Aug. 12, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 12, 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (Aug. 12).
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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: Jon Conklin, the Fishing Report's regular reporter from Beaver Lake, guided a couple of clients from Kansas, Danny Meideros (left in photo) and his son Manny, on the lake last Saturday and the Kansans put a true trophy in the boat. Danny and son caught a 32-pounder; Jon says they were using bream for bait. "Stripers have been fair to good lately," Jon adds. Obviously. Read more or Jon's report on the action at Beaver Lake under Northwest Arkansas below, along with another photo of the striper with Manny Meideros that offers another perspective of the size of the fish.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 8-12-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake has the normal stain and is at a normal level. Bream were biting well again after a little tail off the previous week, with redworms and crickets both getting good action. Crappie remain fair, with small minnows and small jigs an angler’s best bet. Black bass reports are good; spinnerbaits, crankbaits, poppers and frogs all seem to be working well. Catfishing is good; try stink bait, or bait those trotlines and limblines with nightcrawlers, goldfish or bream.
(updated 8-12-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said, “I again have visited many lakes in the past two weeks; all lakes and large ponds that are within an hour’s drive of Conway are getting my attention. Anglers having very little luck in this heat, but best luck they are having is at sunup or sundown, and look for schools of baitfish with game fish under them. I noted that the U.S. Forest Service has graded many of their roads, including those that go to Lake Winona -- it’s now a 30 mph road instead of 5 mph.
“Of the lakes I have visited, what anglers I ran into and talked with said all fish are slow. Beaverfork, Kingfisher, Cargill, Brewer, many are schooling in Brewer. Galla Lake is basically a kayak-only lake, BUT lots of fish being caught. And for more info on Beaverfork, check out https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235
“A lot of anglers read these reports but these reports are only good if you share your info with us. So, please post on the Facebook page linked below or ask Jim Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can send him reports from where you fish.
“Here’s a tip to consider while fishing in these hot days of summer: Be innovative and think outside the tackle box; it works. Some of you have reported to me some strange catches. I myself have caught many cats hunting bream on the grass edge. Yes, a 4-pound cat caught with a tiny bream hook on braid. And some of you have caught a few cats on traditional bass lures. I also caught a few bass with a popper trolling with a 4-ounce weight using a 6-foot leader, fishing it 4-6 feet down.”
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. 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 8-12-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said they are in a summer time 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, go with 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 8-13-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, who is operating Little Red River Guide Service(501-690-9166, 501-507-3688) that had been owned by the late Greg Seaton, says the generation schedule has been consistent on the Little Red for the last week, with generation starting around 1 p.m. and running until around 5 p.m. most days throughout the week. Excellent wading opportunities on the weekends with low flows. Concentrate on fishing the deep holes and oxygenated shoals. Pheasant tail soft hackles are a good choice, while the Guide's Choice is hare's ear. Sowbugs have been working well in sizes 14, 16. Midges also are working in size 18.
(updated 8-12-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Army Corps of Engineers is running water about 5 hours a day in the afternoon. Water is clear and a little low. Trout are biting well on Marabou Jigs, one-eighth-ounce Rooster Tails and Trout Magnets when water is low in the mornings. In the afternoon when the generator is on, fishing is good on big stick bait (for brown trout especially!).
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.32 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 8-12-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.32 feet msl and falling with evaporation and generation. It’s now 1.22 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Some species have moved shallower and some deeper following baitfish. The best, consistent crappie bite is going to be 25-30 feet. Trolled baits or straight up and down with jigs or minnows will work; stay with the bait.
Walleye are roaming under a lot of other species eating leftovers, and others can be found on points, humps, etc., dragging crawlers on a drop-shot 30-40 feet.
Bream are eating shallow out to 25 feet on crickets and crawlers all over the lake and rivers. Catfish are feeding at various times, and the bite should pick up in the next week with the expected weather; use live or prepared baits.
Black bass are still all over the place. More and more are waiting to stay shallow here all of their life, but you still have schooling fish that are 25-50 feet. Fish accordingly and stay around shad or bream. Hybrid bass are using deeper water out to 60 feet, and roaming and searching up to 28 feet; use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or hair jigs, fish conditions and stay around shad. White bass are using more of the shallower water column from 35-25 feet. Again, stay around the shad and use spoons, inline spinners, small swimbaits, hair jigs and topwater baits.
(updated 8-12-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood water is clear and normal. Bass are good early morning on topwater (Zara Spook, Rebel Pop-R, spoons) chasing schooling fish. Later in the evening or at night, fishing is good on black spinnerbaits and big Texas-rig worm fishing deep in 20 feet of water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-12-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports that the lake is still clear and now at a low level. Bream are being caught in good numbers in the early morning on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good at night on goldfish, baby bream and nightcrawlers. Crappie and black bass are not biting much, with poor reports coming in lately.
(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 8-12-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said little has changed at Brewer Lake this week. It’s 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 8-12-2021) 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. 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 8,066 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 8,107 cfs.
(updated 8-12-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 8-12-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said Wednesday afternoon that the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream have been fair on redworms and crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good early in the day and then late as the sun sets; try spinnerbaits or soft plastics. Catfish are biting well at night, Ray said. Try the usual catfish attractants.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 4,055 cfs.
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 8-12-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is muddy and normal. Bass fishing is kind of tough now; they’re biting late in the evenings on black and white buzzbait, black/blue jig and Texas-rig worms on the main river off the jetties.
(updated 8-12-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Thursday morning that the weather has been pretty hot and there has not been much to report.
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 7-29-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We're finally getting those Arkansas summertime temps we've avoided so far -- from blissful to blazing hot. BUT, our early-morning hours are still blessed with a little bit of chill that counteracts the afternoon heat. The hot baits for the best catches during this week's heat streak have been scented artificial worms: bubblegum pink (Berkley or XFactor) and XFactor's shrimp pink or white.
“The continued steady releases from Bull Shoals Dam have led to daily drifting rather than setting an anchor and "parking," and anglers are regularly pulling in 12- to 13-inch rainbows throughout the day. Add a nibble of shrimp to the barb to test the waters for further action.
“Some of the guides say you can't beat the real thing: Soft-shell live crawdads are their favorite bait for the early morning hours. With the river still at consistent mid-level flows, smaller silver/blue spoons, Colorados or silver Cleos have been doing well off the riverbank. A cup of nightcrawlers or redworms is a must during the mid-afternoon rise.
“Come on over and indulge in a little of the great outdoors. There's no greater Great Outdoors than here in the Arkansas Ozarks.”
(updated 8-12-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the river is high by 30 feet. They said there are eight generators running round-the-clock at the dam. Nevertheless, the trout bite is good. PowerBait, pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp continue to get bites.
(updated 8-12-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a minor rain event totaling a quarter of an inch in Cotter, cooler and then hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3 feet to land at 16.5feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 17.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.5 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 3.1 tenth of a foot above seasonal power pool and 5.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 8.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had 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 rains. We can expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.
The hopper bite continues 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 Rim 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 a girdle bug dropper).
John also discusses the high water of late: “As a fly-fishing guide, I live by the water levels. It has a huge impact on my business and personal life. I frequently get requests from potential clients for me or my wife, Lori, to teach them to fly-fish or just take them fishing on a wade trip. I have to explain to them that we are currently experiencing high water that makes wading unsafe, if not impossible. I am always being asked when the water will be wadable. I usually have no answer.
“In my personal life, I really like to wade fish. The feel of the water against my waders and the solid take of a good trout are intoxicating to me. I have been denied this pleasure for far too long. Local fly shops, restaurants, motels and vacation rentals are losing business because a high percentage of fly-anglers prefer to wade. We have had precious little wadable water this year. When will it end?
“I have a friend who was the top hydrologist (the science concerned with the study of water and its movement) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Little Rock. He told me that high water usually occurs in three-year periods. If that is true, we should be about done with high water for a while because we have had three straight years of high water.
“I study the flows daily. Sometimes I think I should have been a hydrologist. I do this because I am trying to determine when and where the best fishing conditions will occur. I am also trying to determine when this high water will end. I have noticed that the lake levels are dropping. More importantly, the rate of drop is increasing. Bull Shoals Lake is currently dropping 3 feet a week and Norfork Lake is dropping a foot and a half a week.
“As the lakes drop, we get this funnel effect. The surface of the lake decreases as the lakes fall. Therefore, as the same amount of water is emptied, the level of the lake drops quicker. This is beginning to occur now. Therefore, the lake level should drop faster in the coming weeks.
“When I look at the drop rate and the lake levels, my calculations support the conclusion that we should reach power level in five weeks. This is supported by the Corps of Engineers lake forecast that predicts that the Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes will reach power pool on Sept. 8.
“This means we could have wadable water this fall. I am stoked! Of course, all of this depends on no further large amounts of rainfall. We will have to wait and see. I have a good feeling about this.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 675.92 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 8-12-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that for bass fishing, anglers should continue to beat the heat and get up early, and they should plan to use topwater baits like poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for shad-surfacing action and follow that. Use a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper to cover water if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and a big worm on ledges and channel swing banks. With water dropping at Bull Shoals now, fish on the points in 15-25 feet deep. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, the bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. As usual, Del adds, “Fish the conditions!” Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake. The clarity now is good, the lake has dropped from that 30-foot-plus high to 17 feet above normal level now, and the surface temperature is about 87 degrees.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 563.63 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 8-12-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 8.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had 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 rains. We can expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.
The Norfork is fishing moderately. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding of the past few 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan worm with an egg dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing poorly. 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), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.
Remember that the White River, Norfork tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-12-2021) 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 1,123.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-12-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is inching down each week to normal level. Right now it is around 3 feet above normal levels. Water temps are in the 80s. The all-important thermocline has set up in most areas of the lake. It ranges from 30 feet on north end and somewhat shallower up in river arms. It is not set up throughout the lake, though.
“I have talked before on how to find it on sonar if you do not know,” Jon says. “Turn your gain up until you start to see a line form on the screen somewhere from the bottom up. It is a very important feature because that is where the oxygen levels are the most ideal. Pulling baits on a troll, you want to be around that level.
“So on to the reports. Stripers have slowed down a notch or two. Look from Point 6 up to the dam. Shad and bream are working as of late. I used a hand-sized bream to put a client on a Beaver Lake trophy striper that weighed 32 pounds last Saturday (photo left). Those fish are rare. Guides are catching anywhere from two to nine fish per day. I always tell clients and for all that want to fish Beaver Lake striper that Beaver is a trophy lake and not massive numbers lake. With that said it has some of the biggest freshwater stripers in the country. It is also a very beautiful lake. I get comments weekly on just the sheer beauty!
“Walleye are hit and miss, with shorts being caught for the most part. Look from Rocky Branch towards Horseshoe Bend and around the Point 12 area. Trolling crawlers and cranks will work. Crappie are on deep brush and suspended in the thermocline. Arkie cranks and Picos in pink colors are working well. Catfish remain good on all methods. Bream are there for the taking.
“Be safe stay hydrated! It has been hot! Fall will be here soon, believe it or not!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide SerSouthtownvice Goshen AR.
(updated 8-12-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that white bass are active in the morning and the late afternoon schooling on shad. Bream added redworms to their cricket diet of late and the bite is fair this week. Crappie are fair on minnows, and anglers are having fair success trolling deep-diving crankbaits while some are still spider-rigging around brushpiles. Black bass are fair on topwater baits in the mornings and the evenings. Also try worms and jigs. Catfishing is fair on juglines. Beaver Lake has a clear clarity and is a couple of feet above normal level now in a slow but steady fall.
(updated 8-12-2021) 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. 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.
“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 8-12-2021) 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 8-12-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is open for fishing, but it had no new reports.
(updated 8-12-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie fishing is good, particularly using minnows and fishing toward the old bridge; also use jigs around the lake. Black bass are fair on plastic worms and topwaters (Pop-Rs are popular) in the early morning. Also try a jig. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-12-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing continues to be good at Lake Charles, and this week they were in the middle of great days for fishing based on “moon times.” Bream were good on the usual baits (redworms, crickets, nightcrawlers, etc.). Crappie are good on minnows or jigs, but the best catches were coming out of deep water. Black bass are good, though no baits were noted. Catfish are biting well on worms, blood bait or chicken liver. Look for more good days of fishing on Aug. 19-25, if you follow the moon schedule, she says. The lake temperature Monday was 81 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 8-12-2021) 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 9.51 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 11.74, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 23.41, more than 2 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-12-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports this week.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 8-12-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no reports.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 8-12-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 8-12-2021) 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 259.34 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-12-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the story continues to be the mayfly hatch being in full swing on Millwood for the past several weeks. Huge numbers of mayflies have the crappie, bass and bream feeding actively. The lake Tuesday was at 259.23 feet msl, basically normal pool, and stable. Navigation conditions are improved on Millwood Lake with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River. The oxbows' water clarity has improved. Little River clarity has improved with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater continues a slow fall, elevation near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 1,200 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. Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging 85-90 degrees.
The Army Corps of Engineers, Mike says, have indicated that there are no drawdowns currently planned for Millwood at this time.
Also, he said, be aware of sudden gate changes fishing the rocks below Millwood Dam and spillway.
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 on plastic frogs in black, June Bug and white 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.
Little John custom-painted crankbaits, Bill Lewis Square Bill Cranks, spoons, three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps and Tandem Bass Assassin Rigs are also catching these surface schooling 2- to 4-pound 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 the mouths of Snake Creek, Jacks' Isle and Hurricane Creek, the Kentucky bass (or spotted bass) were found over the past few weeks hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, custom-painted Little John Cranks and Fat Free Shads, and behind points extending into Little River above Jack's Isle.
Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits have been working in the oxbows, and the same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs early in the morning. 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 Guppys in Splatterback and Citrus Shad colors have been working for several weeks.
Heavy three-quarter-ounce 1-Knocker and half-ounce-sized 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 the last couple weeks. Best colors working in the oxbows have been the Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad, Tennessee Shad or Threadfin Shad colors over the past few weeks.
* Bream have been in a feeding mode for a few weeks and 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 banks saw bream biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn and/or bread.
* 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 few 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 for jigs. 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 540.29 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 401.06 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-12-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hot, hot, hot! The lake is at 401.05 feet msl and is getting very low. Now is the time to be out there locating some of the shallow brushpiles. Lots of them starting to show.
“Crappie fishing is still slow. You may have some luck sniping in open water or the timber. Not much going on in the brushpiles. Downsize your bait. Watch YouTube for videos on how to snipe. LiveScope is a necessary tool to snipe. Fish in the timber seem to be in the teens up to 20 feet. Schools can be found in the timber (if you have some timber located that is deep enough). Trolling Bandit 300s, Rapala Shad Raps or A-rigs will produce a mixed bag of fish: hybrids, whites, Kentucky bass, walleyes and crappie. Pull over structure or channels where fish show up on your electronics. These fish are somewhat slow to bite, so stay with them. Bream can be caught on brushpiles and cover. From bottom fishing to bobber works.
“Well, it’s that time of year and the bass are schooling. Everywhere from Iron Mountain to Point Cedar. Get there early and look for the boats. Topwaters work great, but spoons give you bigger hooks and distance. Sorry this report is so short; activity is slowing down, waiting for the cooler weather. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Watch out for people in need.”
(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 437.30 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.57 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 8-12-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the water remains high and muddy, and he had no reports.
(updated 8-12-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the weather has been too hot for the regular anglers to tackle Lake Atkins in recent days. The lake is clear and is at a low level. During that brief run of slightly cooler weather, Donald had anglers enjoying good success catching black bass early in the morning and again later in the evening on worms. But that was all that had been reported.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-12-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, producer of the toughest hand-tied jigs and fishing products in Hot Springs, reports Lake Catherine’s water levels normal and temperatures in the Remmel Dam area up to Catherine’s Landing in the low to mid 80s. Water visibility is in excess of 3 feet. “We have had a peculiar summer so far in being that the water is water like most years but the fish (bass mostly) are not moving deeper in a lot of areas. Most years, fish will move deeper into the 15-20 foot range and suspend or move to deep structure with current blocking ability. This year is not that year. It seems like the oxygen levels are up and the fish simply never HAD to move. This could be due to our large rainfall numbers.
“Conveniently, for those shallow water fisherman, many quality largemouth and spotted bass have been shallow. The Slycked Back White Swim Jig is a great weapon to use in grass and dock areas. Simply throw it down a dock edge and let it pendulum back to you with a swimming fluke trailer. Frogs, Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits and Texas-rigged large ribbon-tailed worms also work well. We have caught a few quality fish over 3 pounds offshore in downed submerged trees on the drop-shot with a Zoom watermelon Trick Worm, but it’s not a pattern by any means. Bream are aggravatingly good everywhere on worms in 2-15 feet of water, with bigger fish at the deeper depths. Simply find a deep wooden pier dock and back off it to the depth. Go get ’em, and watch out for pleasure boaters out enjoying the last days before school starts! Check us out on Facebook! Slycked Back Fishing LLC.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-12-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 65 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted a special generation schedule starting Friday, Aug. 13 and extends through Thursday, Aug. 19. 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 over 5 feet below 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 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 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 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. This pattern will be repeated almost every week until the summer heat is replaced by fall temperatures.”
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 8-12-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 8-12-2021) 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 an 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 bass). 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 343.68 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-12-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is “pretty clear” and surface temperature is 87-88 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream have been fair, with the catching coming in 4-6 feet of water. Redworms, crickets and nightcrawlers are all working. Crappie are good, with the fish found in open water and biting at 8-11 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good early in the day and then late in the evening, and they’re being caught in shallow water. Try a spinnerbait, buzzbait or Chatterbait, with white the preferred color. Catfishing is good below the dam on live bait (especially bream).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 572.50 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 good. Texas-rigged Ole Monster worms and a drop-shot finesse worm have been working. There have been good reports with jigging a three-quarter-ounce spoon, too. Walleye are very good and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caug These fish are being caught on live bait on the eastern half of the lake. Bream are good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are very good and being cauvght 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 is 572.52 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 385.69 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 20.18 feet and about 5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-12-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said he had no new report from Cook’s Lake with the heat returning. The lake level “is getting right, though,” he added.
For anglers recently, before the latest heat surge, a few crappie were being picked off near brush in about 6 feet of water using black and chartreuse tube or minnows. A few black bass were caught in the hollow cypress trees on green pumpkin finesse jigs or Texas-rigged black and red flake tubes. Some bluegill were 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 8-12-2021) 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 8-12-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.