Sept. 16, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 16, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (Sept. 16).
****Buy an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.
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: The rainbow trout have been hitting great on the Spring River in northeast Arkansas, according to guide Mark Crawfor, and angler Debra Heaton caught a nice one with Mark recently. Small nymphs have been great for numbers, Mark says, and blue-wing olives and caddis are hatching heavy most days. Anything to imitate them works. He adds that spin-fishing has been hot with Trout Magnets with the low, clear water. Read more from Mark Crawford under the Northeast Arkansas section below.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 9-16-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday that the lake still maintains the usual stain, while the water is still low. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good, with best catches this week coming in the early mornings. Continue to use the small minnows or small jigs. Look around the Highway 89 bridge area for the best action. Black bass are good. A variety of baits will attract a bite: spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures, buzzbaits and curly tail worms. Catfishing is good with stink bait, nightcrawlers, shad, chicken liver, frozen shrimp, goldfish and big trotline minnows.
(updated 9-2-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said that there was no change in his reports from a week ago. “I again have visited many lakes in the past few weeks; all lakes and large ponds that are within an hour’s drive of Conway are getting my attention. I am disabled/retired and fish six days a week, so if you see me, stop me and tell me what you caught and how. I’m fishing Lake Beaverfork, Brewer Lake, Lake Cargill, Lake Conway, Lake Winona, Nimrod, Overcup, Harris Break, Galla, Kingfisher, and the Arkansas River west from Toad Suck to Cypress Creek Landing. The river is fun to fish this week with calm water and lots of fish.
“Here’s what I’m finding around these spots:
Crappie: Typical locations around the lakes, they are active around 10 feet, use normal stuff.
Bream: Look for their beds and try normal baits; they are being caught a bit away from their beds.
Bass: They are lurking IN THE GRASS; use weedless.
Cats: No reports.
Gar: These guys are fun, but I need to invent a way to clean them. They are the armadillo of the lakes.
Hybrids: Choctaw, they are being caught, go find them.
For more info specific to Beaverfork, check out https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235.
Also, visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information. 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 9-16-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says Not much of a change in the generation schedule. The SWPA has been running two units for two to four hours a day Monday through Friday usually starting around 4 pm
Weekends generation schedule has been minimal creating excellent wading opportunities for the entire river. Try fishing the deeper holes and oxygenated shoals.
Nymphing under an indicator with Pheasant tails, Sowbugs and Midge's has been productive. Along with stripping Woolly Buggers.
(updated 9-16-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is clear and normal; the Army Corps of Engineers is generating in afternoons. Trout are good on Trout Magnets in pink and black/chartreuse and Marabou Jigs in olive or olive/black. Mornings are better right now for fishing.
(updated 9-9-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said, “We continue to see 4-6 hours of afternoon generation on weekdays and less generation on weekends. With hot air temps and limited generation, we are seeing warmer water temps, so be careful not to overstress the caught fish and get the fish back in the water quickly, spending a little extra time reviving when releasing.
“Midges, pheasant tails, sowbugs and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jig heads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 9-16-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 458.35 it is 4.19 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet. Shad have been on the move and of course fish will follow. Crappie a lot are still deep ,over all most can be caught in 18-50 feet with some exceptions of course, use minnow, or trolled crank baits. Walleye some are super deep and more hanging out in 40 feet try dragging crawlers on a jig head or drop shot, spoons working as well. Bream are fixing to spawn again and are eating super shallow out to 30 feet, on crickets or crawler or use a fly. Catfishing is good not a lot of people out for them, cut or live bait working. Black basses are good top to bottom all over lake and rivers lots of baits working. Hybrid and White basses eating off and on all day and nite,spoons,in-line spinners,topwater baits, swim baits,25-65 feet. For all species just stay around the shad and you cannot go wrong.
(updated 9-16-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said black bass fishing is tough now. The early mornings are better on topwater and ½- to ¾-ounce CC Spoons and small swimbaits. They are mostly catching schooling fish on lower end of the lake from the Sandy Beach area to the dam
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-16-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake has moved to muddy in clarity, while the level to a big jump and is now high. No surface temperature was reported. Bream fishing is good on redworms and crickets. Crappie appear to be coming closer to the docks now and are biting well on minnows and jigs. Black bass have also moved to the shoreline now and are biting there in good numbers. Catfishing is good in the evenings on goldfish, bream and chicken liver.
(updated 9-2-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 9-16-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the water level has tumbled to low, and the water clarity is dingy. The conditions still have set up well for bream, with anglers saying they’re catching good numbers on redworms and crickets. Bream are biting off the docks and in slips in the shade, he said. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good but no baits were mentioned. No reports on black bass.
(update 9-16-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said the clarity of Brewer Lake is normal, as is the level. Bream fishing is good, with bream found around the shoreline. Use redworms and crickets. Crappie are good, with fish being found at 3-6 feet depth. Use Bobby Garland Baby Shad jigs, or try minnows. Crappie are relating to the brushpiles. Black bass fishing is good, particularly in the afternoons. Try your basic topwater or try a just-below-the-surface bait (Texas-rigged floating worm, perhaps) in the shallow grassy areas. Catfishing is good using stink bait and fishing it near or on the bottom.
(updated 9-2-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 9-10-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said the fishing has been consistent, but mostly fair in all species, for the past few weeks. The only species coming in with good results from angles are the Kentucky bass (or spotted bass), with catches being made in 15-20 feet of water using jigs. Largemouth bass are fair to good. They're being found deep, still in their summer patterns, and anglers should try using drop-shotted soft plastics, heavy spinnerbaits along the grassline and swimbaits. White bass are fair with some sporadic surface schooling activity, but the fish aren't staying at the surface long. Some anglers also are catching white bass along the sides of the river channel in 15-18 feet of water on swimbaits. Crappie are biting fairly well and are relating to the tops of brushpiles in 10-15 feet of water. Bream also are holding in brush in 10-15 feet of water. Minnows are working best for the crappie, while redworms and crickets are always a go-to for bream. Catfishing has been good, with many blue catfish being caught on trotlines in the approved trotline-fishing area.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 7,957 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 9-16-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river continues to run clear and at a normal level these days. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie have finally picked back up a little, as anglers reported fair results on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good on chicken liver and on the trotlines baited with minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 5,063 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 10,737 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 9,200 cfs.
(updated 9-16-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is normal and stained, but starting to clear up. Bass continue to be pretty tough to catch, but there’s some luck finding a few around sandbars on shaky heads, Carolina rigs or Rat-L-Traps (in chrome/blue or chrome/back), and they’re biting crankbaits and shaky head worms around the jetties. There is also a good early/late bite in the day on topwater (Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook, Rebel Pop-Rs) in black or white colors. Catfish are good below the dam (Murray) on nightcrawlers, stink bait and cut bait
(updated 9-2-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said that the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam “has been shut down, so not a lot of people are fishing.” They note the upcoming catfish tournament on the river set for Sept. 18. Call Hatchet Jacks’ for more information.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-16-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports that fishing continues to be much better here than it was just a few weeks ago. Bream are fair again on redworms and crickets. Crappie picked up more, with good results on minnows and jigs. Black bass, however, fell off totally with no reports. Catfish, though, reappear. Anglers had fair catches using skipjack. The lake is clear and at a low normal.
(updated 9-16-2021) Angler Donny King reports, "When I think of September I think the of the fall shad feeding going on after and before winter. I went to DuPree Lake Sept. 11 at night, saw exactly that: The bass were mainly feeding near the islands. I went with a pearl Popper at first and caught at spotted gar (6-feet, 6-inch rod with 8-pound test line), but after seeing how weel hocked it was, no way could I get it out, so then I went with a more natural color.
"After doing some thinking about managing that gar on that rod, I think I may stick with that rod when going after striped bass while lure-rishing in March at Cook's Landing point. I'll have one-rod rigged with a lure (the 6-6 rod) and my other rod (an 8-footer) rigged with either live bait or dead bait."
(updated 9-16-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) has heard that crappie here are good on minnows and jigs.
(update 9-16-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the lake level has dropped too low to launch boats right now. Clarity of what water remains is “pretty clear” but the low level has revealed the stumps. If you can fish, the bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs and relating to the stumps. Black bass are being caught in good numbers. Catfishing is good on worms and live bait.
(updated 9-16-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake has reached the established goal of 661 feet msl elevation and changes are occurring in the flow pattern on the river. Consistent high water over the last few months provided some exceptional catches, and steady low flows will offer the same. Anglers encountered some challenges this past week as we neared power pool: the releases varied throughout the day from low to high so some quick, creative adjustments were called for. Leave the bigger baits in your tackle box when the morning water level is near a single unit (3,300 cfs) or just above; instead, pull out the trusty spoons: gold or copper/bronze Colorados and hammered red-and-gold spoons. The Vibrax Blue Fox is a good choice in the afternoon on the slight rise.
The Rebel Craw baits (chartreuse/orange and ditch/brown with orange belly) were proving successful for waders and bank fishers; live crawdads provided better action angling from a jon boat. Seems we might have a few weeks more of warmer, summer-like weather but as we approach autumn, put the crawfish baits away and turn to orange and yellow egg pattern baits. Scented manufactured eggs, drifted across the bottom near the channel during the low water releases or closer to the bank if the river is running swifter and deeper, never fail to pull in a good number of rainbows.
Consistent water level patterns will allow the trout to settle down into normal feeding habits; early morning and early evening may be the best times for easy catches. The trout (as well as the guides) are already adjusting to the lower depth but when sudden changes to the water level occur, you will need to be responsive in changing your baits.
“Come on over and spend some time with us on the river – you won't regret it.”
(updated 9-16-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they have had no rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.8 feet above power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 32.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 1.5 feet below power pool and 15.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.9 foot below power pool or 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had two days of wadable water last week. Norfork Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 0.2 foot above power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 24 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had three days of wadable water in the past week.
“The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. With Beaver and Table Rock Lakes below power pool and Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes near power pool and dropping fast, I predict that both will be at power pool in a few days and we should return to wadable water then,” John said.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. On the low water, the bite was excellent! The hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan worms, gold-ribbed hare’s ears and sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise).
On the higher flows some anglers have been fishing large streamers on the heavy flows we have been getting later in the day and having success. This requires heavy sink tip lines (250 grain), heavy rods (8 weights or better) and advanced casting skills. The hot flies have been large articulated streamers in various colors.
“Hopper season is on the wane. These are tempting morsels for large trout. You need a stiff 6 weight rod and a 7½-foot 4X leader. My favorite hopper patterns are the Western-style foam hoppers with rubber legs and a bright quick sight patch on the back. Dave’s Hoppers are also a good choice, but be sure to dress them with plenty of fly floatant to ensure that they ride high. A small nymph dropper can increase your takes. It is not uncommon to take more trout on the dropper. My favorite dropper flies are beadhead pheasant tails or zebra midges.”
John also said, “When we are not guiding, teaching fly-fishing or fishing on our own, we show dogs. My wife, Lori, does the training. I tag along and help where I can. I occasionally show a dog when they are short a handler. We have two Labrador retrievers: a yellow female named Tilley and a black male named Ghillie.
“Tilley is a diva. At 8 years old she is a grand champion with no less than 11 obedience, rally and agility titles. Ghillie, at 4 years old, has been more of a challenge. Where Tilley is small for the breed at around 55 pounds, he is huge. He weighs in at around a 100 pounds and it is all muscle. To say that he is a handful is an understatement. Ghillie is our fishing dog. We have to be careful and only fish with him in remote locations away from other anglers. Nonetheless, we aggressively train and show him in competition.
“We have been working toward his championship steadily but were set back by the coronavirus. He has been coming into his own and started winning. He had a major win in Topeka, Kansas, a couple of weeks ago and only needed 3 points to complete his championship. You can get three regular wins or a 3-point major. The more dogs in the contest, the more points you get.
“We entered a show in Amana, Iowa, that promised the opportunity for a major win. Amana is a German colony settled in the mid-1800s. It is a National Historic Landmark. The dog show is held outside in a large field surrounded by cornfields.
“Before we left Cotter, we checked the weather and learned that it would be much cooler and heavy rain was expected. As fly-fishing guides, we had plenty of top-notch raingear and stout waterproof shoes. We also carried some light down jackets, long pants and warm socks.
“The first day it was raining hard. I told Lori that Ghillie had an advantage. He is acclimated to inclement weather. Lori walks him twice a day no matter what the weather is: rain, sleet, snow or oppressive heat. Many of the dogs he was competing against were pampered show dogs. The rain and cold temperatures did not bother him. He did not notice.
“In addition, Lori had been working on improving his coat. She had added eggs, hamburger patties and sardines to his diet. The extra protein showed. His coat had a definite sheen and the rainwater beaded off of him. He looked great.
“I held my breath as he stood for inspection and circled around the ring. He was flawless. At the end, he was awarded best in breed (his first). He had defeated 23 dogs and earned a major win. It was the last points needed and he is now a champion. Party time!
“The next day he had another win and we are now working on making him a grand champion. Ghillie has arrived.”
(updated 9-9-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said rainbow trout are doing well and are big in size in the catches this week. Tuesday, they say, over 100 fish were caught by anglers. The river level remains high and the Corps of Engineers is generating with 7-8 generators running at Bull Shoals. The overall trout bite is good. PowerBait is suggested, along with pink worms, stick baits, Rooster Tails in light green and brown, worms and shrimp.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 660.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-16-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the lake level had dropped to 2.9 feet above normal and is still dropping. The clarity is good and surface water temperature is down to 84 degrees. He continues to urge anglers to get up early and beat the heat for bass fishing and use topwater baits, poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for shad-surfacing action. 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, fish on the points in 10-20 feet depth. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, the bluffs and ledges in 26-34 feet depth. Shad are starting to group up a little better. Fish the conditions. Clarity is good, the surface temperature is hanging around 84 degrees and the lake is falling and at a little over 6 feet high at last check. Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 555.76 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 9-16-2021) Steve “Scuba” Street from Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental reported earlier this week the lake level was 555.92 feet msl and had dropped 1 inch in the 24 hours with 1½ generators running about one-third of the time during the day. The White River at Newport is now at 6 feet and about ready to dry up. The power pool is 555.75 feet msl and they seem to always slow generation as this approaches.
The lake overall is in excellent condition for boating and fishing and the weather has been great, except that we are getting very dry. Walleye fishing has slowed a bit, especially the big ones. They were at 30-32 feet of water on brush near the bottom, but the big ones are mostly gone and left the throwbacks. I have not looked for them again yet.
Crappie, bass, bluegill and catfish are the best bite now and are all hitting jigging spoons. “I have had better luck the last few days with downsizing the spoon to one-eighth ounce and lowering the line strength to 4 pounds and fishing a little deeper brush in the 32-35 feet range. Several varieties of fish are there. Trollers are catching a few temperate bass, but they are mostly small. There is a topwater bite early and late partway back in the creeks just outside brushpiles, but they are mostly small bass. Some bigger largemouth are being caught where earlier most were Kentucky bass. The tournament anglers are winning with about 16 pounds per day with a big bass of about 4 pounds. Crappie are nice-sized and about 11-12 inches and are on top of cover and hitting the spoon on the way down. I am catching no throwbacks. Bluegill are under docks and biting crickets.” For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 9-16-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is still in its summertime fishing pattern, but cooler nights are starting to slowly lower the water temperature. This summer has not been typical for some species in the lake, especially striped bass. Typically, by this time of year, the fish are in 80 feet of water and lying on the bottom. This year you can find striped bass cruising in the deep-water channels in the dam area and the fish are suspended 30-35 feet down. Trolling with downriggers, lead core line or snap weights have all been working very well to help get the bait down to the target depth of 30-35 feet. Swimbaits, jigs with long trailers and crankbaits have all been catching fish.
“I have been mainly fishing for walleye for the last several weeks. Long main lake points have been holding walleye at 30- to 33-foot depths. I have been vertical-jigging with a half-ounce spoon starting around 5:30 a.m. in the morning, then I switch to slow-trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows. When you are vertical-jigging with the spoon, you need to bounce the bait off the bottom. It seems that most of the fish have hit the spoon on the fall, or immediately as the spoon hits the bottom. Be ready to set your hook. My method of trolling is by using my trolling motor and traveling 1.2 to 1.4 mph. I cast my bait out about 50 feet from the boat; then I clip on a 1-ounce snap weight and let out another 50 feet of line. I use a No. 7 Berkley Flicker Minnow tied onto 8-pound test monofilament line. This method and bait is getting down to the 30-foot strike zone.
“Colors have varied for me depending on what the weather is like. On sunny days the white or the white and chartreuse lures have worked the best, but on cloudy days a darker color, such as purple, seems to work better.
“Walleye can be found all over the lake at this time as they do not migrate due to water temperature and oxygen levels like striped bass do. Find long main lake points that have a deep side and a shallower side, especially if the shallower side leads into a large flat. In general, I have found a walleye on every point I troll, but some points seem to hold numerous fish, while other points just a couple.
“Bass fishing has been improving daily. I have been catching some big spotted bass while trolling for walleye with the Flicker Minnows. Over the last couple of days, I have been finding small schools of big largemouth bass in the same walleye areas, but they are in 34 feet of water. Vertical-jigging with a spoon for these deeper largemouth is picking up a few really nice fish. This (Tuesday) morning I found one of these schools. I hooked into and lost four nice fish before I finally got one of them to the surface. It proceeded to jump clear out of the water next to the boat and shake off the hook. At least I found out what I was hooking into.
“I have also found largemouth pushing shad back against a bluff wall and feeding heavily. You will find largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in shallow water early and late in the day. Crankbaits, jig and pigs, spinners and Chatterbaits are all producing some nice fish along with working a worm along the bottom. A final area where I have found largemouth and spotted bass is out in deep water chasing shad on top. What you will find is a group of fish feeding heavily on the surface for a very short time, then they go down and come up again 100 feet away. This bite seems to be happening mid- to late morning. I went to an area where I found topwater action about four days ago and they were still there. I looked around and saw an area where the fish seemed to be coming up more frequently. I sat and waited and the fish kept coming up. Most were smaller largemouth, but I did get to land a nice 4-pounder. I was throwing my silver Kastmaster with a feather trailer. I like this bait because I can cast it farther than any other bait that I have.”
Crappie are moving back onto brush. “I have not done a lot of crappie fishing, but I have checked out several big brushpiles, back in creeks, as well as on main lake points. The fish have been suspended from 10-20 feet down over brush that is 30 feet deep. I was jigging with a half-ounce and a quarter-ounce white spoon and both caught fish. Fish were all in the 10-inch range. The bigger slabs might still be roaming out in their summertime rock ledge hideouts. It will not be long until the brush is full of big slabs. We need a little cooler water temperature.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 82 degrees. The lake level was at 555.84 feet msl and continuing to fall slowly. The main lake is mostly clear and the creeks and coves are slightly stained. For a frequent fishing update on Norfork Lake go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page. “Enjoy Norfork Lake and have a great time fishing.”
(updated 9-16-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 0.2 foot above power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 24 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had three days of wadable water in the past week.
“The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. With Beaver and Table Rock Lakes below power pool and Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes near power pool and dropping fast, I predict that both will be at power pool in a few days and we should return to wadable water then,” John said.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork and it fished well. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished well. School is back in session and now is a great time to fish it, particularly during the week. Weekends can get a bit crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 9-16-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and gin clear. Both are receiving a lot of pressure. With summer coming to an end, the smallmouths are still active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown 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 1,120.35 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-16-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is sitting and lowering slowly below normal levels as of late. Water temperature is also lowering with the longer nights, even though it has been really warm. Water temps are dipping into high 70s at daybreak and climbing into low 80s at midday.
“Fishing is holding its own. Stripers are fair to good on some days and brutal on the next. Fish are certainly moving right now chasing bait. Look from Horseshoe Bend down to the dam. Shad and brooders are working slow-trolled. Try to hit 20-30 feet deep with your baits. Crappie continue to move toward deeper brush. Look in 20-foot depths along and near main river channel and on main points. Walleyes are fair on trolled worm harnesses and deeper-diving crankbaits. There are many shorts being caught.
“Bass are hit and miss. Some schooling early and late. Catfish are good. Main channel flats are where they are right now. Bream are good around docks and brush.
“Stay safe and be aware as lake drops to boating hazards. Everyone is used to running at above normal levels last three years. Now that we are dropping below normal levels, hazards are just below surface in many areas.” Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 9-16-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Thursday that not a lot of people are fishing right now. The lake water is clear and the level is normal. Bream remain fair using redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs and are relating to cover. Black bass are fair; the standard approach lately has been to try a plastic worm or jig. Catfish also are fair using jugs.
(updated 9-9-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the bite this past week has been all over the place, literally! Chasing the trout, you can find them between Bertrand and Parkers bottom. The most productive tactic has been light terminal tackle, with various Fire baits, (Atomic Garlic) produced the best results. Throwing 1/4 spoons, coated with Fire Gel in shad scent has done great as well. For those of you still wanting to look for Walleyes, try looking towards Beaver Town. Most are going caught in 12-15 FOW, fishing humps and points. Also try looking for them around weed likes. Jigging live minnows has been the preferred method for these fish. The weather is starting to cool and soon we will have some excellent days of fishing ahead. I hope your able to get out and catch some fish!
(updated 9-16-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is stained and is at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie continued to bite well this week on minnows and jigs. Black bass provided even better results this week; anglers had good catches on worms. Catfish are good still using live bait.
(updated 9-16-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the fishing slightly tailed off on most species this week, and the lake dropped to 6 inches below normal level. Clarity is normal. Bream were just fair this week on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair, with best results coming on topwater baits. Catfish were providing the best action, with good results reported using chicken liver and worms.
(updated 9-16-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the lake temperature is dropping, and the reaction from the fish has been good with the exception of crappie. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Black bass are good for anglers using spinnerbaits or plastic worms who focus on the brush, the rocky points or throw around the docks. Channel catfish are biting well. They’re being caught on stink bait, chicken liver, and chicken and garlic bait. No reports on crappie or white bass. The surface water temperature is below 80 now, recorded at 78.9 on Monday morning. The lake is murky and is at a normal level.
(updated 9-9-2021) Seth Boone, park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says that while Lake Poinsett is still refilling, you can catch and release bream. Kayaks and canoes are recommended at this time, as the lake is still 8-8.5 feet from being at full pool. Poinsett is rainfall-dependent when it comes to refilling.
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed last Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the lake began to refilling. The lake has been undergoing an extensive renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat.
Other forage species that were stocked this spring include fathead minnows, golden shiners and threadfin shad have been added in huge numbers to the lake to build up the food supply for the predators, which will be stocked in 2022.
(updated 9-9-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water temperature continues to tumble week to week, with a 4-degree drop to 81 degrees this week, as of Wednesday afternoon. Lake clarity remains clear and water level is low. Black bass catches look good, they say, but they got no other information on baits used. No other species catches were reported this week.
(updated 9-16-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are low running at 320 cfs (350 cfs is normal) at the spring. Water clarity has been clear. The area is badly in need of some rain. The river has been very low, making floating the river tough. The smallmouth stretch has become too low to get over water falls easily.
The trout have been hitting great. Small nymphs have been great for numbers. Blue-wing olives and caddis are hatching heavy most days. Anything to imitate them works. Lots of smaller browns in the river can make for some fun dry-fly action, too. “Hopper droppers have been a blast lately. For the bigger fish, a white lightning or big Woollies have been the ticket for us. Only problem is the small fish try to eat them, too, but just short strike. Wait for the heavy hit,” Mark suggests.
“We are catching smallmouth on hourglass lead-eye streamers like Woollies, sculpin and crayfish patterns. Drag it slow along the bottom. And, yes, if you’re fishing for smallies right, you will lose a lot of flies.”
Spin-fishing has been hot with Trout Magnets with the low, clear water. Doing a little better without a float, with a cast across letting it bounce along the bottom with a small split shot foot above. Hot pink, white and orange have been hot colors.
“Groundbreaking at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery is scheduled for next week and work will start on rebuilding the hatchery. This should not affect the river as it will be done in stages,” Mark said. “The hatchery has been at 40 percent or less capacity since the flood of 2017. Jim Hinkle hatchery stocks rivers throughout Arkansas with trout. It is vital for the trout fisheries in our state. We have been waiting for this to happen and it will be completed over the next year.”
He adds, “The river is slick so be careful wading and have fun. Tight lines and good luck!
(updated 9-16-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is coming to an end, but canoeists can still be a problem. Fish the upper river at the Lassiter Access to avoid them or fish Dam 3 late in the afternoon, after they have left the area. 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, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 8.05 feet, almost 7 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 9.96, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is back down at 21.27, nearly 5 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-16-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report.
(updated 9-16-2021) Dam repair work has been 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 258.71 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
NOTICE: The Army Corps of Engineers at Millwood Lake began a 2-foot drawdown of Millwood Lake beginning Sept. 15, and it is expected to run through Oct. 1, dependent on rainfall and concrete repair. Use extreme caution while navigating the lake during the drawdown, as stumps and obstacles will be near or at surface pool. Boat lanes on open water may be dry ground or mere inches in depth with stumps and hazards in some places. Drawdown work includes boat ramp repair near Beards Bluff, shoreline abatement/erosion replacement, and other related maintenance. For more information, call the Army Corps of Engineers Tri-Lakes office at 870-898-3343.
(updated 9-16-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was near normal, about 2 inches above normal conservation pool at 259.4 feet msl and falling; oxbows' water clarity was stained. Little River clarity was stained with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 231 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 1,550 CFS in Little River according to the USACE, but on Wednesday tha Corps jumped a that gate discharge to 8,500 cfs. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE CAUTIONED WITH 2 FEET ELEVATION DRAWDOWN. Use EXTREME CAUTION anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 82-88 degrees depending on location.
As for fishing specifics, Mike said:
* For the past several weeks, various largemouth and other black bass species have been randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours in early mornings but it was slower this week. The best feeding periods have been early, from daylight to around 8-9am, slowing in the heat of the day. Random schooling was slower and more random this week, with fewer schools seen surface breaking. “When schools of shad are broken up by juvenile and adolescent-sized bass, the melee can be awesome for several minutes. When good schools break, we were getting decent reactions using the 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 early in the lily pads on plastic frogs in black, white or pumpkinseed/pearl belly 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 in the oxbows near vertical structure where the flats drop off into 8-15 feet of depth.
Reaction strikes are fair during the mornings until around 10 a.m. on Arbogast Jitterbugs jointed jitterbugs in Cricket Frog, Coach Dog and Perch colors. Moss Bosses in white and Rattling Zara Mouses in gray are working randomly in the lily pads. Johnson chrome Silver Minnow Spoons with a white 3-inch curly tail grub trailer are getting reactions in the pads by rumbling over and pausing in gaps between lily pads. “Be advised, you need 30-pound-plus braided line to hoss the bigger bass out of the salad and pads,” Mike said.
H&H Tandem Spinners in chartreuse/white and bream colors, Little John custom shad- painted crankbaits, Bill Lewis Square Bill SB-57 and MR-6 Crankbaits in Chartreuse Shad, Tennessee Shad and Millwood Magic colors, three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps and Tandem Bass Assassin Rigs are also catching these random-surfacing schooling 3 to-4-pound fish. Ten-inch bulky worms in Blue Fleck, Black Grape and Peanut Butter 'n Jelly colors continue working for a few bass up to 4 pounds when the surface commotion subsides.
Kentucky bass were found inside the main creek channels, where the creek mouths dump into Little River, near Snake Creek, Jacks' Isle, and White Cliffs Creek, just out of river current, over the past few weeks. They were 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. Vertical-jigging of the spoons near standing timber and stumps continues working for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass but have been slow this week.
Bass Assassin Shad Jerkbaits continue randomly working in the oxbows -- in the same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs -- early in the morning. Best colors over the past couple weeks have been Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Bluegill Flash in the 5-inch sizes.
* Millwood had another Mayfly hatch over the past two weeks, and it has the bream active again under willow trees. Bream were fair to good at Millwood State Park and Jack's Isle over the past week on red worms, crickets, and mayflies.
* White bass continued roaming Little River but have been random in locations. Two weeks ago, a couple of anglers found large schools of whites in McGuire oxbow, schooling with the largemouths near vertical structure, and in creek channel dumps into the oxbow near back of McGuire in front of standing timber. Random schooling was taking place from daylight until around 9 a.m. with shad pods breaking as the whites were pushing them to the surface. Johnson Beetle Spins, Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps and Little Cleo's were all randomly catching whites over the last couple weeks in McGuire.
* Crappie over the past week were slow and random in strikes, on a solid bite one day, and flip-a-switch-off the next day. The best bite seems to have shifted from jigs and Southern Pro Tubes to minnows in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on the main lake from 8-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for jigs a week or so ago, but minnows seemed to work best over the past week randomly early, but were slow in the afternoon.
* Catfish improved on the main lake using King's Punch Bait, minnows, Catfish Charlie and hot dogs. Blues and channel cats up to around 4 pounds were fair and slightly more active this week.
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 535.78 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.69 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-9-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “It’s here! Summer slow down. It’s pretty short and sweet right now. Water level is down and still lowering. Water level is 399.14 feet msl. Water temperature has started to lower with these cooler nights to lower 80s. Yeah!! Little change in the pattern right now. Schooling fish are pretty well everywhere. Use topwaters for surfacing fish (Whopper Plopper, Spook, poppers), then crankbaits or A-rigs. Don’t forget, you can troll the A-rigs, also. Spoons are always a top producer and give you long casting distance because it is called “chasing schooling fish.” Go early and watch for boats or breakers.
“Crappie are next. Wow, are they sluggish yet. You can find them in about 22 feet of water in brushpiles. Lots are on the bottom around the piles. They are also schooled up in the timber at the same depth. They are slow to hit a jig but will take minnows somewhat. They are just sluggish. May want to think about night fishing. The last option is sniping them with LiveScope.
“Cooler nights means change coming. Good fishing.”
(updated 9-2-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching fair amounts of white bass trolling crankbaits. Watch for the schooling shad and surface activity of feeding fish. Be ready to cast spoons at the surface feeding schools.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.77 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.52 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 9-2-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) says that crappie are good in the Ouachita River on minnows and jigs. Also in the river, anglers can find a good bite from the bass. Clarity is muddy and the water level is low.
(updated 9-16-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that with the low water at Atkins, he isn’t hearing much from the anglers. All that was reported this past week was the good bite from catfish. Jugs baited with goldfish or black salties were hooking a nice amount of catfish. No other reports. The water surface temperature was recorded as 82 degrees early afternoon on Wednesday, and the clarity is clear.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-9-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, producers of the finest and toughest fishing products hand-crafted in Hot Springs by fishermen, reports that Lake Catherine is in the initial onsets of fall transition. It happens to Catherine before other lakes simply because it’s a river and the water temps stay down in comparison to the chain of lakes that feed it. Surface temps are beginning to dip into the low 80s with the 70s just around the corner.
As these changes start to take place, bass will begin to feed heavily again on large bait presentations. Large worms Texas-rigged, jigs, deep-diving and mid-range crankbaits and even floating worms will begin to be deadly effective much like the springtime. Colorings should include Junebug and Watermelon almost exclusively except for the shad colorings of the crankbaits. Right now, we are still having good luck on topwater presentations in shaded areas and at night with largemouth. Spotted bass can be caught in large numbers on the drop-shot rig with a watermelon seed Trick Worm or drop-shot worm in deeper areas like points and the moving current that runs down submerged rock bluffs. Lake Catherine bass seem to be night owls in the summer, so keep this in mind when the frustration sets in during the day. Bream are excellent using worms and crickets on lake points with docks and sheer rock faces that drop 20-30 feet straight down. No crappie report. Walleye are still being caught well on live nightcrawlers in the breaks of the main channels, and they will improve as the fall sets in.
“Check us out and like us on Facebook (Slycked Back Fishing LLC) for more pointers and tips!”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-16-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 66 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Sept. 17, that extends through Thursday, Sept. 23. 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 10 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are safe, but being aware of the flow releases. Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam is over as the season was marred by flooding. Very small numbers of rainbows remain in the tailrace, which is the norm for this time of year. The past three years have been adversely affected by high water as trout despise muddy conditions. Summer water temperature mark the end of the trout season on Lake Catherine until the stocking program begins again in mid-November. Catfish continue to be 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. Huge schools of threadfin shad can be observed moving in and out of the tailrace. 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, as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish. The summer 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 9-9-2021) 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 lake surface temps in the mid-80s, except for the river channel below Blakely Dam. It has been very tough on anglers over the last week due to the amount of pleasure boat traffic on the lake. “We were crazy enough to try and fish. It was impossible to fish any of the main channels, but we were able to slip into some creek fingers and get some fish in the boat.
“Bass are really starting to get active now that the water temps are starting to come down. Topwater baits thrown in shaded or dense grassy areas have done well. Whopper Ploppers, and especially Spooks and frogs in white or silver color variations, are getting hit aggressively in shallow water and under and beside structures (mainly docks) and the occasional downed tree. The old, reliable drop-shot rig tipped with a Smack Silver Fluke or drop-shot worm in Watermelon Seed or Tequila Sunrise still is very effective for spotted bass on docks, pilings and points in 15-25 feet of water. Again, it is important to try and find shaded areas. Keep in mind, shade can be below the surface, also.
“Bream have been too much fun this summer! A worm or cricket on a slip cork set to 15 feet and thrown just off docks in deeper water easily puts good pan-sized fish in the bucket quickly. Catfish have also been excellent on cut bait and cheese on creek channel drop-offs in 15-25 feet of water. Night is the time to go, but its not uncommon to catch a nice channel cat in the daylight. No crappie report
“Please continue to use caution on Lake Hamilton as there are plenty of pleasure boaters out. We fisherman will retake what is rightfully ours around the first weekend of October (smiley face). Good luck, and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.76 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-16-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake has is clear and took a slight jump in surface water temperature to 90 degrees by Thursday morning. Water level is low. Bream continue to be a poor bite. Crappie are good; the crappie are at a depth of 7 feet and hitting hair jigs and minnows. Black bass are good. Best results are coming on crankbaits, Chatterbait, Ol’ Monster Worms and Rat-L-Traps in orange, black/silver and blue/silver. Catfishing is good on yo-yos and limblines baited with nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-16-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) has heard from anglers stopping in that Nimrod’s bream are biting well on redworms and crickets.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 569.10 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-16-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are fair. Topwater bite has slowed a little, but a drop-shot rig is still working well for spots. No reports on walleye, stripers or crappie. Bream are still good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Catfish are good and being caught on rod and reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature has dropped and is ranging 80-84 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 569.01. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 9-2-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching ample numbers of catfish on the drop-off near deep water channels. Fish the bottom with worms, cutbait or shrimp.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.76 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 dropping noticeably and at 18.11 feet, almost 8 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 9-16-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), reported that anglers at Bear Creek Lake report catching largemouth bass at depths of approximately 8-12 feet. Anglers have been using artificial baits to catch largemouth bass. Anglers also report catching bream in depths of 2-4 feet. Anglers have been using redworms mostly to catch bream. Blue and flathead catfish are also still on the menu! Anglers have been catching catfish on free-floating devices between depths of 3-5 feet deep. Anglers are advising that manmade baits are contributing to their success.
As for Storm Creek Lake, there is very little fishing activity present within this lake, Tyler reports.
(updated 9-16-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said that After several weeks of excellent bass fishing, we are now hearing only fair reports. In the last week, the water color has changed from stained to cloudy green. We are also seeing a sharp drop in the White River. It is likely that fishing will not pick back up until the lake is disconnected from the river for at least a week of stable conditions.
Hopefully we will still have some good days before the end of October.
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 9-9-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said the past couple of weeks has found Horseshoe with a definite thermocline set up. The fish have reacted as they do in late summer with warmer water and a thermocline at 10-12 feet.
Crappie are slow at best. “There are some still being caught but not like the bite we have enjoyed up until mid-August. Check the shady area around the piers and some fish can still be caught in the pads. Fish slow as the fish are slow to bite.” No reports on black bass, catfish or bream.
“We are going to take the next couple of weeks off and get our duck blinds ready for our guests that will hunt with us in the upcoming duck season and get some jig orders filled,” Kent said. “Give me a call for some fall fishing in October.”