them more individual attention. The boys both had their own waders so we were able to fish a few spots that could not be effectively fished from the bank. I arrived a few minutes early and put on my waders and rigged a couple of rods. Lori joined me a few minutes later, because she was feeding and walking our two Labrador Retrievers.
“We began catching trout right at the start. I was surprised that there were not many other anglers on the creek and we were able to move around and fish several spots. Both boys caught several trout and even landed a trophy brown. Dad was stoked and thought it was a great day. About 10:30 AM they began running out of gas. We decided to fish our way out. We worked toward the parking lot.
“About that time, I noted that the creek was getting cloudy. This occurs when they are cleaning the raceways in the adjacent Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It flushes a lot of food and maybe a dead trout or two into the creek through the hatchery discharge pipes. It always produces a feeding frenzy. Lori noticed several large trout keying in on this. The fly rods were already rigged with white mop flies, the perfect fly to fish this situation. It was white and was quite visible in the cloudy water. It was also and looked like a small fish.
“The action began on the first cast, when a twenty five inch rainbow hit the fly. While we were fighting that one, the other lad hooked another rainbow that was just as large. Over the next ten minutes we landed around ten trophy trout. The action was non-stop. I could hardly catch my breath. Just as fast as it began it ended. The water cleared and the big trout returned to their original lies.
“We fished a little longer, but the boys were done. They had landed around ten trout each including plenty of trophy fish. They were worn out but wanted to return soon. Dad was definitely ready to do it again. Lori and I were pleased with the outcome and celebrated by having lunch at Whispering Woods.
“Don’t let cloudy water on Dry Run Creek deter you. It generally produces a successful day.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-7-2020) 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 here 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 1,120.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver is holding steady at normal levels this last week. The lake in final stages of turnover. Fishing is on the uptick because of that, Jon says. Stripers are scattered from the dam area all the way to the river arms with reports of fish being caught there. “Use your sonar and locate bait, and stripers will be near. In a month they should be strong around the Point 12 area,” he said. Crappie are fair on brush near the main river channels. Bass are still coming up early and late. Catfish are fair.
Check out Jon’s Facebook page at FishOn Guides Goshen Arkansas for updated reports as conditions change quickly this time of the year.
(updated 10-7-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is clear and has settled into a normal level. Crappie reports have been good; fish around the brushpiles with minnows or jigs. Black bass are ranging poor to fair. Best response has come early in the day or late in the evening on topwater baits, and shaky head worms will also get bit. Look for bass around the brush. Catfish are fair using chicken liver or live bait.
(updated 10-7-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says The water level is dropping, but that isn't hurting the bite. Most trout are being caught withquarter-ounce spoons and light terminal tackle fished with various PowerBait. This week's hotspot cannot be reached by boat; this is the Parker Bottoms area. There is a small fall walleye bite. These can be found towards Beaver town. Try throwing deep-diving crankbaits in 10-plus feet of water on inside bends and along vegetation. “When navigating the river, please watch out for submerged obstructions. Hope y'all are enjoying the weather; pretty soon it's going to get really cold out there.”
(updated 10-7-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake clarity is “a little dingy.” The surface water temperature Tuesday afternoon was 64 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie reports went from poor all the way to good this week. Minnows and jigs will work. Black bass are good, with anglers using spinnerbaits and shaky head worms. No reports on catfish or bream.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 10-7-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports the lake being very clear as of Tuesday afternoon, with the water level down about 1 foot below normal. The bream bite is good. Use redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair; try minnows or small crankbaits. Black bass are good, with chartreuse spinnerbaits or a crankbait working best. Catfishing is good; chicken liver is the way to go.
(updated 9-30-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said good fishing days, based on moon times, should run through Sunday, but the best days for October should be Oct. 13-19, she says. “The weather is changing every day. The fish were biting good again this weekend with some nice bass and catfish caught.” Surface water temperature Sunday was 70 degrees and the lake clarity is murky. Lake level is high. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Fish around the brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Crappie were good. Minnows and jigs, along with worms, worked well. Brushpiles, stumps and rocky points are busy with crappie, too. Black bass were being caught in good numbers in spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwaters, with a lot of bass found in shallow water. They are staying around brush and rock points. Catfish can be caught in good numbers on worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver.
(updated 10-7-2020) 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 10-7-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the lake clarity is still clear this week, while the surface water temperature dropped slightly to 70-72 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are fair. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie continue to bite well. Anglers are finding them suspended in 15-17 feet or water. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; swimbaits continue to get the best response. Still no reports on catfish.
(updated 10-7-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 330 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been clear. Low, clear water has made the bite tough on some days. Lots of bugs hatching off, mainly caddis and mayflies. Leaves are beginning to fall, so an ant pattern can work some days. On the really tough days, bouncing a Y2K off the bottom will get bites. For spin-fishers it has been Trout Magnets in hot pink, red, black and candy corn. Got to fish them just off the bottom. Great for catch-and-release. For the bigger fish like browns or smallmouth, trout cranks can work well. The rainbow and brown trout crank are favorites.
The AGFC's Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery has been stocking really nice-sized rainbows of 12-14 inches. “They are still waiting on funding to rebuild the hatchery from past flooding. It has been at less than half capacity since the 2017 flood. Jim Hinkle Hatchery stocks all the trout rivers in Arkansas and we all hope rebuilding and improvements will start soon. The hatchery has done an excellent job with the limited resources over the last three years. With no catch-and-release areas and no slot limit for rainbows, weekly stocking is very important. We catch-and-release all fish at Spring River Flies and Guides, we are trying to start a trend,” Mark said.
He adds, “Wading for the first time this year has become much easier with lower water, but do be careful with the very slick river bottom. Still lots of vegetation on the river. Cold weather is what we are all waiting for. It will kill off the vegetation and get the bigger trout moving.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 10-7-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.62 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 12.06, almost 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 23.83 feet, more than 2 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 10-7-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-7-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-7-2019) Cane Creek State Park had no report.
(updated 10-7-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.54 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday that Millwood Lake pool was currently 4 inches above normal conservation pool, with a discharge of around 3,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates was around 229 ft-msl and falling. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. See the COVID-19 related information and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park.
Surface temps dropped over the last week and ranged 67 degrees early to 72 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity improved dramatically over the past week with reduction of discharge at the dam, and muddy inflow has tapered off. Clarity in back of the oxbows and main lake continues to improve. Clarity and visibility along Little River at 5-8 inches depending on location. Further up Little River has more heavier stain conditions. The oxbow's clarity still is lightly stained, ranging about 8-15 inches depth of visibility depending on location, with reduction of current along Little River. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms.
As for fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass: The cooler weather and lower nighttime temperatures have the them on the move, and following threadfin shad schools in the oxbows. The highest activity period has been shifting to later in the morning and mid-day over the past couple weeks. Several simultaneous schools have been surface-breaking in McGuire Oxbow up Little River over the past few days with the improvement in water clarity and reduced stain. Small StutterSteps in Millwood Magic, Chug Bugs, Ken Pops and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back, and Clear Baby Torpedoes are working at the surface when the schooling bass bust the shad near surface over 12-18 foot structure, where lily pads are short distance on flats near the vertical structure. Bass Assassin Shad Jerkbaits and Johnson Chrome Spoons also work when bass break in the pads. Rat-L-Traps continue working subsurface for juvenile bass schools following shad and bait pods over 15-20 feet of depth.
* White bass: Not much changed for several weeks, with whites continue to roam the oxbow lakes up Little River. They are beginning to follow the same large schools of threadfin shad as the largemouths, occasionally surface-breaking on shad and willing to bite crankbaits, jigging spoons and Rat-L-Traps over the mid-channel depths,and near tributary points with stumps and grass. Trolling McGuire oxbow upriver with mid-depth Bomber Fat Free Shad Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad over the past week connected with a few schools of 1-3 pounders. Vertical-jigging War Eagle Underspins with a short 2-to-3-inch white, curly grub trailer worked once the schools were located by trolling, and watching the schools follow the threadfin shad on electronics. Fat Free Guppy crankbaits in Citrus Shad also were catching shallow-feeding whites in 5-8 feet near vertical structure and standing timber in McGuire.
* Crappie: They have been slow over the past couple weeks with the muddy inflow and current of Little River. Crappie should begin to stack vertically with cooler water temps, and should improve this week in planted brush with the decrease of current along Little River and better water clarity.
* Catfish: Yo-yos are still working, hung from vypress trees in Mud Lake oxbow up Little River, and trotlines are working along Little River from 8-15 feet deep using cut baits or Punch Bait.
* Bream: No report.
(updated 10-7-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 544.30 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.02 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) says the crappie are doing great and moving even shallower. Go with live bait or jigs fished 8-10 feet deep on brushpiles in 14-20 foot of water.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.38 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 542.73 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 10-7-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) says crappie are good. He’s using medium shiners and pinks for the best responses. Curtis reports that black bass are biting fair. He says catfish are good, with stink bait and chicken liver working best. No reports on bream. The lake clarity is clear and the water level is high.
(updated 10-7-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado had no reports.
(updated 10-7-2020) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water on Lake Atkins was is calm and clear. The water level is low. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair using minnows or jigs. Bass are fair using worms. Try a 10-inch or a 7-inch worm. Catfish are good on yo-yos baited with live bait like black salties and small perch.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-7-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Lake Ouachita remains just under flood pool, which has enabled Entergy to greatly reduce flow from all area dams. Extremely fast flows and muddy conditions had been the norm for weeks as flash flooding earlier in the month caused high-water problems in the state. Entergy is now running a much safer flow below Carpenter Dam and lake conditions have returned to normal. Rainbow trout fishing will return in mid-November when the AGFC’s stocking program begins again for the winter. Trout are normally in Lake Catherine the week before the Thanksgiving holiday or sometimes earlier, depending on fish availability. The beginning of fall finds white bass and hybrid bass still living in the tailrace and feeding on shad. Boaters trolling shallow-running crankbaits that imitate minnows or crawfish have caught these fish in decent numbers this week. Size ranges from 1 to 2 pounds, with some hybrid catches over 4 pounds. Topwater action has been observed in the early morning below the bridge. Walleye still remain in the tailrace and have been caught on minnows tightlined in deep water. The closer to the dam you fish, the more likely you are to catch walleye in the fall. The deepest areas consistently hold walleye that live and feed in the tailrace. A few catfish have been taken on stink baits around rock structure close to the dam. No striper activity has been reported this week, but these predator fish migrate in and out of the area frequently. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should always wear a life jacket and must observe all park rules. Mask wearing and social distancing should be observed by everyone visiting the Carpenter Dam area.
(updated 9-23-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said the Hobie Kayak Bass Open Series fished on Sept. 12-13 here, and 112 anglers caught 587 bass weighing 1,111 pounds over the two days. Eighty-one percent of the field weighed a fish and the Big Bass was 5.51 pounds. The FLW Toyota Series competed last weekend, Sept. 17-19, and 121 boats and 242 anglers caught 1,004 fish weighing 2,054 pounds over the three days. The Big Bass weighed 5.44 pounds.
Anglers reported the bite was tough, which is typical for the fall transition. They used a wide range of lures, including plastics, spinners and Rat-L-Traps. Many anglers fished shallow and on hydrilla or water willow.
Over the past week, the area had several days of sunshine and cooler temperatures to welcome the fall season. The National Weather Service expects rain resulting from Tropical Storm Beta this week, tapering off Wednesday night. A cold front is expected to move through the area Saturday night with low chance of rain. Temperatures will begin below normal and may rise above normal through the weekend when highs will be near 80 and lows near 60. A colder front is expected to move in the middle of next week for a significant cool down.
The water remains somewhat turbid and visibility was little more than a foot or two. Surface temperature this week is 77 degrees.
As of Tuesday the Corps of Engineers reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam was near 18,000 cfs. Ozark has been flowing more water overnight and releasing less during the day. River flow there has been fluctuating between 25,000 and 8,000 cfs. The (Ozark tailwater had been consistently near 338 feet msl since last report. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was near 18,000 cfs and has fluctuated some between 30,000 and 9,000 cfs. Dardanelle tailwater level has fluctuated between 4-6 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park has remained just below 338 feet msl.
(updated 10-7-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at normal pool and water temps in the low 70s in most areas except for the river channel. Bass have been doing very well for the last couple weeks on crawfish imitations. The spotted bass especially are stone-cold suckers for a small plastic some craw or Z Craw in the fleshy/ Salt and Pepper color or a shade of green pumpkin. A green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm has done well at times, too, but the craw is hot right now! Throw this imitation on a drop-shot rig or Ned rig off main lake points and preferably very rocky points if possible.
Speaking of craw imitations: The jig! The jig is on fire for largemouth bass in brushpiles at depths of about 20 feet (give or take a little). Jig colors are simply black and blue or green pumpkin and brown with matching Bandito Bug Trailers. Crappie are coming alive right now and when the water temp breaks the below the 70-degree mark things are really going to get sporty! Right now try dropping a live minnow on a drop-shot down on them and see what happens. Bream are still really doing well in 10-15 feet of water in grassy areas. Fill a bucket up quickly with some crickets or worms! “Have fun folks and get out there and get ya some! Go Greeson! gogreeson.com.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.57 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-7-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the water is clear and normal. Bream do not appear to be bedded up and the bite this past week has been fair. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good; they’re being caught in open water around stumps at a depth of 4-6 feet. Minnows and jigs are working. A good bait to try is the Bobby Garland Mardi Gras Slab Slayer, they report. Black bass are good on topwater baits and white Gitzit Buzzbaits. Catfishing has been fair, most off and on around the brush.
(updated 10-7-2020) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are being caught on Bobby Garland Jigs in popsicle, shiney hiney, glimmer blue, bbq chicken, cajun crickets, blue ice, shimmer, monkey milk, crystal, bone, gumdrop, pennyback baby shad, slab slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are being caught on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Black bass are hitting worms, lizards and Brush Hogs.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.87 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-8-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still 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 creek mouths and up the rivers have had the best reports. Walleye are fair. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best. Stripers are fair to good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the east part of the lake. Bream are fair with crickets or worms in 15-25 feet of water. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are fair to good and being caught on trotlines and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature fallen some and begun taking on the fall feel, ranging 72-75 degrees; the clarity is clearing. Lake level, now at 578.09 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 393.53 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday reported the Clarendon gauge at 20.47 feet, well below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-7-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the action at Cook’s Lake is hit or miss but the beautiful fall weather makes a trip worthwhile. Black bass are shallow and can be caught on spinnerbaits, jigs and tubes. Black and red flake or green pumpkin are always great colors to try in plastics. A chartreuse and white spinnerbait with a gold and orange blade should also do the trick. Some anglers had success last week but were pretty tight-lipped on lures and techniques. Crappie are starting to be caught on jigs in hollow trees.
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 anglers, 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.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 10-7-2020) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says most anglers have had success in catching catfish with stink bait, homemade baits and minnows. Anglers have also had success with catching crappie with baits such as minnows, worms and different colored jigs. Fish are still being caught in deeper waters due to the cooler temperatures we are experiencing as we start getting closer to the winter months. “The U.S. Forest Service has not started the construction of the new spillway. Therefore, we are not sure when water levels will be back to normal. As soon as we are provided with more information we will share it with the public. Due to COVID-19, construction plans have come to a halt,” Tyler reports.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 10-7-2020) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says very little fishing activity has taken place at Storm Creek Lake. Catfish seem to be biting the most in this area. Anglers seem to have success in catching these catfish at this lake with different types of homemade baits, including persimmons, who would have thought?! Again, with the cooler temperatures, anglers have had better success fishing in deeper water.