Feb. 18, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 18, 2021. 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 9 a.m. the day of publication (Feb. 18).
****Buy an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.
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 2-18-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported Wednesday that Lake Conway was covered in snow. Before all the snow hit the area, however, when temps were fairly normal for late winter, they said: Bream were good on redworms, crickets and Dynamax hand-tied jigs. Crappie like those hand-tied jigs as well, along with minnows and regular jigs, and the bite was good. Black bass were good on crankbaits, Chatterbaits, jigs and shad. Catfishing was good with stink bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, trotline minnows and goldfish.
(updated 2-18-2021) Angler Dennis Charles had no new reports. For more from Dennis’s fishing excursions, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/arkansasfishingadventures
Little Red River
(updated 2-18-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the only fisherman I could find out in this weather was his neighbor. “The fish are biting on the Little Red if anyone is crazy enough to be out. With the snow melt and rain coming this weekend, the river may be muddy. Just have to see. The generation has been pretty heavy during the extreme cold but should be reduced as the milder weather arrives this next week.”
(updated 2-18-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) reminds anglers to 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 2-11-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the Little Red is stained to clear (depends on the flow) and normal level. The trout bite is pretty good; browns are favoring jerkbait, maribou jigs and Countdowns, while rainbows trend toward Trout Magnet, maribou, Countdowns, spoons and Rooster Tails.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.77 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 2-18-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.78 feet msl and falling with generation. It’s 1.26 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. Please be careful as some of lake is froze over, creeks, rivers, etc. You can hit it and be in trouble quickly. It will take a while for it to thaw, so CAUTION, please.
Some of fish have made an initial move toward spawning with longer days and the last few weeks of warmer nights, until recently. But the 10-day forecast does not look conducive to shallower movement much or at all. It looks like when it happens it’s going to happen fast, as has been the case in recent years, so get ready – it will happen overnight and be over.
Crappie will eat if you get bait in front of them in 18-40 feet of water in and around brushpiles, or pole timber, or just floating around guts of deep pockets. Use jigs and minnows. No reports on bream. Bass catching is good with crankbaits, traps, spinnerbaits, jigs, hair jigs, jerkbaits and C-rigs from super shallow out to 60 feet. The lake walleye are not doing much, while the river walleye are spread out all over; try crankbaits and grubs or a jighead tipped with minnow. No report on catfish, but the blue’s good bite is fast approaching shallow. Hybrid and white bass are eating in river bends, creek bends, deep guts, off the side of humps, points, etc. on spoons, grubs, swimbaits, inline spinners, Largo Specials and live bait in 30-80 feet.
(updated 2-11-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is at normal level and clear, with surface water temperature in the mid-40s. Bass are biting pretty good on red crankbaits, Wiggle Wart shallow baits, and jerkbaits in 5-10 feet of water. They’re also biting on Alabama rigs with white or natural color swimbait in 15-20 feet of water. And don’t forget to try a drop-shot in 15 feet of water with any type of fluke.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 2-11-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says it’s clear water onHarris Brake Lake with water at normal level now. Bream fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are biting well, with best results at night time. The crappie are close to the shoreline and following both the big and little shad. Give them a look at a minnow or jig. Black bass are good. Try crankbaits, topwater lures and jigs. No reports on catfish.
(updated 2-11-2021) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the fish are down deep right now and not wanting to bite. The lake is fairly clear, he adds, and is high by about 1 foot.
(updated 1-28-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said crappie are elusive, set up on the southwest end and drop-shot with small jigs. Cats are there, just have to find them. Many anglers catch them hunting crappie. Bass are starting to show themselves along the grass.
(updated 1-28-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature has been in the mid- to low 40s (about 43-44 on Thursday). The largemouth bass bite is fair. Some can be found just outside the grass line and in 8-12 feet of water biting a variety of lures. Try using rattle-type crankbaits, jigs or jerkbaits. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports have come in of them being found at 15-20 feet depth off drops and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass fishing is slow. Some reports of anglers catching them at 25-30 feet depth. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Reports of them moving out of deeper water and being found in 30-35 feet in the channel. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Try using worms and beetle spins. Catfishing is slow. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 2-11-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) say the crappie bite continues to be good, with crappie at 8 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. With them staying deep, use a crankbait or jigs. No reports on catfish or bream. River clarity is clear and the level and current are normal.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 28,820 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 33,753 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 38,638 cfs.
(updated 2-11-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the backwaters are clearing up, while the main water is muddy. Water temperature is in the mid-40s and the level isa little high. Anglers are catching a few crappie below the Murray dam and by Burns Park on white/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse and orange/chartreuse crappie jigs in 10-15 feet of water. Bass are being found closer to the backwaters using red crankbaits, black/blue Chatterbait and on jigs.
(updated 2-4-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are fair below the Terry Lock and Dam, below the Little Rock pool, in 10-12 feet of water. Try black/chartreuse Super Jigs. White bass are reported fair in both pools, with white Rooster Tails working best. Catfish are being caught in fair numbers below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam. They will bite skipjack.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 2-11-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Crappie fishing is good. Use minnows or jigs. No other catches were reported.
(update 2-18-2021) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed for the season and will reopen later this month.
(updated 2-18-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said this February will go down in weather history as a really cold one and we're still in the midst of the deep freeze. Bull Shoals Dam has been satisfying a huge demand for power, as have all the dams in the White River watershed. While we're seeing a lot of water in our trout fisheries, lots of homes are being kept warm with the power supplied by our hydroelectric system working at its best. Trout love the extra water, so it's a win-win. Before the snow arrived this week, but while the air was still pretty frigid, we saw some ardent trout anglers out catching their share of beauties. Most anglers were casting sculpins and river minnows aiming for a brown because this is one of the best times to target them. Mornings proved most successful because the frequent changes in water level during the day – sudden rises or abrupt drops – caused a little trout anxiety. Rainbows were reeled in by both drift fishers and bank fishers with the tried-and-true shrimp/egg pattern combo. Hint: Salt your shrimp for a firmer, longer lasting bait (and less frustration with the inevitable loss). Weather predictions are much more favorable for the next couple of weeks, so don't put off your fishing trip too long. Come celebrate spring in The Natural State.
(updated 2-18-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said earlier this week that before the second round of snow through the state, that they had about 8 inches of snow in Cotter, brutally cold temperatures (“It is 3 below zero as I write this,” he said) and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.1 feet to rest at 1 foot below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 37 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.9 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below seasonal power pool and 16.6 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.7 foot to rest at 0.8 foot below seasonal power pool and 10.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 0.8 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had little if any wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the severe weather the region is experiencing, expect high levels of generation to supply extreme power demand.
On the moderate flows, the White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. 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 an egg pattern with a pink San Juan worm).
John also said, “Yesterday, when I told my wife, Lori, that I was going to write today’s column about getting my coronavirus vaccination, she did not understand what getting my vaccination had to do with fly-fishing. I think that getting a coronavirus vaccination is a fundamental part of my career as a guide. I am out there every day guiding people that I have never met.
“Though I scrupulously follow the proper protocol of washing my hands, maintaining social distance and wearing a mask, I am still in contact with people I do not know. If it is not safe to be around grandma at Christmas dinner, is it safe to be around a stranger? I think that by having myself inoculated, I and my clients would be safer. Therefore I went in search of the vaccine.
“I get my regular health care from the Veterans Administration. I sat around waiting for them to contact me for an appointment. When I had not heard from them, I went on their website and learned that the current cut-off for vaccination was 75 years old. Since I am 74 that means that I would have to wait for the next group.
“I checked around and found out that the cut-off for Arkansas was 70 years of age making me eligible for local vaccination. I heard about a vaccination clinic at Arkansas State University, but by the time I went online to register I was too late and missed the clinic.
“I started looking around for another opportunity. A friend is a medical instructor at North Arkansas University in Harrison. She told me about an upcoming vaccination clinic and helped me get registered.
I arrived at the clinic at 11 a.m. for my appointment. It took a couple of minutes to do the paperwork. There were lots of helpful volunteers that made everything go quickly. There were no bottlenecks. I then went into the actual clinic for my shot. The nurse giving me my shot had white hair. I was pleased. Through talking with her I learned that she had been a nurse for 50 years. She definitely knew what she was doing. I literally didn’t feel a thing.
“I went from there to another room where we had to sit for 15 minutes to ensure that we didn’t have an adverse reaction. For me this was the hardest part. I felt fine and wanted to go to lunch. I walked to my car about 11:15 a.m. with no problem.
“I left Harrison and drove back to my home in Cotter. I spent the rest of the day spreading mulch. The next day I also spread mulch. I never had any adverse reaction to the shot.
“I was very impressed with the great job they did at NorthArk. It was easy and painless. I recommend that everyone get their vaccination so we can all get back to normal.”
(updated 2-11-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that there is high generation in the mornings, tapering off in the afternoon. Wade fishing is not available. The catch-and-release area below the dam is now open. White jigs are good on cloudier days. Drift-fishing is best with minnows or shrimp. Anglers are catching a few browns “here and there.” Shrimp, PowerBait and pink worms are working very well with rainbows. Fly-anglers are throwing streamers in a white pattern for best success. River clarity is clear and the river is high when eight generations are going at the dam. Overall trout bite is good.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 657.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-18-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report this week. Bull Shoals is clear with a surface temperature of 47 degrees. The lake is adjust below normal conservation level with heavy generation at the dam for power needs in the region.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 552.42 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 2-18-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report. Click on the resort website link in the preceding sentence for more information.
(updated 2-18-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report. Look for new reports in March.
(updated 2-18-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 0.8 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had little if any wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the severe weather the region is experiencing, expect high levels of generation to supply extreme power demand.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a pheasant tail size 14 with a root beer midge dropper. “My wife, Lori, did well recently with an olive Woolly Bugger. The fishing is better in the morning.”
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is less pressure with the colder weather. 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 Norfork 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 2-18-2021) 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 1,119.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 2-18-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “As you know we are in a historic cold blast. The ponds and part of Beaver Lake are icing over. The Arkansas River is frozen over in places. Now, for you all that have not been here long, all you have to do is wait this out and things will snap back. It is supposed to be near 60 degrees come next Tuesday. Talk about a flip-flop. Not sure what this will do except a major shad kill, I assume. That can really turn on the fish.
“There have been some die-hards catching some fish. We are supposed to get another 5 inches of snow by the time you read this. Fishing reports are nonexistent, which I can understand; 10 below is cold here. Be safe, take care. Be safe out there. Spring is close, believe it or not. Good time to get all your gear ready. I like to tie flies. Re: spool reels and dream of warm spring days. I think it’s going to be a good one this year.”
(updated 2-18-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said most things around Beaver Lake are frozen over. They do not think it will be thawed even by this weekend, and it’s safe to go out on the water.
Before the winter storms hit, they reported stripers were good on brood minnows at the deep end of the lake. Walleye were biting well below the dam. Crappie were excellent and being found in 10-15 feet depth on minnows or jigs, especially around the brushpiles. Black bass were fair, with crankbaits and jigs working best.
(updated 2-18-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had no new reports because of the weather. Visit his Facebook page at Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service for more information.
(updated 2-18-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is temporarily closed.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 2-11-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said that the lake is has cleared up and is at normal level. Crappie are good using minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 2-11-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said anglers should match jig colors to water conditions for best results at Lake Charles. If the water is slightly stained, she recommends trying jigs in the colors Refrigerator White, Pepper Shad and Glimmer Blue. In dingy, muddy water, you should go with Tuxedo Black/chartreuse, Electric Chicken and Cajun Cricket. She notes that the best days to fish based on the moon cycle runs Feb. 8-14. On Monday, the surface temperature in the morning was 46 degrees. The water is low, but now with waterfowl season completed and Lake Charles’ water not needed for Shirey Bay/Rainey Brake flooding, look for water to pick up. Clarity is murky. There were not reported catches this past week.
(updated 2-18-2021) 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 2-18-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) remains closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.” However, they are still accepting RV and cabin reservations.
(updated 2-11-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are flowing at 360 cfs, which is about average flow. Water clarity the last few weeks has had a heavy green stain to it. It's normal for the Spring to have a heavy tint to it. Makes for less spooky fish.
On the fly lately, eggs and Woolly Buggers work great on days the bite is on. On the slow days, nymphing has been hot. About a size 14 hare's ear or pheasant tail will do the trick. An extra nymph as dropper can help. During this time of year, slowing the presentation down can work great. A big indicator with a White Lightning/big white fly on jig hook, fished about 3-4 feet below indicator, works great when fishing those deeper green pools.
For spin-fishing, hot pink Trout Magnets produce day in day out. Also, trout cranks and crankbaits can work well. This is the time of year to catch walleye and brown trout because of the terrible weather conditions. The nastier the weather, the better for catching those fish. Still catching a few big rainbows. Gotta be a day the bite is on and fish the deeper pools.
“It has been dangerously cold out. If you fall and get wet, find a heat source quickly. The trout love the cold! Be safe! Tight lines and good luck!”
Check out Mark’s blog on his website for the latest fishing conditions.
(updated 2-18-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. 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 9.85 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 15.61, almost 10 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is still high at 26.33 feet, just above the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 2-18-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 2-18-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 2-18-2021) Jeff Shell, superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, had no new reports.
(updated 2-18-2021) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 2-18-2021) 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 260.61 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 2-18-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Thursday that Millwood Lake is frozen over -- not completely, but partially. Ice has formed around the lake perimeter from shoreline to approximately 200-500 feet out from the shoreline. North and east shore are most impacted. Boat ramps are totally frozen/iced/snowed in at least 15-20 inches deep. "Obviously, we have not been on the water this week at all." The lake is about 16 inches above normal conservation pool with discharge around 4,000 cfs. "No report, that is all. Hoping for better weather next week," he said.
In the meantime, here is how things were with various species just before the winter came in with full force, from Mike's report last week:
Millwood State Park has been open for campers. See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park.
* Largemouth bass: Bass have been slow with the current conditions and cold fronts.High bluebird days with bright skies have been best on 5-9 foot deep flats near vertical structure nearby.Over the past several weeks, Bass have been suspending near these flats with stumps, on vertical drops into 16-20 feet structure.When the feed bag light bulb turns on, last week it was decent action for a couple hours on squarebills, BLL MR-6 Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Craw, or Rayburn Red Craw. Custom chatterbaits in Fire Craw, Texas Craw, or firetiger will draw a few reaction bites. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover, and heavy thumping 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps with a very slow and deep retrieve picked up a few 2-4 pound Largemouths last week.Most Bass we are finding continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies into the 6-10 foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 9-15 feet depth ranges.The best 3-4 hours is during the heat of the day, best on bright, sunny, clear days when water temps will rise a few degrees after lunch.Little John cranks, have been getting slow responses over the past week.Anywhere a creek channel runs into the deeper creek bends or vertical structure and drops into the oxbows, where stumps and creek mouths drop, have held some decent sized bass over the past few weeks.The best time of the day is during warmest period of the day from 12pm-3pm, albeit slow and methodical.
Swim jigs with a Bang Die Dapper, and vertical jigging Cordell or Kastmaster spoons, got a few reaction bites last week, vertical suspended Bass from 10-15 feet on ledges or deep creek, outside bends, with stumps present.
* White bass: Large schools of Whites were located on the main lake over the past few days, and are holding in deep holes along Little River and Saline River intersections, in open water near standing timber, from 20-35 feet of depth. Vertical jigging spoons caught a few hammer White Bass last weekend, along Little River and Saline River cutoff boat lane, between 1-3 mile marker on Little River.Chrome/Blue, Chrome/Chartreuse, and Leadhead spoons, hammered Cordell Slabs with bucktails got the best response from the Guys we talked to.Several Whites in the 3lb class were hard-charging the vertical jigging spoons near any remaining standing timber/stumps out in front of the dam 1-3 miles from the dam where Little and Saline Rivers junction.We have yet to locate, with any consistency, any large schools of Whites running in Little or Saline Rivers as of this point for their annual spawning runs.Once the water temps climb out of the 40º range overnight and into the mid 50º range all day and overnight hours, we are expecting the White Bass Run to fire up in short order.
* Crappie: Have been slow and scattered with current weather and lake conditions. Nothing consistent to report.
* Catfish: Channel cats and blues in Little River have been fair on trotlines and in the oxbows on limblines using Punch Bait and chicken livers/hearts.
(updated 2-18-2021) 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 539.88 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.63 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 2-18-2021) Local angler Charles Abernathy says, “This information was taken the day before our big snow hit. I wish I had a snow plow, I would clear a ramp off for us to continue fishing. Water was around 42-43 up around Shouse Ford and still had some good color to it (dirty water is the perfect condition for sniping single crappie out in open water). The clearer water down in the main lake was colder than that. Point Cedar creek channel runs up through the Shouse Ford area toward the boat ramp. There is a good amount of schooled fish (crappie/hybrids) along this channel. The bigger fish were singled out in open water. These singles were the ones I was targeting. Targeting these singles allowed for bigger fish and also helped ensure I was staying out of the hybrids (I don’t have anything against hybrids, I just like to fish for crappie).
“There is some structure along this channel that can be targeted, but for the most part the open water opportunities produced more gain. Use your map to see where this channel goes. It’s a very easy task if your electronics mapping has this channel marked. Stay on top of it in your boat and use your side scan to take inventory along the way. You’ll find them. I had a good amount of fish in just a couple hours targeting singles. I was using an old faithful for muddy water (black/chartreuse Slab Slanger paired with orange head), although I don’t think it would have mattered. My opinion is size/profile seems to be more important. That section of water through there, once you get inside, is probably 35 feet or less. Fish were using the entire column of water. I’m not a spider-rigger, but it seemed like a good location to do some of that.”
Hint: I have noticed several deep water locations mid-lake have been vacated. Now, I could say they started heading up a creek pre-staging, but I couldn’t tell you that for sure. It is early and it’s still dang cold, but the days are starting to get longer and that plays a part, too. The move could have been due to the food moving. Who knows for sure? Crappie have been known to move in the winter, and nine times out of 10 it’s because the food shifted. But, regardless … the following is likely true: Most everyone’s favorite time to fish will be here before you know it. You can learn so much fishing in the winter. It’s common knowledge that crappie will use these channels to travel regardless of the reason. Pick any major creek channel on this lake and follow it in looking at side scan. As with everything, some are better than others, but you will find crappie. The knowledge that you obtain in the winter will make you a very successful crappie fisherman in the spring. It will change you from a spot fisher to a pattern fisher. Remember … someone can always beat you to your spot, and spots can dry up. Learn how to pattern these crappie and your success rate will be more consistent.
“There are a lot of successful fishermen on this lake and there is certainly more than one way to skin a cat (or catch a crappie). I get quite a few emails and I enjoy reading/responding to every one of them. Thank you so much for reading these and thanks to everyone for letting me know. As always, feel free to reach out at email@example.com for more info. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice and try to remain humble. Those big crappie always have an ace or two up their sleeve at some point. Hope to see you on the water.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.55 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.59 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake remains low by about 1 foot and clarity is clear. Crappie are in deeper water and the reports on catches continues to be fair. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair, and with worms working best. Still no reports on bream or catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visi www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 2-18-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that 8-plus inches of snow and sleet that fell Sunday and Monday has forced Entergy to open flood gates and run heavy generation below Carpenter Dam to keep area lakes at winter drawdown levels. Roads leading to Carpenter Dam are treacherous and only authorized dam employees should attempt to access the Carpenter Dam tailrace. Steep grades are near impossible to navigate and present a clear and present danger to anyone wanting to visit the Carpenter Dam park area. Frigid temperatures are forecasted through this Friday and another winter storm was predicted to bring an additional 4-8 inches of snow beginning mid-day Wednesday. In light of this icy weather pattern, no fishing has taken place near the dam so far this week. Temperatures are predicted to rise into the 40s this weekend, which will melt the ice pack to some degree, but will cause area lakes to rise and keep the generation patterns very high and make fishing and boating very dangerous. Extreme caution should be used during the next week until the snow disappears and stable lake levels are achieved.
(updated 2-11-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 46 degrees and falling. Water clarity in most creeks are good. Most of the bays are in good shape; some are stained. River conditions are dingy to dirty. Largemouth bass have been slow, but on those low-pressure days your best chance to have a good day is to stick to A-rigs or jerkbaits in or around 8-10 feet of water. Where this cold front is moving in, they may even move down to 15 feet.
Crappie have been fair. They have been holding close to the bottom in multiple depths depending on where you're situated on the river. Natural colors have been working the best: monkey milk or mayfly. You can find the fish from 10 feet down to 30 feet. Stripers have been excellent, and early mornings the bite has been best from daylight to 9 a.m. Swimbaits have been working the best, though there is a topwater bite occasionally, and large Rat-L-Traps also are working. Catfish have been excellent throughout the river system and the creeks. Shad, skipjack and stink bait have been working the best. White bass have been good on small crankbaits and spoons.
(updated 2-4-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton water levels slowly on the rise with temps in the high 40s in most areas. Water clarity is fair to good with visibility of 5 feet in most areas. The water color is a bit foggy, so keep this in mind on your color choices. Bass (especially spotted) have been doing very well in 25-32 feet of water and typically in or over brushpiles. Using a vertical presentation like a Ned rig or a Damiki rig really gets them fired up! Drop it straight down, let it hit the bottom and lift it up 2 feet. Twitch-Twitch-Bite.
Green pumpkin or black and blue are the go-to colors on everything right now. The Drop-shot is still working pretty well, but being that the water temp is up a little bit consider throwing ShadRaps and suspending (deep-diving) jerkbaits in shad/chartreuse or Craw colors. Largemouth bass have been very lethargic due to cold night temps, but they can still be caught by dragging black and blue jigs through brush at 18-25 feet. The Slycked Back Hammer Slammer in a ¾-ounce football head is a good choice, but sometimes it’s as simple as a Texas-rigged soft plastic Craw. Both work! Crappie have been doing well in the very early mornings on minnows and jigs over the tops of push or suspended in the middle of nowhere in 20 feet of water, but the brush is usually at 40-30 feet. Rain or overcast calm days are also great times to get out there if you aren’t an early riser. Bream and sunfish have been very good in and over brush in 20 feet of water. You can clean up with a bobber and a worm! No catfish report. “Good luck, wear those life Jackets! Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.06 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 2-4-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is stained. Surface temperature is ranging 38-42 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are biting excellent. They’re still around 7-10 feet depth and are biting minnows and jigs around brushpiles. Black bass are good up in the river. Try spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Catfishing is good; chicken liver baited on trotlines is the best way to go.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 573.94 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) Black bass are fair. Try a small ⅜-ounce spoon or jig-n-rap out deep; 40-50 feet off main lake points. Bama rigs and pig-n-jigs will work for large mouths around brush in 25-40 feet. Trap time is right around the corner. No report on walleye. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on live bait and Bama rigs. No report on bream. Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 25-40 feet of water. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 42-46 degrees. Water clarity is stained. Lake level is 574.60 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.10 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge at 25.65 feet, a little below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 2-18-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) reported last weekend that fishing has been slow. Before the latest winter storms, the water temperatures were in the high 30s and falling. A few crappie are being caught and most of those are in 22-24 feet of water near the bottom. Most anglers were using minnows to catch crappie. The preferred method right now is spider-rigging very slow, and the wind as of the past couple of weeks has made fishing this method very tough. As we get through this cold spell and get some sun and warmer temperatures, look for fish to move up in the water column and be on a more active pattern.
Catfish should be in deeper water and schooled up. If you catch one, stay put as there should be several more in the same place. No report on bass or bream.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 2-18-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 2-18-2021) Fishing is closed at Cook’s Lake during waterfowl season while it serves as a waterfowl rest area through February. It will reopen to fishing in March if the water level permits. For more information please call the center at 870-241-3373.