March 18, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for March 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 (March 18).
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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 3-18-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said early afternoon on Wednesday that the gates were open, leading to higher-than-normal water. The clarity is murky. Bream reports have been fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good early in the day and later in the evening. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair, with catching in the shallow areas. Jigs will work best. Catfishing is good; bait trotlines or a line with stink bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 3-18-2021) Angler Dennis Charles had no recent report. For more from Dennis’s fishing excursions around the central Arkansas region, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/arkansasfishingadventures
Little Red River
(updated 3-18-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that the good news is the river is beginning to clear after Wednesday's rain. The bad news, he says, is the lake is back in the flood pool and since one generator is down for maintenance, the Corps of Engineers is running one unit plus about 300 cfs through the spillway gates, which amounts to 3,000 cfs round-the-clock. With additional rain forecast for next week, this schedule will at least be for the next few days. The river is running about 4 feet above the normal water level.
(updated 3-18-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the river is now back up this week, running a little high with slightly colored water. The trout have been “pretty good” on a Trout Magnet, jerkbaits, Rapala Shad Rap and Bouyant Spoons.
(updated 3-18-2021) 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.69 feet msl, which is 0.65 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. It was on a steady rise but now the generation has it going down pretty slowly. Most species are traveling – either they have run to the bank or up creeks or rivers; the rest have moved deeper with shad out to 60 feet. Not a lot in between. Crappie are chewing well in 8-25 feet on jigs, minnows and crankbaits. Some walleye are spawning, some are fixing to, and more are traveling. The lake walleye, some have gone to the shoreline but most are still deep. Try crankbaits, jerkbaits and live baits. Bream have started to show up shallow as well; crawlers or crickets are your best bet. Black bass are chewing well, too; lots of different baits are working all over lake and rivers, creeks – again, super shallow fish and deep fish. Hybrid and white bass are eating, spawning or traveling. Try inline spinners, grubs, Road Runners – lots of baits are working. No reports on catfish. “The water temp right now is different everywhere you go, mixing with cold water. I saw eight different temps yesterday.”
(updated 3-18-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is at normal level, and midway into the pockets it is a little bit colored, but the main lake is clear. Surface water temperature this was was ranging 50-56 degrees. The bass bite is “pretty good deep and shallow,” they say. Anglers going for the deep bass should use Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, ¾-ounce football jigs. Fishing shallow, try Chatterbait, spinnerbaits, jigs and crankbaits.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 3-18-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake clarity remains a little muddy and the water level is high. Anglers are catching a good amount of white bass, and they are decent-size. Crappie are good. Anglers are hooking big and decent crappie using minnows, jigs and catching them on trotlines. Large black bass also are being hauled in, they say. The bass bite is good; the suggested baits are cranks or topwater lures. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers or shad. Nothing reported on bream.
(updated 3-18-2021) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said Overcup has turned murky and it’s also high still by about 1 foot. However, the good news of last week for anglers keeps getting better, Randy says. Crappie continue to bite in big numbers; anglers should experience and excellent response to minnows, both crappie and bass minnows, as well as jigs. Overcup was host to a bass tournament last Saturday that Randy said “went real well.” Anglers are having good response with bass by using spinnerbaits and a variety of other lures. The bream and the catfish also are starting to bite, he noted. Try redworms or crickets for the bream.
(update 3-18-2020 ) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said the lake is mostly clear though there is a little cloudiness. Lake level is normal. Surface temperature has been in the low 60s. Crappie fishing continues to be good. The crappie seem close to the bottom, but in some places they are moving up around structures at about 6 feet deep, David said. Minnows and jigs are being used, but David suggests using spider-rigs down deep to catch a limit. Black bass are fair; they are moving around the shoreline. Use minnows. Catfishing is fair; they are also moving around teh shoreline and biting minnows. Bream haven’t reported.
David wanted anglers to note that Dad’s Bait Shop is now 24/7 self-serve.
(updated 3-11-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said he ventured to Brewer Lake on Sunday. Bass were hitting everything for some anglers, while other anglers got nothing.
(updated 3-18-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported Wednesday that water temperature is ranging 53-55 degrees. Largemouth bass are good. Some can be found in the grass on the banks and around the grass in 8-12 feet depth biting a variety of lures. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or swimbaits. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports of them being found in 10-15 feet of water outside the grass line. They can also be found near drop-offs and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass are great. Reports of the white bass being shallow by the west bridge. They’re making their annual run toward the creek. Try using swimbaits, Rat-L-Traps and minnows. Crappie are fair. Some reports of the crappie moving in. They can be found in the coves about 20 feet and some are headed toward the shoreline. Others are saying the females can be found deep. Try using minnows and jigs. No reports of bream or catfish this week. If you want to try for a bream, toss a cricket or redworm. Catfish will favor chicken liver, worms and crayfish now.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 3-18-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says clarity is clear and the water level and current are normal. Crappie are good and are found in 5-6 feet depth of water; use minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair; use spinnerbaits, soft-plastic worms and swimbaits for best success. Catfish and bream continue to bite poorly.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 130,370 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 132,162 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 138,730 cfs.
(updated 3-18-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said Wednesday that an advisory has been posted on the river with the flow at 114,000 cfs. They say to stay off the water.
(updated 3-18-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said that below both Terry Lock and Dam and Murray Lock and Dam, white bass are “really good” for anglers using pearl-colored and chartreuse-colored Lil Fishies. Crappie below both dams are good in about 6-10 feet depth; try pink minnows or red/chartreuse jigs. Catfish are fair on skipjack below both the Terry and Murray dams. Snagging is starting to pick up below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-18-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake remains slightly stained and the water level is back up to normal. Anglers were out looking for crappie, and they had good results using minnows and jigs. Nothing was reported on bream, bass or catfish.
(update 3-18-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake remains a little dingy and is high. Crappie continue to bite well on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are good and hitting the yo-yos, and anglers’ jigs and minnows. No reports on bream.
(updated 3-18-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Spring Break on the White River near Cotter means lots of young fishers. Seeing families enjoying the great outdoors and being able to spend time together without the everyday hustle and bustle is the best--fishing for trout in the beauty of The Natural State, catching and releasing more than they can keep, makes for a wonderful start to the season. Water levels have been a little inconsistent this past week; some fairly swift releases for several hours, then dialing back to minimum flow, testing an angler's skills. When the river is full of sculpins, you can be sure the browns will hit on them, and this has proven to be the case this week. Most of the browns that were brought near to or into the boats were caught with a sculpin, but don't leave the minnows at home. Some larger rainbows were hooked with them, a cutthroat or two and a few of the browns. Shiny gold spinners and spoons attracted the rainbows, as well as the always favorite shrimp/egg pattern/power bait combo; pink eggs or dough worked best. Springtime fishing is terrific, especially if you're prepared for the weather: Mornings can be very cool, and then there's the spring showers…. Bring a poncho and be awed by the gift of the rain to the earth.”
(updated 3-18-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported Wednesday about noon that there have been a lot of up-and-down days for brown trout this week. Rainbow trout fishing is good, but the fish are on the smaller side, they report. They hear that the nearby slough is going to be opened up soon to clean it out. The clarity currently is “a little stained” and the river level at midday Wednesday was high. They say that mostly it’s been three generators or less operating from the dam.
(updated 3-18-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said earlier this week that during the past week they have had three rain events that combined for 3½ inches in the Cotter area, along with warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 2 feet to rest at 2 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 34 feet below the top of the flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.8 feet to rest at 1.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 14.4 feet above the top of the flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.1 feet to rest at 0.4 foot above seasonal power pool and 9.2 feet below the top of the flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 3 feet to rest at 3.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.9 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water at night. Due to recent rain all of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool.
When there have been moderate flows in recent weeks, the White has waded well. The hot spot has been Wildcat 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 an egg pattern with a pink San Juan worm).
John also said, “The temperatures have warmed (it is to reach 70 degrees in Cotter today as I write this). I even saw a crocus in bloom in the yard today. Spring is finally here and with it are parents with their children on spring break. In the past week, I have had two trips to Dry Run Creek, with more on my schedule.
“My first trip was the most interesting. Brandon brought his 12-year-old son, Jack. Two years ago he had brought his other son, Hugh, when he was 12. This is a great way to introduce them to fly-fishing because they get dad’s and the guide’s full, uninterrupted attention while they fish.
“We met at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery at 7:30. I furnished waders for both of them. That allows me to access portions of the creek that cannot be effectively fished from the bank. It was 31 degrees when we started, so I also furnished them with wool fingerless gloves. We waded upstream to a nice spot and caught three trout. The largest was 16 inches. Jack handled them well. I thought he was ready for larger trout.
“We waded upstream to my favorite spot and began fishing. We landed a couple of nice rainbows. One was 19 inches long and the other was 21. I was changing flies from time to time. I tried sowbugs, San Juan worms and egg patterns. It was time to try the mop fly, my most productive pattern of late.
“The effect was instantaneous. On the first drift, we landed another 21-inch rainbow. This one was a bit fatter than the previous one. I was stoked, as was Jack. He cast again and hooked a nice brown trout. The fight went on for a while but the trout eventually surrendered to the net. This was the fish we had been looking for, a trophy brown. He was a 24-inch hook-jawed male with a wide girth. We took a few minutes to photograph him but he slipped back into the water before we got the picture we wanted, Dad and Jack together, in a selfie, with the big fish. We were able to get a good picture of Jack with the trout before he escaped.
“While Dad and Jack were celebrating the catch with fist bumps, I picked up the rod to hand it back to Jack, when I felt something on the line. I immediately handed the rod to Jack. It was a big brown. It did not fight as hard as the previous trout. As it slipped into the net, I thought it looked familiar. On closer study, I realized it was the same brown we had just released. We had caught the same fish twice in a row. I was amazed, as I had never done that before. We had another opportunity to get the photo we wanted. I took the camera and made sure the photo was good. We released the trout. It was pretty tired after two battles and stayed motionless at our feet. We stood there for a few minutes and watched it regain its strength. It finally swam off and we resumed fishing.
“It was another stellar day on Dry Run Creek. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 663.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 917.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock warns anglers to “look for debris.” He says fishing is now in the spring transition with fish showing signs of early pre-spawn. “There has been a wave of pale fish moving up,” he said. “Target south-facing creeks, secondary points and pockets with a little warmer water. Dirty water has some warmer temps.”
He says the shad are breaking up. “Look for loons and gulls. That bite is all about timing.” Del says he’s using a Megabass jerkbait. “The deep bite is going away. If it’s windy or cloudy, use Powerfish, spinnerbait or Chatterbait shallow. If it’s flat, use McMinnow.
“Shad are up high in the water column. Use jerkbait early on bluff ends and points with shad or close to them. Shaky head and a Ned rig as well. The backs of creeks have a little color change. There is a crankbait bite, he said, and Wiggle Wart, and Rock Crawler are working. If it’s windy fish the steeper banks with nasty rock in 4-10 feet. Match the colors with water clarity. Red and green Craw are working in the clear water. “Beaver flipping is becoming a player. Fish the conditions.”
The lake is murky and the surface temperature has had a wide variance, between 46-54 degrees. The water is now higher than normal. On the lower end of the lake it is 4 feet above normal pool and rising. “The pool lake shot up 5 feet in the past week,” Del notes.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 558.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report. Click on the resort website linked above for more information.
(updated 3-18-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report. Look for new reports later this month.
(updated 3-18-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 3 feet to rest at 3.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.9 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water at night. Due to recent rain all of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool.
The Norfork is fishing well. 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 pheasant tail size 14 with a root beer midge dropper. “My wife, Lori, did well with an olive Woolly Bugger. The fishing is better in the morning.”
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is increased pressure with warmer weather. Fish early or late to avoid the crowds (the creek is open to fishing from sunrise to sundown). 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 3-18-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. With the cool temperatures the bite is still slow. 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 1,121.50 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has come up about 2 feet in the last week. The lake sits at 1,121.45 and is rising. Fishing was really on the uptick until this latest rise on the river arms. The White and War Eagle arms are muddy and have debris from Point 12 up. When it clears, fishing should be on fire. Walleye are pushing up, and so are the whites. Crappie are staging up shallow, and so are the bass. Water temps are in the 50s. Everything is primed and ready to go. Stripers are scattered, and if you can find them they will bite early and late on brooders and shad. Look from Point 12 to Prairie Creek. Catfish should be great if you're looking for them. “Stay safe and keep an eye out for floating debris up the river arms and mid-lake.”
(updated 3-18-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that white bass are starting to make their run, biting on spinners, grubs and minnows. Walleye have been fair this week on crankbaits, grubs and jerkbaits. Crappie are good; they’ve moved higher to about 3-6 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs and look around the brushpiles or any wood. Black bass are fair; use crankbait, while some soft plastics and jerkbaits also will work. No reports on crappie or bream. The water is slightly stained in the rivers, while the surface temperature is in the low 50s. Water level is high.
(updated 3-18-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “With the rain we are getting, this should bring the water levels up a bit, hopefully the temperature as well. The trout bite has been great over the past few days. Most are being caught with various PowerBaits, along with Pautzke Firegel, coated on ¼-ounce spoons. Fish with light terminal tackle in the deeper holes for a better bite. As the water temperature starts to rise, we should be seeing an increase in other species. This week's hot spot has been between Parker Bottoms and Spider Creek. Reports of white bass being caught around Beaver town. Fish an A-rig with white grubs, that should bring a few into the boat. Try looking for the schools on your graphs.
“Hope you all can get out and catch some fish. Remember to follow my Fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Guide Service) for daily and weekly updates.
War Eagle/White River
(updated 3-18-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC says white bass fishing will really be great when water clears up from the War Eagle Mills area down to the confluence of White River by Nob Hill and then up to the Twin Bridges of White River. Bass boats and motored flat-bottom boats can usually motor up to Mills Dam, so kayaks and canoes will be better with bright colors and close to the bank. All Beaver Lake fish species will be held up by Mills Dam back down to Beaver Lake – awesome fishing!
Smallmouth bass fishing is great from Huntsville War Eagle accesses downriver to the War Eagle AGFC access, to Smallmouth Rapids north of Hindsville to the War Eagle Mill area – 38 miles of options for kayak and canoe floating with 24 miles of great smallmouth bass fishing!
Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC on Facebook for water conditions, and don’t forget the valet shuttle service offered to make floating easy and give you more time for fishing and have your vehicle at landings!
(updated 3-18-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water h as turned murky this week. The level has dropped to low. Crappie reports continue to improve, however, with good catches this week on minnows and jigs. Black bass were biting well on crankbaits and minnows. Catfishing is fair; try worms. No reports yet on bream.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 3-11-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday that crappie fishing is excellent! Crappie are in 5-10 feet depth of water. Minnows, jigs and crankbaits all will work. Black bass are good, and anglers are finding them at 5 feet depth. Use spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Bream and catfish reports have been poor. Water clarity is clear and at a normal level.
(updated 3-18-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the lake saw a lot of anglers, both men and women, this past weekend, but Shelly did not get any reports of any catches. Surface water temperature Monday was 53 degrees and the lake level is low, but Lake Charles is refilling after the annual winter drawdown. The AGFC has also added several new structures for fish habitat to the lake. Many were still sticking up out of the low water but should be covered soon as water rises.
(updated 3-4-2021) Seth Boone, the superintendent at the Lake Poinsett State Park visitor center (870-578-2064), says Lake Poinsett is filling up right now, though still no fish in it. This last rain really caused it to start taking form. It’s probably around 16 feet from being completely full.
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, following the completion of a renovation, 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 3-18-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has reopened and is accepting RV and cabin reservations. Anglers were back out on the water, and they report that crappie were fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair with a jerkbait. No reports on bream or catfish. The water level is normal, while the clarity is “pretty murky,” as of Wednesday morning.
(updated 3-18-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) had no new reports.
(updated 3-18-2021) 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. Canoe season is coming and it will get busy. 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 10.90 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, was continues to rise to 21.09, about 5 feet below flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta isvery high at 30.29 feet, more than 4 feet above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 3-11-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water has dingied up in the past week but is at a normal level. They heard no reports of angler success.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 3-11-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures are low 50s on the main channel, mid-50s in backwaters, and Lake Langhofer is upper 50s in shallow protected backwaters. Water clarity is only inches in most places, with protected backwaters up to around 6-8 inches of visibility. Black bass are biting fairly well on red- and shad-colored lipless and shallow-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and bladed jigs around rock and woody cover. Look for warmer, cleaner water with woody cover and you should be around fish. Smaller males are already feeding in spawning areas. Larger females don't appear to be in spawning areas yet, but they are not far away. We should see rapid water warming this week and improvement in size and numbers heading to staging and spawning areas. If weather patterns hold, we should see spawning begin in the next couple weeks.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 3-18-2021) Jeff Shell, superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, had no new reports.
(updated 3-18-2021) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 3-18-2021) 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 260.07 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake is drastically improved. It’s about 6 inches above normal conservation pool; oxbows' water clarity is excellent, Little River is normal stain. Gate discharge at the dam around 7,800 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates, around 234 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 US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps jumped this week, ranging in 58-67 degrees depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken or floating timber in Little River. Lots of Little River buoy markers are missing along the main lake channel. Use extreme caution in navigation on main lake. There are only 2-3 markers from Yarborough Point to Big Bayou Boat Run 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 has NOW REOPENED for the season at Millwood State Park. The Millwood State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for additional information.
As for the fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass: Bass are in a full-blown spawning mode this week on Millwood. Numerous bass beds are being seen with pre-spawn females staging and spawning. Largemouth bass are very good and improved a little more this week with warmer daytime highs and warm southern winds. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Rayburn Red Craw, 'Lectric Red and Red Chrome are randomly catching fish. Chatterbaits in Texas Craw, Black & Blue or Hot Mouse will draw a few reaction bites. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse, Millwood Mayhem Bream and Spot Remover caught a few more decent bass this week, and Chatterbaits picked up some healthy 6- to 7-pound largemouths this week. “Most bass we are finding continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies in the 3- to 6-foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 7-10 feet depth ranges,” Mike said. “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. 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.”
Heavy thumper tail swimbaits on a Jackhammer Chatterbait in Firecraw or Blue Glimmer are working, and Zoom Trick Worms in black/blue, Blue Ice and Purple Smoke are catching bass, while Beaver Bugs, Brush Hogs and lizards continue taking a few good female bass this week on flooded cypress trees, stumps and along vegetation lines in ditches, creeks and flats from 3-8 feet deep. “Those fish were exploring new bedmaking locations near flooded timber and cypress trees,” he said. “We are observing fresh beds with females moving shallow this week, and it's about to be on FIRE.” Best colors of Bugs and Beavers for the last couple of weeks have been Black Neon, Grasshopper, Blackberry and Chartreuse Pumpkin. Custom-poured Senkos are working on stumps and cypress trees in 3-8 feet depth.
* White bass: They are staging between Cemetery Slough and U.S. Highway 71 along Little River this week. Numerous white bass anglers are catching decent fish in the 3-pound class between Highway 71 and Cemetery along the river on Rocket Shads, Little Georges, Chuck'n Spins, Rooster Tails, spoons and crankbaits. The white bass have begun their annual spawning run up Little River over the past week and are staging and moving up Little River to headwaters for the spawn.
* Crappie: Have been much improved this week over last week, on minnows and jigs in oxbows of Mud and McGuire oxbow lakes up Little River. Crappie are holding in the 8-9 feet depth zones this week and have not yet pulled up to spawn, but are staging to move shallow over the next week or so.
* Cats: They continue to bite consistently in Little River on trotlines, yo-yos and limblines in the oxbows using King's Punch Bait, chicken livers, gizzards and hot dogs.
(updated 3-18-2021) 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 540.58 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.97 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 3-18-2021) Local angler Charles Abernathy says the water is warming up quickly and this is the moment that most everyone has been waiting for. Best places to start searching for spawning crappie are small protected pockets along the main river channel and main creek channels. Take one of those 2-inch grubs/Baby Shads and start chunking shallow pulling it back very slow. Fishing shallow is also a good time to use a float. This really allows you to slow your bait down and will help you be more successful. Cover some ground. When you pick one up, slow down and fish the area thoroughly. Also keep an eye on that staging brush that is shallow in the middle of those pockets (less than 10 feet). Some fish will use this brush coming in and out. Also, you have to remember all fish don’t spawn at the same time and they all don’t do it in the same place. Some fish will even spawn in the tops of shallow timbers that are unseen under the surface. You can fish brush this time of year and not even hit the bank and still be successful (I call it fishing conservatively. You’re not as likely to get skunked, but on the other hand you may not fill your lunch box, either). Just because your neighbor says they caught some up shallow and they tell you “man, they are shallow”, that doesn’t mean all of them are shallow. You still need to monitor that brush in 5-10 feet. If you have forward-looking sonar, you need to watch the open water in those spots, too.
Fishing for spawning crappie can sometimes be feast or famine depending on if you find where they are socializing. You can use that forward-looking sonar to find them in 2 feet of water. It’s harder to see but it can be done with the right settings. If you go back and review some locations in my winter reports and find the shallows in those areas you will find spawning crappie. Lennox, Cox Creek, Point Cedar, Shouse Ford and Brushy are all good starting spots. Pick one of these areas and spend the entire day fishing the area thoroughly and you will find spawning 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.I have a YouTube channel where I share some fishing content. Look me up. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice. With spring break here, there will be a little more traffic on the water, which may require a little more patience than normal.”
(updated 3-4-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said, “I’ve been scouting around for crappie. The water is slowly warming up. They are still scattered and suspended in the deeper channels, so a slow trolling technique works best. As the water warms, they'll stack up on the brushpiles better for a hovering, vertical presentation.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.62 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.36 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 3-18-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the lake remains muddy and is about a foot high. He was able to get out and find a fair to good bite. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and shiners. Black bass also are good using spinnerbaits and jigs. Bream are even hitting fair now; try worms or crickets. Nothing on catfish.
(updated 3-4-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Wednesday the water is clear but the level is high and there has been on fishing reports over the last few days.
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 3-18-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 49 degrees with stained conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is currently running a 10-hour generation schedule beginning at noon. The weekly generation schedule is posted on the Entergy website each Wednesday afternoon and anyone planning on using the Carpenter Dam tailrace is advised to check out the report. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are now refilled to normal summertime pools and will remain at these levels until mid-November. Thousands of rainbow trout are present and feeding on injured threadfin shad drawn through the dam from Lake Hamilton. Because of the huge influx of prey items, these fish are harder to catch and patience must be used for success. Trout are extremely difficult to catch in muddy water and the refilling process shut down the bite for weeks. Conditions should return to normal in the next week or 10 days. Fly-fishermen can still wade to areas that hold numbers of trout and should use a fly that imitates something other than a shad. Worm imitations such as the San Juan worm in red or hot pink can produce good catches of rainbow trout in current or slackwater conditions. Woolly Buggers in green or black are a time-honored fly that will produce results casted with a strike indicator. Egg pattern flies in orange or white have drawn strikes from finicky trout that are stuffed from threadfin shad feeding. Bank anglers have a chance at catching limits of fish by using PowerBaits and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Much larger trout are scheduled to be released this month below area dams as the springtime approaches.
The walleye spawn is in full swing and has not been adversely affected by water levels or clarity. Anglers can catch these fish by trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current effectively now because lake levels are back to normal. Tipping jigheads with live minnows over and around sandbars and rock structure is another proven technique to catch spawning walleye. White bass have migrated into the tailrace and are being caught on small jigs and minnows fished under a bobber. Anglers need to concentrate their efforts below the bridge in the main channel. March marks the beginning of the crappie spawn in the Carpenter Dam tailrace and these fish will begin showing up in the next week.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and wear a mask and observe social distancing when encountering others.
(updated 3-11-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) reported the water temperature is 51 degrees. The river is in good shape for now, he said. Creeks are fair to dirty. Bass fishing has picked up and they are starting to chase Chatterbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, crankbaits and plastics. Crappie have improved a lot,with some quite shallow. Jigs and minnows are working deep and shallow; bright colors have been working well. White bass and stripers are migrating to the creeks. Swimbaits, Rat-L-Trap topwater baits all working well. Catfishing has been fair; use cut bait, shad and skipjack. Bream have been good with worms and crickets.
(updated 3-18-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels are back to normal pool and temperatures in the mid- to high 50s. Water clarity is about 1 foot at the bottom of the lake with the warmer water, and cooler at the top end with excellent visibility of 6 feet or more. Some really heavy bags have been weighed in lately following tournaments! Bass are very scattered right now trying to adjust to the lake water levels and pre-spawning activities. There is no set pattern to the fish right now and spotted bass are mixed in with the largemouths. Our recommendation is to pick your poison and stay with it until your arm falls off. It's classic “junk” fishing right now in most respects. Deep-diving crankbaits in shad or chartreuse have crushed many good bass over the last week. “Burning” these baits just as fast as you can reel gets reaction strikes! Others may choose a white Chatterbait or spinnerbait using the same technique. Jigs are always good in brushpiles in black and blue colors, and the white swim jig is also playing a factor.
Crappie have been good and hungry! You can find these fish absolutely piled up around bridges and in channel swings with brush on the bottom. A white or pink jig and live minnow are working wonderfully in depths of 25 feet.
Use caution when navigating the lake. Debris and trash are everywhere and especially in the main channel and back creek pockets. “Good Luck and Go Greeson! Gogreeson.com.”
(updated 3-4-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said, “I’ve been scouting around for crappie. The water is slowly warming up. They are still scattered and suspended in the deeper channels, so a slow trolling technique works best. As the water warms, they'll stack up on the brushpiles better for a hovering, vertical presentation.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.52 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 3-18-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake clarity has cleared. Surface temperature on Wednesday morning was ranging 58-60 degrees. Lake level was normal. Crappie continue to become more active and are getting closer to the surface, and results this week have been excellent. They have been 3-5 feet in depth and are biting minnows and jigs. Black bass are good, with spinnerbaits, Chatterbait and worms working best. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawlers. Bream have made an appearance with fair results this week. Anglers were most successful with crickets.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.25 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-19-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are very good. Trap time is here and floating worm bite is starting to pick up. Walleye are fair and being caught on shad raps and jerk baits over points on the river channels. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught on live bait and Bama rigs. Bream are fair and picking up on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair to good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 12-20 feet of water. Catfish are fair and being caught on limblines and trotlines with live or cut bait. Water temperature is ranging 50-56 degrees. Water clarity is stained. The lake level is 577.10 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 3-4-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that Lake Ouachita is a little high with a clear clarity, though there is slight stain in the creeks and up the river. As for black bass, there was enough bite for a team to win a tournament there last weekend with a stringer totaling 23 pounds. Anglers report catching fish on Chatterbait, Alabama rigs and Rat-L-Traps in 15 feet of water.
(updated 3-4-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said, “I’ve been scouting around the Shangri La resort area for crappie. The water is slowly warming up. They are still scattered and suspended in the deeper channels, so a slow trolling technique works best. As the water warms, they'll stack up on the brushpiles better for a hovering, vertical presentation.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 389.60 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge at 25.92 feet, slightly below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 3-18-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) says crappie have been good but the fish have scattered with the recent warm weather. As of Tuesday afternoon, the water temperature had risen to 61 degrees in several areas of the lake. Fish were scattered from 20 feet deep to as shallow as 4 feet. Jigs and minnows were both producing. With the expected weather conditions midweek, look for crappie to head back to deeper water.
Bream had started moving into shallow water and were biting. No reportss on bass or catfish.
(updated 3-18-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that Cooks Lake was set to reopen for youth and mobility impaired fishing Wednesday, March 3, but the parking lot is flooded and the White River at Clarendon is over flood stage. Check in with the Education Center to see when it reopens, when water has receded. In the meantime, Wil urges anglers to “go catch some fish” at another public pond or lake near you.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 3-11-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said that at Bear Creek Lake, anglers report success in catching largemouth bass between depths of 4-6 feet within specific coves. Anglers are reporting catching those largemouths with various types of artificial baits. A few blue catfish have also been reported by a few anglers. Anglers mentioned catching them off free-floating devices within 6-10 feet. They report using liver and homemade baits to catch the blues.
At Storm Creek Lake, a few anglers have reported catching blues as well. They're using free-floating devices within depths of 6-10 feet. Anglers report using homemade baits and slicks to catch the blues.