Sept. 23, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 23, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (Sept. 23).
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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
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 9-23-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday that the lake is the normal stain and the level picked back up to normal over the past week. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good using hair jigs, minnows and regular jigs. Black bass are good and favoring spinnerbaits, topwater lures, frogs and 7- to 10-inch curly tail worms. Catfishing is good using stink bait, nightcrawlers, shad, skipjack, dough bait, bream and trotline minnows.
(updated 9-23-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said the lake is 3 feet below normal and very clear, temp is 88 degrees, the fish are becoming more active. “Follow the lake edge and use your imagination. I am getting reports of you guys catching fish on non-traditional lures and modified lures.
Crappie: Typical locations around the lake, they are active around 10 feet, use normal stuff. Some folks have been discreetly dropping fish habitat Keep your eye on your sonar.
Bream: Look for their beds and try normal baits; they are being caught a bit away from their beds.
Black bass: They are following their food.
Yellow bass: Look for them schooling and largemouth bass below them. Remove these when you catch them; don't toss them back.
Catfish: Look for deep spots and around the docks.
Dennis suggests checking out the Arkansas Bass Fishing Facebook page, as well as https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235. Also, visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information from lakes around the area.
Little Red River
(updated 9-23-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red is receiving 1-3 hours of afternoon generation on weekdays with less on weekends. “We seem to be settling into a fall generation pattern. Use midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ear and Woolly Buggers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, pink and white colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads are recommended.” 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 9-23-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says the Southwestern Power Administration has been running 2-4 hours of generation on weekdays on the Little Red River, usually starting around 2 p.m. and running until 6 p.m. Generation on the weekends has been minimal.
Concentrate on fishing the deep holes and oxygenated shoals. Fishing under an indicator with sowbugs, pheasant tails and midges has been effective. Or try stripping Woolly Buggers or Cracklebacks.
(updated 9-23-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is a little low. The Corps of Engineers and the Southwestern Power Administration are not running as much water now, and water is clear. Trout are good on Trout Magnets and Marabou Jigs. Fly-fishing is good with small emergers or midges. “Just before or just after shoal is the best time to fish,” they say.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 9-23-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers ferry Lake is at 458.30 feet msl. It is 4.24 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and falling. Walleye are scattered from 25-60 feet; try drop-shot or jigheads tipped with crawlers for best results. Bream are guarding fry again from super shallow out to 25 feet; crickets and crawlers are the best bets. A lot of black bass are roaming, chasing schools of shad even on top, while the rest are on structure. Use a crankbait or drag something for best catches. Some crappie are a bit shallower; try 12-40 feet with same methods, and even trolling is working well. Hybrids and white bass are eating at will on and off all day and night, as the consistent bite is getting better every day. Try spoons, inline baits and live bait in 25-60 feet. No reports on catfish.
(updated 9-23-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the lake is a little low and clarity is clear. Bass fishing is getting better in the 10- to 15-feet depth range on topwaters (Zara Spooks, Rebel Pop-Rs) and wake baits on windy points. Also a good bite can be had on crankbaits and swimbaits (any natural shad colors). The schooling fish are also biting CC Spoons in half-ounce or three-quarter-ounce sizes.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-23-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is back to muddy, and the level that was reported up last week is now low again. No surface temperature was reported. Bream “as big as your hand” are being caught in good numbers, they report. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good; a 3-pound slab was caught Tuesday, they report. Crappie appear to be coming closer to the docks. Throw them a minnow or jig. Black bass are around the shoreline now and are biting well. No baits were suggested (be we figure a topwater like a Zara Spook or Rebel Pop-R is in order now). Catfishing is good in the evenings; the preferred menu has shifted, though, to worms and chicken liver.
(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 9-23-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said the lake is 5 feet below normal level. Largemouth bass are fair to good. Some reports have the bass being found in the coves due to the cooling water temperature. Use a Texas-rigged worm on the brush, or drop-shots. Kentucky bass are good. There are some reports of spots being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, and other reports of them being found on brushpiles. Try using jigs. As in indicator of how the black bass fishing is going there, in the WestRock Landing Tuesday Night Fish Off this week, Randall Clark and Joey Hutchinson caught 12.75 pounds on a five-bass stringer, plus the Big Bass of 3.58 pounds, to edge Cody Bryant and Brad Lequieu, who had 12.58 total pounds. White bass reports have been poor. You could look them on the sides of the channel in 15-18 feet depth; swimbaits would be the way to fish for them. Crappie are good. Reports this week have the crappie being found deep, around 20-24 feet, above structure. Jigs and minnows are the ways to go. Bream have slowed. Some anglers are saying the big ones still can be found 10-15 feet around the beds, while other bream are being caught 14-16 feet off windy points. Use crickets or worms. Catfishing is fair off the shoreline in about 12-15 feet. Try using 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 3,379 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 3,090 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 1,841 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 1,626 cfs.
(updated 9-23-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is normal and stained, but is clearing. Bass fishing is improving with the lower temperatures. The fishing is good early on topwater baits (buzzbaits, frog, Zara Spook, Rebel Pop-Rs). It stays good during the day for anglers using crankbaits fished 8-12 feet deep off the ends of jetties and sandbars. Also, good reports have come in from anglers using jighead worms, shaky heads, and black/blue and green pumpkin jigs around wood.
(updated 9-23-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Thursday morning that black bass are good at 4-5 feet depth around the Burns Park area; use minnows or a spinnerbait in white/chartreuse. Crappie are good in the same depth area around Burns Park area and are biting minnows and jigs. Catfish are fair below the Murray Lock and Dam on skipjack and cut shad. Bream are good around the rip-rap under the I-430 bridge; use redworms or crickets.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-23-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports that Clear Lake is, indeed, clear and remains below normal level. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie remain good on minnows and jigs. Black bass did not reappear again this week; no reports. Catfish picked up even more this week with good results using shad or brood minnows.
(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 9-23-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the lake level is low and stumps are showing. “It’s too low to launch big boats right now,” she advises. The clarity is “pretty clear” still. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs and are relating to the stumps. Black bass are being caught in good numbers. Catfishing is good on worms and live bait.
(updated 9-23-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is about 1.5 feet below power pool, so it's not surprising that generation flows have been low. During this past week, the water level on the White River in the north-central Arkansas Ozarks has remained steady around one unit in the morning. The upticks in generation are coming in the late afternoon, with usually around 4-5 generation units being used.
“Up until this Tuesday, we successfully dodged daytime rainfalls but braved a wet day and sent our anglers home with a great catch of rainbows. Rain or shine, our rainbows are chasing shrimp, especially when it's paired with a small piece of PowerBait.
“As we move into autumn and get closer and closer to the brown trout spawning season, change your bait color to orange or pink to lure them in. The brown bite has slowed some in this lower water, but a sculpin drifted near the bottom will still get a good bite or two. The Vibrax Blue Fox spinner, three-sixteenth-ounce gold, or the bright chartreuse with a partially silver blade, were providing a steady catch of 12- and 13-inch rainbows. As always, it's hard to beat a good day of jig fishing; tie on an olive or an olive/black Marabou Jig (three-sixteenth-ounce works best in this water level) and get ready to net some trout. Use those same colors for casting Woolly Buggers with your fly rods.
“Enjoy these cool mornings and sunny days on the river; stop by and share your latest fish story.”
(updated 9-23-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had light rain (about a half-inch in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.2 feet to rest at 1.2 feet below power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 35.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below power pool and 15.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.6 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below power pool or 9.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 1 foot above power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 25.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. We should have wadable water on a daily basis.
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).
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 weight 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,” John says. “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 bead-head pheasant tails or zebra midges.”
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and 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.
(updated 9-23-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said rainbow trout fishing this week has been great. The river is down. Also anglers caught a few browns, but not very many, they report.
The Corps of Engineers is using 2-4 generators at the dam, keeping the level low. PowerBait is a preferred method for fishing this week, along with pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 659.22 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 9-23-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the lake level had dropped to just barely above normal (6 inches). The clarity is good and surface water temperature is down to 79 degrees. He says bass fishing has been good. “Get up early for topwater, popper and Zara Spooks in the creeks shallow, and look for wind/shad-surfacing action. Use Chatterbait and buzzbait or Whopper Plopper, covering water if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a jig or Beaver-style bait and a big worm. Also use a shaky head for ledges and channel swing banks with chunk rock. On transitions with water cropping, fish on the secondary points in 10-20 feet depth. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, bluffs and ledges in 26-24 feet depth.
“Shad are starting to group up a little better, but they are spread out and moving. Fish the conditions.”
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 554.52 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 9-23-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 1 foot above power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 25.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. We should have wadable water on a daily basis.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork tailwater 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 18 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 to carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net. John also said, “When I checked the Southwestern Power Administration’s generation prediction for last weekend, I was pleased to see three days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) of low wadable water. At last an end to high water.
“On Saturday my wife, Lori, had a wade guide trip on the Norfork. I went early to scout it out. Due to high water, neither of us had fished low water on the Norfork in a long time. I was on the river at sunrise and waded far upstream into the catch-and-release section. I began nymphing a pheasant tail with a ruby midge dropper. I was immediately into a good trout. I finally landed a stout 19-inch rainbow followed by a 21-incher. The fishing was phenomenal! I fished for a while longer and caught several more trout. I then waded downstream to meet up with Lori and her client. I told them about my success and they headed upstream to give it a shot.
“I stopped at my Suburban and had a cup of coffee before I walked back upstream. I was surprised that it was not more crowded. We had the catch-and-release section to ourselves. Lori was working with her client and I fished nearby but changed my rig over to a partridge and orange soft hackle with a Dan’s Turkey Tail Emerger (my late brother Dan’s signature fly). I caught several, including a couple of 18-inch rainbows. I then fished some new water to see if there were any trout there. There were a few. It was about noon and I had caught enough. I checked with Lori, and her client had landed 20. She had previously attended two different fly-fishing schools but had never landed a fish. I headed home.
“The next day I fished on my own at Rim Shoals on the White River. I fished from my boat, though it was low enough to wade. Fishing from the boat was excellent. I caught a bunch of trout. The hot rig was a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper. I got home in time for lunch and planned the next day.
“The next day, Monday, the plan was that I would go early, rig the rods and launch the boat. After Lori fed and walked the dogs, she would join me and we would fish for a few hours. I had hooked up my boat, made coffee, eaten breakfast and was ready to go. At the last minute, I thought it would be a good idea to check the water conditions on the Corps of Engineers website. They were running six generators. The prediction was wrong again. I canceled the trip to the White and considered fishing the Norfork again as it was scheduled to be down till noon. They began releasing water at 9 a.m.
“It was nice to get to fish low water again. The fishing on both rivers was exceptional. However, I was disappointed by the lack of reliable generation information. It is dangerous to boat or wade when you don’t know what will happen.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 9-23-2021) 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 9-23-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, we finally had some rain in the area and a major cold front push through Tuesday. Lake surface water temps dropped in dramatic fashion from lower 80s to upper 70s, about 5-6 degrees overnight. Fishing was a tough proposition on Wednesday. The lake will start to transition to a fall pattern in a few weeks with turnover happening in the next month or so. Until then expect fishing to be on and off each day until lake turns and then we should have some great fishing.
“Stripers have been in that pattern with good results one day and a tough bite the next. Stripers will start to move toward Prairie Creek in the coming weeks, and for now look from Rocky Branch down to the dam.
“The best and most consistent bite is for catfish. We are catching them at will while targeting walleye with crawler Harnesses. Walleye are fair on crawler harnesses on and near main lake points and flats in 20-25 feet of water. Bass are also fair in the same areas with Kentucky bass (spotted bass) being the best option. Crappie are scattered from sitting in or at the 20 feet depth either suspended or on structure. Minnows and jigs will both work. Bream are still a great option if you want to catch fish. Good times for young anglers.
“I look forward every year to the fall bite. It will be here soon! Stay safe!” Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 9-23-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Wednesday afternoon that stripers are fair now on live bait (preferably shad and bluegill) and brood shiners trolling 30-plus feet of water. Walleye are fair for anglers trolling crankbaits and bottom bouncers. Bream remain fair using redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair on jigs or trolling a crankbait. Black bass picked up this week with good results. Anglers were using topwater baits early in the day and late with good success; also bass are being caught during the day in shallow water on Chatterbaits and square-bill crankbaits. Anglers report also catching schooling fish on spoons. Catfish are fair on trotlines and limblines baited with live bait. Beaver Lake is clear and at a normal level.
(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 you’re able to get out and catch some fish!
(updated 9-23-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is stained and has dropped to low. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie were just fair this week on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; try a crankbait or stick with small worms, which have worked for a few weeks. Catfish went unreported this week; the previous week they were biting well.
(updated 9-23-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake has just a little stain and is at a normal level. Fishing is OK. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are good, though, with a 10-pound channel cat and 8-pound blue catfish caught this week. Try chicken liver or nightcrawlers for best results. Bream are poor.
(updated 9-23-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing was pretty good during the past week. Bream fishing was good using worms, crickets and jigs, and bream were relating to the brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Crappie were fair on minnows, jigs and worms. Like the bream, the crappie were hanging around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Black bass are good. Anglers were reporting success with spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures and worms. They were focusing on brush and rocky points. Catfishing is fair; try blood bait, stink bait or chicken liver. Shelly expects the fishing to be excellent from Oct. 3-9 based on the favorable moon times. Good fishing also should be expected Oct. 17-23. Stop in the Visitor Center and let her know how your fishing has been going.
(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 9-23-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water is clear and low. Lake clarity remains clear and water level is low. They received no catch reports 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 9-23-2021) 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 7.42 feet, about 7.5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 6.45, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet and about its lowest level of the year. The stage at Augusta way down now, to 18.29 feet, nearly 8 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-23-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 9-23-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 9-23-2021) Dam repair work has been completed 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, and the AGFC is pumping several of the small ponds and planning to add rotenone to those areas for the elimination of unwanted species (i.e. grass carp, yellow bass), before the refilling of the lake begins.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 257.07 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 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 9-23-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday Millwood Lake was 25 inches below the normal conservation pool for a 2-foot drawdown through October. The lake Tuesday was at 257.1 feet msl and falling; oxbows' water clarity was stained. Little River clarity is stained with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam of around 540 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. Use EXTREME CAUTION during drawdown conditions, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 80-85 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-8 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows is at 12-18 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms. Clarity at Saratoga and Okay areas has improved drastically.
As for the fishing specifics:
* For the past several weeks, various largemouth and Kentucky bass (spotted bass) have been randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours, but slowed again this week. The best feeding periods have been from daylight to around 8-9 a.m., then 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, anglers 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 on plastic frogs in black, white or pumpkinseed/pearl belly near lily 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 and 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-pounds-plus braided line to hoss the bigger bass out of the salad and pads,” Siefert 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, Millwood Magic colors, and three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps are working near almost all creek mouths dumping into Little River for stacked up bass pulling back to the river over the past week or so during the drawdown. Peanut Butter 'n Jelly 10-inch worms have been working for a few bass up to 4 pounds near stumps and pads on flats near vertical drops from 4 feet to 10 feet of structure.
Kentucky Bass were found inside the main creek channels, just out of river current, where the creek mouths dump into Little River near Snake Creek, Jacks' Isle and White Cliffs Creek over the past few weeks, and 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 continue working for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass but have been slow this week.
Brazalo Custom Lures Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream, Spot Remover and River Shad caught some decent 2-3 pound largemouths this week in McGuire and Cemetery Slough creek dumps into Little River. Bass Assassin Shad Jerkbaits continue randomly working in the oxbows -- same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs -- early in the morning. Best colors over the past few weeks 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. Bandit 200 Cranks in Splatterback, LA Shad, Chartreuse Root Beer and Citrus Shad colors have been randomly working for several weeks for largemouth and white bass.
* Millwood had another Mayfly hatch over the past 3 weeks, and have 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 over the past few weeks, but have been random in location. For the past few weeks, anglers found large schools of whites, along Little River between McGuire and Wilton Landing, and in creek channel dumps into the oxbow near back of McGuire in front of standing timber. Random schooling has been fair over the past few weeks 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 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps and Little Cleo's were all randomly catching Whites over last couple weeks in McGuire, but slowed this week.
* Crappie were slow and random in strikes recently, 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 brush piles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake from 8-12 feet of depth. Minnows seemed to work best over the past week or, randomly early, but slow in the afternoon.
No reports on catfish this week. Blues and channel cats up to around 4-6 pounds were good and more active last week than 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 535.66 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.33 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 slowdown. 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.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.48 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.29 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 9-9-2021) 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 9-23-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Wednesday that Lake Atkins is running 3-4 feet below normal and clear. He has not had any reports come in for a couple of weeks, other than the previous week, when some anglers reported a good bite from catfish on their jugs baited with goldfish or black salties.
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 9-23-2021) 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 the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Sept. 24, that extends through Thursday, Sept. 30. Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to view these flow releases and plan accordingly. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening.
Now that Lake Ouachita has been lowered almost 10 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are safe, but remain aware of any flow releases.
Catfish continue to be caught below the bridge in the main channel and below the dam on cut bait and live minnows. 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 have been observed moving in and out of the tailrace. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in eighth-ounce weights have been the best presentations 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 is 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, which appear to be on the way now.
The rainbow trout fishing season below Carpenter Dam was marred by spring and early summer flooding, and very small numbers of rainbows remain in the tailrace currently, 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. Lake Catherine’s trout season won’t resume until the AGFC stocking program begins again in mid-November.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 9-23-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(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 it’s 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 342.56 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-23-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake has is clear and the surface water temperature retreated to 86-87 degrees. Water level is back up to normal. The bream bite improved, with fair results this week in 6-8 feet depth. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie continue to produce a good bite. They’re still being found in 7 feet depth in open water. Jigs (particularly the white chartreuse colors with pink head in eighth-ounce or sixteenth-ounce) and minnows are the way to go.
Black bass are still biting well. Worms and best buzzbaits worked best lately. Catfishing seems to have slowed down. There have been fair catches at 6 feet depth on the usual catfish baits, such as 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 568.68 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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.61 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 still dropping noticeably and was at 16.29 feet, almost 10 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 9-23-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the fishing was hit and miss last weekend. The bass anglers did fairly well while the crappie anglers struggled. The lake is still cloudy green in color, and although the lake is low, it appears to be stable, which could create a great fishing trip.
“I would focus my efforts on hollow trees in about 6 feet of water,” Wil suggests. “For bass, I would flip green pumpkin or black/red craws or tubes, and for crappie I would use a black and chartreuse Crappie Magnet on an eighth-ounce pink jighead.”
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. Cook’s Lake’s fishing will continue until waterfowl season opens in November.
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 9-9-2021) 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.”