June 24, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 24, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com 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 (June 24).
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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
TOP AND LEFT: After a couple of weeks of terrible conditions due to high water and lots of debris fields throughout, fishing picked back up nicely at Millwood Lake in southwest Arkansas. This angler named Emery from Wisconsin enjoyed the improved largemouth bass bite this week. He caught this one up Little River in one of the oxbows on a Brazalo Customs Spinnerbait in a Firetiger color patter. Photo provided by guide Mike Siefert.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 6-24-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is consistently the normal Lake Conway stain now, but the water level remains low and the gates are shut.
Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports this week were poor. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good and being caught on trotlines and limblines.
(updated 6-24-2021) Angler Dennis Charles visited Beaverfork as well as several other lakes in the area with similar conditions (Lake Brewer, Lake Cargile, Woolly Hollow and Lake Barnett). Water level has been above normal and somewhat clear, the bite increased and the bass are making fishing a LOT of fun. The crappie are slow in mid-level water; use floating lures with dive, as well as jigs. Bass are all over chasing food. “Use everything in the box and think outside the box,” Dennis says. Bream are slow. Catfish are doing well along the bottom all over. Brewer and Barnett lakes are seeing a LOT of bass activity.
Visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information – send Jim Harris, the AGFC’s Arkansas Wildlife Magazine managing editor, a photo of your catch and Jim just might post it here with the other photos.
Dennis adds, “Anglers, please remember, we can only add reports if you anglers let us know. I’ve asked many and a few are hesitant to divulge their catch info.”
Also, for anglers looking for additional information about bass fishing around the area, Dennis suggests checking out the Arkansas Bass Fishing Facebook page.
Little Red River
(updated 6-24-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) says the generation pattern changed this past Wednesday and Thursday with additional hours of generation added. “We might be seeing an increase in generation in the near future, so be sure to check conditions before fishing the Little Red. The pattern change also means the windows of wading opportunities are closing with the additional generation. Midges, sowbugs, San Juan Worms and streamers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, hot pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads.”
Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 6-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is really clear and generators are consistent (11 a.m.-11 p.m.). Trout are “pretty good and consistent.” Best baits are Shad Raps, Rapala Countdowns, jerkbaits, Trout Magnets and Rooster Tails.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 471.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 463.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 471.87 feet msl and falling with evaporation as well as generation. It’s 9.33 feet above normal pool for June at Greers Ferry of 462.54 feet msl. Crappie continue to be caught at will day in, day out all over lake and rivers on crankbaits, minnows and jigs. Try 15-30 feet deep for best results. Walleye are showing up here and there; we seem to be catching more not fishing for them than when fishing for them. Try crawlers on drop-shots or jigheads fished on pea gravel banks, and off the main lake points and secondary points in 15-50 feet. Bream are very active; try crawlers, crickets and small inline spinners from 1 foot depth out to 25 feet of water. Catfishing is good all over lake as well on a variety of baits and tactics too numerous to mention; just use what you grew up using for all species and it should work this time of year.
Black bass are on top from the shoreline out to 50 feet doing a lot of different things. You can never go wrong just fishing points here; drag something, or fishing on top or in middle of water column will work one day or the next. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing off and on all day and night, feeding seven or eight times a day anyway; just stay around the bait and they are close to it. It’s like having a fridge in your house. Use spoons, inline spinners, hair jigs or topwater baits from 25-50 feet.
(updated 6-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is high (9 feet) and in the mid-80s in temperature. Bass are good for nightfishing on upper and lower ends on black/blue spinnerbaits and black/red spinners, as well as a Texas-rigged 2.5-inch worm. In the early mornings, the bass are biting on topwater (Spooks, poppers) and buzzbaits. In the afternoon, they seem to be hanging in deeper water, biting in 20-25 feet of water on drop-shot, a deep-diving crank and Carolina rigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-24-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says to make plans now for the Free Fishing Derby scheduled to take place there on July 4 for children ages 5-16 years old; the derby will run 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call for more information.
This week the lake is clear and still high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Poor reports still on crappie.
Black bass continue picking up with good results this week; the fish caught were mostly close to the island.
A 50-pound blue catfish was caught on a trotline this past week. Overall catfishing is good; try worms, stink bait and trotlines baited with baby bream.
(updated 6-24-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the clarity is clear and the lake level has dropped to low. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. Crappie fishing is poor. Black bass have picked back up with good action in the late evening. Best bet is to fish with live bait, such as crawfish. Catfish are excellent; use black salties or goldfish.
(update 6-24-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said the lake is high by 1 foot. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on size 6 minnows and on jigs. Check out the brushpiles, and also look for crappie trolling slowly down the middle of the lake; there has been a good trolling bite the past couple of weeks.
Black bass are good, with bass coming up into the shallows in the afternoons. Use a spinnerbait, bass minnows or a white buzzbait. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, worms, Catfish Charlie’s bait and on trotlines baited with goldfish.
(updated 6-24-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 6-10-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported Thursday that with the rising water the crappie bite has picked back up with excellent results this week. Reports came in of the crappie being found 18-20 feet deep above structure. Go with jigs or minnows.
Meanwhile, largemouth bass are fair. Some can be found in the grass on the banks and around the grass in 8-12 feet biting a variety of lures. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. The largemouths’ black bass brethren, the spotted bass (Kentucky bass) also are fair. Some anglers report finding them near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks. Try using jigs for the spots.
White bass are slow. Some anglers said they were catching them shallow while trolling. Swimbaits are the best lures now. Bream range fair to good. Some have been found in 12-16 feet around the bream beds, while others are biting 14 feet off of points. Crickets and redworms are both working well. Catfish are fair off the shoreline in about 12-15 feet depth. Chicken liver, worms and crawfish are the best baits.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 34,054 cfs, about half the flow of this time last week. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 31,869 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-24-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says that now that the water is cleared somewhat (it’s “fairly clear” this week, he said) and has returned to a normal level and current, he’s hearing fishing reports. Bream are biting well and are starting to bed and spawn, he noted. Redworms or crickets will work. Black bass are good both early in the day and late in the evening; anglers were catching them on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. No reports on crappie or catfish, however.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 39,734 cfs, about half the flow of this time last week.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 41,210 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 43,311 cfs. The flow has dropped by nearly half of what it was at the same time last week.
(updated 6-24-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is muddy and flow is normal (40,000-50,000 cfs), with the water temperature in the mid- to high 80s. Bass are good; anglers report catching a lot of numbers, though they’re not big in size. In the early morning, try a frog, buzzbait, spinnerbait, square-billed crankbait and Zara Spooks around jetties. Moving into the afternoon, switch to a Texas-rigged creature bait, a black/blue jig and a Gilmore Jumper around any sandbars or the ends of jetties. Catfish are good below both dams; use nightcrawlers or stink bait.
(updated 6-17-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are good in the backwaters around Willow Beach area 4-5 feet deep on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good below the David Terry Lock and Dam on cut skipjack. Bass are good in the backwaters around the Willow Beach area on black Racket Buzzbaits and black Bandit Crankbaits. Crappie have been caught in good numbers around the Cajun’s Wharf area, in 10-12 feet depth, on minnows.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-24-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the lake has cleared and the level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfish reports have been good; use goldfish or skipjack. No reports on crappie or bass.
(update 6-24-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake is clear and still high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie appear to have taken a week off from biting. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are good on yo-yos, minnows, hot dogs and jig, the usual “a little bit of everything” she says.
(updated 6-24-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “After a rainy spring season, we're heading in to summer with a pretty high elevation at Bull Shoals Lake: just 7 feet below the top of flood pool, currently sitting at 688.25 feet msl. The Army Corps of Engineers is beginning to drop the lake, and the dam is now issuing about three to four generators round-the-clock. Don't think you can't catch trout when the water level is above knee-deep; that is far from the truth. The same baits you've been successful with in the past will work now, just add some weight and stay as near the bottom as you can. Cast, drift, retrieve.
“You'll be retrieving a lot of rainbows this week if you add some chartreuse or lemon-lime-colored baits to your cast. A Rooster Tail with a yellow/black skirt, ¼- ounce or better, will attract a trout or three.
“We're hearing some good things about those HeadHunter Jerkbaits again. The wiggle they produce on the retrieve without a lot of work on the angler's part is a joy to the fisherman and captivates any trout within sight. They're partial to the clown and the bright gold/orange-bellied 4½-inch lures at the moment.
“Bubblegum pink worms are amazing for the catch they produce – more browns were caught one day last week with a pink worm than with a minnow! They work best when drifting in a jon boat. At the river's edge, on the bank, you'll do better with a live nightcrawler or red wiggler.
“The last few days have been a gift: sunny, mild (low 80s), no wind. Perfect. Come on over, drop a line in the river, and bask in our little corner of heaven in The Natural State.”
(updated 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday afternoon that during the past week they had no rain, brutally hot temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.2 foot to land at 27.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 6.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 6.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 16.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.55 feet msl and 6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains but are dropping. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
On the lower flows, the fishing on the White has been good! The top spot has been The Narrows. 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 pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).
(updated 6-24-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that river clarity is improving though the level has gone up significantly in a week to high. The Corps of Engineers has been running six to eight generators at times. The trout bite is good. Pink Power Bait, Little Cleo’s in silver, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp are working best.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 688.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.90 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 921.55 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Bull Shoals is dropping a little, with the most recent reading at 29 feet above normal pool. Temperature of the water is ranging 78-80 degrees, depending on location. Limited parking and boat ramp access is an issue. Plan ahead, especially on the weekends. Despite the flooding water, clarity is good. The fishing is fair. Warmer temps have led to more boat traffic. Some fish are up shallow with the high water, capitalizing on the perch and shad spawn. Look shallow on flats in the creeks. For smallmouth, check on the old shoreline toward the main lake area. Target long points and sunken humps and islands. The shad are moving. In the shad, try fluke or a 2.8 swimbait. The topwater bite has been good early or late using poppers or small walk-the-dog, Spook, Lucky Craft or some other smaller profile. Use Berkeley Surge early.
Powerfish windy, cloudy days with a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait, spinnerbait or Chatterbait in dirty water, in the flats and shallow. If it’s clear, use flat blue birds. Get vertical and use a drop-shot at 24-32 feet around bluffs. Or use an ol’ Ned rig or deep crank in watermelon red color. Target points, humps, etc. Keep the boat off the old shoreline at 35 feet. The backs of creeks have a little color change. If the Corps of Engineers is running water, then fish points. You can always catch them on a jig in channel or channel swings.
Visit Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing the lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 572.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.65 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is transitioning from the spring bite to the summer bite. In essence, the fish are going deeper as the water warms. “Thursday morning the surface temp was 84, but I don’t think this temp extends too far down at this time. As the warm water goes deeper, a thermocline will form and continue to go deeper as the water temp continues to rise.
“Overall, the fishing for most species on Norfork Lake has been very good. There is still a very good topwater bite for largemouth bass, as well as for striped and hybrid bass. I would assume the topwater activity for striped bass will not last much longer unless we get some cooler weather. It does not look like that will happen.
“I have mainly been using two different baits for topwater activity: my Kastmaster (blade-type bait) and a Zara Spook Jr. Today I strictly used the Kastmaster, as there was a lot of small debris floating and that is not conducive to using a Zara Spook. When I see fish chasing shad on the surface, I try to cast my bait just past the activity. When the bait hits the water. I count down 2 seconds, then I start the retrieval with a jerk, then pause, then reel, then pause and start it all over again back to the boat. You have to see what the fish are looking for speed-wise. The topwater activity for the striped bass starts around 5:30 a.m. and may last until about 6:30 to 7 a.m. Once the fish stop chasing shad on the surface, they start going deep. I am marking fish anywhere from 30 feet to 80 feet deep. Forty feet down seems to be a good place to set up your bait. Live bait is definitely working the best, but vertical jigging a ¾- to 1-ounce spoon is starting to pick us some nice fish.
“If you like trolling, an umbrella rig is working really well. Keep the bait 35-45 feet down and you will catch some nice stripers. A-rigs, deep-diving crankbaits and large swimbaits are also working well, but you will more than likely need to add some inline weight to get deeper. Using a down rigger would be the easiest.
“The largemouth bite has been very good. There are lots of fish up in the sunken brush, but many of them are shorts. The topwater for this species also starts at sunrise and typically has lasted longer than the striped bass topwater activity. I have found that the fish chasing shad close to shore are predominantly shorts, but if you look out in the same area in deeper water and notice fish chasing shad, you’ll find the bigger fish. Today I caught some real nice bass in 120 feet of water, roughly 50 yards away from the bank. The bass also are going deeper as the sun gets high in the sky. Start working the bottom when they go down, in 15-25 feet of water
“Best areas for me have been main lake points in the mid-lake area. I have always had the best luck finding fish on the points that have a deep-water channel swinging in close to the point. The fish are also back in several of the major creeks that are located in several different areas of the lake.
“If you are looking for almost daily fishing activity on Norfork Lake, go to our Facebook page for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I post daily fishing reports of what I am doing, as well as our guests. Norfork Lake level is fairly stable at this time and is rising less than 1 inch per day. The level is 573.02 feet msl. The surface water temperature was 84 degrees (Thursday) morning and the clear is fairly clear. If you are looking for a great vacation, call Hummingbird Hideaway Resort at 870-492-5113. Norfork Lake is all about fishing, playing or just relaxing on the water. Happy fishing.”
(updated 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 16.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.55 feet msl and 6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains but are dropping. Expect high levels of generation in the near future. The Norfork is fishing moderately. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding over the past two years. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing moderately. 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 remain 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 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warm temperatures the bite is better. 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 1,127.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake still remains high. Water temps are in the mid-80s. Summer pattern is in full swing. Stripers are good, with lots of fish in the 8- to 15-pound range being caught from 4 a.m. to around 9 a.m. All major points from Point 6 up to the dam are good places to look. Shad and bream are working. White bass at night and some walleye are being caught at the Highway 12 bridge under lights. Crappie are good on trolled cranks and also suspended above brush in 20 feet of water. Bass are good, and with full moon it’s time to nightfish with black spinnerbaits up Big Clifty and Indian Creek. Catfish are good on all methods. Bream are good. “Fishing is good! Be safe and respectful,” Jon says. Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 6-24-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says the walleye are good later in the evening on crankbaits and minnows. Bream are good; use redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Black bass continue to bite well; try a spinnerbait or a plastic worm at night. During the day, go with a drop-shot, topwater baits or crankbaits. Catfish are good on chicken liver or big minnows. The lake continues to clear after its big rise, but the lake level is still high. Surface temperature is creeping up into the mid-80s consistently.
(updated 6-10-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, "Well, with all the rain we have received, and the recent release from the dam, the river has filled up nicely. The trout bite has been great, most are being caught with light terminal tackle, fished with various PowerBaits. If the water temperature starts to rise, look for the 'slime line'; you will find some nice fish in this area. Also, try fishing around brush for bluegill and crappie when the water is like this. Most of the walleye are out of the system and back in the main lakes. You can still find a few white bass if you have a graph and can locate them. Kentucky bass are being caught early morning, along chunk rock and around structure. Suspended soft plastics have been the way to go with these fish.
“This week’s hot spot has been around Spider Creek and Bertrand Access.
“Sorry for the intermittent reports; running a Fire Department and working for the Sheriff's Office can get quite busy this time of year.
“Remember, if you have a question, please feel to reach out to me via phone of my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!”
(updated 6-24-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the lake is murky from the algae, while the water level is normal. Bream are enjoying the conditions, as are the anglers. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are being caught in good numbers on plastic worms and topwater lures (best success will come around the rocky points). No reports on catfish.
(updated 6-24-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie have dropped off; poor results reported this week. Black bass are good, however, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits getting a lot of response, and Chatterbaits also working well. Catfish are good on chicken liver, cut bait and prepared bait.
(updated 6-17-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing remains good for most species, as the surface water temperature passes 80 degrees (it read 81 degrees Monday morning) and the water level remains high with murky clarity. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Looks around the brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Crappie are fair. They’re biting minnows, jigs and worms around brushpiles, stumps and points. Black bass are good; try spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is good using worms, stink bait and cut bait.
(updated 6-17-2021) Ben Batten, chief of the AGFC Fisheries Division, reported to AGFC commissioners this week that Lake Poinsett is about 7 feet away from being at full pool (Lake Poinsett at its deepest point is about 40 feet deep, and filling the lake is rainfall dependent, though this particular area of the state didn’t get quite as much recent rainfall as other areas, he said) as the Poinsett rebuild project continues. Plans are to stock the lake with channel catfish soon, but Fisheries is planning to ask the AGFC Commissioners in July to OK a temporary plan to limit catfish to 5 per angler, half of the normal catfish limit, through this year. Catfish will give anglers an immediate opportunity for fishing for take. Otherwise, angling in the lake will be catch-and-release until the lake population is rebuilt. Since March, the lake has been stocked with prey fish to build a forage base before the introduction of crappie and bass through stocking next year. Among the stockings this spring were thousands of 4- to 7-inch redear and 4- to 6-inch bluegill that you can catch and release.
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the lake began to refilling. The lake, at Lake Poinsett State Park, has been undergoing an extensive 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.
Other forage species that have been stocked this spring include fathead minnows, golden shiners and threadfin shad have been added in huge numbers to the lake to build up the food supply for the predators.
(updated 6-24-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Fishing are biting better, especially the bream. Good reports have come in this week on bream, with redworms and crickets working. Black bass are good on topwater baits. Catfish are biting well on stink bait and nightcrawlers. No report on crappie.
(updated 6-17-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 475 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been a little cloudy. The river is up about a foot above average flow. Still can be tricky wading. The trout are biting great on nymphs and streamers on cloudy days. The sunny hot days can be slow. “The fish are there, just got to get it down deep,” Mark says. “The smallmouth bass are starting to bite better. Definitely streamers with lead eyes to get the fly down quick. They love to hit on the drop. Ned rigs and tubes have been working well with spinning equipment.
“It is hot out, so hydrate and don't forget, the Spring River is ice cold.” Read Mark’s blog at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest conditions on the Spring River.
(updated 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing better. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. The canoe season is upon us. Look out for the aluminum hatch! 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 9.47 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage continued to fall to 12.25 feet, below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta has finally dropped below flood stage of 26.00 feet for more than two weeks, sitting at 24.71 feet.
(updated 6-24-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said that with the high water and muddy conditions in the area, they’ve received no fishing reports of late.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-24-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no recent reports.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-24-2021) Sarah Reap, assistant superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, had no recent reports.
(updated 6-24-2021) Kris Nault, AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Monticello, says dam repair work is underway by the city of Monticello’s contractor, while 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 259.66 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake elevation was 8 inches above normal pool at 259.9 feet msl and falling; the oxbows' water clarity improved. Little River clarity was heavy stain to muddy with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 244 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 15,500 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. 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. NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE CAUTIONED on Millwood Lake with high discharge rates and heavy flow conditions in Little River. Debris fields are present. Use EXTREME CAUTION during current high gate discharge conditions.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 80-85 degrees depending on location. Numerous areas on Millwood Lake are matted with alligatorweed mats, and are inaccessible for navigation or fishing. The Corps of Engineers was able to conduct an alligatorweed beetle release a few weeks ago and are monitoring. Also, EXCELLENT ALLIGATOR POPULATIONS are being observed on Millwood this year, and Millwood Lake should be a good hunt this fall. AGFC Alligator Hunt permits application periods are this month.
As for fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass: Over the past week with falling and fluctuating pool levels, have been best early from daylight to around 10am, slowing in the heat of the day. Best reactions over the past week or 10 days have been on Chartreuse Sexy Shad colored Chatterbaits. Brazalo Custom Spinnerbaits in Firecracker, Firetiger and Millwood Mayhem Bream and Pop R's were working early. Frogs like the Live Target hollow body, the Zoom Horny Toad and Bass Assassin Shads were getting reactions in the pads early. The best reactions over the past week or so have been from the adolescent Bass from 10-15 inches and 1-2 pound largemouths. 10-inch Power Worms in Black/Blue tail, Black Grape, and Plum colors have been working for a few Bass up to 3 pounds. Bulky 4-inch Gitzit Tubes with a rattle inside have been working, best colors Pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail, purple smoke/chart tail, or black & blue. Largemouths were slightly improved with the return to a more normal pool elevation in the pads and grass.
Acres of floating alligator weed mats are making fishing many types or lures and crankbaits difficult and navigation impossible, in numerous areas of the oxbows, up Little River. Middle of Horseshoe Lake oxbow, inside the cypress tree line on the north and east side, and northeast pocket behind the northern peninsula, is completely matted. We noted some large grass mats floating in Little River this week with debris. Bagley Creek, Red Slough, and south Hickory pockets are vegetation matted thick, made navigation and fishing impossible. Pine Island, Schall, Plum and Mine Creeks are beginning to mat completely over. The USACE is currently monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities, lake wide. The USACE did conduct an alligator weed beetle release several weeks ago, and are monitoring success rates.
Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits were working in the same flats and stumps with lily pads as the top water frogs, early in the morning. Pumpkinseed-chartreuse tail, Chartreuse Pepper Shad, and Gold Pepper Shiner in the 5" sizes seemed to draw best reactions. Hogs and custom hand-poured Beaver/Bugs in Green Pumpkin with chartreuse dip pinchers, Black/Blue Swirl and Ayu got random reactions on stumps near lily pads on receding flats from 5-6 feet deep tapering out to 8-9 feet deep.
Custom painted S-cranks and Little John cranks in Bream and shad patterns have been getting a few reactions over the past week. Bomber Fat Free Guppy in Splatterback and Citrus Shad colors were working. Heavy 3/4oz 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic and Splatterback caught some Bass in the oxbows of McGuire where the water clarity has much improved.
* Bream: Bream have been in a spawning mode for a few weeks, in a few areas near Jack's Isle, and at Millwood State Park off the banks, and were biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn, and/or bread.
* White bass: Two anglers told us they caught several white bass roaming in Little River behind points on chrome/blue spoons with a red bucktail. Rooster Tails and Little Georges also caught a few white bass last week.
* Crappie: No report.
* Catfish: Continued to bite well this week with the current along Little River. Limb lines, trotlines and yo-yos have been working for some nice blues and channel cats over the past couple weeks with the increase of discharge at Millwood Dam. Cut buffalo, hot dogs, chicken hearts and catalpa worms were working over the past couple weeks for some nice size 3- to 5-pound cats on trotlines and yo-yos from 8-10 feet deep near current flows in creek channels near the river.
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 545.17 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.58 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said Wednesday, “I’ve never seen anything like it before. We are still catching ample numbers of crappie 8-12 feet deep on brushpiles in 15-24 feet of water. Live bait works best, but a few big slabs can be caught near the bottom using jigs. Water temp is in the mid-80s.
(updated 6-24-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Man, has it been hot! Lots of fish have been caught lately. Lake level is 406.8 feet msl and the water temperature is a warm 86 degrees – great for skiing but a little warm for most fishing. There is definitely an increase in surface action around the lake. Breaking fish are being reported from Iron Mountain to Lenox Marcus areas. Rooster Tail jigs, spoons and Whopper Ploppers are great baits to use on schooling fish. Get there early, pray for calm winds, use binoculars and look for action and boats. Crappie are definitely slowing down on brushpile fishing. The bigger ones have moved out to open water or down the inside the piles. Drop-shotting the piles with a weedless hook is producing using minnows. If you can get out there early, try throwing jigs over the piles and pulling over them slowly before you move up to minnow or drop-shot the piles. There is more trolling going on now. Pulling Bandit 300s at 1 to 1.5 mph is a good way of trolling. My favorite colors as of now are Monkey Milk, Blue Grass, and Tennessee Shad.
“Sorry, nothing on black bass or catfishing this week.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 455.06 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 548.29 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-24-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said that the water is finally out of flood stage and at a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. No reports on black bass. Catfish are good using shad, live bait or bream.
(updated 6-24-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and now the water has dropped below normal. Donald termed it “low.” Bream have perked up considerably this week with an excellent bite seen. They’ll go for redworms and crickets. Still no crappie bite after they moved deep following their spawn a few weeks ago. Bass are fair. Spinnerbaits are working best for bass. Catfish made a reappearance with a fair bite this week on worms and flukes.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-10-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC, manufacturer of the finest built and tied-by-hand fishing jigs in Hot Springs, reports Slycked Back Fishing LLC, producer of the highest quality hand tied jigs in Hot Springs Arkansas reports Lake Catherine’s lake levels slightly up with stiff currents in the main channel due to the ongoing water releases in the chain of lakes. Water temps vary from 53 in the upper river channel and up to 76 degrees in the lower end and pockets. Water is stained throughout. With the heavy currents in the river, Bass have been pushed into points and pockets and are holding close to structure and cover. Dragging a large worm in dark colors into brush and under docks. Top water is starting to come into its own but with the large amount of forage in the water it takes a ton of casts to fill a limit of 12 inch Bass. Bigger bass have been caught but the tournament weights are on a downward swing. Try a Spook or small topwater frog fished slowly and you can get some fish in the boat. Also, for some reason Bass also like the white swim jig. Slycked Back Fishing LLC makes a dandy that has a nice wobble to it. No Crappie report. Walleye have been decent on live night crawlers on Secondary points. Bream are outstanding on shallow brush and lay downs using live worms and crickets. CAUTION: Heavy fog is a real issue lately in the evenings. All boaters slow down and use caution along with lights.
“Check us out on Facebook at Slycked Back Fishing LLC.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-24-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is currently scheduling generation from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day starting Friday, June 23, through Thursday, July 1. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening. Now that Lake Ouachita has fallen out of flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are now safe to continue. Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam is very slow as the season was marred by flooding. The past three years have been adversely affected by high water as trout despise muddy conditions. Summer water temperatures of late June and early July mark the end of the trout season on Lake Catherine until the stocking program begins again in mid-November. Catfish have been caught below the bridge in the main channel on cut bait and live minnows as these fish are in the middle of their spawning cycle. The majority of fish caught have been in the 4- to 8-pound range. Blue catfish are the dominant species in the tailrace area. White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in ⅛-ounce weights has been the best presentation to catch these fish the past several weeks. Hybrid bass school alongside white bass and are being caught on the same techniques. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current has been productive catching white bass and hybrids as well as walleye in the 3-pound class. Walleye thrive in the tailrace in the summer months as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area gamefish. The summer months will be dominated by these fish species with migration in and out of the tailrace a weekly event.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 6-24-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 6-10-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born and bred, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in beautiful Hot Springs reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels slightly up with moderate currents due to the ongoing rains. Water clarity is still good in most areas, but the water is stained. Bass have been fair at best over the last couple weeks. The rainwater has washed a ton of food into the lake and the Bass will not chase baits. Fish can still be caught with the Ned rig or drop shot rig with a worm in green pumpkin or black on points and on bridge and dock pilings. Even with the finesse approach its tough! If you are a power fisherman, try throwing a slow top water bait like a popping frog or a Spook. Again, think finesse even fishing power. Bream have been good on brush piles and docks in 10 feet or less of water on worms and Crickets. Catfish are fair in all areas at night but especially on creek channel drop offs to main lake water. The one high spot of this week was the Chain Pickerel. These toothy, long suckers are whacking Spinner baits, and top water minnow presentations at the top end of the lake in the sloughs of the river and its very entertaining when times are as they have been! Good luck and Go Greeson!
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.82 feet msl (normal pool: 344.65 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that Nimrod is clear with a fairly warm surface water temperature of 78 degrees. For those heading that way this weekend, the Arkansas Crappie Master Tournament is scheduled for Lake Nimrod. The lake level has dropped to about 1 foot above normal.
Anglers should find crappie biting well. They are being caught at 6 feet over brush and out in the middle of the lake on minnows and Bandit Series baits. Bream are good on crickets and nightcrawlers. Black bass are good, with green pumpkin Zoom Worms and War Eagle Spinnerbaits being the baits of choice. Catfishing has been good using shad minnows.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.42 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-24-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still good. Jighead worms and a drop-shot finesse worms have been working. Black spinnerbaits or big Ole Monster worm would be good bets at night. Walleye are good and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. Stripers are still good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the eastern half of the lake. Bream are very good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are on beds 6-10 feet deep. Crappie are very good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are very good and being caught on juglines and trotlines with live or cut bait. Rod-and-reel fishing is producing some good stringers using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. The water temperature is ranging 78-82 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level on Wednesday was 576.62 as the lake is dropping. 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 387.30 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge had dropped to 26.40 feet, still almost a half-foot above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 6-17-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said Horseshoe’s water level rose over a foot in the past week due to the tremendous amount of rain in central and southern Arkansas. With the rising water comes some changes in the fishing for sure.
Crappie is probably the biggest change at Horseshoe right now. A recent trip found a few fish in the 12- to 18-foot range and they were not overly cooperative. The water temperature was 74 degrees at sunrise and the fish went deeper after the rain. People fishing the pads were experiencing similar results. Eight to 10 fish were the average for most people fishing late last week into the weekend. As the water level settles and starts falling again, look for the bite to return strong.
A few folks are spider rigging or pulling crankbaits and those techniques seem to returning some similar results with several small fish being caught.
No reports on bream, bass or catfish. With rising water, bass and catfish should move up to feed on bugs, worms, etc. Catfish should be close to spawning as well.
(updated 6-10-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the story will not change for Cook’s Lake as long as the water is this high off the White River, as the place in accessible and parking lot is flooded. Cook’s Lake will remain closed until water recedes enough, Hafner said.
After a couple of visits to Peckerwood Lake in recent weeks, Wil said, “I have not made any trips anywhere else to speak of in the last week, just some culvert hopping here and there catching a few nice bass. With all of this rain, culverts will be blown out for a while again.”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-3-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having great success in catching crappie and blue catfish within the last week. Crappie have been reported to be biting at depths of 3-4 feet, particularly in coves. Artificial baits and minnows have grown to be the most popular for catching these wonderful tasting fish. Blue cats have also been on the menu. Anglers report having success catching blues in depths of 6-8 feet using mostly homemade baits.
Surveying has been completed for the construction of the spillway at Bear Creek Lake; however, the park is still waiting news from the U.S Forest Service on when the project will be started and an approximate date on completion.
At Storm Creek Lake within the state park, anglers report catching blue catfish within in the past week in depths of about 8 feet using homemade baits. “The fishing activity at Storm Creek Lake is starting to pick up, it seems,” Ball said. “We hope to hear more positive outcomes in these hot summer months!”