April 22, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 22, 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 11 a.m. the day of publication (April 22).
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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
Cam Patterson (top and left), chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and an avid outdoorsman, has an armful of brown trout that he caught on the Little Red River while being guided by Casey Hughes last week. This photo first appeared on Facebook via the Little Red River Foundation and was taken by Graham Patterson. Cam, Graham and Casey were fishing between Ramsey and the 305 Bridge on the Little Red. Cam was using a yellow streamer.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 4-22-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake’s clarity is now at its normal stain. Water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are just fair, as the cold snap has delayed the crappie spawn, they say. Fish them with minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair. Spinnerbaits and topwaters have been working best. Catfish are fair on trotlines and limblines.
(updated 4-8-2021) Angler Dennis Charles visited Beaverfork as well as several other lakes in the area with similar conditions (Lake Brewer, Lake Cargile and Harris Brake). He says “every finned critter is increasing the bite. Water temperature is around 60 degrees and crappie spawn in imminent Bass are hitting everything in the box in the shallows. Bream are slow. Crappie are still suspended, but some are being caught using plastics or jigs, and minnows. Reports from anglers said the best time is dawn and dusk.” Visit Dennis’ Facebook page for more information.
Little Red River
(updated 4-22-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with morning generation of two units beginning about 6 a.m. The period of generation has been changing daily, so one should check the next day’s generation before planning their fishing trip. This information is usually posted after 4 p.m. for the next day, and on Friday it is posted for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The lake is in the normal pool, so generation is for power demand only.
The bite is fair to good depending on staying ahead of the new generation or after the generation has ceased, going in behind it at the dam. Caddis pupa, emergers and midge pupa are good fly selections at this time. The caddis hatch is beginning to happen on the warmer days. The fish are keying on the pupa and emergers now.
(updated 4-22-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is normal and clear, with the Army Corps of Engineers generating at the dam about halfway through the day, which brings water level up to high. Rainbow trout are “pretty good” on Rapala Countdowns, Rooster Tails, Trout Magnet and marabou jigs. When the Corps is generating, brown trout are biting on jerkbait really well.
(updated 4-22-2021) 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 461.84 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 4-22-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.85 feet msl and falling just a little everyday. It is 0.19 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The catching is pretty good every day for most species, some super shallow and some still deep. The crappie fishing is still going good all over, from 6 inches out to 20 feet of water on minnows, jigs and crankbaits. Walleye are ganging up moving around eating; try crawlers, minnows or spoons in 1 foot out to 25 feet. Catfish are being caught on lines and jugs all over the lake and rivers using a variety of baits. More bream have showed up shallow; try beetle spins, inline spinners, small crankbaits, crawlers and crickets. Black bass are shallow for the most part or headed that way or headed back out deep eating everything in your tackle boxes; get out and get them while you have them hemmed up in shallow water. It’s a great time to learn from the fish. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating, laying eggs and moving. The shad spawn will be, and is, in full bloom, and you can catch great numbers of fish now back in the lake, while the fish in rivers also are eating well. Try spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and topwater baits from shallow out to 30 feet.
(updated 4-22-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is normal and clear. Bass are good. They’re shallow around buckbrush biting on Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and peanut butter and jelly or green pumpkin finesse jigs around the bushes on both the upper and lower ends of the lake. They’re also good in 12-16 feet of water on Carolina rigs with a Zoom Baby Brush Hog on it or smaller creature bait in any natural green pumpkin color or watermelon color. Anglers will also find a good bite from suspended bass on a single swimbait. As for crappie, some people are catching them in treetops in 10-15 feet of water, or up shallow around the bushes, on jigs in Tennessee Shad, Popsicle and Electric Chicken colors. Also, crappie catches were coming on a Crappie Magnet in natural color or salt and pepper color.
At left, Tom Grose found the smallmouth bass biting late in the day and/or under cloudy skies with the water temperature on Greers Ferry Lake falling below 60 degrees.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-22-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake has cleared. Water level is back to normal as of Wednesday midafternoon. Bream are good and are found shallow. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are still in deeper water but the bite remains good. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good and have moved up around the shoreline; fish with a green pumpkin or watermelon plastic worm for best results, as well as bass minnows. Catfishing is good. Bass minnows, goldfish and baby bream are working on the trotlines.
(updated 4-8-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 4-22-2021) New owner Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake is pretty clear as of Wednesday afternoon and the level remains low. Bream are fair but the bite has definitely started; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good in the early mornings, with the bite found close to the shoreline. Crappie are biting at trotlines. Bass are good, mainly in the Caney Creek area, on a variety of baits. Catfish are also good on trotlines baited with black salties.
(updated 4-22-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is about normal. Clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 58 degrees. Bass are doing well on plastic worms and spinnerbaits around the buckbrush. Bream are slow because of the cool nights. Catfish are doing well on perch and big minnows, trotlines and jugs. Crappie are slow but still catching some good ones in brushtops and spider-rigging. “I saw eight big ones yesterday morning,” he said.
“Come see us at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 for all your fishing needs.”
(update 4-15-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said Wednesday afternoon that clarity is clear and the level is normal. The bream bite is good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good (David tells us that “the dogwood is blooming so crappie are spawning”). Try the buckbrush around the shoreline, about 1-2 feet deep, or look for the underwater brushpiles and fish 5-6 feet deep. Black bass are good. Anglers are finding them at about 4-5 feet depth. Try a rattle-style bait. Catfish are good on the bottom. Use stink bait or live bait.
(updated 4-22-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said there have not been many reports on the white bass or crappie in the last few days. It's been slow out there due to the change in weather. Water temperature is ranging 62-64 degrees. The largemouth bass bite is good. Some can be found in the grass on the shoreline and around the grass in 8-12 feet biting a variety of lures. Try using jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Tuesday night's tournament saw the team of Dustin Crow and Matt France haul in five bass worth 12.76 pounds, while Frank Ramey and Doug Rich caught the Big Bass of 4.14 pounds and had 11.09 pounds total on the stringer. The Kentucky/spotted bass bite is fair. Some reports have them being found shallow or near drop-offs and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass are fair. Reports of the white bass being found mixed in with the crappie. Try using swimbaits, Rat-L-Traps and minnows. Crappie are fair with no reports in recent days. Crappier were spawning earlier in the week and they should still be shallow, but also around 8-10 feet depth. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are good. Some are reporting finding them in 12-16 feet, while others say 26-28 feet off the bottom. Use crickets or worms. Catfishing is still slow, with no reports coming in this week. But see if they'll take chicken liver, worms or crawfish.
On May 1, Lake Maumelle will play host to the first Bit's Big Bass Tournament. The two-person fishing tournament has a five-fish limit, and a qualifying bass must be at least 12 inches in length. First place will win $2,000 and the Big Bass will be worth $500. Second place among teams will win $1,250. All proceeds wil benefit childhood cancer research through the Innovative Theapeutics Department at Arkansas Children's Hospital. This tournament can also be used by high school anglers as an Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation official qualifying event for the AGFF's Commissioners' Cup.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 26,711 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 27,566 cfs.
(updated 4-8-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had closed most of his marina down for COVID-19 and had the launch ramp open. He has live baits, tackle, gas available and says that now the only things he’s not doing are the RV and boat dock.
For fishing in his area, Charlie says, “Our catfish are doing well on nightcrawlers. There is hardly any river flow right now, and they are on the backside of the jetties, about 15 feet from the tip of the jetty going out. They are doing fairly good.
“I had a guy come in who is a pole fisherman, and he hadn’t been in in over a year. Him and his son had some real nice 5-, 6-pound and a bunch of 3-pound catfish. That was on nightcrawlers.”
He also says that black bass appear to be sitting on top of the jetty. Anglers are using plastic baits and jigging or popping them -- “lift up, pull and drop, lift up, pull and drop,” Charlie says. A few bass were caught in about 5 feet of water on top of the jetty in the late evening, he said.
Drum are also being caught with catfish, he reports. “And the guy I was talking about who caught all the catfish, he caught a needle-nosed gar that was two-thirds the length of his boat and about scared the heck out of him. He’d never seen anything like that.”
Little Maumelle River
(updated 4-15-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says clarity is clear. Water level and current are normal. He’s still heard nothing on bream. Crappie, however, continue to bite well. Look for them in 3-4 feet of water and use minnows or jigs. Black bass are around the bank and in shallow water. For the good bite, try spinnerbaits, soft plastic worms, or swimbaits. Catfishing is good on yo-yos at night, baited with minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 27,517 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 23,688 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 21,623 cfs.
(updated 4-22-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said Wednesday afternoon that water is normal and muddy on the main river, while backwaters are more clear, with a surface temperature in the low to high 60s depending on the area of river fished. Bass are good on black/blue jigs, Texas rigs and creature baits fished around the jetties. The bite is good in the backwaters on spinnerbait (white and chartreuse/white are best) and Chatterbait (black and blue, green pumpkin and chartreuse/white). Crappie are good in the entrances to back waters and around the jetties in 7-8 feet depth on orange/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse and black/chartreuse crappie jigs. Catfishing is good below the dam on nightcrawlers and stink bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 4-22-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said there was not much to report. The cold front that came through earlier this week slowed most of the fishing activity. However, you can still find a bite where you locate fish shallow. Try slower techniques. Move out 4-6 feet deeper than where you were before this temperature drop.
(updated 4-15-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are excellent below the Terry Lock and Dam.
(updated 4-15-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) fished Pool 5 earlier this week, putting in at Terry Lock and Dam in Scott. He reports that the flow was greatly reduced and bass could be found in less than 3 feet of water out of the current. All fish were still pre-spawn and looking for a protected area to make their beds. Wil says his most productive pattern was a River Craw finesse jig fished parallel to rip-rap, about 5 feet from the shore. “I also caught several fish on small shad-colored crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits.”
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-22-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream are starting to pick up on crickets. Catfish are good on lines baited with goldfish or skipjack.
(update 4-22-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake is still a little dingy. Water level is normal. The bream bite is fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are good on yo-yos, jigs and minnows.
(updated 4-22-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is continuing to fall to power pool level, so we've seen Southwestern Power and the Army Corps of Engineers decreasing dam releases in recent days. North-central Arkansas has experienced some unseasonably cold weather nights over the last week or so, but the days are perfect April. The cool mornings and sunny days have created great trout fishing conditions. The brown trout bite has been steady, with sculpins and the occasional well-positioned shad doing well. Rainbows have been hitting sunrise and orange PowerBait, especially in combination with shrimp or crawdad tail -- an excellent way to reel in some nice-sized fish. Casting toward the bank, dangling a wrigglin' red wiggler worm, is the best way to take advantage of rising water releases but will require some effort to keep from snagging the rocks. The quality of rainbows often exceeds the quantity, but you'll see a good quantity put aside in the creel basket, too. Copper-colored spoons and spinners are the baits to cast this time of year if that's your style of fishing. “We hope to see you here in the Ozarks.”
In the photo left, Steve Slye (right) from Colorado caught a whopping 27-inch brown trout on the White River out of Cotter Trout Dock, fishing with guide Elvin Weaver.
(updated 4-22-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said fishing is picking up. Anglers are still catching a lot more browns than they are catching rainbows. River clarity is clear. River level is high with eight generators running round-the-clock. Overall trout bite is termed good.
(updated 4-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday that during the past week they had several rain events that combined for about 0.9 of an inch here in Cotter), warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.8 feet to rest at 5.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 30.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.3 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 8.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.9 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has not had wadable water in a couple of weeks. The lakes in the White River system are dropping rapidly.
On the heavy flows fishing has been spotty. 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 a San Juan worm and egg pattern; use long leaders and lots of lead).
John also said, “It is no secret that my favorite place to fish is Rim Shoals. It is catch-and-release water, has a great ramp, great walk in access, porta-johns and picnic tables. Now it is getting even better by the addition of Rim Shoals Trail. There is now a quality 1-mile trail that starts at the walk-in access and follows the river downstream.The trail first began almost 20 years ago when Gary Flippin of Rim Shoals Lodge hacked a trail on land belonging to Marshall Berg along the river below the walk-in access. Gary told me he was regularly rescuing waders caught in high water on the island at Rim Shoals. The trail provided a safe way to exit the water. Gary called the trail Menokas trail. I was an early user and walked it every time I waded at Rim Shoals.
“There has been a major project to expand and enhance the trail. The original trail was a bit rough. It is now really nice. The new trail was a joint effort between Trout Unlimited White River Chapter 698 and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, with additional funding from Barbara Graham through the Graham Foundation in memory of her husband, Frank. The trail is on land belonging to Marshall Berg and Hugh McClain, who have granted access for the trail.
Key players in the process have been Tim Barnley of the AGFC; Jim Dugan, Tom Emerick and T. L. Lauerman from Trout Unlimited White River Chapter 698; and Gary Flippin. Thank you to all concerned.
“My wife, Lori, and I took my sister, Ernestine, on the trail when she visited last year. We found the trail to be excellent. It is much longer and the surface is definitely user-friendly. There is a picnic area at the trail end. According to Gary, they have identified at least a dozen spots along the trail to access the river. Therefore this trail will allow unlimited access to a mile of river and will also allow safe exit from the shoal in rising water.
“There is to be a dedication of the trail on April 17 at 1 p.m. at Rim Shoals. The public is invited. I plan to attend.
“I am really happy to see this project come to completion. There are so many users. I have many friends who are hikers. This trail is close and very easy to access. It is a reasonably easy walk and it follows the river and features some incredible scenery. I saw a bald eagle snatch a good-sized rainbow from the surface of the river on a recent visit.
“Equally important is the ability to access more of the river. Due to the introduction of this trail, Rim Shoals will now have more and easier wade access than any other area in the state. It has always been my favorite spot, and now it just got better. I have a lot of new water to access and learn. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 663.96 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 4-22-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says fish are in all stages of the spawn. There has been a major wave up. In the mid-lake area, target points and swings close to spawning pockets. Hit the south-facing pockets. Gravel flats and dirty water have some warmer temps but are also the first to cool. The shad are schooling back up and look for shad balls in the creeks. Fishing in the shad, try a fluke shallow or swimbait, a 2.8 Damiki rig. A little topwater activity has started; try a popper or small walk-the-dog smaller profile. Powerfish windy cloudy days with the bright spinnerbait and Chatterbait in dirty shallow water. If it’s clear and a flat bluebird day, use green pumpkin shaky head and ol’ Ned rig tubes. The backs of creeks have a little color change. We always catch them on a jig in channel swings. Also try a green pumpkin Beaver flipping in shallow water and laydown bushes in the right area. Brush is becoming a player. Fish the conditions.
Visit Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing the lake. Surface temperature this week is ranging from the low to mid-60s. Water level is high by 5 feet. Clarity is clear.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 557.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is in the prime of the spring fishing season. Crappie and bass have both started their spawning process, which will continue for several weeks if not more. Cool fronts during this process do tend to slow things down. Walleye have completed their spawn and are starting to show up all over the lake. White bass should have spawned already, “but from what I’ve seen with the few I have cleaned they are just starting to get ready,” he says. “The cold February might have really messed with their cycle.
Striped bass and hybrid bass will spawn soon if the water temperature rises a little more. Overall this spring is acting very similar to prior years, which means a good bite for most species.
Crappie are being caught with three different methods. Cast a small jig right into the shoreline with a very light jighead. Let it fall slowly and twitch it out of the sunken brush until you feel a strike. Best areas are where there is dead wood sunken on the shoreline or where the shore has a lot of sunken buckbrush due the slight rise in the water level. You can also fish brushpiles that are 20-30 feet deep. The crappie have typically been on the tops of the brush or out along the sides of the brush. A second method is to vertical-jig a small spoon or a small jig with a very lightweight jighead. Let it fall slowly and typically a crappie will pick it up before it stops falling. A live minnow with a slip float is also a good method for brushpile fishing. The third method (the one Lou says he prefers at this time) is trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows size 7 and 9. “I slow-troll with my trolling motor at a speed of 1.2 to 1.4 mph. I try and stay in 18-40 feet of water. There are schools of crappie out in the deep water staging for the spawn and when your bait goes through the school it gets hammered. The best areas to fish are back in coves and creeks that have brushpile throughout the cove.
Bass fishing has also been very good. The bass are up in shallow water feeding on baitfish and small bluegills. “I have found them back in creeks and coves. A lot of the time they are all the way in the back in very shallow water. Try crank baits, soft plastic jerk baits and jigs worked slowly along the bottom. On windy days, spinnerbaits will work wonders. Topwater action has started, but isn’t consistent at this time due the cool water. When I have found this action, it has been in the backs of creeks that the wind has been blowing into. Typically, you will find a lot of baitfish in the same area.”
Striped bass and hybrid bass fishing is also picking up. “Tuesday morning, I found some topwater action for striped bass. The water was not boiling, but there were many fish individually busting the surface feeding on bait. I tried throwing a Zara Spook with no success and switched to a long 5-inch swimbait with a paddle tail and it was hammered. I did not let it sink very much, but only retrieved at a medium speed, letting it drop slowly as it came back to the boat. It is a blast when a big fish hammers the bait and just starts running in the opposite direction. All you can do is hang on until it decides it is tired of running. I have also found this species on main lake points early in the morning, as well as late in the day up in the sunken buckbrush, feeding on shad. They tend to push the bait up to the shoreline to make them easy pickings. Cast a swimbait or a fluke up into the brush with a steady retrieval to the boat and hang on.”
The lake level has been falling slowly for the past week or so, but now is stable due to power generation being reduced from two generators to just one. The current lake level is 557.72 feet msl, which is only 4 feet over normal pool levels. The surface lake temperature ranges from the upper 50s to low 60s depending on the time of day. The lake is clearing with just a slight stain. With the clearer water, make sure you use clear or vanishing fishing line and as light of a test line as you feel comfortable fishing with.
Lou adds, “If you are looking for frequent fishing information on Norfork Lake, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page. Daily posts of my fishing trip, as well as our guests. You will find some very helpful information. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 4-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.9 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool.The Norfork tailwater has not had wadable water in a couple of weeks. The lakes in the White River system are dropping rapidly.
The tailwater 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 San Juan worm and egg pattern combination.
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.
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 4-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are clearing. 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 1,121.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 4-22-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, Arkansas is being Arkansas. Frustrating weather at times for sure. Snow last Tuesday and record cold Wednesday morning. The lake a week ago was at 60 degrees or better in most parts of the river arms. It has dropped everyday in the last week . Down in the lower 50s in a lot of the lake.
“The spawn was starting to happen and now the crappie are pulling back out. Last week we caught them in 3-5 feet of water. Last Tuesday they moved to 10-12 and now it will be a ‘find them again’ proposition. Same thing with the bass and it really squashed an up-and-coming striper bite. Most guides, including myself, are getting bit one to two times per trip.
“I am not sure if there is a silver lining to this. Spring will show up and stay or we may jump right into summer. I have seen this before and if the conditions do not return favorable soon, I am afraid the crappie may just reabsorb their eggs. It happened last year to some extent as I was catching crappie mid-May with brown nonviable eggs in them.
“Just hoping it warms and stays there. Bass, same deal, they were staged and I am sure they are pulling back out. Oh well, I myself and all you other anglers will be back hitting it hard! This weekend looks like a nice warming trend. Good luck and stay safe and be a good citizen on the lake.” Remember to check out Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 4-22-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that white bass have slowed down in the river, but anglers are still catching them on Rooster Tails, swimbaits and crankbaits. No reports on bream. Crappie are good and being caught in 8-12 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Target the brushpiles and stumps. Black bass are good in that same 8-12 feet range and biting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and Wiggle Warts. No reports on catfish. Lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature is in the low to mid-50s. Water level is normal.
(updated 4-15-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been great this past week. The trout have been biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons and spinners, with a little Firegel applied, have done great, too. Most of the trout have been caught between the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and Spider Creek. As for the walleye, the males are up here. If you go down to Parker Bottoms, you should be able to get into a few. Most of the females have spawned out and are retreating toward deeper waters. Flicker Shad, spoons and soft plastics have done well with the eyes. If you have a graph, you can hit the deeper water and start to find the white bass as well. Try looking for baitfish and the whites should be nearby. “Hope you 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 4-22-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC says the water fishing is about the same as it's been over the past few weeks. The white bass are biting back toward the White River and War Eagle arms of Beaver lake. The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent, and females may have eggs still, so it would be good to catch and then release them. The upcoming week of weather is expected to be nice for fishing in all Northwest Arkansas waterways and floating should be excellent.
(updated 4-22-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is clear and the surface temperature Wednesday mid-afternoon was 60 degrees. The level is still low. Bream are good; use redworms, crickets and jigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are a little slow now, but anglers had fair results; crankbaits are your best bet. Catfish went back into hiding; no reports.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 4-22-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon that there is still a slight stain to the water but it remains at normal level. Bream continue their move into shallow water, and the bite is good. Redworms and crickets were getting good results. Crappie somewhat retreated to about a 6-8 feet range, but anglers still had good catches on minnows and jigs. Black bass are biting well as they move into the shallows; try spinnerbaits, crankbaits (use a squarebill when trying for them in deeper water) or a Chatterbait. Catfishing is fair but starting to come around; use nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-22-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said that despite the cool weather with water temperatures going up and down, the fish are biting. Bream are good on worms and jigs. Look around the brushpiles, stumps and around rocky points. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms. They’re being caught around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Bass are fair, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms working best. Catfishing is fair. Use worms, blood bait or stink bait. Surface water temperature Sunday was 62 degrees. The clarity is the usual murky and the water level is high.
(updated 4-22-2021) Lake Poinsett is in the process of refilling, and at last report was more than halfway refilled. Stocking of forage fish has begun, with hopes that the forage fish will reproduce in good numbers over the next several months. Predator stocking is planned for next year.
Last week, AGFC biologists pumped thousands of baitfish into Lake Poinsett as it continued to fill. Fathead minnows, golden shiners, threadfin shad and bluegill have been added to the lake to build up a huge food supply for bass, catfish and other sportfish that will be added next year to give the lake a jump start after its recent renovation.
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.
(updated 4-15-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that the lake remains clear, but the water took a jump this week and is high by about 4-6 inches. Surface water temperature is 63 degrees. Crappie appear to be moving closer to the shoreline. They are in about 15 feet depth of water. Fishing has been good; use minnows or jigs. The black bass bite is good, just in time for a tournament planned for Crown Lake on Saturday (April 17). No reports on catfish, and higher water may have turned off the bream.
(updated 4-15-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 440 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been clear. Rain over the last few weeks has mostly been south of the area. The river is still up about a foot and clarity has been really good this week.
With trout, Woollies and nymphs have been hard to beat. Olive, brown and white Woollies, and big nymphs with a little extra weight to get down, will work. And, of course, Y2Ks on the tough days.
For spin-fishers, trout cranks and Flicker Shad are working well on the bass, and hot pink, red and white Trout Magnets are working well for the trout. Got to get close to the bottom for the bite.
Mark says, “Be safe wading; the flow is still strong and a wading staff can be a very good idea. Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery has been stocking weekly with some really nice-sized rainbows, making for plenty of fish to catch. New signs at public access areas with rules and regulations are a welcome sight on the river, and will help to keep everyone informed.”
For latest updates on river conditions visit or blog on Mark’s website at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 4-15-2021) 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 9.78 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage had dropped to 14.28, a 5 foot drop from last week and almost 12 feet below flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta has fallen and on Thursday was at 27.46, just 1.46 above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 4-22-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-22-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new reports.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 4-22-2021) Sarah Reap, assistant superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said that so far this week temperature has remained steady in the mid- to upper 60s, dropping lower with the cold front blowing in on Tuesday. There are reports of people catching bass, bream, crappie and catfish from this past week. Bass are being found around structure, catfish with attractant baits, reports of bream being caught on trotlines with minnows, and crappie with minnows and jigs.
(updated 4-22-2021) Kris Nault, AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Monticello, says he spoke with the Monticello mayor, who said that the contractor for the dam repair work is staging this week and will be starting ASAP. Meanwhile, the AGFC has been rebuilding the lake bottom and areas near where the shoreline will be for fish habitat when the lake is refilled.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.45 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 4-22-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake has improved clarity, while lake elevation is about 3 inches above normal conservation pool)and falling; oxbows' water clarity has improved, and Little River clarity also has improved with current reduction this week. Gate discharge at the dam is around 1,900 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates is around 227 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 remain stable this week, ranging 58-67 degrees depending on location, and we expect that to continue warming this week except for a day or two of a predicted cold front arriving. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken or floating timber in Little River.
As for fishing specifics this week:
* Largemouth bass: Most bass up Little River in the oxbows are post-spawn, although main lake pockets continue in varying degrees of pre- and post-spawning conditions for the past few weeks on Millwood. Most of the oxbows up and along Little River continue seeing post-spawn largemouths and pre-spawn crappie. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream, River Shad and Spot Remover continue catching solid bass from 2-4 pounds each, over the past several weeks, and Chatterbaits in Sexy Shad or Bream patterns, continue to pick up a few healthy 3-4 pound largemouths this week. Bass continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies in the 3-6 foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 7-10 feet depth ranges. The best period this week is during the afternoon. Anywhere a slightly deeper creek channel swings in near spawning flats with vertical structure nearby, and where stumps are present near creek mouths drop, have held some decent-sized bass over the past few weeks. NUMEROUS largemouth bass over 10-11 pounds each have been weighed in,over the past several weeks. Another big spawning, 9.5-pound largemouth bass was caught and released this week.
Bass Assassin Shads continue to draw good reactions in the grass and lily pads. Salt and pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost, or Houdini colors continue to be the go-to choices. Best colors of Bugs and Beavers for the last couple weeks were Black Neon, Grasshopper, Blackberry and Pearl Bream. Custom-poured Senkos and Trick Worms are still working on stumps and cypress trees in 3-8 feet depths. Heavy thumper tail swim baits and Beavers on a Jackhammer Chatterbait in Spot Remover and, Blue Glimmer are working, and Trick Worms in black/blue, Blue Ice and Watermelon Candy are catching bass. Magnum Bulky Lizards in Blackberry, Blue Bayou, black/blue tail and Watermelon Candy continue taking a few good bass this week on flooded cypress trees, stumps and along vegetation lines in ditches, creeks,and flats from 3-8 feet deep. Topwater Horny Toads, Hollow-body Live Target frogs and Rage-Tail Toads are beginning to snatch a few topwater-explosion bass from 2-4 pounds each near buckbrush, overhanging limbs from cypress trees, and in Lily-pad and alligator weed vegetation.
* White bass: They are wrapping up their annual spawning run upriver, between U.S. Highway 71 at Wilton Landing and Patterson Shoals near Cossatot inflow ditch and pockets with points extending into Little River, above Wilton Landing along Little River this week. Numerous anglers are connecting with white bass in the 3-plus-pound class, along the river on Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Chuck'n Spins, Rooster Tails, spoons and crankbaits. The white bass began their annual spawning run up Little River a few weeks ago.
* Crappie: Continue to improve again this week and are staging near 2-8 feet deep close to cypress stands ready to move in for the spawn. Over the past week, these pre-spawn crappie have been best on minnows and jigs in pockets along the main lake sections near the golf course along South Hickory Creek and near Beards Bluff campground, and in oxbows of Mud Lake and McGuire Oxbow up Little River. Crappie continue holding in the 2- to 4-foot and 8-foot depth zones this week, and are staging to move shallow over the next few days or so. Best colors of jigs over the past week or so have been black/red, Junebug, white/red and white/orange. Blakemore Road Runners in white/chartreuse and SK Rocket Shads in white/yellow heads, have also produced nice sized 2- to 2.5-pound slab crappie over the past few days.
* Catfish: No report.
In the photo left, Sean Robinson and his son, from Oklahoma, had a big father-and-son day croppie fishing, catching some nice slaps with the Millwood Guide Service.
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 539.54 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.04 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-22-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said he has been fishing both DeGray and Ouachita, and the crappie are doing great on jigs and minnows on staging brushpiles fished 8 feet deep. The cooler mornings haven’t slowed them down. “We are in the middle of the spawn, so some are nearly done while others are just getting started,” he said.
(updated 4-15-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Springtime is here. Weather changes daily. Water level is 405.76 feet msl. Water temperature is mid-60s depending on where you fish.
“Crappie fishing has been pretty good all around. Many are being caught in shallows throwing jigs outside the brushline. Pink heads or chartreuse are my favorite ⅛-ounce or 1/16-ounce colors from Tennessee Shad, Monkey Milk are among the favorites. Minnows and pole fishing are always a staple. The bite is moving east toward midlake as the water temperature warms up. The fish I am catching are off the brushpiles still. It seems to me that the brushpiles I am getting the most action out of are the thick cover brushpiles vs. piles that are bare and laydowns. What we do is cast jigs over the piles and let them fall to the appropriate level and slowly retrieve after we catch what we can throwing jigs. We then move in with minnows and fish. The fish are suspended over the tops of the piles anywhere from 20 feet water level to 30 feet. Usually the fish are around 10-12 feet.”
(update 4-15-2021) Local crappie angler Charles Abernathy says, “I got a chance to get on the water for a couple of hours before dark (Wednesday). The water temperature up around Lennox Marcus area was at 64 degrees. It was a dark, dreary evening but the fish were biting fair enough. I was looking at timber in the middle of spawning pockets, scanning open water in the mouths of those pockets and also looked at some shallow brush (8 feet or less) and all seemed to be able to produce some fish.
“Up until this point, I haven’t been seeing any consistent size in the brush until yesterday. The water was fairly clean after the rain there and Monkey Milk with an orange head seemed to be what they wanted that evening. I did try some other colors but they seemed to have their minds made up pretty good.
“At Lennox some of the females still had eggs, but a lot didn’t. If you like fishing the shoreline you still have some time (but this magical moment will be gone as quickly as it arrived). Also, there’s a mob of hybrids in the Lennox area going on a rampage. They weren’t popping, but they are easily spotted cruising with your side scan and they were as rambunctious as ever.
“I get lots of 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 and will be posting this brief trip from Wednesday within a day or two. Watch for it. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice. Hearing of a lot of fish being caught right now. Get out there and enjoy it because we will all have our swimsuits on before you know it.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.36 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.21 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-22-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Crappie have moved back deep and are biting fair using minnows or a Bobby Garland Jig in chartreuse or bone white colors. Black bass are fair and also are deep this week; best bet is a plastic worm in watermelon seed or green pumpkin color. Catfish are fair using basic catfish bait. No reports on bream.
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 4-22-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has issued a two-hour generation flow pattern during the evening hours for the next week. The weekly generation schedule is posted on the Entergy website each Wednesday evening, 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 have been stocked into the tailrace this year, but have remained difficult to catch since late February. Constant cold fronts and storms have complicated matters as huge temperature changes impair feeding patterns. Trout from downstream will migrate toward the dam in search of cooler water as the season progresses. Competition for food will force a more consistent feeding pattern. 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 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 have been released in March and April below area dams with spring officially underway.
The walleye spawn is now over, but fish remain in the tailrace feeding and recovering before migrating downstream.. 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. The crappie spawn has gotten off to a slow start this season, but small catches have been reported with the best results during periods of generation. The white bass and crappie are crowded close together in the tailrace with both species caught over sandbars and rock structure. A small minnow fished under a bobber has been the most effective method either in slackwater or generation. Freshwater drum as large as 30 pounds have been seen in the tailrace in April as these fish begin their spawning cycle. Live minnows and nightcrawlers fished just off the bottom are favorite techniques used for catching these fish. It is very important to note for anglers to keep a close eye on rods left unattended as these fish can easily jerk equipment into the lake.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and wear a mask and observe social distancing when encountering others.
(updated 4-8-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the main river is 58 degrees, with backwater areas in the 70s. Some of the creeks are warmer than the others; they are ranging 56-59 degrees. Some creeks are clean and some are still pretty dirty -- the dirtier creeks seem to be the warmer of the creeks. Bass have been on fire with an excellent topwater bite early and late and just before and during the storm fronts. There's still a good spinnerbait and crankbait bite in some of the creeks, with a Senko bite on the spawning flats and a great jig bite in river pockets. Lizards, as well as Space Monkeys, have been working great along stumps.
Crappie have been great and suspended in some places, scattered in other areas. Many crappie this week have been caught on bass lures. Fishing minnows and jigs along the grassy banks and the larger stumps will put crappie in the boat; still, bright colors have been working the best. Try chartreuse, chartreuse/black, Electric Chicken or Cajun Cricket. Some are still being caught deep but a lot have been shallow, as shallow as a foot.
White bass and stripers are in the larger creeks; use swimbaits, topwater poppers, spoons, and inline spinners. Bream have been good on worms and crickets around treetops and around dead grass on the rock dikes. Catfish have been fair and improving just inside the pockets along the current line. Cut shad, skipjack and stink bait have been working best.
(updated 4-15-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels at full pool with water temperatures up to 67 degrees in the shallower flats and pockets of the lake. THE BASS SPAWN IS ON! Bass have moved up hot and heavy into shallow areas and creek channels doing their thing. Floating worms, jigs and fluke-style imitations that can be fished deliberately and slowly are the way to go. Many anglers enjoy sight-fishing for these fish on beds, as they should! Please be respectful and put big Mama back so we can have more good bass fishing for years to come.
Bream and crappie are biting well on deeper docks and shallow, submerged brush all over the lake. Live minnows or shad-colored jigs and crickets or worms are the ticket. Catfish have been spotted very shallow on flats but anglers should target them on the drop-offs to the main channels adjacent to the flats, especially at night. Y’all be careful out there and respectful of each other, and the fish, also. The lake traffic is already heavy and will only get worse. Try to give each other space and take safety precautions. Good Luck! Go Greeson!
(updated 4-8-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said the crappie are working the spawn just like the black bass. For the conservation-minded, the males are on beds in the shallower water. Leave them to their business and harvest some of the females on the staging brushpiles. White bass are schooled up in the back of the larger creek arms.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.62 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-22-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is clear and has a surface water temperature of 61-64 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are starting to move up and the bite is good. Use redworms and crickets. Crappie are excellent. They’re being caught on the shoreline in the brush. Try a black/chartreuse jig or a Beaver Bottom Jig for best results. Also use minnows. Black bass are good. A spinnerbait is the way to fish them now; try a War Eagle white spinner with a gold willow leaf. Also a finesse worm is a good choice. Catfishing is good using skipjack, cut shad, minnows or black salties.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.65 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
At left, Donna Currington caught several nice crappie on Lake Ouachita on April 11. Photo provided by James Clingan.
(updated 4-22 2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said he has been fishing both Ouachita and DeGray Lake, and he’s find a similar pattern: The crappie are great on jigs and minnows on staging brushpiles fished 8 feet deep. The cooler mornings haven’t slowed the crappie. “We are in the middle of the spawn, so some are near done while others are just getting started,” he said.
(updated 4-22-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are very good. Jighead/Texas-rigged Brush Hog and floating worm bite is working and the topwater bite is picking up, too. Try pockets 2-10 feet deep and work them slow. Walleye are good and being caught on Shad Raps and jerkbaits over points on the river channels. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught on topwater C-10 redfins and jerkbaits. Bream are still good and can be caught on worms and crickets. Crappie are good. Try a small jig or minnow fished near brush in 8-15 feet of water. Catfish are very good and are being caught on limblines and trotlines with live or cut bait. The lake clarity is clearing and the surface water temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees. Lake level is 576.63. 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 387.62 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge had dropped slightly from last week to 26.92 feet, a little less than 1 foot above flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-22-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) says there are crappie on the beds. The fish are shallow for the most part. This is a good time of year to single pole your favorite shallow water around structure and catch fish. Minnows are always a favorite, but for those that prefer artificial baits try a white tail with a dark body such as green/white or red/white
Bass are shallow. Several baits are working to catch bass right now. Some bass are still showing up for crappie fishermen.
As for catfish, the channel cats are very shallow and will bite a variety of baits. A limit was produced in 3 feet of water of eating-sized cats on a recent trip.
The bream have moved shallow and can be caught in 1-3 feet of water. Check the end of the piers in a couple feet of water
(updated 4-15-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that with the White River still above flood stage in the area, Cook’s Lake is still closed and inaccessible due to high water.
Wil was able to get out elsewhere earlier this week, fishing Pool 5 of the Arkansas River in central Arkansas. “I was able to sneak away on Monday and had a great trip. I put in below the David D. Terry Lock and Dam in Scott. The flow was greatly reduced and bass could be found in less than 3 feet of water out of the current. All fish were still pre-spawn and looking for a protected area to make their beds. My most productive pattern was a River Craw finesse jig fished parallel to rip-rap, about 5 feet from the shore. I also caught several fish on small shad colored crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits.”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers report catching a few largemouth bass with artificial baits and minnows at Bear Creek Lake. Anglers suggest fishing at depths of 4-6 feet for the best fishing experience. Some of these bass were reported to still be full of eggs. As the temperature of the water changes, they are expecting certain species of fish to spawn, in return helping anglers have better success. Meanwhile, very little activity has been reported at Storm Creek Lake. A few blue catfish have been caught with artificial baits. Anglers report having success fishing in depths of 6-8 feet.