Dec. 2, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 2, 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 noon the day of publication (Dec. 2).
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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 12-2-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said that the lake has the normal stain and the lake level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream fishing continues to be hit or miss with fair catches. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows (medium, smalls and pinks) and jigs. Black bass are fair. Spinnerbaits and white swimbaits continue to be your best bet. Catfishing is good on trotlines and pole fishing with chicken liver, stink bait, nightcrawlers, trotline minnows, dough bait and skipjack.
Little Red River
(updated 11-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout fishing is getting better with more water running. Use small jerkbaits in trout or white colors, Rooster Tails in brown or rainbow trout colors, pink/white Trout Magnets, and black and white marabou jigs in one-sixteenth-ounce or one-eighth-ounce sizes.
(updated 11-24-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says the Southwestern Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers have been running minimal amount of water from the Greers Ferry Dam. With the lake below pool, expect multiple days without generation when the temperatures are mild. Always check the generation schedule to see if they are running power.
The brown trout are spawning this time of year, so be aware of the redds and avoid walking through cleaned gravel areas in and around the shoals.
Try fishing midges, egg patterns and sowbugs; they have been producing. Stripping Woolly Buggers and Cracklebacks have been productive as well.
“With the low flows and mild temperatures we have had, we've been seeing multiple days without generation. The fish have been concentrated in the deeper holes in and around the moss beds. With no current from days without generation, set the indicator about 3-4 feet deep and cast around the moss beds -- no bite, then recast. The rainbow bite has been good.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.63 feet msl with little or no generation at this time -- some generation occasionally in time of need, but none on schedule at present. The lake is 6.41 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The walleye that want to move are getting rivers and creeks on their mind; the rest are wanting to feed as well, so try dragging crankbaits -- big and long, or small -- or a drop-shot with crawler or jighead with same, and fish from super shallow out to 50 feet.
Catfish are eating. The blues are coming in and under migrating shad up certain areas in rivers. Crappie are really chewing in 12-30 feet of water, and there are several ways catching them. Black bass are chomping as well from on the shoreline out to 60 feet on a variety of baits; stay with shad and remember: Anything Right Bite baits make will catch them here and abroad.
Hybrid bass and white bass are eating off and on all day. If you got some wind and are around the shad, fish will be there. It’s like you keeping a refrigerator in your house -- same principal. Use inline spinners, spoons and topwater baits from 20-65 feet.
No reports on bream.
(updated 11-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is low and clear. Bass are good in 15-20 feet of water on Alabama rigs, crankbaits in crawfish color, and finesse or football jigs in peanut butter and jelly or green pumpkin in half-ounce size. Crappie are good on spider-rigging in 15-25 feet of water around standing timber in the creeks and coves.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 12-2-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water clarity is muddy. The lake level has dropped 2 more feet and stumps are showing. Water from Harris Brake Lake helps flood the nearby waterfowl hunting areas at Harris Brake WMA, which otherwise would be dry at this time with little rainfall recently.
Crappie fishing has been fair this week. Anglers are catching bigger crappie in deeper areas and around Crappie Cove. Minnows and jigs are working. Bass fishing is fair, as the bass have moved to deeper areas. No reports on bream or catfish.
(update 12-2-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said Thursday that the lake clarity remains cloudy and the level is normal. Bream fishing is fair using redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on No. 6 crappie minnows and on jigs. Crappie are biting at 6 feet depth and are being found over the underwater brushpiles.
Black bass are good sunset in deeper water. Bass minnows and jigs are working. Catfishing is still good on the bottom, but the favored baits have shifted to stink bait or nightcrawlers.
(updated 11-24-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature is in the mid- to upper 50s. The lake is still low by 4-5 feet, so be cautious. Largemouth bass are fair. Some reports of the bass being found inside the grass, 4-12 feet early in the morning, and going deep after the sun comes out (scattered at all depths), some deep. Try using crankbaits, spinners and drop-shots. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports of them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, and other reports of them being found on brushpiles. Try using Texas rig on brush, or jigs. White bass are slow. Reports of them being found shallow chasing shad. Try using swimbaits.
Crappie are good. Reports this week of the crappie being found suspended 22-28 feet deep on the move and aren’t stacking up yet. They were still deep this week over brush. They’re chasing shad, so if you find the shad, they’re there. Try using one-eighth-ounce jigs. Catch six to eight and move on. They’re easily spooked. Bream are slow. No reports this week. Try using worms if you’re wanting bream. Catfish are slow with no reports this week. If you’re going to go for cats, 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 13,935 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 29,299 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 12-2-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream have reappeared and anglers are catching fair amounts on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass remain fair on spinnerbaits, and crankbaits are catching some. No reports on catfish.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 10,643 cfs.
(updated 11-18-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good at Maumelle Creek in 10-12 feet depth off the rocks.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 5,985 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.
(updated 12-2-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good on the river in 6-8 feet depth or around sandbar drops and brush on Bonehead Silver Shad, Stump Bug and Crappie Magnet (go with Butla Gold). Black bass are good off the rock jetties on crankbaits fished at medium depth.
(updated 11-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is stained or muddy on the main river and level is normal. Bass are a little tough, but the fishing is better on sunny days. Fishing is good on the main river around jetties using white, white/chartreuse and chartreuse/black square-billed crankbaits, and white and chrome Rat-L-Traps in the backwaters around grass and wood. Water is cleaner in the backwaters than in the main river. Crappie are good on pink/chartreuse, white/chartreuse and red/chartreuse crappie jigs with red or orange jigheads fished in 10-15 feet of water behind the jetties.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 12-2-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says crappie are good on crappie minnows and jigs.
(update 12-2-2021) Herman’s Landing is closed for the season, as private Peckerwood Lake is turned over to waterfowl with the upcoming season. Herman’s will reopen in February.
(updated 12-2-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Sure doesn't feel like winter. The first day of December brings sunny skies and 70 degrees. Releases from Bull Shoals Dam are at minimum flow or less (700 cfs) with an occasional burst bringing the river level to 6,000 cfs for an hour. Wade anglers will find many accessible locations; be extremely careful to keep an eye out for those sneaky increases. Be alert and always have an exit plan when you see a change in water level. Jon boaters will find it slow and go, a must-stay in the main channel of the river. It is said that this is the time of year folks are most generous, so be generous to one another out there and everyone can enjoy the river. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission manages a terrific trout population for us, so we can afford to give each other plenty of clearance.
“Lots of success with stick baits and spinners this week. Nothing too big due to low water. Silver and silver/blue hammered spoons or spinners (Vibrax Blue Foxes with orange bells and silver blades), floating Rapalas with orange bellies (the brook trout, BTR F5 is good), and white or ginger-colored jigs. The browns are spawning, so you need to be creative in what you throw and how you throw it; they're not too interested in you right now. Sculpins will still attract a brown trout but it might take more patience than usual. The rainbows continue to hit shrimp, and yellow/orange or bubblegum pink eggs.
“Come join us on the river; it'd be a shame to waste this mild-December weather shopping indoors. An added attraction: The R.M. Ruthven Bridge (better known as the Rainbow Bridge over the White River here in Cotter) is going to be radiantly lit with a rainbow of colors. Awesome views.”
(updated 12-2-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had a half-inch of rain at Cotter, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.6 foot to rest at 5.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 2 feet below power pool and 16 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 2 feet below power pool or 11.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had significant wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.4 tenths of a foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. Expect wadable water on a daily basis.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until 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. This section will reopen to fishing Feb. 1.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. On the low water, the bite has been 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).
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 also said, “My wife Lori’s sister and her husband, Terri and Larry, recently visited. They are both serious fly-fishers who prefer to wade. Due to three consecutive years of high water, they have not been able to fish much lately. Now that the lakes in the White River system are now comfortably in power pool, we are getting access to some much lower water with frequent wading opportunities. These conditions drew them to Cotter like bees to honey.
“They arrived mid-afternoon, and as soon as the generation prediction was available we eagerly checked it out. It showed a nice morning of low water on the Norfork tailwater. They were on the river at sunrise. The fishing was a little slow but they were so glad to be on the water, it just did not matter. They caught and released several nice trout. At mid-morning they drove back to Cotter to pick up Lori and me. We went to the White Sands Restaurant, just four blocks from our house, for a late breakfast.
“Later that afternoon the prediction for the weekend was published. We eagerly read it and noted that it called for 48 hours of absolute, on the bottom, low wadable water, on the White and North Fork rivers. Larry and Terri were stoked. With the water down this long, they could literally fish anywhere they wanted to. All of those spots they had been wanting to fish were now available and they were here to take advantage of it.
“It had been years since they had fished the Narrows, so they opted to fish there. They left my guest house well before sunup. They had wadered up on the guest house porch. Larry had rigged their rods the night before. They were loaded for bear. They arrived at the access. They were the first anglers there. As they waded across the near channel, they were surprised that there was water and current in the channel. When the river is on the bottom there should be little if any water and no current there.
“When they arrived at the run where the near channel and far channel met, it looked high to Larry. He is a big man. He is over 6 feet tall and is all muscle. He is one of the strongest waders that I know. He could not make it across after several tries. Terri had held back to see if he could make it before she tried. Larry assumed that the run had changed and could not be waded.
“Disappointed, they returned to Cotter. I saw them when they got back and listened to their tale. I then explained that the Corps of Engineers had not followed the prediction and was running a full generator. The river was not on the bottom. Once again the generation prediction was unreliable. When I fish, I always check the real-time generation before I leave the house just so that I can identify a situation like this.
“In a way, they were glad that the run was still wadable in low water. They were disappointed to get unreliable information.”
(updated 12-2-2021) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, reports that fishing continues to be very good. Spoons continue to be the go-to lure. Additionally, black jigs, Rooster Tails or lures with a spinner have worked very well. Power Eggs with shrimp, corn or worms continue to work well. Minimum flow from Bull Shoals Dam and limited generation from Norfork Dam has kept the river low. With this low water, be careful when boating and stay to the gravel bar side of the river. There are many rocks and snags now exposed or just under the water surface, which can damage a boat or motor.
Dave adds that on Tuesday, Nov. 30, over 750 trout from the Jim Hinkle Spring River Fish Hatchery were stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 653.74 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 914.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that patterns haven’t changed much. Bass fishing is still fair one-half to three-quarters of the way back into the creeks, Look for wind and shad-surfacing action. Birds and loons have arrived around the shad. The deep bite is hot, and bass are keying in on the shad in 40-70 feet. That seems to be the predominant bite.
In stormy, windy conditions, power fishermen can key in on ledges and channel swing banks with chunk rock. On windy days, Rock Crawlers, square bills and Wiggle Warts will work around the windy transitions. Offshore, the shad are starting to group up a lot better. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon or drop-shot a Damiki Ice Jig. Fish the conditions.
Bull Shoals clarity is good, the surface temperature is 59 degrees. Water level is about 5 feet low.
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 553.33 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 11-18-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing really has not changed a lot since my last report two weeks ago. The lake temperature has dropped a little and the thermocline has dropped to basically the edges of the old river channel. The deep water will eventually become totally oxygenated and the water temp will be consistent from surface to the bottom.
“I have mainly been fishing on the various flats in the mid to northern parts of the lake. Heading west of my resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, the flats are near Mallard Point, Cranfield Island, Cranfield Campground, Seward Point, Briar Creek and then up around the Red Bank area. Heading east of our resort are the 101 Bridge Flat, Big Sandy which is a little past 101 Boat Dock and the Cow Pasture, which is the area right before the 6B marker. (A few of the names have been given by local fishermen.) Striped and hybrid bass, white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, catfish and walleye can all be found on these flats at some point during the day and sometimes multiple times during the day. The bait moves onto the flat and the predators move in to feed. The best fishing depth seems to vary based on the time of day. But it seems that 30-40 feet of water has been the most productive depths during daylight hours. As the lake water cools the bait and fish will continue to move a little deeper. In the dark, the fish seem to move up shallower following the bait. My bait of choice for flat fishing has been to vertical jig a ½- to a 1-ounce spoon. The fish are currently feeding on 1½ inch to 2-inch thread fin shad. This does not mean they won’t attack a bigger bait and at times they may prefer a little heartier meal. I have also been casting out a 5-inch swimbait, as well as, my ½ ounce Kastmaster. Other styles of blade baits, such as a cicada, are working very well. Trollers are also picking up some nice striped bass by trolling umbrella or Alabama rigs. Other areas where these species are showing up or will very soon, are back in the major creeks, such as; Big, Brushy, Float, Panther and Fall Creeks, as well as Bennett’s Bayou and up river around the state line.
“I cannot personally talk about crappie fishing as I have been spending the majority of my time locating and catching the species talked about above. From what I have been told by the crappie guides is that the bite has been good. The bigger slabs are starting to move into the brush and small jigs and minnows are working very well. I will take some time off from my striped bass fishing and check out the crappie bite myself before long.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was in the mid-60-degree range. The lake has become fairly stable with just slight variations either up or down and currently sits at 553.62 feet msl. The lake is slightly stained from the mid-lake area and heading north, but there has been a slight clearing starting to happen. The lake continues its slow progression to a total lake turnover. “I am starting to mark bait and a few fish 75-80 feet deep, which tells 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. This year the turnover process has been virtually unnoticeable.
“Happy fishing, and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 12-2-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.4 tenths of a foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. Expect wadable water on a daily basis.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork 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 12-2-2021) 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 colder temperatures, the smallmouths are not 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 1,118.49 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is stable, sitting below normal pool level. The water temps are in the lower 50s. It should stay in that range for a bit, considering we will be at record air temps next few days.
Crappie are responding well. The bite is good. Look for fish anywhere from 5 feet deep to 30 feet deep. Jigs are working, as are minnows. The river arms are holding a lot of fish and War Eagle arm seems to be fishing better. Every piece of structure you find in those depths will hold some fish, it seems. Stripers have shown back up. Look in Prairie Creek and up into river arms. Brood minnows are working well. Look shallow, 20 feet or less, especially on flats. Look for bait and you will find the stripers. There is some sporadic topwater action. White bass are good up near Natural Walk area and some stripers are mixed in busting shad.
All species should really fire up this next week with spring-like weather. A good late fall bite is starting to kick in. It is running late, according to the calendar, “but, heck, I will take this compared to snow. Get out and enjoy the lake. You never know when winter will show up!"
Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 12-2-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported that stripers are good now around the War Eagle and Piney Creek areas in the river. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, and they are relating to the brushpiles. Black bass are fair and have moved deep around the brush. Spoons are working best.
No reports on bream or catfish. The lake is clear and the surface water temperature is in the mid- to high 50s. Water level is normal.
(updated 11-18-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that this past week has been an active one. Most of the trout are being caught between Houseman Access and Highway 62 bridge. Quarter-ounce spoons have really helped with the bite. Add a little Fire Gel and that increases the bite. Furthermore, various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle are producing nice numbers. The walleye bite has slacked off a little, so targeting those pesky fish may take some time. If you happen across a few, work the entire area. The best method so far has been jigging with live minnows, if you can find them.
“Winter is just about here and the days are becoming colder. That doesn't mean the bite will slow, so get out and catch some fish!” Check out Austin’s fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and tips on the tailwater.
(updated 12-2-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is still “pretty clear” sand at a normal level. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits and worms. Catfish are fair using catfish bait and worms. No reports on bream.
(updated 12-2-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is clear and at normal level. Surface water temperature was not reported. Bream are fair pm redworms and crickets. The crappie bite is still good; use minnows or jigs, and flash off the old bridge for a good response. Black bass continue to be poor, as were catfish this week.
(updated 12-2-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the surface water temperature Monday was 51 degrees and the water level is low (Lake Charles helps provide water to Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA’s waterfowl hunting). The clarity is the usual murky. Fishing activity picked up at Lake Charles this past week. Shelly says anglers were actually catching good amounts of bream using worms and jigs. Crappie are fair on worms. Black bass have been fair this week on plastic worms and regular worms. There were no reports on catfish or white bass.
(updated 12-2-2021) t Lake Poinsett is in the process of refilling, but is rainfall dependent and the region hasn’t had a lot of rainfall lately. 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 a year ago, 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 12-2-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has closed for the season and will reopen in mid-February.
(updated 12-2-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are very low and clear. Over the last week the bite has been tough on the bright sunny days, with nymphs and eggs working well to get the bite. On the overcast days Woollies have been producing brown trout and bigger rainbows.
There has been dry fly action in the evenings during hatches of caddis and mayflies on some days. It’s always fun just watch for the trout to rise. In the shallows, shad will be rising and can be fun, but not very big.
On spinning tackle the go-to lately has been hot pink, white and black Trout Magnets. They love them in the clear water.
Be safe wading as the water is very low, making it easier to wade, bit don't forget: Those rocks are slick!
(updated 12-2-2021) 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. 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 6.41 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at its lowest point on a Thursday morning this year, 2.97 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta has dropped to 13.13 feet, almost 13 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-24-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville reports that walleye are fair around Locks 2 and 3 on live bait and jigs.
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 41 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 345 cfs.
(updated 11-24-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team says water temperatures in upper 50s. Water clarity 1-1.5 feet. Little to no flow on river. Water level several inches low consistently. Black bass are biting very well on shallow and lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, bladed jigs and topwater walking baits in shad colors over sandy flats with baitfish present, and along adjacent rocky banks especially with some wind blowing into/over those flats. On calm days, target docks, woody cover and brushpiles with dark-colored jigs. November to early December is one of, if not the, best times of the year to fish the harbor (Lake Langhofer) for black bass; very low fishing pressure and active fish feeding up for the winter.
(updated 12-2-2021) 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, which will mostly be done by rainfall collection. Many artificial fish habitat structures have been created and put in place, and the AGFC has pumped several of the small ponds and has added rotenone to those areas for the elimination of unwanted species (i.e. grass carp, yellow bass), before the refilling of the lake begins. The city will determine when the gates are closed on the dam to begin refilling.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 258.98 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake has nearly returned to normal conservation pool level; it was about 1-2 inches low but on a slow rise. Clarity has improved. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 168 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. Surface temps dropped slightly this week, ranging in 50-55 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River improved this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows was 10-20 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions.
As for specific fishing activity, Mike said:
* Largemouth bass continue roaming over the past week, following huge schools of shad and feeding randomly as they have over the past few weeks. Best feeding cycles shifted over the past week or so to midday and the afternoon. Threadfin shad are roaming in the shallow flats with pads, while other times over drops from 9 feet to around 15 feet of depth. The black bass are continually roaming and following the huge pods of shad in the oxbows along Little River from White Cliffs campground to McGuire Oxbow, Cemetery Slough and Browns Creek. Shad have been surface-breaking randomly with the bass pushing the huge schools and pods of shad to surface. Watch for egrets and herons feeding on the shad. Bass will be roaming with the cooler water temperatures following the shad schools and randomly breaking on surfacing shad near stumps and grass and lily pad lines. Their feeding cycles seem to fluctuate wildly. “Some days we are catching over 40-50,” Mike said. “Other days it’s like they're not feeding at all, and catch less than a dozen.”
The surface breaking of shad can simply break anywhere from the flats and into over 14-16 feet of depth, then they’re chasing and breaking inside lily pads and grass and stumps. Watch your electronics for huge shad pods ranging 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 foot depths, and the surface activity will diminish. Other days it’s like the bass are flipping a switch on and off again when it’s time to feed. The feeding binges can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, and they flip the switch off again.
The best responses over the last couple weeks have been on custom-painted Little John Crankbaits, Flat-A's, Rat-L-Trap Echo 1.75 and Bill Lewis Lure's MR-6 Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad, Chrome/Blue (sunny days) 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 size Spin Traps and half-ounce Traps in Millwood Magic, Chrome/Blue Back and Chartreuse Silver Shad continue to catch random fish that are roaming and following the shad schools. “Whenever the largemouth push the shad to the surface, we found a Bill Lewis 4-inch Stutterstep to be extremely effective on surface feeders near pads and grass lines from 6-8 feet of depth underneath pads near vertical structure,” Mike said. Best colors of the Stutterstep have been the Millwood Magic Silverado, Ghost Shad or Pro Blue. The Stutterstep has caught good numbers of dual bass hookups simultaneously.
White Chatterbaits with a Bass Assassin 3.5-inch Little Boss trailer in Crystal Shad, Snow Storm or Silver Ghost colors are randomly catching bass in the remaining lily pads and stems, and a Bass Assassin 3.5 Little Boss in a Houdini color on a swim jighead will draw a reaction randomly through the pad stems, but that seems to be better on cloudy days. Southern Pro Flipping Tubes or Tournament Tubes in black/blue tail, smoke/black/red flake with chartreuse dipped tail and smoke purple flake with chartreuse dip tail have been taking 2- to 4-pound bass over the past week near pads, on stumps from 5-9 feet deep in Little River's oxbow lakes upriver near creek junctions and on tapering points where shad are moving into the creek channels.
* White bass continue roaming along with the largemouths in the oxbows and randomly feeding on shad. The whites have been located again roaming up Little River, and heavily schooled. This past week they were found from White Cliffs campground all the way up to U.S. Highway 71 bridge, and where the Cossatot River intersects and dumps into Little River. Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, Fat Free Shads in Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad, half-ounce Rat-L-Traps, Bill Lewis' MR-6 Crankbaits and Spin Traps in chrome/blue, Millwood Magic, Tennessee Shad and Threadfin Shad colors were all randomly catching whites, over the last week, with anglers boating between 50-80 whites in a few hours fishing time.
“One day we are catching them along Little River, roaming and slamming those crankbaits; next day they are hugging the bottom of the river just underneath the shad schools fighting over a dropped and vertical-jigging Cordell Spoon into the school,” Mike said. “Watch your electronics for the mass of shad and whites from 12-22 feet of depth between White Cliffs Campground and Cemetery Slough along the river.
* Crappie improved their bite in brush over the past week on jigs, tubes and Southern Pro Little Hustler 1.5", Pro Series Little Hustler and Crappie Stinger 2.0. Best colors have been Blue Silk, Smoke Shiner, Cajun Cricket or Tennessee Shiner. Bee Lake, Little River near Hurricane Creek and Pugh Slough had some nice crappie that have been biting randomly over the past week. Upriver, crappie seemed to be more aggressive in planted brushpiles than the main lake crappie the past few weeks.
* No reports on catfish or bream this week.
(updated 12-2-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that the lake is still a little dingy and is low by 7½-8 feet. The lake has been in a partial drawdown for several weeks. Crappie are excellent. They are in 10-11 feet depth and around 5 feet in the water column. Use hand-tied jigs and BoneHead plastics. Catfishing is also excellent. Any kind of bait will work now. No reports on bass or bream.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 534.29 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.30 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-18-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says crappie are moving into their winter pattern. Fish with live bait or jigs over brushpiles near deep water channels.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.44 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.93 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 12-2-2021) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reported Thursday that crappie are good on minnows and jigs.
(updated 12-2-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake remains a little murky and is about 3 feet below normal level. Crappie fishing is good. Anglers are catching limits. Crappie in the 10- to 11-inch size and 2- to 3-pounders are being caught. Use minnows or Bobby Garland-style jigs. No reports on bream, bass and catfish.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 12-2-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 57 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Dec. 3, that extends through Thursday, Dec. 9. 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 winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine was completed Nov. 10. Each lake has been lowered 5 feet and will remain at that level until March 1. The Carpenter Dam tailrace will be very dangerous to navigate during this time with numerous underwater obstructions now present. Wade anglers and boaters alike must use extreme caution when attempting to use the area.
Rainbow trout are now present in Lake Catherine and being caught. As a general rule, these early fall rainbows are quality fish and will provide fishermen solid action and table fare. Waders can now easily access areas that are holding numbers of trout. PowerBaits and waxworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater are working along with nightcrawlers and redworms presented in the same manner. Trout Magnets fished shallow in moving or still water can produce excellent results while the drawdown is in effect. The November stockings of trout are difficult to pattern with rapidly changing weather patterns and low water levels. Bank fishermen can stick to basic patterns of live bait and PowerBaits, while fly-fishermen should cast egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. Microjigs and Woolly Buggers have taken trout over 13 inches this week.
White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad below the bridge. 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 2-pound class.
The arrival of rainbow trout to Lake Catherine in November brings life to the Carpenter Dam tailrace and kicks off the trout fishing season. Almost 3,000 rainbows are scheduled to be stocked below Carpenter Dam this month and this additional influx of fish will greatly enhance fishing opportunities for the public. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
As of Thursday at noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 29,299 cfs. Elevation was 337.43 feet msl, with the tailwater at 286.54 feet msl.
(updated 12-2-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water level 5 feet low due to the yearly drawdown. Water temperature continues to hang in the low 50s throughout the lake. Bass have been fair to good fishing the drop-shot rig in heavy chunk rock on main points at 15-25 feet. A flat-sided Zoom Fluke in smoke shad has been the best choice as most fish are zeroed in on shad and baitfish only. A good secondary bait would be a small black or green pumpkin crawdad, we have tried drop shot worms but for the most part, the fish are not interested. Jigs like three-quarter-ounce football jigs in black and blue are also doing well on chunky main lake points and deep docks that still remain deep, though the water has come down. Hybrid Bass have been scattered all over and in with Bass and can be caught vertical jigging a white Crappie Jig, or small flutter spoon in 15-35 feet in the main channel and ditches off the main channel. Crappie have been excellent lately (especially before cold fronts.) Vertical-jigging a crappie jig with a silver or white skirt and a black head or even a small flutter spoon has worked also. Crappie are very aggressive in the mornings FYI. No Catfish report.
“Be careful out here folks. We have noticed submerged stumps and trees directly in the main boating lanes and exposed earth is everywhere it wasn’t before. Hamilton is very shallow in a ton of areas so please use caution and slow down if you are not familiar with the lake. Good Luck and go Greeson!”
(updated 11-18-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says crappie are moving into their winter pattern. Fish live bait or jigs over brushpiles near deep water channels.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 341.93 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.73 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. Try a three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon or a drop-shot rig for these fish. Stripers are still good on live bait or trolling an Alabama rig. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush piles in the 15-25 foot depth range. No reports on walleye, bream or catfish. The lake’s water temperature is ranging 56-60 degrees and the clarity is clear. Lake level is 567.72 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 12-2-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching plenty of largemouth and spotted bass vertical-jigging spoons near the bottom on flats. Roam around and watch for baitfish and you’ll find the bass.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.36 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Reports from the Lick Creek area on the south side of the lake, submitted to the Fishing Report, say that a couple of anglers this week caught 80 crappie using jigs, and most were 11 inches or longer. The Lick Creek area is somewhat projected from the constant wind on Blue Mountain Lake.
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge was down this week to 10.79 feet, more than 15 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 12-2-2021) The lake at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) is closed November through February to serve as a waterfowl rest area, and will reopen in the spring when the water levels permit.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 11-24-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having a little success catching bream with red worms. Bream have been reportedly caught between depths of 4-6 feet. Meanwhile, there is very little fishing activity present at Storm Creek Lake now. Tyler says they haven’t received any reports from anglers within the last month. If you’re vising the state park, please let the Visitor Center know how it’s going.