Oct. 28, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 28, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter 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. Geological 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
TOP AND LEFT: Millwood Lake is enjoying what fishing guide Mike Siefert likes to call "Millwood Mayhem," with the combination of good water termperature, lake level and other factors surrounding the fall season. What it means is, the good-sized black bass and white bass are hungry and chasing the threadfin shad, and providing anglers will great opportunities for memorable days on the lake. This angler from Texarkana, Texas, (left), a guest of Siefert's named Nate, caught several fish, including this photogenic, healthy white bass as part of "Millwood Mayhem." Read more below in Siefert's report from Millwood Lake.
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 10-28-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said clarity is murky. Water level is normal. The bream bite continues to be good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on crappie minnows (pink, silver or medium) and on jigs (try both 1-inch and 2-inch and favor the white/chartreuse look). Black bass are good, with anglers using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures and jigs. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, goldfish, dough bait, bass minnows and trotline minnows.
(updated 10-28-2020) Angler Dennis Charles had no report.
Little Red River
(updated 10-28-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear today “but we’ll have to wait and see how much rain we get today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. Generation has been on a twice a day schedule of one unit early in the morning and again late afternoon. Again, it’s best to check the schedule daily.”
Greg says there was a midge hatch Monday in the low water and the fish were rising. The midges were small (probably size 28 to 30) and hard to match. “This makes fishing tough but we were able to fish the deeper water with small midge pupa with some success. Also, small emergers worked fished just under the surface.”
The extreme low water caused by a couple of days of no generation makes the fishing difficult. The fish are very selective and spooky, so the presentation and fly selection become very important. Fishing falling, moving water after generation usually produces a better bite.
(updated 10-21-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the generation pattern for the Little Red River is unpredictable. “We are experiencing days without generation and days with significant generation. It’s highly recommended to check forecasted and real-time generation before planning a trip to the Red.”
For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, hare’s ears and sowbugs. Hot pink and cotton candy 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 10-21-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the brown trout bite is getting better on jerkbaits, maribou jigs and Trout Magnets. The river is normal and clear.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.49 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 458.50 feet msl, which is 3.54 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl, and falling. Water temp is cooling off fast, maybe too fast. Black bass are scattered from eating on top and roaming down to 70 feet, and being caught a variety of ways and on a variety of baits. Stay around the shad. Crappie are eating well. They can be caught trolling, casting, fishing straight up and down, on jigs,minnows and crankbaits. No report on walleye. Catfish are being brought in from trotlines from all over the lake and rivers on bream. The bigger bream, some are still shallow, some are out deeper; try flies, inline spinners, small crankbaits or crawlers. Hybrid and white bass are eating at will all day and night, you have to stay with the program and be there. Stay with the shad in 40-70 feet of water. Inline spinners, spoons, hair jigs, swimbaits and topwater baits are working.
(updated 10-21-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that the lake temperature on the surface is in the low 70s with clear clarity. The level is a little low. Smallmouth bass are good at the lower end of the lake. They’re biting shaky heads, drop-shots, Carolina rigs and topwater lures both early in the day and late. Walleye have been good on drop-shotting nightcrawlers on the main lake humps and secondary points.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-28-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake clarity is “a little muddy” while the water level is normal. Bream reports continued to be poor this week. Crappie remain good, with most of the bite seen close to the shoreline. Try pink jigheads with your jig fishing, or try minnows. Black bass really fell off this week, and anglers reported poor results. Catfishing is still good. Use chicken liver, or bait your trotline with goldfish, nightcrawlers or chicken liver for best success.
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 10-28-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the crappie are biting a little better. They are biting on Tricolor jigs and on minnows. The water clarity is “fairly clear,” and the level is normal. Randy had no other reports.
(updated 10-30-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature is in the mid-60s. The largemouth bass bite is good. Some can be found in shallow water or just outside the grass line biting a variety of lures. Try using Rat-L-Traps or that style of bait, along with swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Kentucky bass are good as well. Some reports have surfaced of them being found in 15-20 feet off drops and rocky banks Use jigs. White bass are slow. There have been reports of anglers catching them while trolling. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerbaits or rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Reports have come in of them moving out of deeper water and being found in 15-20 feet in shallow brush. Some can still be found scattered. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are fair. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Use crickets, worms or beetle spins. Catfishing is good. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish.
(updated 10-28-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no reports.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 10-28-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no reports.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 10-28-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no reports.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 10-28-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no reports.
(updated 10-28-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no reports.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 10-28-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-28-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said clarity is clear and the river is at a normal level. Crappie are still good, with minnows and jigs working. Black bass are good using crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish made an appearance, with reports of fair catches on chicken liver. No reports on on bream.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 42,231 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 30,028 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 30,483 cfs.
(updated 10-28-2020) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river flow is 18,000 cfs and about normal level and lightly stained. Black bass are good on lipless crankbaits and square bills along the jetties on the river in chartreuse and chrome colors and green pumpkin and orange finesse jigs at the end of the jetties. At the entrances to the backwaters. bass are good on spinnerbaits around the grass in the shallows. Crappie have been good on 1/16-ounce crappie tubes and jigs (white/chartreuse color).
(updated 10-28-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that crappie are excellent around the Burns Park area. Target a depth of 4-5 feet off the rocks using minnows. Crappie are also good below Terry Lock and Dam. At that location, focus on 10-15 feet deep off the rocks with minnows. Stripers are good below the Murry Lock and Dam and the hydroelectric plant. They’re going after white Super Flukes. Black bass are fair. Anglers are catching them at a depth of 10-15 feet on shaky head worms.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-28-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
(update 10-28-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) had no new reports. Herman’s closes for the season in November, reopening in February after duck season closes.
(updated 10-28-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake has reached the established power pool elevation of 659 feet msl, “which means we have some mornings of pretty low water with (mostly) gentle releases later in the day. Keep your eye on the water level if you're out wading; it can sneak up on you and make reaching the bank a little tricky.
“Several days of rain and cool temperatures have kept some folks off the river, but the catching remains good and sunshine is forecast for the next week with perfect fall days predicted. Cold mornings and warmer afternoons will pull anglers back to the river. Some flashes of gorgeous autumn colors are seen throughout the Cotter area.
“Nightcrawlers and red wigglers have been flying off the shelves as they've proven successful for many of our bank anglers; sculpins continue to get some attention from the browns but as the spawn begins the browns will try to ignore your bait. Annoy them repeatedly and you'll get some action if only in an attempt to make you leave. Favorite artificial bait this week is any rainbow trout lookalike, and white jigs (Maribou jigs or White River Zigjigs if you can find them.) Come join the action and enjoy the changing of the season.”
(updated 10-28-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the bad weather has resulted in very little fishing report available. The clarity is “really good,” though. The level is low, as the Corps of Engineers is turning off the flow from the dam.
(updated 10-28-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that over the past week they have had a few rain events (combined for three quarters of an inch in Cotter), cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.1 feet to rest at 1.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 37.2 feet below the top of the flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 3.1 tenth feet below seasonal power pool and 17.1 feet above the top of the flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 11.2 feet below the top of flood pool.The White had light generation overnight and moderate generation during the day and no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 0.4 foot above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water at night and moderate generation all day. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below the power pool, meaning anglers should have wadable water.
The grasshopper bite is still going on. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. John’s favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8. Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.
The White has been fishing 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 size 14 pheasant tail nymph).
John also said, “Last week I had a client, Ed, who wanted three days of guided fishing. I had the first day available but was scheduled to guide Ron and Larry for a half-day the next afternoon and another half-day the next morning. I suggested to Ed that I could guide him on the first full day, the next morning on the second day and then the afternoon on the third day. He agreed. The first day fishing with Ed at Rim Shoals went well, but on the second day everything got interesting.
“I fished at the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The morning went well with Ed catching several trout, with the largest being a fat 23-inch rainbow. He wanted to fish there again the next day. Ron and Larry did well with several nice trout up to 20 inches. They said that they enjoyed fishing the dam but wanted to fish some new water and preferred to fish at Rim Shoals.
“That complicated my life a bit. It had been relatively easy to fish two half-days at the same spot but it got a bit busier when I had to fish two different areas that were 24 miles apart (those are river miles).
“I met Ron and Larry at the McDonalds in Gassville. They followed me over to the Rim Shoals Ramp. We were on the water by 8 a.m. It was a cool start but promised to warm up. We were fishing girdle bugs below cerise San Juan worms. We caught some nice trout. Then about mid-morning Larry hooked a big trout. It took quite a while to land. It turned out to be a 26-inch stout male brown trout. We took some photos and gently released him. A drift or two later, Ron caught a big beautiful rainbow. We fished until noon and then I headed for the ramp.
“I left the ramp at 12:22 p.m. and was due to meet Ed at a 1. That gave me 38 minutes to eat lunch and drive from Rim Shoals to Bull Shoals Dam. About this time, I realized that I had left the sandwich that my wife, Lori, had made for me at home. I stopped at the Exxon station n Gassville and bought a package of crackers and headed for the dam.
“I arrived at 1 p.m. and Ed was waiting for me. I quickly launched the boat. We were fishing a girdle bug below a cerise San Juan worm and a midge dropper. Fishing a 3 fly rig is new to me but it had worked well the previous afternoon. On the first drift, we landed two nice rainbows. I thought that I had it figured out. We went three hours without a bump. I was concerned and running out of time. At the end of the day, I announced that this would be the last drift. Halfway through it, Ed hit a big one. It was pulling line out at will. It took about 10 minutes to get it to the net. It was a stout 24-inch brown. Ed was pleased. This is why he came here. We went back to the ramp and we both headed home.
“What a day! I had two different clients catch trophy browns in two spots 24 miles apart, on the same day. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
|As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 657.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the Army Corps of Engineers has been slightly slowing the generation and the shad are getting balled up more. There are baitfish pushing toward the backs of creeks. “I have been doing better toward the back of creeks and some of the shad balls are getting bigger but suspended over the old creek channels. The topwater bite has slowed drastically.”
Del suggests trying spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or square bills for powerfishing “shallow” if there’s bushes with deeper water close and shad, if it’s cloudy or stormy. Target shallow flats close to old creek channels with runoff. As the sun comes up, change tactics and slow down. Fish the pockets, channel swings and transitions with wind. Brushpiles are getting good if there are shad present. The fish position will change depending on sun, wind, current, clouds, etc. Keep it moving. The jig bite is picking up. Try a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange, green pumpkin blue, or a green pumpkin orange shaky head. Lake clarity ranges from dingy to clear depending on location. Surface water temperature is 67 degrees. Water level is normal.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.37 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 10-21-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says this past week they saw a major cool down of Norfork Lake. This week, with the predicted rain, anglers on Norfork should see a push up the creeks by the stripers to find schooling bait and cold water. “I fished both Bennett's Bayou and above the Missouri line. Both places are holding fish, but only Missouri has the most consistent bite. I usually start off above Point 10 in 11 feet of water at first light and wait until the school comes sometime between 6:3-7:30 a.m.. This week when it did we hooked three and landed them all at the same time. By 7:30 I moved out to deeper water and fished that until 9 a.m. Then I moved down below Point 10 and fished the deeper channel waters. The trollers are having great success in the shallow water trolling small crankbaits. I saw two boats catch their limit of stripers in less than two hours. I'm still using big gizzard shad up to 8 inches. It seems the bigger baits are working the best, but the trollers are using small baits but trolling fast.
“Bennett's Bayou has a similar pattern. I start off at the cow pasture point in 12 feet of water and fish the area until the sun comes up. I then move off into deeper waters and fished the channel edge. The stripers are not very active there, but as the water cools down it will be a major spot to fish. I have seen a few trollers and some fish are being caught around 10 a.m., but not many yet. The evenings are still the best time to fish the bayou right now.
The walleye are being caught on crankbaits trolled on long flats above Cranfield Marina. Crappie is a strong bite right now on 30 feet brushpiles, with small spoons, jigs and minnows being your best baits. Detailed maps of the new brushpiles are available at various locations around the lake.
(updated 10-28-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 10-28-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 0.4 foot above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water at night and moderate generation all day. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below the power pool, meaning anglers should have wadable water.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the flooding of the past 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 a pheasant tail size 14 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 in seassion, and expect less pressure during the week. Weekends can be pretty busy. 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. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-28-2020) 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 1,118.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake was at 1,118.79 feet msl as of last Monday. Almost 3 feet under normal pool, which is what all of us anglers were hoping for. That looks short-lived as we have had anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of rain this week. Water temps are dropping like a rock, also. Those two combinations will put a hold on a bite that was on an upward trajectory. “I believe once this stabilizes, fishing should continue to get better. I was out a few days last week and fishing was fair. Stripers are moving and hard to come by on a consistent basis. Crappie are fair on brush in 12-20 feet of water. Jigs and minnows are the go-to. Bass have been hit-and-miss with some topwater still happening. Hopefully this rain will end without a major rise. Looks like some stained to dirty water will push in from the White River arm in the following days. Fish should post up at Point 12 soon and should really turn on with waters in the 50s by the time this report hits.”
Check out Jon’s Facebook page at FishOn Guides Goshen Arkansas for updated reports as conditions change quickly this time of the year.
(updated 10-28-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the river is stained but water is clear in the main lake. The surface water temperature is hanging around the mid-60-degree mark. Crappie were a little slower this week, with fair catches. Anglers were pulling crankbaits as well as fishing with minnows. Look around the brushpiles now. Black bass are fair. A crankbait fished in shallow water can get a response, while topwater baits, buzzbaits and drop-shots all worked this week. Catfishing is fair; use shad or other live bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 10-28-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “This week's report is going to be a little short. As the fishing season starts to wind down for me, I will not be on the water as often. With that being said, I will be keeping track of the bite from other sources. With some of the rain we have received over the last few days,, the river level should go up some, but do not expect it to stick around long. The trout have been very responsive to Pautzke baits; the dough bait and Fire Balls have done great. Spoons and micro jigs have also produced some nice numbers as well.
“This week's hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. The fall walleye bite is starting to pick up. So far mostly males, most of them juvenile. Target the walleye in deeper water, around 10-15 feet of water. Try throwing deep-diving crankbaits and fishing with live baits. Most walleye are being caught between Houseman and Butler Creek.
“Well, folks, that's all I have for now. Looks like the ‘winter’ type weather is going to be around for a bit. Make sure to bundle up, be safe and catch some fish.”
(updated 10-28-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake clarity is murky. The surface water temperature is falling some to the lower 60s, while the water level is high. Bream are fair, which is an improvement over last week. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good, with best results coming by trolling minnows.
Black bass are good; topwaters will still get some action, but also try plastic worms or minnows. No reports on catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 10-28-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake clarity remains “very clear,” but rainfall in the area has brought the level up to about 1 foot above normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing was poor this week.
NOTE: A sustained drawdown is planned for Lake Charles beginning Nov. 15. Water from Lake Charles is released annually via a diversion ditch to flood greentree reservoirs at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl hunting. Since the amount of water needed at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is dependent on rainfall, heavy fall rain events the last few years have prevented a substantial drawdown at Lake Charles. This year, fisheries biologists are working with the Wildlife Management Division to maintain a low lake level through January 2021. Once Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is flooded, biologists will allow excess water to pass through the WMA to the Black River without any adverse effects. The goal is to maintain Lake Charles at least 8 feet below normal pool, although the lake level could drop beyond this if more water is needed at the WMA.
Drawdowns help congregate baitfish and sportfish, which can increase growth of sportfish. Drawdowns also provide adjacent landowners an opportunity to repair fishing piers and boathouses, or complete other AGFC approved land-use projects. AGFC reminds adjacent landowners that a permit is required for activities occurring on AGFC property, including building new structures and stabilizing shorelines.
For a copy of the AGFC Land Use Policy or a permit for a new fishing pier or boathouse, or for any other questions, please call biologists Allison Asher or Brett Timmons at 877-972-5438.
(updated 10-28-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said she heard no fishing reports this week. Fishing should be good, though, this week as the moon times indicate best fishing should occur through Nov. 3. The previous week, there were good reports on crappie; small bass were being caught on plastic worms and topwater baits, though bass were generally scattered; and catfish were biting worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, cut bait or minnows. The lake is still murky as usual and the surface water temperature Sunday morning was 62 degrees. Water level remains high, but Lake Charles has a planned drawdown coming (see above note).
(updated 10-21-2020) The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett will be closed on Dec. 1, allowing the lake to begin refilling with rainwater. Property owners with piers and boathouses on the lake have this period to get their last repairs done before the lake will begin filling up.
The lake, at Lake Poinsett State Park, has been undergoing a three-year renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat with more anchoring in the plans as the lake begins to refill.
When the lake has enough water for stocking, channel catfish will be stocked to give anglers target fish to seek, while prey fish such as shiners and shad will be stocked. After the prey fish have established a base over the next year or so, predator fish such as largemouth bass and crappie will then be stocked.
(updated 10-28-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the bad weather has chased away most if not all of the anglers. No reports were heard. The lake clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 67 degrees. Water level is normal.
(updated 10-21-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 300 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been clear. Low, clear water on sunny days can make for tough fishing. On the slow days, an indicator with a Y2K with a midge/nymph dropper will catch fish. About every morning heavy hatches of blue-wing olives and caddis are on the water. Not much on the rise but nymphs can be hot.
On the good days a Woolly Bugger cast downstream with a steady short strip all the way back is dynamite for smallmouth bass and brown trout, and the big rainbows like it, too.
On spinning tackle, a hot pink, black or red Trout Magnet is hot. For chasing the big fish, a trout crank or Flicker Shad is the ticket. With the trout cranks, the rainbow and brown trout colors are the best. Wading is much better with the slow water, but always be careful with the slick river bottom.
(updated 10-28-2020) 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 7.67 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 6.47, almost 20 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 27.57 feet, more than 8 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 10-28-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-14-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the low 70s. Visibility is less than 6-8 inches in most places. Very little to no flow on the main channel and water levels have been consistently 6-8 inches low (careful going over jetties that are normally deep enough to cross!). Black bass are biting fairly well, especially on white or bright-colored spinnerbaits, bladed jigs and square-bill crankbaits around woody cover near the bank or on shallow sand ledges in windy conditions. Dark-colored jigs in the same places worked methodically through brush will pick up bites in calm conditions. Small fish can be caught along jetties on the main channel using the same lures. Keep an eye out for schooling activity and have a topwater like a Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook or popper-style bait ready to capitalize on surfacing fish (these can get you some big bites right now).
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-21-2019) Cane Creek State Park reports water temperatures are running in the mid-60s. Water clarity has improved, and visibility is around 2 feet. Crappie fishing slowed down over the last week; however, crappie should pick up ahead of next weekend’s weather system. The bite is best in the early morning and late evening. No. 6 minnows seem to be the ticket fished at a depth of 4-6 feet. Regular shiners are working on cloudy days and rosy reds are working better on sunny days. “We have also been getting reports that Electric Chicken Crappie Jigs are starting to produce results.”
Bass can be found chasing schools of shad. “We have been getting reports that lipless crankbaits are the ticket.” Catfish are being caught on trotlines and limblines. Bream fishing has slowed down; however, a few can be found using nightcrawlers at a depth of 4-6 feet deep.
(updated 10-28-2020) 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 259.45 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday that Millwood Lake pool is just above normal at 259.4 feet msl and falling. Discharge was around 3,500 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Tuesday was around 229 feet msl and steady with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Surface temps were stable over the last week, ranging between 65-70 degrees. Clarity improved dramatically over the past several weeks in the oxbow lakes along Little River, with light stain, ranging 15-30 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility along Little River is at 5-10 inches depending on location. Further up Little River has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
As for fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass: A couple of cold fronts coming through Millwood Lake this week have kept daytime water temps in the mid-60s to low 70s all day, and the Millwood Mayhem took another jump with the largemouth and white bass feeling frisky. Largemouth bass continue in a feeding mode and are following threadfin shad schools with random schooling in the oxbows. The highest activity period has shifted to later in the morning and midday over the past couple weeks. Several simultaneous schools continue random surface-breaking in McGuire Oxbow up Little River over the past few days with the improvement in water clarity and reduced stain. One-knocker Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic along with Chug Bugs, Ken Pops and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back continue working at or near the surface when the schooling bass bust the shad over 12-18 foot structure, and where lily pads area short distance on flats near the vertical structure. Bass Assassin Shad Jerkbaits and Johnson Chrome Spoons are working when bass break in the pads. The 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps, Bomber Crankbaits and Little John Cranks continue working for solid bass from 3-5 pounds, following shad and bait pods over 15-20 feet of depth.
Shallow square-bill cranks like the Bill Lewis Echo 1.75 or SB-57 in Millwood Magic, Splatterback and Fat Free Shads in Tennessee Shad were drawing reactions as a few basses began to follow the shad into the creek channels. Shad schools are beginning to migrate into several creekmouths this week up Little River in McGuire Oxbow. The MR-6 Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Splatter Back or Louisiana Shad colors continue getting good responses. Best locations are near intersecting creek channels dumping into McGuire. The creek channel points, which dump into Little River, have been holding small schools of juvenile largemouths from 2-3 pounds, where large stumps and pads nearby have been holding good schools of bass for several weeks.
* White bass: They continue roaming the oxbow lakes up Little River and are following 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, Little John Crankbaits and Bomber Fat Free Shad Cranks over the mid-channel depths, and near tributary points with stumps and grass. Trolling McGuire oxbow upriver with mid-depth Bomber Fat Free Shad and Little John custom-painted crankbaits in Tennessee Shad and Splatterback Shad have connected over the past couple weeks with good schools of 2-3 pound white bass. Vertical-jigging War Eagle Underspins with a short 2-to-3-inch white, curly grub trailer connected with the whites 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. “It's a great time to take a kid fishing for these hard-charging, rod-hammering big white bass!” Mike said.
* Crappie: No report. “Too busy fighting black and white bass!” Mike said.
* Catfish: Have been fair to good along Little River, with trotlines and yo-yos working along Little River from 9 to 12 feet deep using cut shad, buffalo, drum or King’s Punch Bait.
* Bream: No report.
(updated 10-28-2020) 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 541.02 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.15 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) says the crappie are still there 6-12 feet deep. The big slabs are tough and holding near the bottom of the brushpiles, which makes them hard to get to without hanging up. The smaller, good-eating-size crappie are ample in numbers though. Fish ON, everyone.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.47 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.41 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 10-21-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) says the clarity is muddy and the lake level is low. Crappie are good on medium shiners and pinks. Black bass are also hitting the shiners with good results. Catfishing is good using stink bait, chicken liver and goldfish.
(updated 10-14-2020) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water this week has been calm and clear. Water level is low. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair; use minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair; use worms. Catfish are biting well. Bait a yo-yo with live bait such as black salties or small perch.
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 10-28-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 59 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Lake Ouachita remains just under the flood pool, which has enabled Entergy to greatly reduce flow from all area dams. Entergy is running a minimum flow pattern flow below Carpenter Dam and lake conditions are stable. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine will be drawn down 5 feet this year beginning Nov. 1. Each lake will fall 6 inches per day with this process complete by Nov. 11. The 5-foot drawdown will remain in place until March 1, 2021, when the refilling process is scheduled to begin. 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 earlier depending on fish availability. The beginning of fall finds white 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. Until the trout stocking program begins again, the fishing report will remain consistent from week to week. The infusion of trout always shocks the system into action with more and diverse species of fish migrating into the area to live and feed.
(updated 10-28-2020) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the 60s and falling. River conditions are good. Upriver is clear, mid-river is stained and the lower river is semi-dirty, with a lot of back water being dirty. The bite is picking up where there are cooler temperatures. Bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps, square-bill crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Early and late there has been a topwater bite on Pop-R's, Zara Spooks and buzzbaits, especially on the cloudy days. Jigs have been working well and in the dirtier water a black-and-blue jig with a black Spadra Bamboozie is a good one. Green pumpkin has been catching a few, also. Crappie have been good on jigs; stick to natural colors like monkey milk. They have been holding at around 8 feet; smaller ones have been moving shallow on the warmer days to 2 feet. White bass are in the creeks and bays; Rat-L-Traps and inline spinners have been working well. Stripers have been on hard bottom points in the main river and show beds; Rat-L-Traps, swimbaits and chatterbaits with a scam shad trailer have been working well. Spoons have been working on occasions when you can get over them same as the white bass. Catfish have been good. There are a lot of channel cats in the backwater.
(updated 10-28-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said there have been no angler reports in the past week at the state park. Since last week the period began with a few warm and humid days before the gusty arrival of a strong cold front. The past weekend was overcast with periods of steady rain falling Monday and Tuesday. The National Weather Service forecast calls for an active forecast for Wednesday evening when Tropical Storm Zeta pushes rain north and Winter Storm Billy approaches from the west. These systems are expected to leave the region on Thursday, making for a windy Friday morning. Below average temperatures and dry weather are forecasted through the weekend and early next week.
There is still some visibility, down a little more than a foot, but not as deep since the river flow has picked up. Surface water temperature is 63 degrees.
As of Tuesday, the Corps of Engineers reported Ozark Lock and Dam was about 20,000 cfs. Ozark continued to release water to generate for a short time in the evening or overnight with flow fluctuating between nothing and 27,000 cfs. Release did rise to 47,000 cfs Monday night in response to the recent rainfall. The Ozark tailwater has been consistently near 337 feet msl since last report. Release at Dardanelle Lock and Dam had been sparse and flowed between nothing and 28,000 cfs until it rained. Dardanelle has held flow at 18,000 cfs since Monday night and it seems that Lake Dardanelle may rise, holding some water from Ozark. Dardanelle tailwater level has fluctuated between 3 and 7 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park has risen slightly to just above 338 feet msl.
(updated 10-28-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels just below normal pool and as of Tuesday morning a slight haziness to the water color. Lake temps are still falling due to rain and significant temperature drops. “Let me tell you, folks, we needed rain and we needed a temperature drop badly! With the incoming fresh water flows and colder water temps, the oxygen levels in the lakes should come up significantly, making fishing once more worth going!”
Water temps are in the mid-to-low 60s and hopefully will continue to fall throughout the week. Bass should really be coming alive in the next few days and should be targeted with drop-shot rigs with a green pumpkin curly tailed worm or a green pumpkin crawdad presentation on light tackle in about 20 feet depth on vertical structures and main lake points. Another option is to go back to beating brushpiles with a black-and-blue or craw-colored jig. In addition, consider throwing a craw or Firetiger Red crankbait. The Wiggle Wart is by far the best bait for this job.
Crappie has had little action over the last week but they should perk up a whole lot and should be targeted with live minnows and small jigs at 20 feet over brushtops. Bream and bluegill still remain good at 20 feet in creek channel ditches and can be caught on live worms and minnows. No catfish report.
“Please wear your life jackets at all times from this point on! The water temps are returning to cold enough conditions to induce hypothermia. Let’s get in the habit and live to fish another day. Good luck and GoGreeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.38 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-21-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the clarity has cleared up quite a bit. Water level is low. Bream are fair. They are not bedded up, but they’re being caught in shallow water. Use redworks or crickets. Crappie are good and are being caught 4-6 feet deep. Focus on the brushpiles and use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. The best catches are coming on topwater lures and Alabama rigs. Catfishing is good trolling on Bandits, Road Runners, perch and black salties.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.29 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2019) 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 better, and spotted bass are schooled up chasing baitfish. Try a small 3/8-ounce spoon in submerged schools and your favorite topwater bait in those same areas. Major creek mouths and up the rivers have had the best reports.No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught on live bait. Bream are slow with crickets or worms in 15-25 feet of water. Crappie are good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 68-73 degrees and the clarity is clear. Lake level is at 577.25 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 384.34 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday reported the Clarendon gauge at 15.48 feet, well below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-28-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that this Saturday, Oct. 31, will be the last day for fishing Cook’s Lake this year. Unfortunately, no one has been taking advantage of the nice weather the last couple of weeks to fish Cook’s, therefore Hafner does not have a recent report. Black bass should be shallow and hitting slow-moving baits flipped into hollow cypress trees or spinnerbaits bumped off of the trees on more windy days. Crappie are slow but are being caught on minnows and jigs around laydowns. Hafner wants to thank everyone who took the time to bring a youth to experience Cook’s Lake this fishing season and hopes to see everyone again next spring.
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.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 10-28-2020) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says this week anglers have had little success catching fish at Bear Creek. A few blue catfish have been caught. Anglers are still reporting fish being caught in deeper waters due to the cooler temperatures. The U.S. Forest Service has not started the construction of the new spillway yet. Mississippi River State Park is still waiting for more information at this time.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 10-28-2020) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says there has been very little fishing activity. No reports.