Oct. 28, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 28, 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (Oct. 28).
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Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
TOP AND LEFT: Mindy (no last name given) and her 1-year-old son, Kyler, show that you're never too young to find out about catching and admiring a brown trout caught in the White River around Cotter. Mindy, her son and her parents and family all took in beautiful fall weather recently on the White. We're told Kyler was out ALL DAY on a pretty chilly day, in fact, and didn't fuss much at all. Speaking of brown trout, they are beginning to scrape the shoals and form their redds, where they lay their eggs during spawning season, and anglers (especially wade anglers) are urged to watch out for the redds and not disturb them. Part of the White River is protected at this time with catch-and-release rules on brown trout from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 as well while they are spawning. Let's make sure the brown trout have plenty of little ones so our human little ones like Kyler can enjoy them in the coming years. Photo provided by Cotter Trout Dock.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 10-28-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is at its normal stain and is at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair, on pink minnows, small minnows and medium shiners, along with jigs (the best are white/chartreuse or Monkey Milk colors). Target your fishing around Gold Creek and under the Arkansas Highway 89 bridge. Black bass were fair again this week on crankbaits, swimbaits, poppers and worms recommended. A few key spots to hit would be Adams, Dix and Pierce creeks.
Catfishing is good on stink bait, large minnows and dough bait as well as nightcrawlers baited on limblines and yo-yos.
Little Red River
(updated 10-28-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says to always check the Southwestern Power Administration’s website (swpa.gov) to see if they are scheduled to generate power for the day. Look for low flows and sometimes multiple days without generation. When SWPA is generating power they usually run 1-4 hours a day weekdays starting around 3 p.m. Weekend generation has been minimal, creating excellent wading opportunities for the entire river. While wade fishing this time of year be aware of the redds are brown trout are spawning in the shoals. Don't walk through cleaned gravel areas where the fish are spawning.
With the low flows try fishing the deep holes and oxygenated shoals.
Fishing under an indicator with egg patterns and midge's have been producing, along with pheasant tails and sowbugs.
A two-fly rig with a midge dropper has been effective.
If you like to strip flies, try stripping small streamer patterns and Cracklebacks along with swinging soft hackles in the shoals.
(updated 10-28-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said that with Greers Ferry Lake below pool and with cooler air temperature, we can expect a pattern of only small amounts of generation weekly. Midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ear and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, Lowell recommends pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 10-28-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout have been good on size 16 or size 18 flies.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.58 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass are good on jerkbaits and topwater buzzbaits.
(updated 10-21-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 457.01 feet msl, 5.03 feet below normal pool for this time of year (462.04 feet msl). Anglers on the lake are experiencing generation for about 3 hours every afternoon, and on weekends 1-3 hours during the middle of the day as of right now. Remember, wind is your friend but anything over 20 mph should be considered to be hazardous, so be safe. The wind helps reoxygenate the water as the fall breakdown of matter in water robs it of oxygen and wind and rain are the only things that will replenish it.
Crappie are eating if you can stay with them or over them; use jigs, crankbaits and live bait and fish in 16-45 feet of water. Black bass are eating well from super shallow out to 60 feet on a variety of baits, on points, secondary points, guts and creeks, and major flats. Catfish seem to be going better with hot dogs for bait at this time. Walleye – a lot are scattered swimming around other schools of fish and eating what they regurgitate; the rest can be caught on a drop-shot with crawlers, on points, humps, etc., in 18-60 feet. Bream are eating crickets super shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrid and white bass are eating at will; stay around the shad, keep eye out for birds as well, and use topwater baits, spoons and inline spinners. Those are working best in 25-60 feet.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-28-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake has cleared but it remains low with stumps showing. Bream fishing is poor. Crappie are in the early mornings; use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good using plastic worms. Try fishing around Crappie Cove for the bass. Catfishing is good using chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 10-28-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is down by 1.5 feet. Clarity is murky and the surface temperature is around 68 degrees. Bream are slow but anglers are still catching some. Black bass are doing well on crankbaits. Catfish are doing well on yo-yos and noodles baited with bass minnows and broilers. Crappie are still in the deep water toward the Highway 95 side. “We are still catching a lot of smaller crappie on Highway 9. With the fresh rainwater and cooler temperatures, it should pick up, Johnny said. “Come see me at Overcup Bait Shop off Arkansas Highway 9 for all your fishing needs.
(update 10-28-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said Wednesday the clarity is “a little stained” and the water level is normal. Bream fishing is just fair this week, and anglers were solely having success with crickets. Crappie are being caught in good numbers in the 3- to 6-foot-depth range. Crappie are related to the buckbrush and biting minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. They’re being caught in the evenings in deeper water on spinnerbaits and white Rooster Tails. Catfishing continues to be good on the bottom using live bait.
(updated 10-14-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said surface water temperature is in the mid- to low 70s. Largemouth bass are fair. Some reports have come in of the bass being found in the coves due to the cooling water temps. Try using at Texas rig on brush, or drop-shots. Kentucky bass (spots) have been slow this week. Some anglers report them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other reports have them being found on brushpiles. Try using jigs. White bass are poor. There are reports of them being found chasing shallow shad. Try using swimbaits.
Crappie are good. Reports from the last two days (Monday and Tuesday of this week) have the crappie being found suspended on the brush with anglers fishing in depths of 17-22 feet. They’re catching a few and then the bite stops, so keep moving to find them. Bite is best early and in the evening. Try using jigs.
Bream are slow. Some are saying they can be found 7-15 feet around the beds and others being found 14-16 feet off of windy points, while others are catching a bunch of small ones from the banks. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are good. Trotlines are being set at 12-15 feet depth. 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 32,776 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 37,772 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-28-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear and at a normal level. Crappie have improved over the week to a good bite on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on cut bait or bream. No reports from the bream anglers.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 23,909 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 14,861 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 13,764 cfs.
(updated 10-28-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good on crankbaits from 4-8 feet deep and on Whopper Popper off the ends of the jetties.
(updated 10-28-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Wednesday that fishing remains slow now on the river and they had no reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-21-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports that the lake is living up to its clear name, but the water level is low. Crappie is all that is being caught, but anglers report good results in the past week. Try minnows, jigs and black worms.
(update 10-21-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the lake level is low and the water continues to be clear. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs and are relating to the stumps. Black bass are good on crankbaits. Catfishing is good on floaters and live bait. No reports on bream. Get to Peckerwood Lake before waterfowl season arrives and the lake is closed to fishing.
(updated 10-28-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the White River below Bull Shoals Dam has seen the equivalent of one unit most of each day for the last week. “Bull Shoals Lake is 5 feet below power pool, so we expect the releases to remain low. Mother Nature is blessing us with nicely moderate temperatures and painting the trees in yellows, rust and reds; but early mornings are chilly enough to require a couple of layers in order to stay warm while catching all those trout.
“The rainbow fishing continues to be prolific with garlic-scented PowerBait luring in lots of trout for both the wade/bank anglers as well as the boaters. It's autumn – time to switch to orange, white and/or sunrise colors for your egg pattern flies or PowerBait. Try a light green/chartreuse Rooster Tail with a gold spoon in this low water and keep it just above the river bed vegetation; could mean running it just below the surface. White or pink marabou jigs are worth a shot to change up your fishing technique and keeps the interest high. Nightcrawlers and redworms will work especially well for the next couple of days because of the rain forecast.
“The annual spawn is heating up, so be gentle when returning the females to the river. You'll have to use shiny, flashy baits and lots of jiggle to get their attention during the spawning months: They'll snap at your bait only in an effort to make you leave them alone. We have seen fewer browns and cutthroats this past week, but those we've been able to bring to the boat have taken sculpins rather than stick baits.
“Come on over. Fall colors are popping up all around us and we've been treated to some perfect autumn days
(updated 10-28-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a rain events totaling just a trace in Cotter, cooler temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.7 foot to rest at 4.3 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at 1.6 feet below power pool and 15.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 1.5 feet below power pool or 11.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water most every day. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. We have wadable water on a daily basis.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 31, 2022, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On Feb. 1, 2022, this section will open to fishing.
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
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.
John added, “We are having the best fishing conditions on the White and North Fork rivers that we have had in years. All of the lakes in the White River system are well below the top of power pool. We are receiving much lower flows. On the Norfork tailwater, we have had wadable water every day for weeks. On the White, we have had low flows in the morning (that are marginally wadable) with brief moderate flows in the afternoon. I have had several days of fishing the wadable water on the Norfork and have done well. Fishing on the lower flows from my boat has been spectacular. In addition, the weather has finally turned to fall with cool mornings and mild afternoon.
“The problem that I am having is that my absolute favorite fishing buddy, my wife, Lori, is out of commission. She broke her arm and is unable to fish, or guide for that matter. She was walking our big black male Labrador, Ghillie (100 pounds of solid muscle), when our black and white rescue cat, Spike, appeared. It was dark and Ghillie took him for a skunk (he had a previous encounter with a skunk that did not turn out well) and gave chase. Lori was pulled off her feet and drug briefly across the yard. She was hurt and a late night trip to the emergency room at Baxter Regional Medical Center confirmed that she had a broken arm.
“I have taken the responsibility for walking Ghillie twice a day. This occasionally interferes with my guide trips, and we have had to rely on friends and neighbors to assist when I am working. I have taken on more responsibilities that include helping Lori get dressed and doing her hair. I have developed a newfound respect for hairdressers. They earn every penny they are paid. Sadly, Lori now looks more like Chaka Khan than her usual self. I claim full responsibility.
“I now accompany her on her regular trips to Walmart. I push the cart and pick up any heavy or odd-shaped items. I have to pay for the groceries because she can’t carry her oversized purse. I have always carried in the groceries. I now have to assist putting away some bulky items.
“She is limited in her cooking. In fact, I have lost 6 pounds. That is not a bad thing. I have a few more pounds that I picked during the coronavirus pandemic that I would like to say goodbye to.
“She cannot drive, so I take her anywhere she needs to go. My Suburban and her soccer mom van are too difficult for her to get into, so we travel in her old Ford SUV. We go to the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully she will be healed and able to return to the river with me. It has all been much more inconvenient for her. I miss my fishing buddy.”
(updated 10-28-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said nothing much has changed in a while. The river continues to run mostly low. Rainbow trout fishing overall has been good. Just 2-4 generators are running at the dam on average. PowerBait, pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp all will get a good response from the trout.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 654.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday morning that bass fishing has been fair. He says the lake is in its fall transition to junk fishing. “Shad are moving up and so are the fish,” he said. Get up early using topwaters, poppers and Zara Spooks one-half to three-quarters of the way into the shallow creeks, and look for wind and shad-surfacing action, as well as the birds. Use Chatterbaits, buzzbaits or a Whopper Plopper covering water if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Peewee Jig or Beaver-style bait on shallow ledges and laydowns, and if it’s sunny use a shaky head on ledges and channel swing banks with chunk rock. Rock Crawler, square bill or Wiggle Wart is good on windy transitions. Shad are starting to group up a little better, but they are spread out and moving into the creeks. Fish the conditions. The lake has good clarity this week with the surface water temperature still sitting at 70 degrees. Water level is normal.
See 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 553.38 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 10-28-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing has been pretty good for me over the last week. Striped bass is the one species that was slow to bite during September and the first part of October, but the bite has now improved dramatically. A slower bite for stripers in the latter part of summer is not uncommon, because warm water is not what the stripers want, so they just go deep to the cool water and wait for their preferred water temperature of 60-70 degrees. We are to that point and they are starting to become aggressive. There is a good after-dark bite for striped/hybrid bass and the morning bite is starting to take off. Various Norfork Lake flats have been the areas where fish are being found. The best depth for the after-dark bite has been anywhere from 25-33 feet of water. Trolling crankbaits that dive roughly 16 feet has been productive for a couple of our guests. Last weekend, several other guests found nice fish feeding early in the morning on a large flat. The fish were in roughly 32 feet of water and vertical-jigging a spoon worked best. I have been graphing various flats and have found feeding stripers each morning since last weekend. The fish have been in 30-35 feet of water cruising around at all depths. Some fish are suspended 15 feet down to the bottom. I have noticed that the larger fish seem to be suspended up in the water column and the smaller ones are laying on the bottom. In the same areas you will also find large schools of white bass. Most are on the bottom feeding, but some may be suspended.
“The news even gets better: feeding alongside of the striped/hybrid and white bass are many channel and flathead catfish lying on the bottom. It will not be long until walleye move into the same area.
“Vertical-jigging a 1-ounce spoon has been my best method to catch all of the above species. In order to catch these fish, I have had to experiment with presentation methods. I have caught fish casting the spoon out and letting it drop to the bottom. I then retrieve the spoon in a jerking motion, usually trying to keep the bait close to the bottom. Vertical-jigging has been productive, but on a few occasions I had to move slowly with the trolling motor and let out more line until the spoon hits the bottom. I then give it a hard forward jerk and then let it settle back to the bottom. Sometimes the fish hammer the bait as I am jerking it and a few times they have picked the spoon up on the fall and the line goes slack. You’ll need to reel the slack up very fast until you feel the fish and set the hook.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was close to 70 degrees. The lake has become fairly stable with just slight variations either up or down and currently sits at 553.26 feet msl. The lake is slightly stained from the mid-lake area and heading north. The lake continues its slow progression to a total lake turnover. “I am starting to mark lots of bait a little below 60 feet, telling me the good cool oxygenated water is continuing to fall lower and lower until eventually it will reach all depths and the lake will be totally turned over. Some years it is an obvious abrupt turnover, but typically it is a slow unnoticeable process.
“Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 10-28-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water most every day. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. We have wadable water on a daily basis.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork tailwater and it fished well some days and poorly on others. 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. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-28-2021) 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. 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 1,119.11 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake remains about 3 feet below normal level and is holding. Water temps continue to drop and are around lower to mid-60s. The turnover is happening and should be done soon. Fishing is fair to good depending on which fish you are chasing.
“I can say there is a ton of bait from Monte Ne up into river arms. All species will start to migrate from the north end to the mid-lake area and up into the Point 12 area. Striper fishing should uptick really soon, as will the walleye and white bass. White bass are showing up into the War Eagle. Numerous reports of good numbers of small white bass are being caught trolling around the natural walk area. This should get better as water cools more.
“The water clarity is going from the brown turnover color to more normal stained brown/green color in the river arms. The War Eagle water color is better than up the White.
“Crappie fishing keeps on getting better. We are catching fish on any structure in and around 7-15 feet. Jigs and minnows are working. We are having to hit lots of brushpiles to fill a limit. You will find the fish and catch a few, then they turn negative. Move to the next pile, repeat and move on again. You can fill a limit or two if you do this.
“Catfish were good on shad way up into the War Eagle. Walleye are very scattered and tough to pattern right now. Fishing will keep getting better into November. Get out and enjoy the fall colors and catch some fish. Be safe, as the lake is lower and there are lots of barely submerged hazards. Good luck!” Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 10-28-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Wednesday that stripers are good on live brood minnows and umbrella rigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs; they continue relating to the brushpiles. Black bass are fair. Go with topwater baits, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs. No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 10-28-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Things have been a little different this past week. The Army Corps of Engineers has not been generating much at all, so that has brought the water level down a little and increased the water temperature. This has caused the trout to spread out a little and find cooler temps. However, if you have a graph, you would notice the baitfish and fine some really nice trout.
“This past week we used spoons coated in Pautzke Fire Gel, which, as you guessed it, mimicked the baitfish. We got a great response. Quite a few 2- to 3-pound rainbows were boated and released. Because I fish from a boat, I could not get up to the hot spot, which would be Parker Bottoms. However, there are still great numbers and quality of fish downstream. Light terminal tackle, fished with Pautzke Fire Bait, produced the higher numbers when fished on bottom.
“About 15 walleye were caught jigging live minnows and pulling Flicker Shads in the Beaver town area. Now, most of the ones caught were juvenile fish, but that is still good numbers for the river and the fall bite. That's all I have for now, remember to visit my fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and tips on the tailwater. Have fun and catch some fish.
(updated 10-28-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream picked back up with fair results. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good but off the topwater bite; this week they were responding only to plastic worms. Catfish must have got their fill last week during a busy week as this week there has been no reports.
(updated 10-28-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is clear and back to a normal level now. Surface water temperature was not reported.
Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are poor. Black bass are fair, this week on plastic worms. Catfish are good on chicken liver and nightcrawlers.
(updated 10-28-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing was a little slow this last weekend. Anglers are catching few small fish: bass, crappie and bream. No reports on catfish. Bream are being caught on worms, crickets and jigs, with the big focus being on the brushpiles and stumps. Crappie are biting on minnows, jigs and worms. Black bass will take to a plastic worm. The surface water temperature on Monday was 68.9 degrees. The water level is normal and the clarity is murky.
(updated 10-21-2021) Seth Boone, park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reports that Lake Poinsett is still in the process of refilling. The fishing now is predominantly catch-and-release for bream. They seem to be biting on crickets and worms. Small boats, kayaks or canoes are the only watercraft that can launch at this time.
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 10-28-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that lake clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 70 degrees. The water level remains low. Bream remain good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reappeared with fair results for anglers this week on minnows and jigs. Black bass continue to respond poorly.
Catfishing is good using stink bait.
(updated 10-7-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) had no new reports.
(updated 10-28-2021) 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 over and the canoes are mostly gone. 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 7.27 feet, up slightly from last week but well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 5.68 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is down to 16.24, almost 10 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff was 23,444 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 22,772 cfs.
(updated 10-21-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team says water temperatures around mid-70s, visibility 1-1.5 feet in most places. Light current on the main channel. Black bass are pretty slow right now without wind or cloudy weather. Focus on the main channel jetties, wooden structures and laydowns on calm sunny days while there is still current. Spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, lipless crankbaits and square to medium-diving crankbaits and jerkbaits in shad colors will get bites. Keep an eye on shallow flats for baitfish activity as schoolers should be roaming those areas until the water cools substantially. Finesse jigs and shaky head/Texas-rigged worms in green pumpkin to darker colors will produce when a tight-cover application is needed. Fishing will improve here as boat traffic and water temperatures continue to decline going deeper into the fall.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-28-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 10-28-2021) 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 258.16 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake is near 14 inches BELOW normal conservation pool and on a slow rise. Little River water clarity is heavy stained. The oxbows’ clarity improved. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 170 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 the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Extreme navigational caution is urged during these conditions (low pool) that will be in effect at least through Nov. 1. Stumps and other obstacles will be near or at the surface while navigating the lake. Boat lanes on open water may be dry ground or mere inches in depth with stumps and hazards.
Surface temps dropped slightly this week, ranging 68-74 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 3-5 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows is 15-25 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 area) has improved drastically.
As for the fishing specifics this past week:
* Cooler weather, rising lake level and much improved visibility and water clarity have the largemouth bass roaming and following the huge pods of threadfin shad in the oxbows along Little River from White Cliffs campground to McGuire oxbow. Shad have been surface-breaking again with the bass pushing the huge schools and pods of shad to the surface. Watch for egrets and herons feeding on the shad. Bass will be roaming, with the still-summerlike water temperatures, following the shad schools and randomly breaking on surfacing shad near stumps and grass and lily pad lines.
The surface-breaking bass continue roaming and following the large pods of threadfin shad anywhere the flats drop off into 9-16 feet of depth, sometimes breaking inside lily pads and grass and stumps. Watch your electronics for huge shad pods ranging from 6-14 feet deep. The screen will go completely solid mass when you locate the shad schools. Bass are holding near and underneath these huge shad schools. Some days with lots of wind gusts, the shad will drop vertically into the 10-15 feet depths and the surface activity will diminish.
The best responses over the last week to 10 days have been on custom-painted Little John Crankbaits, Flat-A's, Rat-L-Trap Echo 1.75 and Bill Lewis Lure's MR-6, and Bill Norman Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad and Splatterback colors. Johnson chrome Silver Minnow Spoons with a white 3-inch curly tail grub trailer are still getting a few blowups and reactions in the pads by rumbling over and pausing in gaps between lily pads. Rat-L-Traps in quarter-ounce Spin Traps and half-ounce Traps in Millwood Magic, Chrome/Black Back and Chartreuse Silver Shad are catching fish following the shad schools.
Baby Brush Hogs in California 420, Black Sapphire, Chartreuse Pumpkin and Blue Fleck were working slowly over the past 2-3 weeks near pads, grass lines and stumps from 5-9 feet deep.
Over the past week, anywhere the creek mouths dump into Little River, near White Cliffs Creek, Cemetery Slough and Cossatot inflow ditch, the Kentucky bass were stacked up with a few white bass inside the main creek channels, or primary and secondary points jutting into Little River, where stumps are present. These bass were hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, custom-painted Little John Cranks and Fat Free Shads, and also hitting behind points extending into Little River above Jack's Isle. Vertical-jigging of the spoons near standing timber and stumps improved this week for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass.
* White bass reappeared over the past week. Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, half-ounce Rat-L-Traps and Spin Traps were all randomly catching whites over the last week, and fishing improved up Little River near Wilton Landing and the U.S. Highway 71 bridge down river to Cemetery Slough this week.
* Crappie have been tough over the past week or so – on one day and off the next. The best reactions have been on Southern Pro Tubes and minnows, or hand-tied hair jigs in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake, from 9-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for the jigs, tubes and minnows this week. Best reaction time shifted to mid-morning for crappie, and best Southern Pro Tubes have been the Little Hustler in the 1.5, and the Pro Series Little Hustler in the pumpkinseed/chartreuse, orange core/chartreuse pepper, Tennessee Shiner and Blue Shiner.
* No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 10-28-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that crappie are “getting better every day” in 10-12 feet of water on the regular crappie jigs. Catfish are great on any live bait. Black bass are still schooling on some of the shallower points. The lake is clear and is 8 feet low and in a drawdown to help with eradication of invasive vegetation in some coves.
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 534.05 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.74 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching double limits of small/medium crappie on live bait fished 8-12 foot deep on brushpiles in 16-24 foot of water.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 435.45 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.89 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 10-21-2021) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reports that crappie are good on minnows and gray jigs in shallow water during the evenings.
(updated 10-28-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and a little choppy as of early afternoon Wednesday. The lake has been low for a while. Crappie are good on minnows and chartreuse jigs. Black bass are fair on 10-inch worms. Donald had no reports on catfish or bream catches.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-28-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Oct. 29, and extending through Thursday, Nov. 4. 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. The annual winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine will begin Nov. 1 and be completed by Nov. 10. Each lake will be lowered 5 feet and will remain at that level until early March 2022. The Carpenter Dam tailrace will be very dangerous to navigate during this time with numerous underway obstructions present. Wade anglers and boaters alike must use extreme caution when attempting to use the area. Rainbow trout fishing will resume below Carpenter Dam in early November as the trout stocking program is scheduled to begin. In past years, the fall stocking was placed in the lake for the week of Thanksgiving; however, the AGFC has moved that date up in recent times to the first two weeks of November.
Currently, catfish have been caught in the tailrace, but that action has slowed considerably in the last week. The majority of fish caught had been in the 4- to 8-pound range. Blue catfish are the dominant species in the tailrace area. White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in one-eighth-ounce weights has been the best presentation to catch these fish the past several days. 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 and early fall months as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish. The summer was dominated by these fish species with migration in and out of the tailrace a weekly event.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Dardanelle Lock and Dam 37,772 cfs.
(updated 10-28-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 10-28-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels at normal pool with temperatures throughout the lake at 70 degrees (except the upper River channel). Bass are breaking regularly throughout the lake in certain areas. In between main lake points, around the main lake bridges and sometimes even the main channel itself where it narrows up near Treasure Isle are prime areas for spotting breaking bass. The best bait by far is a Zara Puppy in a silver pearl color scheme with NO RATTLE. This Spook is the right size, the right color and being rattle-less gets 10 times the attacks. (Side note: Keep pliers close as the fish will choke the Spook).
The secondary pattern right now is the frog bite. Frog eggs are all over wooden docks in the shallows. A white Zoom Horny Toad skipped under docks and in shaded areas near (shallow) docks will tug a larger largemouth out of their hiding spots.
Bream and bluegill are good to very good on points with deep bridge pilings and rocky bottoms. A worm or a cricket still can fill buckets. No crappie report but seeing lots of boats fishing submerged brush above Hill Wheatley and they sure aren’t bass fishing.
Hybrid bass should be starting to binge feed at any time where main creeks meet the main channel. The heat has kept them away, but with colder weather this week hopefully they make their presence known. The Zara Puppy listed above works equally as well on hybrids as it does black bass.
No catfish reports.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.02 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is clear and, before the line of rain had passed through the state, the water level had fallen to low. Surface water temperature is 70 degrees. Crappie are good and keep moving shallower; they are being caught a 2-3 feet depth in the river. Use minnows or black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are good. The bass continue to be caught in 3-5 feet depth. A War Eagle Spinnerbait and a crankbait (such as a Bandit 200 Series in chartreuse color) are the go-to baits. Catfishing is good on trotlines baited with shad. Bream fishing is poor.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.85 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Try a Carolina-rigged finesse worm or a drop-shot rig for these fish. Walleye are still fair and being caught with bottom bouncers tipped with crawlers on main lake points and humps 18-22 feet deep. Stripers are fair to good on live bait. These fish are primarily on the east and central parts of the lake. Bream are slowing but can still be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are still very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brushpiles in the 12-20 foot depth range. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 70-74 degrees. The water clarity is clearing. Lake level is 567.84 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 10-28-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching half to full limits of nice crappie on live bait fished 8-12 foot deep on brushpiles in 16-24 foot of water. We’ve also been trolling Bandit 300 Crankbaits later in the mornings and catching some spotted bass and a few scattered walleye.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.41 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge was down this week to 13.26 feet, almost 13 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-28-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said, “Well here we are, the end is near. The last day for fishing Cooks Lake this year will be this Saturday, Oct. 30. The lake is very low right now, so please use caution when launching a boat. The bass fishing has been most productive but still slow at best. I want to thank everyone who has fished with us this season, overall it has been great!
The lake will be closed November through February to serve as a waterfowl rest area, we will reopen in the spring when the water levels permit.
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 10-14-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said this week found water at Horseshoe in the low to mid-70-degree temperature range. The water is somewhat clear but is showing signs of turnover. We should see some falling water temperatures with the strong cold front that is forecast to move in this weekend. As the water temperatures fall, look for fish to start feeding heavily on the abundant shad in the lake.
Kent said he found a few bream in 3-7 feet of water but he was searching for crappie and didn’t stay with them. Crickets or a worms should entice a bite from a bream pretty quick.
No reports on bass. No reports on catfish.
Crappie were found 9-12 feet deep in 10-14 feet of water. These were in open water and suspended near the bottom of the water column. Hand-tied deer hair jigs were the bait of choice. Look for fish to follow shad onto the shallower flats as the water cools.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 10-14-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said that at Bear Creek Lake, anglers have reported having great success catching bream and black bass. The numbers of bass being caught has increased over the past few months. Bass have been mentioned being caught at depths of 6-8 feet using various artificial baits. Bream have been reported at 4-5 feet while using mostly red worms.
In the south end of the state park at Storm Creek Lake, anglers are having success catching striped bass! This is great news, as it has been kind of slow all season, Tyler said. The bass are reportedly being caught at depths of 6-8 feet, mostly using redworms.