Dec. 10, 2020
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 10, 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 noon the day of publication (Dec. 10).
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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
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 12-10-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said lake clarity has lost its typical stain and is “pretty clear,” while the lake level is low. Crappie are good on crappie minnows and on jigs. No black bass were reported, and there were no reports on bream as well. Catfishing is good using cut bait or nightcrawlers.
(updated 12-3-2020) Angler Dennis Charles said water is clear and cold. Crappie have been found midway down and the bite is excellent. Catfish are deep and by the docks. Black bass are roaming all over and all depths and, like crappie, the bite is excellent.
Little Red River
(updated 12-10-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said there has been no generation since Dec. 3 and none was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10. “This is seven days without generation and very low water conditions. With the water clear and a slow current, fishing can be difficult. Try using small emergers or egg patterns fished shallow with little weight when fishing the shoals. The fish are spooky in these low water conditions, so use a stealth approach.”
Greg advises that anglers please try fishing below the redds to catch the fish that are feeding on the eggs drifting off the redd. Avoid harassing the fish that are on the redds spawning. These fish will probably be caught by foul hooking rather than taking the fly.
It is that time of the year when you should be careful when wading the shoals where the fish are trying to spawn. A redd is an area on the bottom of the river in the gravel where the fish have cleaned the debris from the rocks and lay their eggs in the gravel. These areas are easily identified by being cleaner and shining on the bottom.
“Please avoid wading thru these areas. Disturbing the eggs destroys them and therefore reduces the number of browns in the river. Wade around, not through the redds. The browns are not stocked in the Little Red River and depend on this spawn to survive.
‘Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!’
(updated 12-10-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said, “We are in the typical fall and winter generation pattern for the Little Red River, with very little generation taking place during the week or weekends. This pattern is unpredictable and could change depending on power demands. It’s highly recommended to check forecasted and real-time generation before planning a trip to the Red. For fly-fishing, we recommend midges, egg patterns and soft hackles. Hot pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin-fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 12-10-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the river is low. The trout are spawning right now. The bite is good on Power rigs, Rooster Tails, Trout Magnets and Bouyant Spoons.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 458.84 feet msl and staying pretty steady with no rain and warmer temps, and not much generation. It looks like the trend will continue until first of the new year, as forecast calls. It is 3.2 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. Black bass will eat crankbaits and spinnerbaits on steeper banks, along with jerkbaits, drop-shots, jigs, Alabama rigs and spoons working for deeper fish and dragging a C-rig or football head. Crappie are eating minnows and jigs fished straight up and down, as fish are getting tighter to pole timber and brushpiles. Some bream are still pretty active in deeper water; try 12-20 feet with crawlers and moving baits. No reports on catfish. As for walleye, the river spawners have got it on their mind and are staging and or moving, and lake fish are wanting to eat. Your best bet is a crankbait trolled in right areas, 12-40 feet. Hybrid bass and white bass will eat a lot right now feeding up before the harsh cold; try spoons, Alabama rigs, hair jigs, inline spinners and the Largo Super Spinners in 35-80 feet.
(updated 12-10-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is 3 feet low, clear in some areas and stained in other areas Black bass are good on finesse jigs (peanut butter and jelly color), red crankbaits, jerkbaits, Alabama rigs and a single swimbait at 8-15 feet of water around any main lake points or rock transitions.Crappie are good on hair jigs in natural colors and blue crappie jigs in 15-20 feet of water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 12-10-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is very low and the clarity is clear. Bream are poor. Crappie are good around the shoreline. Minnows and jigs (particularly pearl white and rainbow colors) are best bets. Crappie are also being caught on trotlines. Black bass and bream are poor of late. Catfishing continues to be good using nightcrawlers, baby shad, and catfish bait with peanut butter.
(updated 12-10-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said catfish have been good on cut bait. Crappie are good; they are moving into the shallows and anglers are catching them off the piers. Crappie are biting on smaller minnows and jigs. Clarity is clear and the water is low by about a half-foot.
(updated 11-25-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the Overcup water level is down by 8 inches. Surface temperature is around 56 degrees, he said. Clarity is murky. Black bass have been doing well and chasing shad. Use a shad-like bait. Bream are slow but anglers are still catching some. “I personally caught a bluegill that was 10 inches long and weighed 12 ounces,” Johnny said.
Catfish are being caught on worms. “A guy caught a 6-pound channel cat out of the windbreak,” Johnny said. He adds that crappie are doing well off the docks on the 95 side, but have been slow the last couple of days. “Come see us off Highway 9. Johnny Banks at Overcup Bait Shop for all your needs.”
(updated 12-10-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland had no report.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 12-10-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 12-10-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says river clarity remains clear and the level and current are normal. The bream continues to be good; use worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using crankbaits or plastic worms. No reports on catfish.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 27,292 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 27,579 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 27,095 cfs.
(updated 12-10-2020) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is at normal level and current and the clarity is stained to muddy. Black bass are fair at the entrances to the backwaters on red crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, and black/blue jigs in 5-8 feet of water. Crappie are good on orange/chartreuse, white/chartreuse and blue/chartreuse crappie jigs in 8 feet of water around jetties and standing wood and timber.
(updated 12-10-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that crappie are excellent on the river in the backwaters and below Terry Lock and Dam on minnows, Bobby Garland Jigs (monkey milk color) and Baby Shad. They’re also excellent in the LR pool in 4-6 feet of water around brush on minnows and chartreuse Super Jigs. White bass are good below the dams on 3-inch chartreuse grubs. Catfish are fair below the dams and the North Little Rock hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam on cut shad.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 12-10-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake clarity is clear and the level is low. Bream are slow. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is fair with live bait. Black bass are good on minnows.
(update 12-10-2020) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed for the season and will reopen in February after duck season closes.
(updated 12-10-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially here in Cotter. As you come down to the river through Big Spring Park early on a frosty morning, you'll see a most amazing, delightful display of lights. Morning temperatures have been plenty cool, but that has given way to sunny, warm days that don't feel much like December.
“Sure is nice for a day of catching trout on the White River, though. Angler traffic on the river often dwindles through the winter, but these unseasonably mild days have seen an uptick of visitors. The successful fishers learned to include a variety of baits to accommodate the changes in river depth downstream of Bull Shoals Dam. In recent days we've seen substantial changes in the water level throughout the day, so bring a favorite silver spoon or some jigs for the lower level in the morning (orange and/or brown skirts), red wiggler worms for the rise during mid-morning, and some stick baits for the afternoon catch (rainbow patterns worked best this week). As always, scented egg patterns and shrimp will lure a good number of rainbows to your net.
“Come on in and share a story or two. Merry Christmas from the banks of the White.”
(updated 12-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that over the past week they had about a quarter of an inch of rain, cold temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 0.3 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 36.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 1.7 feet to rest at 0.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.9 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at seasonal power pool and 9.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation with some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater saw a moderate amount of wadable water.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31, 2021, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On February 1, 2021 this section will open to fishing.
On the moderate flows 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 (size18), 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 size 14 pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 ruby midge).
As more colder weather comes our way in the weeks ahead, John makes note of how he handles it: “When I woke up at 4:55 a.m. (just before the alarm went off), I noted that the temperature outside was 20 degrees. The wind was blowing 4 miles per hour, which made the wind chill equal fourteen degrees. I briefly considered turning over to sleep another hour but remembered that I was scheduled to meet two clients at 7:30 a.m. I got up, hit the shower and brewed a pot of strong coffee to get ready for the day. My wife, Lori, was not guiding on that day, so she stayed in that warm bed until she had to get up to feed and walk our two Labrador retrievers around 8.
“The trick to surviving weather like this is to dress properly. I generally have an advantage over my clients because I have better clothing for extreme weather than they do. I spare no expense when buying outdoor clothing because I often spend the day outside and need to finish the day. Here on the White and North Fork rivers, the fish are not affected by external temperature because our rivers are tailwaters and the water temperature does not vary appreciably in summer or winter. We fish 12 months a year here.
“I started off with a medium-weight long underwear top and bottom. They were Patagonia Capeline, which is warm, breathes well and wicks moisture away from your body. Dry is warmer than damp. The top was a zip turtleneck, so that I could unzip it, if I got too warm.
“I wore a pair of fleece-lined pants to keep my legs warm. If it had been windier I would have worn a pair of rain pants over them to keep the wind off of me. Wind chill is a killer. On the top, I wore a thick, densely knitted wool sweater. Wool will keep you warm when it is wet. Over that I wore a jacket with a thin windproof nylon shell and was insulated with PrimaLoft (a synthetic down alternative that will keep you warm when wet). It has a hood to keep my head warm in extreme conditions.
“On my feet, I wore thick wool wader socks. Once again, wool will keep you warm when wet. Over that I wear muck boots. These have a molded rubber bottom and neoprene tops. They are warm and waterproof. That way I can easily wade in the water, if needed, when launching the boat.
“On my hands, I wore wool fingerless gloves. The bare fingers allow me to tie knots. Over them I put on some heavy wool shelled gloves that I wear when I don’t have to tie knots. I generally remove them when the temperature climbs above freezing.
“A waterproof, billed, fleece lined, PrimaLoft insulated cap with ear flaps completes my clothing. I put disposable hand warmers in my jacket pockets.
‘As it warmed up I pulled up the flaps on my hat, removed the top pair of gloves and unzipped my jacket and sweater to get a little ventilation and avoid overheating. I finished the day comfortably.
“If you have the proper clothing, you can survive cold weather.”
(updated 11-25-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the rainbows are good on pink worms, shrimp and PowerBait. The lure anglers were doing slow, they say. River clarity is clear and level is low. There have been 4-6 generators running from the dam. The catch-and-release area below Bull Shoals is closed until February.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.81 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the shad are getting balled up more, so he suspects the deep bite is about to get better once generation slows. There are baitfish in the creeks and shallows. Spend your idle time on the graph looking for loons and video-gaming will pay off. “I have been doing better towards backs of creeks for numbers; at 35-65 feet, some of the shad balls are getting bigger but suspended over the old creek channels. Use an ice jig or spoon if it’s windy, Damiki drop-shot if it’s flat. If the shad are up high in the water column, the deep bite is hot. Powerfishing shallow if there’s wind, cloud, bushes/snags with deeper water close and shad. Rock Crawlers, Wiggle Wart and square bill are all working with some wind off 45-degree banks with nasty rock transition. As the sun comes up, or post frontal, change tactics and slow down. Use jigs and shaky head on channel swings. Brushpiles are getting good if there are shad present. Follow the shad regardless of the depth and you’ll find the fish. I’m fishing the conditions.”
The lake is clear and the surface temperature is 55 degrees. Water level has recently gone up above normal conservation pool. Visit Del’s YouTube page, Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock, for the latest information and Del’s tips on fishing Bull Shoals.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater saw a moderate amount of wadable water.
The Norfork is fishing well especially on the lower flows. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a size 14 pheasant tail 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 back in session; 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 12-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the cooler temperatures the bite has slowed. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.47 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has really stabilized on levels and clarity, and fishing is responding well. Stripers are doing well from Rocky Branch up into the river arms on brooders and umbrella rigs. “As I always write about, electronics are the key,” he said. “Find shad and find the fish. Also white bass and walleye will be bunched up near the bait. This is spooning time for all species. I use War Eagle Spoons, but there are many that work.” Crappie are on brush in and near main river channels. Jigs and minnows are the ticket. “Some nice weather is expected the next couple days. Looks fishy to me.” Check out Jon’s Facebook page at FishOn Guides Goshen Arkansas for updated reports as conditions change quickly this time of the year.
(updated 12-10-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said walleye fishing has been fair using jerkbaits and little bright-colored crankbaits. Stripers are good on live bait and topwater around the Point 12 area. Crappie are fair on minnows and by trolling crankbaits around brushpiles. Black bass are fair; try a crankbait, Alabama rig or spoons. There were no reports on bream or catfish.
Beaver Lake is clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 51 degrees.
(updated 12-10-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says fishing this past week has been back and forth with the bite. Most trout are biting on various Pautzke Fire baits, fished with light terminal tackle. This week's hot spot has been in the Spider Creek area.
The Corps of Engineers has not been generating, “so the water levels are a little high from our last rain, which in my opinion, has made for some nice fishing. If you're looking for your next trophy, you need to put in the time. Adding a scent product to your lure, such as Pautzke Fire gel, will increase the bite.”
The walleye bite has slacked off a little bit, with most of them being caught toward Beaver town. You need to fish the contours, drop-offs and weed lines. So, obviously, you need a graph to help you locate these structures. If you do not have a graph, work inside bends and points. Try to fish in 10-15 feet of water.
Austin added, “Well, I went back to the Sheriff's Office, so most of my fishing will be limited to the weekends during the winter months. Feel free to reach out to me on my Fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guides) if you have further questions. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!”
(updated 12-10-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says fishing is pretty slow. The lake remains stained in clarity, while the surface water temperature is in the upper 50s. Water level is low. Best reports are coming from crappie, where the resorts are fair. Use minnows or jigs. No reports on bream, bass or catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 12-10-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is clear and the level is normal. Bream reports are fair, with redworms and crickets working. Crappie are good, with best results coming on small crankbaits. Bass fishing is slow. Catfish remain very slow.
NOTE: A sustained drawdown at Lake Charles began 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 12-10-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the best moon times for fishing this month begin Thursday, Dec. 11, and run through Dec. 17. That said, nobody was giving her anything to report leading up to that this week. Sunday’s water temperature was 51 degrees, and the water continues to run murky. Water level is low, with water being used to help flood the nearby WMA for waterfowl season and the general dry conditions.
(updated 12-10-2020) The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, allowing the lake to begin refilling with rainwater. 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 12-10-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) says it is closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
(updated 12-10-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 320 cfs and water clarity has been clear, with just a little below-average river flow.
“Lately the trout are biting really well most days and there have been a few days it has been hard to get a bite,” he said. “On the good days big white streamers have been the ticket. With the colder temperatures there have been bigger fish moving around. Baitfish and crawfish patterns have been working well. For the really tough days, Euro nymphing has become very productive. Prince, hare's ear and pheasant tail nymphs all work well. Same rig can be used below an indicator. Plenty of caddis and mayflies hatching on sunny days.”
(updated 12-10-2020) 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 Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 7.63 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 9.67, almost 16 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 21.35 feet, nearly 5 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 12-10-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 12-10-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 12-3-2019) Cane Creek State Park had no report.
(updated 11-25-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), said it appears the fish were biting, but may have stopped due to some recent storms that moved in. More storms are expected later on during the week, although there are a few sunny patches expected as well. The lake does appear to be a bit lower for this time of year. Recent storms have stirred up the lake, making the water very muddy.
(updated 12-10-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam by the City of Monticello and the AGFC is making improvements to the fish habitat while the lake is currently drawn down for the dam work.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.53 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, the lake was 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling; water clarity stained. Gate discharge at the dam was around 3,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates was around 229 feet msl and falling with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Surface temps stable over the last week, ranging 46-50 degrees. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken, or floating timber in Little River. Millwood State Park is opened for campers. See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. Millwood State Park Marina is closed for its annual winter shutdown through the end of February. The state park office is open and can be reached at 870-898-2800 for additional information.
As for the fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: The water temperature continues dropping a few degrees overnight with the incoming cold fronts, ranging from the mid-40's to low 50-degrees. Although the surface-breaking bass have subsided over the past week, the “Millwood Mayhem” continues with the largemouth and white bass feeding and schooling up on shad at random in many locations near or over vertical structure. The highest activity period has been found midday and the afternoon for the past several weeks. Numerous schools and pods of bass continue chasing shad in Horseshoe, McGuire and Mud oxbows up Little River. Heavy ¾-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Transparent Holographic Shad and Splatterback Shad continue working subsurface on large schools of shad near standing timber in 10-20 feet of depth with 6-8 foot deep flats nearby. Bomber Fat Free Shad or custom shad-painted Little John Crankbaits and Bomber Flat A's in Tennessee Shad patterns continue working for solid bass from 2-4 pounds, suspended over 15-20 feet of depth. Schools of shad have moved into the creek mouths at many locations, and the bass are following these schools into the creek channels.|
Shallow square-bill cranks like the Bill Lewis Echo 1.75 or SB-57 in Millwood Magic and Splatterback, and Fat Free Shads in Tennessee Shad, continue drawing reactions as a few bass are beginning to follow the shad near creek channels. Shad schools are beginning to move toward the creek channels much of the day, suspending near several creek mouths, in back of McGuire Lake. The MR-6 Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Splatterback or Louisiana Shad colors continue getting good responses in creek mouths where you find large pods of shad on your electronics. 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, and where the largemouth and whites have been staging up and along Little River, waiting for the shad to commit to moving back in the creeks.
* White bass: They continue striking Chrome Cordell 3/4-to-1-ounce hammered spoons by vertical-jigging in and near flooded timber in 15-20 feet of depth in several oxbows and along Little River primary and secondary points. Several large schools of whites have been roaming the oxbow lakes up Little River and are following the same large schools of threadfin shad as the largemouths are, although surface-breaking on shad has diminished. Whites are willing to bite crankbaits 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 Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad and Splatterback Shad over the past couple weeks have connected with a good schools of 2-to-3-pound white bass. Vertical jigging ¾-ounce Cordell Hammered Spoons connected with the whites once the schools were located by trolling and by watching the schools follow the shad on electronics. Fat Free Guppy Crankbaits in citrus shad color were catching shallow-feeding whites in 5-8 feet near vertical structure and standing timber in McGuire.
* Crappie: Responded to the most recent muddy inflow and lake pool rise along Little and Saline rivers by scattering from planted brush piles along the river. Nothing consistent to report.
* Catfish: Blues were fair to good this week, with Little River’s increased current, on trotlines and yo-yos set 10 to 16 feet deep using cut shad, buffalo or chicken livers and gizzards.
* Bream: No report.
(updated 12-10-2020) 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 536.32 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.65 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 12-10-2020) Local angler Charles Abernathy reported that water temperature is around 55 degrees and water level is still low, at 398.60 feet msl (9.40 feet below full pool). Water clarity mid-lake is good. It’s slightly more stained toward Point Cedar. Crappie fishing has been good and is steadily picking up. Fish can be caught from the spillway area to Cox Creek. Good schools of fish are collected on deep timber reaching 20 feet or shallower from the surface. Side scan is very helpful in finding which stick of timber they are on. If you find out which stick they are on, take note. They will most likely be there tomorrow. Timber located near deep channels are best. If you find the bait, the crappie are nearby. Also look for open water schools in these areas. Finding an active school can make real quick work of a good mess of fish. Don’t be afraid to spend the first hour scanning around for schools. It can be a real time-saver. You can also find fish on brush/structure near channels, although the fish on brush seem to go quiet quicker. Most of the brush on this lake has some pressure. Your odds are better if you stay off the brush to prevent spooking them. Use a slow presentation. Baby shad style 2-inch bait profiles, Mr. Crappie Slab Slangers in monkey milk/natural colors will work. White/chartreuse work well, too. Two-inch or smaller mariabou jigs work very well. Sometimes the smaller the better. If you find the fish and they quit biting, change colors, change profiles. If that doesn’t work, move. Don’t waste time on fish that won’t bite unless you are enjoying the view of some eagles. Charles can be contacted at email@example.com for more up-to-date info.
(updated 12-3-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) reported that crappie are still biting but moving deeper. Fish brushpiles 14-16 feet deep in 24-plus feet of water where deep water channels are nearby. Water temp is in the mid-50s.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.14 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.31 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 12-10-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs and shiners at White Oak Lake and the old river. Clarity is clear and the water level is normal.
(updated 12-3-2020) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water clarity is clear and the lake level is low. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie fishing is good. They’ve taken to the cold areas of the lake. Anglers are catching them with minnows and with Bobby Garland Jigs in white and chartreuse. There were no reports on bream, bass or catfish.
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 12-10-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 48 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine have been drawn down 5 feet. This drawdown will remain in place until March 1, when the refilling process is scheduled to begin. Numerous underwater hazards are now visible in the tailrace due to the low water conditions and boaters and wade fishermen alike should use caution when navigating the area. Entergy has lowered Lake Catherine another 2 feet in order to do repairs on Remmel Dam. This work is expected to take until around Christmas to complete. The lack of water in the tailrace has made navigation to the dam and powerhouse area nearly impossible. Extreme caution should be used by boaters during this time. Rainbow trout fishing has now returned to Lake Catherine with the AGFC stocking 1,400 trout on Nov. 13, and another 2,900 fish are scheduled to be released this month. The trout are highly scattered now from the bridge to the dam, which is normal for the early part of the fall season. Decent numbers of fish have been caught by fly-fishermen that are now able to access areas that hold fish. Egg patterns in orange or yellow have accounted for several limits of quality rainbows presented under a strike indicator. Micro-jigs in black or white have also worked well when used in the same manner. Boaters trolling shallow-running crankbaits that imitate shad or crayfish have taken numbers of trout during times of generation. The majority of trout are in the 11-to-12-inch class and are full-bodied. Bank fishermen are also catching trout on PowerBaits and nightcrawlers cut in half used under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater.
Schools of white bass are inhabiting the tailrace and feeding on threadfin shad. Topwater action has been observed in the early morning below the bridge. Walleye still remain in the tailrace and can be caught on minnows tightlined in deep water just past the bridge. The deepest areas consistently hold walleye that live and feed in the tailrace. 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. 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 12-3-2020) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 53 degrees in most places, warmer down by Goose Island, cooler upriver by O'Kane Creek. The heads of some of the creeks are clear, but dingy midway and, yes, dirtier the closer to the river it gets. The river is dirty. Backwater areas are dingy to stained. Bass fishing has been really good. Square-bill crankbaits, swimbaits, jerkbaits, jigs and Bamboozie have been working well in the dirtier water. The majority of the fish have been coming from extremely shallow, with the larger fish coming out of deeper water. Crappie have been very good in 8 foot of water; mayfly has the color of the week. And, of course, minnows will catch a few. White bass are in some of the creeks, and on some of the main river points, square-bill crankbaits and spoons have been doing well on them. Stripers are scattered, some on jetty rocks, some on hard-bottom river points. Swimbaits and Rat-L-Traps, and occasionally a spinnerbait, will catch them. Catfish have been good on skipjack if you can find them; cut shad has been working, also. A lot of good catfish have been caught around persimmon trees. A lot of channel cats are still in the backwater areas and in the creeks, and they have been caught with worms and crickets.
(updated 12-3-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), had no report. For questions contact our visitor center at (479) 967-5516. Be safe while on the river and take time to put a line in the water!
(updated 12-10-2020) 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 down near 5 feet from normal pool and water clarity up to 8 feet. Water temps throughout the lake hover around 50 degrees. “We have had a very mild winter so far and the patterns that we as fisherman would like to see are still in development and transition. Bass are fair throughout the lake on black-and-blue patterned jigs like the Slycked Back-Hammer Slammer (football, finesse or brush) dragged through brush or skipped under deeper wooden posted docks at depths from 15-25 feet deep. Spotted bass can be caught pretty well all over the lake on rocky shoals and gravely banks with Wiggle Warts and craw-colored shallow and mid-running crank baits and the ol’ reliable Ned rig in watermelon seed or craw with a short hop retrieve and also fished on the vertical drop or down the face of piers and pilings.
There are some nice sheer rock faces into deeper water around Hamilton and they are perfect locations to break out the deep-running suspending jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits in shad patterns or FireTiger. “Tis’ the season if you will.” Bream and bluegill are still biting nicely on worms at 15-25 feet near or under docks. Use a slip-cork setup and have fun! Crappie are hit and miss. The best bite coincides with the full moon phases, for sure! Crappie can be caught very early in the mornings at 15 feet over brush piles in 20-35 feet of water. Live minnows work best but they have been known to take some pearl- and pink-colored jigs. No catfish report. Stripers should be building up near the Arkansas Highway 7 south bridge in the deeper water.
"If you see gulls floating in packs, the fish are below. Good luck and Go Greeson! Please wear those life jackets at all times! The water is now cold enough to be lethal folks. Live to fish another day.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.43 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said water is “pretty clear” now and Wednesday was at 52 degrees. The water level is 1 foot high. Crappie continue to bite well. They are being seen at 5-9 feet depth on the Garmin LiveScope. Minnows are working in 12-14 feet depth. Jigs, especially the Beaver Bottom Jigs, are also working well, as are plastic lures. Black bass are good, and they’ve moved into deep water. Throw a spinnerbait, drop-shot, worms and jigs their way. No report on catfish. Bream reports are poor.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.83 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-3-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are fair. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are still schooled up chasing baitfish. Try a small ⅜-ounce spoon in submerged schools and your favorite topwater in those same areas. No report on walleye. Stripers are good; catch them on live bait. No report on bream. Crappie are still good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 58-62 degrees, the clarity is light stain, and the lake level Thursday was 577.89 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 11-25-2020) John Koestler at Masterbaiters Bait and Tackle (501-209-6538) on Arkansas Highway 7 reports that the fishing in Lake Ouachita was rough, but they did manage to get some bass on crankbaits and also jigging spoons. Still lots of bream in 20 feet of water. Surface water temperature is 52 degrees. Crappie bite should be good in a week or two. “We were getting some in 25 feet of water,” John says. Walleye are being caught in 30 feet with grass on jigs or crawlers with spinners. Points have also been producing walleye and bass. “Give us a call. We will do what we can to help you out!”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.40 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-10-2020) Fishing has closed for the year at Cook’s Lake. Cook’s Lake will serve as a waterfowl rest area from November through February and will reopen to fishing in March if the water level permits. For more information please call the center at 870-241-3373.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 12-3-2020) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says anglers have had success catching crappie from depths of 12-15 feet due to cooler weather. Anglers have reported catching crappie on minnows and jigs. The minnows seem to be getting the best bite at the moment. The U.S. Forest Service has coordinated a team to begin surveying for the new construction of the spillway. “This is the first news we have heard! We will continue to update anglers as this project progresses.” Storm Creek Lake produced no reports.