Aug. 5, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 5, 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 (Aug. 5).
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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: A strong mayfly hatch this summer has got the crappie, bass and bream all excited and biting in various hotspots of Millwood Lake, our reporter Mike Siefert says. Cliff Blanchett of Pine Bluff and some friends enjoyed a great fishing day with crappie and more recently. Some of the crappie being caught went around 2 pounds. The milder temperature this week can only help. Read more about the overall fishing at Millwood and where to catch them in Siefert's report below. The lake is almost at normal conservation pool now, as are most of the big lakes throughout the state (with the exception of Bull Shoals, still 20 feet above normal level) after a spate heavy rainfall and high water earlier in the spring and summer.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 8-5-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake has its normal stain and is at a normal level. Bream tailed off some this week with just fair results, using redworms and crickets. Crappie also were fair; minnows, jigs and “anything itty bitty, like 1-inch” will work, they report. Black bass are good on a variety of lures: spinnerbaits, topwater baits, jigs, frogs and curly tail worms. Catfishing is good; try chicken liver for rod and reel, or bait your trotlines, limblines and noodles with nightcrawlers, black salties, bream, goldfish, shad or skipjack.
(updated 7-29-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said that fishing for everything is slow here, and Dennis has spent more time exploring more AGFC lakes and other fisheries. The small lakes seem to be more active than the large ones, he says. In particularly, he he’s had some success fishing Galla Lake north of Pottsville, Kingfisher in the Petit Jean WMA, and the Petit Jean River.
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 8-5-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said Greers Ferry Lake has been lowered to normal pool level “and it seems we might have settled in to a summertime generation pattern with 4-6 hours of afternoon generation on weekdays and less generation on weekends.”
Midges, pheasant tails, sowbugs and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads will work best. 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 8-5-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is running 5-6 hours a day during midday or early afternoon. Water in the river is lower due to not as much water running from the dam now. Trout are good on black and olive Marabou Jigs (1/16 once). Downriver side of the shoals or deeper holes contain better fish. Trout Magnets (mealworm gold and black/blue colors) are good as well.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.97 feet msl. It’s 0.57 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet and still falling. It looks like an early fall; it has been showing its signs for a while. As the water temps fall, some the overall catch rate will pick up across the board. Crappie can still be caught most days trolling or straight-lining a bait up and down in 15-30 feet over much of lake, while you should fish the rivers with crankbaits, jigs and or minnows. No report on walleye this week. Catfishing is still good, and should be right up until January, on a variety of baits and depths. Bream will spawn again with the full moon; drag crawlers on drop-shot or a cricket shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrids and white bass can be caught on structure; use topwater baits, spoons, hair jigs and inline spinners 25-60 feet. Black bass are on top and all in between on down to 60 feet and biting on a variety of baits all over the lake and rivers.
(updated 8-5-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is normal and clear. Bass fishing has been tough, and the anglers had to downsize to smaller swimbaits, Ned rig and drop-shot baits in 15-25 feet of water (on the low end of the lake) to catch them. The upper end of Greers Ferry is doing OK in the mornings, but better success is happening in the lower end of the lake. Walleye are fair on humps in 15-25 feet of water drop-shotting nightcrawlers and trolling crankbaits across points.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-5-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports that white bass have been good off the boat ramp this week. The lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface water temperature was reported. Bream continue to bite well on redworms and crickets in the early morning. Crappie are not in the picture these days. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits. Catfish continue to bite well at night on goldfish.
(updated 8-5-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the clarity is “pretty clear” but the water level has dropped to low. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. The best crappie fishing is coming “mostly at night,” Phil said, with minnows and jigs working. He’s still heard no reports on black bass. Catfish are good; try stink bait or black salties.
(update 8-5-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said Brewer Lake is a little cloudy and is at a normal level. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are good; anglers are trolling deeper in 6-7 feet of water down the middle of the lake for best results. Also, make sure to use size 6 crappie minnows; that’s what they’re favoring. Black bass are good, with best results coming in the evenings in the weeds. Bass minnows, buzzbaits and Rooster Tails will work best. Catfishing is good using stink bait, goldfish and nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-29-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 7-29-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the mid-80s. Largemouth bass fishing is rating fair to good. There are some reports of largemouths being found deep in their typical summer patterns, so everyone is throwing different baits. Try using drop-shot, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are fair. Some reports have them being found near drop offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks. Try using jigs. During WestRock Landing’s Tuesday night black bass tournament, Josh Baker and Josh Jeffers brought an amazing 17.51-pound five-bass limit with a Big Bass of 6.90 pounds, their five-bass total being more than twice that of the second-place team.
White bass are fair. Reports have come in of the whites schooling but not staying up for long. Other reports have them being found on the sides of the channel 15-18 feet deep. Try using swimbaits. Crappie are fair to good. Anglers this week report crappie being found 20-22 feet deep above structure. Use jigs and minnows. Bream are ranging fair to good. Some anglers are saying the big ones can be found at 10-15 feet around the beds while other bream are being found at 14-16 feet off of windy points. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are fair. Most are being caught off shoreline at about 12-15 feet. Use chicken liver, worms, and crayfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 32,574 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 31,771 cfs.
(updated 8-5-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-22-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said Thursday morning that fishing picked up this week. Clarity of the river is clear and the water level and current are normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor and there had been no crappie bite of note for a while now. Black bass are fair early in the morning and late. Try spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfish are fair on chicken livers.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 33,792 cfs.
(updated 7-29-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 33,154 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 34,118 cfs. Both of these flows are nearly half of what they were at this time a week ago.
(updated 8-5-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is normal “and pretty muddy; best way to find fish is to find the current right now because the current has been dropping.”
Bass fishing has been a little tough, they report. Anglers are doing OK on black/blue green pumpkin jigs on the main river around jetties or sand drops, and on topwater baits and buzzbaits around grass in the mornings. Bass are also being caught on square-bill crankbaits in 5-6 feet depth. Catfish are good below Murray Lock and Dam on cut bait, stink bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-29-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Thursday morning that crappie are good around brush and laydowns on the river, 10-12 feet deep, and biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in glitter critter color. Bream are good on crickets in the backwaters in 3-4 feet of water. Catfish are good below the dams on cut shad. Black bass are good in the early morning on topwater baits on the main river. White bass are good below the dams; use Vibric Rooster Tails.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-29-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says bream are biting here. Reports are the bream are good using redworms or crickets. The water level is low. No other reports.
(update 7-29-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the clarity is “pretty clear” at Peckerwood, and the level is low but there are no stumps showing. Bream have picked up with good reports this week; use redworms or crickets. Crappie, however, were not biting this week. Black bass are good, and catfish are good on live bait.
(updated 8-5-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Mornings on the White River at Cotter are blissful. Even when the forecast calls for a heat advisory, we're putting on light jackets for early morning departures. During August heat waves, the river often provides a cool mist that refreshes and renews. Add to that the possibility of catching a boatload of rainbows and you've got yourself a great day in the Arkansas Ozarks.”
Bull Shoals Lake continues to drop as the Army Corps of Engineers keeps a steady release of water through the dam, but it is still high at 679 feet msl elevation. Average releases of 12,000 cfs, occasionally bumped up to 18,000, are being generating to reduce the lake level. When the water level remains fairly steady, whether high, low or in between, the trout are more likely to be active than if there is a constant change. “So don't let the high water stop you from casting a line.
“The browns keep surprising us with a steady bite even this late in the summer. Fresh crawdads and sculpins have received the most attention. This week has been another egg pattern/shrimp success story. A little salt on your shrimp firms it up some and keeps it on the hook longer; some garlic (powder or fresh minced) adds scent that seems to appeal to our local trout.
“So many visitors tell me they find a welcome peace on the river that keeps them coming back for more, and they're never disappointed. Hope to see you soon.”
(updated 8-5-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a few minor rain events that combined for a trace of rainfall in Cotter; hot, then cooler temperatures, and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.1 feet to land at 18.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 15.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 3.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.7 feet to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater some wadable water at night. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all still high due to spring and early summer rains. We can expect high levels of generation into the near future.
The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a grasshopper. John says his favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.
With the higher flows, the fishing has slowed. The top 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan Worm with an egg dropper).
(updated 7-29-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon “it’s way too hot to fish, but the fishing is good.” They note that more rainbow trout were stocked on Wednesday. Brown trout are doing well, too, with the browns biting shrimp. Rainbow fishing is really good, they say. Clarity is improving. The river level is 30 feet high. Four generators are running at night at the dam, and eight during the day. Overall trout bite is good. Use PowerBait, pink worms, bigger stick bait, Rooster Tails in light greens and browns, worms and shrimp.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 678.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl), a drop of 3 feet from last week and a steady fall from the lake’s high this summer near 690 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that for bass fishing, get up early and fish the creeks using topwater baits, poppers or Zara Spooks. Look for surfacing action. Use buzzbaits or Whopper Plopper if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and big worm on ledges and channel swing banks. With the water dropping, fish on the points in 15-25 feet depth. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. And, as usual, fish the conditions. Surface temperature on Wednesday was 87 degrees. The lake continues to drop steadily and is now 20 feet above normal conservation pool. Clarity is good. Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 565.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.7 feet to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater some wadable water at night. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all still high due to spring and early summer rains. We can expect high levels of generation into the near future.
The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a grasshopper. John says his favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.
The Norfork is fishing moderately. 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. John’s current favorite combination is a San Juan worm with an egg dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing moderately. There is increased pressure with school out. 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), and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.
John also had a good story to relate: “A few weeks ago my wife, Lori, and I were guiding on Dry Run Creek. One of our young clients made an errant cast and got the fly line hopelessly tangled in a tree. It was way up there and I am just too old to climb a tree. I decided to force it out and in the process damaged the fly line. I broke the loop in the end where you attach the leader. I had to repair it quickly so that we could continue fishing.
“Luckily Lori had a braided loop connector with her. This is a section of nylon braid with a loop in one end. It can be threaded on the end of the fly line and secured with a small piece of plastic tubing. I have used these for years and they have always performed flawlessly. I took a few minutes to attach it to the fly line and then rerigged the line with a new leader, fly, split shot and strike indicator. I always put a drop of super glue on the braid to prevent its loss. In this case, I had none. We returned to the river and continued fishing. We landed several trout on the rig. I thought nothing more about it.
“Last weekend I noted a prediction for a period of low water on the White River. Lori and I decided to take advantage of the excellent conditions. As is our habit, I arrived early to launch the boat while Lori was walking and feeding the dogs.
“It was cool with a dense fog on the river. The water was on the bottom. I grabbed a couple of our client rods from the back of my Suburban and quickly rigged them with pheasant tail nymphs and a ruby midge dropper. I motored upstream and began fishing. I hooked a nice fat trout on the first cast. It made a leap and I saw my line become limp. I lost the braided loop, leader, strike indicator, split shot and two flies. The braided loop had slipped off. I had obviously not attached it properly.
“I was eager to fish, so I made a quick field repair. I simply tied a quick perfection loop on the end of the line and rerigged the line. I have never been a fan of this and vowed to properly prepare the line at the end of the day.
“Halfway through this repair, Lori called. She was on the ramp and asked me to pick her up. I went over and she got in the boat. I took a couple of minutes to finish my repair. We motored upstream and began fishing. I caught five quick trout before Lori caught one. It was a great streak but did not last. Lori caught up and we finished the day even. My crude repair held.
“When we got home, I made a proper repair with a braided loop securely super-glued to the line. These fly lines cost about $80. It is way cheaper to repair them.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-5-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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 1,125.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is remaining above average levels. Water temps are in the mid-85 range. Fishing is good for all species. Striper fishing is best from Rocky Branch to the dam. Early and late are the best times. Trolling live bait is best option. Fish are suspended from 45 feet and up depending on time of day. Crappie are good on trolled cranks and on jigs tipped with minnows above brush in 30 feet of water. Walleye are fair to good. Trolling deep divers and worm harnesses are working. Catfishing is good.
“Beaver Lake hosted a world championship spearfishing tournament last week. I think I need to pick that up!,” Jon said. “Numerous big stripers were taken. On that note, Beaver Lake is an awesome lake to scuba dive and or snorkel. There are seasons that you can spearfish game fish. Look at your AGFC handbook for regulations that apply. Another way to utilize this beautiful lake. If you have never spent time on this lake, you should plan a trip. The water clarity on the dam end of lake is breathtaking! Be safe and respectful out there!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-29-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says walleye continue to bite well on the channel swings and in deeper water on crankbaits and minnows. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using worms, jigs and live minnows. Catfish appear to be on the bottom where they are biting. Chicken liver and cut bait were working best. The lake is clear and the surface temperature has soared about 10 degrees from last week, to about 93-94 degrees. The lake remains a little high but is getting closer to normal.
(updated 7-29-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite below the dam has still been pretty good. Most are being caught with various dough baits fished with light terminal tackle. Quarter-ounce spoons and shallow-diving crankbaits have also picked up quite a few fish. “When we have these clear skies, try to fish some shaded areas,” he says.
This week’s hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. There are still some walleye to be had, downriver toward Beaver town. Pulling Flicker Shads have been the ticket this week, he said. “I hope you all are staying cool and hydrated in this heat. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!” Follow Austin on his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle/White River
(updated 7-29-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting had no new reports. Visit the War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC page on Facebook or call 479-530-3262 for up-to-date information.
(updated 7-22-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reminds its fans that, yes, the lake is “in fact open for fishing despite false news sources saying otherwise, and they have never been open for swimming.” The lake is stained and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie are fair but you’ll need search hard; anglers who know what they’re doing will get bites. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms and Ned rigs. Catfish apparently had no interest in biting a hook this week.
(updated 7-22-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said that the clarity is clear and the level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair, with most being caught in about a 5-7 feet deep range above deeper water. Use minnows, jigs or try trolling with those baits. Black bass are good on various artificial lures. Catfishing are in shallow water in the weeds, and they’re biting well early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Try the usual catfish baits (stink bait, skipjack, etc.)
(updated 8-5-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing for all species was good this past week despite the heat. The bream response has been good for a few weeks. Try worms or jigs. Crappie reappeared and bit well on minnows and jigs. Black bass also picked back up and had a good bite for anglers using spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures. Catfishing remains good, with blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver and cut bait being favored. Shelly says the moon times indicating best times for fishing coincide with this week, Thursday through next Tuesday, Aug. 11. Good days also pop back up on calendar on Aug. 19-25, if you follow the moon schedule. The lake temperature Monday was 80.2 degrees. Clarity is murky and the water is high.
(updated 8-5-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity remains clear and the water has risen back to its normal level. Surface water temperature Wednesday afternoon was 87 degrees. Bream have been good the last few weeks on redworms and crickets. Crappie aren’t on the catch list of late. Black bass are, though, as anglers report good results on both spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good using stink bait and chicken liver.
(updated 8-5-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 380 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been mostly clear. “Last week with the heat it was kind of a bummer. This week has started off great with lower temps. Hope they last,” Mark said. “The streamer action has been excellent on the overcast days. Personal faves are big Woollies and Clousers. On the sunny days, nymphs can work great to get down in the deeper pools where the trout are hiding. Hare’s ears, princes and pheasant tails can work great in sizes 12-16. Hopper droppers can be a lot of fun, also. I like big bright hoppers in yellow and orange during the heat of summer.
“There has been a lot of smaller brown trout stocked in the Spring River this summer that will hit dries. For the smallies, big sculpin and Clousers can work great. If it’s hot out, fish early and late. If you get lucky and get a nice cool, cloudy day, full days are great.
“Saturdays have had heavy traffic on the river. We always recommend fishing through the week and on Sundays and leave the river to the canoe hatch on Saturday. Works out great for us. As always, be careful wading the Spring; it is slick out there!”
(updated 8-5-2021) 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. 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 9.38 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 11.79, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 23.72, more than 2 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-5-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports this week.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 8-5-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no reports.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 8-5-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 8-5-2021) 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. Many artificial fish habitat structures have been created and put in place, awaiting the refilling of the lake when dam repair work is done.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.40 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the mayfly hatch has been in full swing on Millwood over the past few weeks. Huge numbers of mayflies have the crappie, bass and bream feeding actively. As of Monday, Millwood Lake is near normal pool; it was 2 inches high and on a slow fall. The lake Tuesday was at 259.4 and stable; oxbows' water clarity continues improved. Little River clarity improved with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater remains on a slow fall with elevation near 229 feet msl and gate discharge at the dam around 2,800 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 improved with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River, but use extreme caution anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps remained stable this week, ranging 85-90 degrees. River clarity ranged 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows was at 10-20 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions.
The AGFC Hatchery have released a total of 528,114 Florida Bass fingerlings into Millwood Lake thus far this year!
As for fishing specifics this week:
* Largemouth bass have been randomly schooling over the past couple of weeks in the oxbows up Little River in the early mornings. The best feeding periods have been early from daylight to around 10 a.m., slowing in the heat of the day. Surface strikes have been good on Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Cordell Boy Howdy's, Clear Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back. Blowup reactions randomly continue in the lily pads early, with plastic frogs in black, June Bug and white working near pads and grass. The schooling bass are chasing large pods of threadfin shad to the surface and blowing them out of the water at daylight.
Spoons, Rat-L-Traps and tandem Bass Assassin Rigs are also catching these surface schooling fish. Ten-inch Power Worms in black/blue tail, Black Grape and Plum colors continue working for a few bass up to 4 pounds when the surface commotion subsides. In recent bass tournaments, two trophy-size largemouths were weighed in post-spawn over 9 pounds each, while one of our guides, Ronald, caught a nice, healthy and rambunctious 10-pound largemouth a couple weeks ago.
In the mouths of Snake Creek, Jacks' Isle and Hurricane Creek the Kentucky bass found over the past few weeks were hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, custom-painted Little John Cranks and Fat Free Shads, as well as behind points extending into Little River above Jack's Isle.
Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits have been working like the topwater frogs early in the morning in the oxbows, flats and stumps with lily pads. Best colors over the past week or two have been Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Bluegill Flash in the 5-inch sizes. If you can find drops and vertical structure where the alligatorweed and lily pads converge on receding flats or deeper drops on secondary points, 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 are still getting random reactions. Bomber Fat Free Guppy in Splatterback and Citrus Shad colors has been working for several weeks.
Heavy three-quarter-ounce 1-Knocker and half-ounce Rat-L-Traps in chrome/black back, Millwood Magic and Splatterback caught solid 3- to 4-pound bass in the oxbows of Clear Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire where the water clarity has much improved over the past couple weeks. Bill Lewis Lures SB57 Square Bills and MR-6 Crankbaits picked up some healthy 1- to 3-pound largemouths in McGuire during the last couple of weeks. Best colors working in the oxbows over the past few weeks have been Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad, Tennessee Shad or Threadfin Shad.
* Bream have been in a feeding mode for a few weeks, and are very aggressive on mayflies underneath overhanging willow trees along Little River. A few areas near Jack's Isle, and at Millwood State Park off the shoreline, were active and the bream were biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn and/or bread as well as heavily feeding on the Mayfly hatch.
* White bass were still roaming in Little River stacked up behind points in deeper creek channels dumping into Little River and creek mouth junctions in the oxbows. Random reactions were fair, and best on hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail. Rooster Tails, Bomber Fat Free Shads and Rocket Shads also caught a few white bass over the past two weeks. A few whites were caught trolling Rat-L-Traps with the schooling largemouths in Mud Lake and McGuire oxbows up Little River over the past week.
* Crappie improved on jigs and tubes in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake from 8-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best. Minnows caught a few 1.5-to 2-pound black crappie early, but were slow in the afternoon.
* Catfish continue to move and feed well in current along Little River. Trotlines and yo-yos have been working well for some nice blues and channel cats over the past couple weeks. Cut buffalo, hot dogs, chicken hearts and livers have been working over the past couple weeks for some nice size 3- to 5-pound cats on trotlines and yo-yos from 8-12 feet deep near current flows in creek channels near the river.
(updated 7-29-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday morning that lake clarity has cleared and the water level is low by 3 feet. The crappie bite has slowed due to the heat, with fair results this week. Go with minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Black buzzbaits and black spinnerbaits are working at night; Brush Hogs are best during the day. Catfishing is excellent "on any bait you put on a hook and drop on the bottom.” Erling has a nice population of channel, blue and very large flathead catfish, per recent AGFC fish sampling.
No reports on bream.
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 541.45 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 401.82 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says DeGray has a level of 401.82 feet msl and water surface temperature is right about 90 degrees. “Wow,” he says about that temp. “Crappie fishing is changing with water levels and water temperatures. Little action in brushpile fishing. The best tactics for this time of year is sniping with LiveScope or trolling crankbaits. Sniping is a different skills set, and if you are interested check it out on YouTube. Pulling crankbaits like Bandit 300s catches many fish.
“This time of year it’s a mixed bag: hybrids, spotted bass, crappie and lots of white bass. You can do the same with Alabama rigs, but the crappie seldom hit those. Always use white and shad colors on Alabama rigs.
“The lake is lower and bream beds are disappearing with the lower water levels, so structure is the best place for bream. Brushpiles have quite a few bream in them but lots of small ones. Vertical structure like trees and stumps is good bet.
“I think the big thing with the heat and summer now is the bass fishing. Reports of surfacing fish are from one end of the lake to the other. Whites, spotted, black and hybrids are working the shad over. Get out early. Topwater action is over by 8 to 8:30 a.m. Same story: Whopper Ploppers, Spooks and poppers on top, then crankbaits, spoons, Rooster Tail jigs (shad color or white best). It’s time to change the mode of operation, folks. Good fishing, and be safe.”
(update 8-5-2021) Local crappie angler Charles Abernathy said, “I’ve been back out on the water recently. I’ve been targeting crappie piled up on deep standing timber above the thermocline. The bite is not as aggressive as it normally is, but you can still have some fun if you don’t roast first due to the heat.
“I don’t use minnows just because of their inconvenience, but they have sure been on my mind. I’ve been having decent luck on a monkey milk Slab Slayer with orange or pink head. If the wind is not bad, I use a one-sixteenth-ounce without an added split-shot. I start throwing short of the mob of fish and catch those one or two willing to come after it. Then throw past the mob and you can usually pick up a couple more. Let that bait fall slow and watch that line for any bounce. Let that bait swing slow when you are coming over them. When the bite stops, and it will after a handful of casts, I move close to them and fish them vertical. Fish slow and methodical and when the bite stops, move fast to the next mob.
When it’s hot outside most of us slow down. Most of these fish seem to be that way, too. Remember that when you are burning a jig back to the boat … ha ha ha … slow. It’s a lot of work this time of year but persistence pays off (most of the time).
“I appreciate you all reaching out and the feedback you provide. I know it’s been a while since I’ve given a report. I appreciate your patience. As always, feel free to ping me at email@example.com for more info. I have a YouTube channel where I share some fishing content and have already posted this last trip from this week. Be safe; I look forward to seeing you on the water.”
(updated 7-29-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says white bass and black bass have been caught casting spoons and trolling crankbaits. A few hybrid stripers have been caught the same way but better and more on live bait fished 21-41 feet deep.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.35 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 530.39 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 8-5-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the water remains high and muddy, and he had no recent reports.
(updated 8-5-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake level is low and the fishing activity mirrors that. He’s had anglers who had good success catching black bass early in the morning and again later in the evening. They are using worms. Other than the bass, he’s heard no reports with the other species. The lake clarity is clear.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-22-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, builder of the toughest and most durable, all-American-made jigs and fishing products in Hot Springs, reports Lake Catherine’s water levels at full pool with regular generation that produces current in the morning and evenings. Water temps at the lower end of the lake near Remmel Dam continue to hover in the mid- to upper 80s. “Catherine is a tough nut to crack! There are no set patterns from one day to the next this time of year, so we will share what we can! Bass can be had in shaded shallow areas with topwater frogs, Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits throughout the day, but especially in the evenings. White color patterns seem to work the best. Drop-shot and Ned rig fishing techniques are getting the lion’s share of fish caught as of late. Green pumpkin Trick Worms on the drop-shot and seedless watermelon patterns on the Ned rig will catch fish (especially spotted bass). Most of these fish will not be good quality, but they do put plenty in the boat! The offshore bite is the main way (for us at least) to catch quality fish. Using the Ned rig and drop-shot on main channel ends of submerged gravel bars and deep drop-offs has been our go-to. The other option to fish these areas is a swivel head jig rigged with a watermelon craw. This heavy bait does great at getting down in current while staying weedless. It’s an excellent choice for covering large rocky areas quickly.
Walleye are still being caught regularly and accidentally by bass anglers dragging Texas-rigged black and plum worms by dock pilings and off points. Bream are good everywhere off deep rock faces and dock pilings in 15 feet with a water depth of 20 feet plus. Worms and crickets work best by far.
“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 8-5-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 62 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted a special generation schedule starting Friday, Aug. 6, that extends through Thursday, Aug. 12. Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to view these flow releases and plan accordingly. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening.
Now that Lake Ouachita has been lowered almost 5 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are at a level where fishing and boating are safe to continue. Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam is extremely 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 AGFC’s stocking program begins again in mid-November. Catfish have been caught below the bridge in the main channel and below the dam on cut bait and live minnows, as these fish have completed the end 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 one-eighth-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 game fish. 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 8-5-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 8-5-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at full pool with water temps between 86-89 degrees throughout the lake with exception of the river channel, which remains in the high 50s. Water is clear with a slight haze. Bass, especially largemouth, have been scattered but catchable. Bass are like humans when it’s hot: They seek shade, cooler temps and easily accessible food supply. Point blank -- they are lazy. We have done well lately with bigger fish in low numbers by fishing topwater in shaded areas. Frogs and Whopper Ploppers are a great 1-2 punch combination. By fishing the Whopper Ploppers down clear banks and corners of docks and covering a ton of water and by skipping the frog under docks and into brush and grass, it’s the most effective way to cover all areas of potential big fish. The drop-shot rig with a watermelon seed Zoom Trick Worm rigged wacky, or nose-hooked shad-collared fluke, produces the best numbers of bass (especially spotted). Bridge piers, submerged structure and dock pilings are excellent targets to fill the live well with 10- to 12-inch fish. Bream have been aggravatingly good in the heat. They will attack everything in sight, but can mainly be concentrated on laydowns in 8-15 feet of water. A person can wear them out on worms or crickets under a cork. These feisty eaters can be caught in sun or shade, and don’t seem to care.
Crappie are fair at best under docks. Shooting a small fluke on a jighead up into and under structure can catch crappie, but don’t expect large numbers. Docks near current are best, as these predators exclusively eat baitfish. “Good Luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.26 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday morning that the lake is a little dingy in clarity while the surface water temperature is 87-88 degree. The lake is at a normal level. With the heat down and the water nice, anglers were catching some fish this week. Bream were good in 6 feet of water; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good; try minnows or use Beaver Bottom Jigs in white/chartreuse or purple/chartreuse for best results. Black bass are good early in the day and then again late. Try spinnerbaits or a Whopper Plopper in a bone color. Catfishing are biting around the shoreline. They’re biting the baited limblines and anglers are trolling and catching them in 2-6 feet depth over open water.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 573.29 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-5-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports black bass are still good. Texas-rigged Ole Monster worms and a drop-shot finesse worms have been working. There have been good reports with jigging a three-quarter-ounce spoon, too. Walleye are excellent and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. Stripers are fair to good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the eastern half of the lake. Bream are still very good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are very good and being caught on rod and reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature is ranging 84-88 degrees and the water clarity is clear. Lake level on Wednesday was 573.35 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 8-5-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been trolling Bandit 300 crankbaits 10-12 feet deep and Strike King XD10s 20-24 feet deep and catching a few white bass first thing in the morning. The stripers are there, too, but are not overly interested in eating anything. Then we fish nightcrawler segments near the bottom in 14-24 feet of water using light tackle and catching lots of bream and a few catfish and walleye on rocky points and in coves near brushpiles. Start early … finish early … stay hydrated.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.02 feet msl (full pool: 386.36 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 was up slightly to 20.92 feet and about 5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-5-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said fishing has been slow but a few crappie are being picked off near brush in about 6 feet of water using black and chartreuse tube or minnows. A few black bass have been caught in the hollow cypress trees on green pumpkin finesse jigs or Texas-rigged black and red flake tubes. Some bluegill are still hanging out near laydowns and can be caught with a cricket 2 feet under a cork.
Cook’s Lake is a 2-mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Due to current guidelines, Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. To comply with current guidelines, please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, call the center at 870-241-3373.
(updated 8-5-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said he has had nothing to report of late, but hopes to resume fishing mid- to late next week, so check back in this space soon for new reports.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-22-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having success catching largemouth bass. The bass have reported to be biting at depths of 8-10 feet. Anglers report having success using various artificial baits as well as live bait. At Storm Creek Lake on the southern end of the State Park, Tyler reports very little fishing activity there. “We have not received any reports of fish being caught in this lake this month.”
One observer at Storm Creek did report to the AGFC that a couple of small bream were caught during the middle of last week, but not much was biting for them either.