April 28, 2022
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 28, 2022. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (April 28).
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Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
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TOP AND LEFT: Mike Eakle landed this nice catfish caught off Blackburn's Resort and Boat Rental's dock on Norfork Lake using a live shiner. While black bass, stripers, crappie and now some nice walleye have been heavy targets for anglers of lake on Norfork, the catfish are biting well, too, as resort owner Steven Street notes from Blackburn's. Read more of Scuba Steve's report from Norfork Lake below, as well as John Berry's trout fishing report from the Norfork Dam tailwater, all in the listing below (check: North Arkansas).
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 4-28-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake is back to its normal stain and the water has returned to normal level. The bream bite continues to be excellent. Use redworms, crickets and hair jigs. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. There is crappie activity under the trees, they report. Black bass are good, and it appears they are beginning to bed up. Spinnerbaits continue to work well, along with 7½- to 10½-inch curly tail jigs, anything that resembles baitfish, plastic frogs, swimbaits, Chatterbait and creature baits. Catfish are good using stink bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, Baby Shad and skipjack.
Little Red River
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (both turbine and spillway) as of 10 a.m. Greers Ferry Lake is about 4 feet over normal conservation pool. The flow has topped 6,000 cfs once or twice a day now for two weeks (two generations topped 6,000 cfs flow on April 27). The tailwater at 10 a.m. April 28 was 266.91 feet msl, a drop of 10 feet from 3 p.m. April 27, as releases were minimal from 9 p.m. April 27 to 10 a.m. the next morning. Check with the Corps website for real-time release data or by calling (501) 362-5150). Also check the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 4-28-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said that with Greers Ferry Lake 4 foot above pool, the Army Corp of Engineers has been running an unpredictable generation schedule as of now with all the rain that fell last week look for the Corp of Engineers to run 2 units of water for most of the day. Always check the USACE Little Rock app for generation schedule before heading out.
A deep water nymph rig has been effective while fishing from a boat when they are running one and two units of water.
Caddis patterns, Pheasant tail nymphs and San Juan worms have been working. We are starting to see caddis hatches all along the river.
The streamer bite has been good with the current generation schedule.
(updated 4-28-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout are good when water isn’t generating, but the Army Corps of Engineers is generating 12 hours a day. When the turbines are off, you’ll get a good bite on No. 7 Rapala Countdowns, No. 5 ShadRaps, Trout Magnets or one-eighth-ounce Maribou Jigs. Best colors are black, brown and orange.
(updated 4-14-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) suggests that anglers always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 464.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 4-28-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 466.11 feet msl and falling. It is 4.07 feet above normal of 462.04 feet msl. Fishing and catching is about the same with one new exception: the shad spawn is in progress. Some crappie are staged up, some have spawned, some are not staged, and they’re found 40 feet to super shallow. Walleye are all over the place as well, super shallow out to 40 feet; drag or troll something. White bass and hybrid bass are scattered about, while some are in groups, and they’re super shallow out to 40 feet biting on a variety of baits. Catfish are coming in, all species, eating all types of baits. For bream, drag a cricket or crawler super shallow out to 20 feet. Black bass are going after flukes, floating worms – again, some have spawned, some are staged, some have not staged yet. They are super shallow out to about 40 feet with lots of things working. A Texas-rigged lizard up shallow, you cannot go wrong.
(updated 4-28-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is 4 feet high and the upper end of Greers Ferry Lake is stained, while the lower end is clear. Black bass are good in the bushes in 2-8 feet on PB&J finesse jigs, wake baits, Caroline rigs and floating worms. Crappie are good and are shallow in the buckbrush. They’re biting minnows and little gray and white hair jigs. Anglers are catching them more in the upper end of the lake where there is stained water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-28-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is muddy and high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie have fallen off the past couple weeks with a poor bite. No reports. Black bass are good on soft-plastic worms in watermelon red color. Catfish began biting again, with anglers bringing in fair catches.
(updated 4-21-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said the very high water level doesn't seem to be messing with the fish this week. The water is low visibility. The crappie are biting on minnows, more still toward the levee. Anglers pulled some good catfish out way in the back by the woods, as well as some little cats up in the boat dock area. Hank Rowland and Seth Diemer landed a nice 8.5-pound largemouth bass a few days ago. “Minnows is all I know of that's working right now,” Lacey said.
(updated 4-21-2022) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said water level is up by 1.5 feet. Clarity is murky and surface temperature is around 65 degrees. Bass are doing well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits, as well as topwaters. Bream haven't started yet but anglers are catching one here and there. Catfish are doing well with all the creeks running in the lake. Crappie had started coming to the buckbrush, mostly males, and were turning black. The females were in 6-8 feet of water. “The day before this rain we had 30 females brought in along with 45 males by three people,” Johnny said, noting that Jay Nichols and Gene Bennett also caught 22 good crappie.
(update 4-28-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says the water is a little cloudy and still high. No surface temperature was available. Fishing has been good this week for most species. Bream are fair around brushpiles on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good using minnows or chartreuse, red and white jigs. Fish around the brushpiles.
Black bass are good using white Rooster Tails, crickets or worms. Catfish have headed to the bottom to eat and are biting on “really anything,” David says. Live bait and goldfish have been very good for a while now.
Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve bait shop.
(updated 4-28-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said water temp is in the upper 60s to 70. Black bass are biting best early in the morning and later in the evenings. Otherwise, the fishing patterns are similar to the past week. Largemouth bass are good. Reports of the bass being found shallow along the grass lines. Some reports of them deep. Try using Carolina-rigged lizards, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and drop-shots. Also, the spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are good. 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 a Texas rig on brush, or jigs.
The black bass catch totals in Tuesday night’s tournament at WestRock Landing were better overall than a week ago, and the weather cooperated: Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley led the way with a 12.11-pound stringer. Mike Hammett and Eric Wallace caught the Big Bass of 3.86 pounds, which helped them to a second-place 9.77-pound stringer. Sixteen out of 25 twosomes landed five-bass stringers. For more info on the Tuesday night tournaments and how to participate, call the number listed above.
White bass have slowed. They had a great run this year. You can probably find some still on the west end of the lake. Try using swimbaits.
Crappie are good. Reports this week of the crappie being found shallow, 8-10 feet, and moving toward the shore. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are fair. They are mixed in with the crappie and some are still deep. They were biting on minnows and jigs. No reports of catfish this week, but it never hurts now to throw some hooks baited with chicken liver, worms or crayfish and see if they bite.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 74,037 cfs with a pool elevation of 285.44 feet msl. The stage has fallen to 13.3 feet. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 86,271 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 4-14-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the fishing was good up until this week’s storms. “Water is about to be really muddy,” he said. Most recently, Ray had said that crappie were good and being caught fairly shallow. Plus, they were biting yo-yos at night with minnows as bait. Black bass had been good, also are fairly shallow, and biting spinnerbaits and plastics.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 86,672 cfs with a pool elevation of 264.10 feet msl.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 102,900 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was at 9.19 feet. Pool elevation is 248.57 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 111,909 cfs with a pool elevation of 230.74. There continues to be small-craft warning on the Little Rock pool.
(updated 4-28-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said water remains high and the river still has a craft advisory with water moving over 100,000 cfs. They have fished elsewhere (see Little Red River and Greers Ferry Lake listings).
(updated 4-28-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says that although the river is high, they have heard of a lot of people snagging for white bass, crappie and catfish using bait in black/chartreuse colors.
(updated 4-21-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are starting to move up in Big and Little Maumelle creeks and are being caught on Crappie Weapon in black and pink and Crappie Magnet Dancer in pink and chartreuse. Target about 5-6 feet depth of water around brush or laydowns.
Catfish are fair on skipjack below both dams. Bream are good on crickets at about 6 feet depth around the backwater areas. Anglers going for white bass are catching a few below the dams on white grubs.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-28-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Wednesday afternoon that crappie are good on minnows and jigs, but they have not heard any other reports.
(update 4-28-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake remains dingy and the water level is normal. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair on usual bass baits for spring. Catfish are good still all the usual catfish baits. No reports on bream.
(updated 4-28-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “April ended on a high note for trout anglers in Cotter. The catch has been especially good this past week for browns. Most were not officially ‘trophies’ but there were many that fell just an inch or two short of the 24 inches required to earn a catch-and-release pin. The bait of choice was, again, sculpins but sometimes a few crawdads were added to the mix and helped bring a brown to the boat.”
The water level over the past few days has been pretty steady at just about one unit (3,300 cfs) to three units (9,000 cfs), so anglers were able to drift for trout or find their favorite fishing hole and drop a line there. The lake level is rising – 667.63 feet msl as of this writing – so expect an increase in generation sometime soon. You can hook your share of rainbows with a pink worm, sometimes tipped with white PowerBait. A rise in the water level due to increases in generation washes worms (red wigglers mostly) into the river, so baiting your hook with a real worm will add to your creel, too. Tie on something with lots of gold flash if using stick baits (Berkley Hit Stick in gold/black), and spoons and spinners with blue and silver blades have also proven successful. The low-water times have also been great for our fly-fishers with many wading opportunities opening up. Can't miss with a silver/red midge. The river level can change fast, so keep an eye on the water level if wade fishing.
“We've been battling some strong winds the last week or two, but don't give in. I think it's just nature trying to push winter out of the way. Looks like the area is in for some moderate temperatures and some welcome sunshine, but don't stow the rain gear quite yet. Whatever the weather, we'll catch some trout. See you there.”
(updated 4-28-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “Mother Nature is throwing us a lot of curve balls this year. Just when the river conditions and fishing get good after one storm, another storm blows through. Late last week the fishing was good. There was a lot of success resulting in some nice-sized brown trout and rainbow trout using artificial lures such as spoons, Rapala Countdowns and crankbaits. Sunrise Power Eggs with a piece of shrimp also were successful.
The rain Sunday night didn’t affect the river at Calico Rock until Tuesday morning. The Buffalo River (30 miles upriver from Calico Rock) got up to 18 feet, which dumped a lot of muddy water and debris. Boating was like playing the old video game Frogger, as you had to keep dodging the debris.
With the river muddy on Tuesday and Wednesday, the best fishing was moving into the creeks where the water was cleaner. Wednesday the Norfork Hatchery stocked over 1,300 rainbow trout at the Calico Rock boat ramp and more trout at the Chessmond Ferry boat ramp.
(updated 4-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had several rain events that combined for 1¾ inches in Cotter, warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 3.1 feet to rest at 8.1 feet above power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 27.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at 1.7 feet above power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 4.2 feet to rest at 6.4 feet above power pool or 3.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 2.3 feet to rest at 6.6 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 19.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork has had more wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. With the current lake levels, we can expect some wadable water on the Norfork.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. 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 an orange egg with a size 18 purple zebra midge or a girdle bug.
Remember that the White River, Norfork Dam tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also says, “I am a fly-fishing guide. I also write about and teach fly-fishing. From time to time I am asked to do something outside my comfort zone. Recently I was asked to take some nice people on an eco-tour. I agreed and then thought, ‘What is an eco-tour?’ I thought about it for a while. Where do I go? What do I say? Is it just a boat ride?
“I also thought that it would have to be easier than a guide trip. I don’t have to give any casting lessons, untangle bird nests or replace lost flies. Since there is no fishing, I am not very likely to get impaled with a good-sized hook. I don’t even have to produce trout.
My client was a friend of Lori’s and is one of the top dog handlers in the United States. She wanted to entertain her brother and his wife, who were in town on vacation. They were from Wisconsin and were staying in their trailer at White River Camp Grounds across the river from Cotter.
“We met at the Rim Shoals ramp. I got there early and launched my White River johnboat. The weather was perfect. It was sunny with an expected high of 66 degrees and moderate winds. They were running around 12,500 cfs, or about four full generators. This was plenty of water for me to go anywhere I wanted to go without worrying about hitting any rocks.
“I loaded all three of them in my boat and headed upstream. We passed several nice homes and a lot of beautiful scenery. We had not gone far when we saw a bald eagle. We went further and saw another. This time it flew right over the boat. It was as close as I have ever been to an eagle in the wild. As we came into Cotter, we saw great blue heron hunting near the shore.
“As we went under the historic R. M. Ruthven Bridge (1930) and Cotter Railroad Bridge (1905), we noticed a colony of cliff swallows had built their unusual mud nests on the bottom of the Ruthven Bridge. They were actively working the water, keying in on hatching aquatic insects.
“When we returned to Rim Shoals, we observed a huge hatch of caddis flies. This is our most important aquatic insect of the year. They were fairly large and quite active. Unfortunately the Army Corps of Engineers was running a lot of water and the trout were not keying in on them. However, the purple martins were everywhere, taking them from the surface of the water with gusto.
“We finished the day after a 2-hour cruise that had noted a lot of wildlife. My clients had really enjoyed themselves. It is something I would like to do again.”
Bull Shoals Lake
|As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 668.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam is 4,722 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 13,001 cfs.
(updated 4-28-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported similar finishing patterns this week. Bass fishing has been fair. Generation has been slowed again at the dam. Lake level and unstable weather has made the fishing up and down for a few weeks. The shad have moved and are spread out. Use a 2.8 Keitech on a quarter-ounce ball head or swim a grub or 2.8 swimbait in shad colors. “We’ve been dragging a Jewel Football Jig and Carolina rig, shaky head or Ned rig in green pumpkin variations in 5-20 feet on secondary points and channel swings and in areas leading to spawning areas. Continue to key in on spawning area and south-facing pockets. A big wave of fish have moved into the bushes. Consider a Beaver/Senko/small jig around those. After a big rain, fish the creeks with stain/runoff. If you find warm and dirty water, use a bright spinnerbait, Chatterbait or square bill. The bite hasn’t been typical of year’s past with these cooler temperatures, so fish the conditions. The level is up to 667 feet, or 8 feet over normal pool. Temperature is 58 degrees, give or take.
Visit 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 560.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at 10 a.m. was 20 cfs, though daily flows have reached 6,000 during periods each day this week.
(updated 4-28-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday the lake level is 560.69 feet msl and has risen 3½ inches in the last 24 hours with 5 hours of variable generation. The surface water temperature is about 63 degrees on both the main lake and back in the creeks. The lake is clearing with the low generation and is very clear near the shore. There is no brown left in the water. Walleye, white bass and stripers have all spawned and are showing up on shad for a good topwater bite most mornings just before or at sunrise in windblown creeks. They move out a little deeper after they go down, and you can switch to a jig, grub or creature bait on a jig head. “I am using a three-sixteenth-ounce white with a redeye head and 2½-inch white jig, grub or a lizard or crawdad green in color and setting in about 30 feet of water and casting to the shore and retrieving slowly just off the bottom. Do not drag the lure. I like a paddle-tail grub sometimes but the 2½-inch Bobby Garland Blue Ice Swimmer also works well. The paddle tail is very small and gets bit off a lot but gets a lot of bites.
“Sight-fishing for bass on beds is also working with a Gitzit or football jig. Many bass are on beds now with an optimum water temperature for spawn. I have seen no bass fry yet, but there could be some.
“The crappie have strung out the spawn again this year with the constantly rising water and are in various stages with some finished, some in the creeks spawning near wood, and some still on main lake brush full of eggs. A lot of fish have moved in under docks in just the last couple of days in about 15 feet of water, as have several walleye.
“The walleye bite is as good as I have seen it in several years, with more over 18 inches than in the past. Some are even showing up on shad and hitting topwater lures. If you try a small popper during the day behind the buckbrush, you will catch a variety of fish. Use a clear Zara Spook on sunny days for topwater and a bone-colored one on cloudy days. The clear one sparkles in the sunlight and is very effective. Get out early, take the middle of the day off and go out again about 5 p.m. and fish until after sunset. Fishing overall is fair-good and the lake is in excellent condition and getting clearer.”
Catfishing is also getting better and several are coming in of all three varieties. Live shiners and perch are working on throw lines perpendicular to the bank and off docks on rods and reels. For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 4-14-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “At this time the best bites on the lake are for largemouth bass and white bass. Crappie, walleye and striped bass are improving each day, and if we can get some stable weather, the bites for these species should take off.
“There has been some good topwater action for largemouth, spotted and white bass over the last couple of weeks. You can find topwater action most mornings and an hour or so before sunset. The best areas have been back in larger coves and creeks, typically anywhere from 8 feet out to 25 feet of water. On occasion I have found fish blowing up in the deeper parts of the coves in 40 or more feet of water. Of course, you need to the find the coves that have bait in them. These coves have typically been in the areas where the wind has been blowing into. As of late, we have had a lot of wind to push the bait all the way to the backs of the coves. Various baits have been working: topwater lures such as a Zara Spook, Kastmasters and smaller swimbaits with paddle tails. Even if you don’t see any topwater action in the coves, cast the banks with a suspending jerkbait and you will pick up some nice largemouth and a few crappie and walleye.
“Striped bass has been one of the hardest fish for me to locate consistently. When you find them, they will be in the same coves as the other species feeding on shad. They have been scattered out due to the rise in the lake level a couple of weeks ago, compounded by the hard and fast drawdown of the lake to evacuate the excess water. The lake is currently fairly stable now, and with some consistent warmer weather the striped bass bite will explode.
“The crappie bite has been fairly good. This species can be found in brush in 15-25 feet of water. Jigging soft plastics has been working the best. The fish are typically suspended over the tops of the brush 8-15 feet down. Some of the crappie have started to move back into the coves, but not all. The frequent cold fronts keep pushing them away from the shallow water. Here again with some consistent warm weather the crappie will move to banks to start their spawn.
“The surface water temperature (Wednesday) morning was 56-58 degrees. The water level is rising slowly due to the storm we are currently having. The current level is 554.69 feet msl. The water is stained but is a great fishing color.
“I post almost daily on Facebook. If you want more frequent information please visit and like Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page.
“Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 4-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 2.3 feet to rest at 6.6 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 19.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork has had more wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. With the current lake levels, we can expect some wadable water on the Norfork.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork during the day and it fished moderately. 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. Weekends can get quite 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.
Remember that the White River, Norfork Dam tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 4-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are high and off-color. With warmer temperatures, the smallmouths could soon become 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 1,127.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Beaver Dam is 2,092 cfs.
(updated 4-28-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, folks, back to the high-water scenario again. Lake is at 1127.70 feet as of this reporting and that’s 3 feet below top of flood pool. Six-foot rise in the last week or so. What does that mean to people fishing Beaver? It means fish have scattered, some are on the bank ready to spawn, and some still staged up near spawning areas. Also, the rise has created a lot of big floaters, so be careful running your boat. Also, the river arms blew out last week, shutting down any fishing for a bit. Hopefully the rain will be nice to us this next week, as there are storms predicted.
“The stripers are really moving and you must cover a lot of real estate to find them. There are wanting to go up the rivers to spawn, but are getting shutdown with all the mud. We are approaching the 60-degree-plus water, which triggers most fish except the walleye to commence spawning. This next full moon should be it.
“Crappie are good if you find pockets of clean water. Fish on Beaver react differently to mud than on other lakes I have fished. Being a clear lake by nature, it turns them off usually until it stabilizes. Crappie like water that is stable rather that a quick rise. Now, don’t get me wrong; they are there and you find the right spot you can hammer them. “Walleye are mostly spawned out and returning to mid-lake areas. White bass are up in the rivers and are spawning. When water clears it should be good. Bass are starting to bed. Fish your favorite baits for spring spawn and you should do well. Catfish are picking up with numerous big flatheads caught recently on a variety of methods. Be safe, watch for debris and good luck!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 4-28-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said white bass are fair in the river arms. Crappie are spawning in the shallows on the shoreline and the bite has been good. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass also are starting to spawn and their bite has been good (nothing suggested for baits, but topwaters, soft plastic worms or lizards and spinnerbaits should work. Crankbaits and jerkbaits had also been working in recent weeks before the spawn kicked in. Catfish and bream have taken the week off from biting. Southtown reports that there is a lot of mud on the upper end of the lake. The water level has been high for a couple of weeks now. No surface temperature was reported.
(updated 4-28-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had not new reports. Visit Austin’s fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and more tips on the tailwater.
(updated 4-28-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Thursday morning that the clarity was stained; no temperature was reported. Water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass picked up more, and this week’s bite has been good on spinnerbaits, soft plastic worms, other plastic baits and crawfish. No reports on catfish.
(updated 4-28-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is murky and is 1 foot above normal level. Bream are good from the shoreline out to 10 feet on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good; they’re being caught in 5 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are shallow and biting well; no baits were suggested. Catfish are starting to show up and there has been a fair bite this week. Last week, the bite was best on chicken liver, nightcrawlers, shad or skipjack.
(updated 4-28-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said crappie are excellent. Crappie have moved shallow. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass have also moved into shallow depth and are biting well on topwater lures. Catfish are good on the usual catfish baits. No report on bream. The surface water temperature earlier this week was 64.8 degrees. The lake clarity is the usual murky and the level is high.
(updated 4-28-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reports that Lake Poinsett is getting very close to normal pool, refilling from rainfall after a long renovation of the lake. “We are excited, as fishing has been picking up. Astoundingly there have been reports of crappie and bass coming out of the lake even though those have yet to have been stocked. We also have bream and catfish that are biting decently well. Fishing habitat is fresh and new, so come out and find a new honey hole!”
Current limits at Lake Poinsett call for half-the-daily limit on catfish and full limits for bream. Any bass or crappie caught must be released.
(updated 4-28-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported on Thursday that the water was getting better. Water is still high. Crappie are fair and anglers are still finding them in deeper water. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good in terms of action. Anglers are catching a lot of quantity but not a lot of quality big fish. Bass do appear to be moving up into shallow water. Try finesse worms with Texas or Carolina rigging, but anglers are throwing pretty much anything right now. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-28-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 560 cfs (350 average) at the Spring and water clarity has been poor some days after a rain and heavy green stain on good days. Rains lately have had the river up and flowing strong. At time of writing this report, the river is looking good with a green tint.
Caddis have been hatching heavily, making nymphs and some dry-fly action hot on some days. On the cloudy dreary days, streamer action with Woollies is hot and nymphing on the warm summer days.
Smallmouth bass have been hit or miss with high water. The most productive days have been the warm sunny days. As warmer days come around the smallies should start biting better.
For spin-fishing, trout cranks and Shad Raps have worked well to get down. Hot pink and orange Trout Magnets can work well but may need an extra split shot just above the Trout Magnet to help get to the bottom.
River conditions have been changing with heavy rainfall. Check out springriverfliesandguides.com/blog for the latest conditions.
(updated 4-28-2022) 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. 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 falling at 9.42 feet, nearly 5.5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage rose all week but was slightly down Thursday morning to 24.45 feet, still 1.55 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 32.11 feet, which is about 6.1 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-28-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville reported that the river remains high and muddy, and they had heard no fishing reports.
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 93,924 cfs. The pool elevation is 195.54 feet msl and the stage at Pine Bluff is 32.12 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 95,209 cfs. The pool elevation is 212.67 feet msl.
(updated 4-28-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 4-28-2022) Jeff Shell, the superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said had no new reports from Cane Creek Lake.
(updated 4-28-2022) 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. The gates on the dam are closed and the lake refilling is underway, but it is rainfall dependent. 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 began.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.34 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 17,695 cfs.
(updated 4-28-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake is 15 inches above normal conservation pool, at 260.5 feet and rising. Clarity of heavy stain to chocolate milk continues along Little River. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 243 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 17,900 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on our website helpful link page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake. Surface temps were stable this week, ranging in 61-68 degrees, depending on location and the day. River clarity ranged 2-4 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows was at 10-20 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain/muddy conditions.
Be aware of sudden gate changes fishing the rocks below Millwood Dam and spillway. Navigation is CAUTIONED with high current discharge until normal pool is reached.
See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. The Millwood State Park Marina is open for boat rentals, camping supplies/food, fishing baits/lures, no-ethanol gasoline and boat docking. Minnows are back in stock this week! The Millwood State Park IS OPEN for camping, and the State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for availability or additional information. USACE Campgrounds ARE OPEN for camping. For more information and reservations, call (877) 444-6777 or the Millwood Tri-Lakes office at 870) 898-3343.
As for fishing specifics, Mike said:
* Most largemouth bass continue in various stages or wrapping up annual spawn activity, and are moving horizontally out to deeper water. Most bass upriver have completed their spawning rituals already. We continue to catch male and female largemouth bass from 2 to around 5 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks and males guarding beds. Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched. Big, 7-inch bulky lizards, Brush Hogs, 10-inch worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow-moving square-bill crankbaits and Chatterbaits continue taking nice, 3- to 4-pound post-spawn bass near ridges, ditches and flats adjacent to deeper creek channels. Several nice and healthy females have been recently caught and released from 8-10.5 pounds over the past two weeks on Millwood Lake. The clearest water you can find away from muddy river current has been producing the best bass over the past several weeks.
Brazalo Spinnerbaits continue working on windy days and on creek channel drops and points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse, Sexy Shad and Millwood Mayhem Bream are the colors taking nice keeper-size largemouths in oxbows upriver. Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice bass, and best colors this past week included Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse Shad colors. Work these in and around new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush. Bang Woopah Craws are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter and Blueberry. Baby Brush Hogs and bulky lizards are working with Blackberry, Sapphire, or Watermelon Candy colors on cypress trees in clear water if you can find any left from the recent muddy rise from recent thunderstorms.
Salty Rat Tails, Senkos and Trick Worms are working in the stained water – one day on cypress trees, the next in the dead lily pad stems. Best colors are merthiolate, black/blue tail or black grape.
* White bass continue roaming and are in random, broken schools scattering from recent spawning runs. They’re stacked behind points and secondary ridges and ditches with all the recent muddy water between McGuire Lake and the U.S. Highway 71 bridge over the past couple weeks. Oxbows up and down Little River were holding large schools of white bass and hybrid bass since the recent influx of muddy water in Little River, Cossatot and Rolling Fork inflow. Shad-colored Bombers and custom-painted Little John Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad, or Millwood Magic 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps or Blakemore Road Runners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past Snake Creek continues to have high flow with heavy stain to muddy clarity over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.
* Crappie continue to improve this week with the warmer temperatures, and have begun migrating to cypress trees for their spring spawning ground for the past week or so. Nice, healthy prespawn crappie from 2 to 2.5 pounds have been hitting jigs and minnows over the last week. “I have been randomly catching 2-pound crappie for the past two weeks on spinnerbaits and lizards while bass fishing near cypress tree stands in the oxbows.”
* Catfish improved this week with the increase of current to over 12,000 cfs along Little River, on trotlines, yo-yos and limb lines. Chicken livers, gizzards, hearts, homemade cheese dough baits, King's punch bait, were all working well this week.
(updated 4-28-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports the lake is dingy, and the surface temperature dropped slightly to 70 degrees. Water is high and running over the spillway. Bream have really heated up. The bite is excellent around the s shoreline and up in the creeks. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good both in the shallows and out in 14-20 feet depth roaming. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass were fair. Try crankbaits and continue to target spots around the bridges. Catfish have been excellent for weeks on cut bait and “pretty much anything else.”
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 545.67 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.52 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-28-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie are in full spawn. Most of the black crappie will be done by the end of the week and many of the white crappie are just starting. “We’ve been catching ample numbers of average-sized crappie on live bait over brushpiles in 14-18 feet of water fished 6-8 feet deep.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 439.46 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 529.32 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 4-28-2022) Angler and guide Stephen Tyson Jr. reported on his Facebook page recently his new personal best black bass catch of White Oak Lake, a fish that topped 11 pounds.
(update 4-28-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) had no new reports.
(updated 4-28-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and remains high. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass have moved into the shallows and are hitting topwater baits as well as watermelon and red pumpkin Trick Worms. Still no reports on bream and catfish.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 4-28-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is over 2 feet up into flood pool, causing Entergy to schedule very heavy generation and open floodgates below all area dams. Muddy water and fast flows are the norm below Carpenter Dam and these conditions will continue until Lake Ouachita has dropped below flood level. Weekly rains have slowed the falling of Lake Ouachita and dangerous currents have created treacherous conditions on Lake Catherine below Carpenter Dam. No one should attempt to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace for any reason until safe conditions return to the tailrace. This process could take another two weeks, provided more heavy rainfall does not occur.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 86,379 cfs. Elevation was 337.47 feet msl, with the tailwater at 294.30 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is falling at 13.73 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 4-21-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels up slightly and water clarity at 6 inches or less and muddy due to the heavy rains over the past week. Water temps in the main channels are 59 degrees and rising. Pocket areas that run east to west are much warmer with some areas reaching 63 degrees. “We are struggling to get things going as far as water temps this year, but fish are biting well, even in muddy water. Bass have been struggling to get on their beds for the spawn and this last week sure didn’t help. We were able to target and catch some nice pre-spawners up shallow using buzzbaits. Options are very limited due to water clarity and the large amount of debris that a lure must make it through. Stone seawalls and impoundments produced some nice aggressive pre-spawners. Dark-colored baits in black or blue are the only way to go in conditions right now.” Bream have been good on shallow (2-10 feet) brushpiles and especially on the ends of docks. Worms or crappie jigs work great for catching a mess of fish!
No catfish or crappie reports.
“Please use caution navigating Lake Hamilton. Trees, dock floats and everything in between are floating in the main channels. Wear your life jackets and use your kill switches!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 358.23 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-218-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday morning that the lake is murky and still high, rising 6 feet since this time last week. Surface water temperature is ranging 65-67 degrees. Bream are good. Use redworms or crickets. The crappie bite is good and crappie are starting to spawn. ANglers are finding them in 6-8 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Worms and Chatterbaits and working best. You'll find them in good numbers on the old, original shoreline. Catfish are excellent on limblines baited with bass minnos or black salties.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 579.97 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-28-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. Floating worms, jighead worms and Zoom Dingers are producing quality catches. These fish are still shallow, 4-10 feet deep. The topwater bite is starting, too. Walleye are good. A swim jig or Shad Rap should work to find and catch these fish. Stripers are very good. Live bait or throwing a topwater C-10 Redfin are still are the best lures as this time. Bream are stillvery good on crickets or worms 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brushpiles 6-12 feet deep. Catfish are very good on juglines or trotlines with cut bait, shad or live bream.
Water temperature is ranging 64-70 degrees. The clarity is clearing. Lake level Thursday afternoon (April 28) was 580.23 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 4-21-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood took the opportunity of high, swift water on the Arkansas River Little Rock pool to go check out Ouachita, and they say the black bass are good on main lake points using Texas-rigged Senkos, as well as good in the buckbrush on spinnerbaits.
(updated 4-14-2022) Masterbaiters Bait and Tackle (501-209-6538) on Arkansas Highway 7 outside Hot Springs Village reports that Lake Ouachita is doing well. Crappie starting to move shallow; use minnows and jigs. Black bass still going strong on floating worms in the pockets, from the north shore to Avant. John says, “I have not heard about bream yet, but as I find out I will post. I myself, I'm still getting decent bass up to 6 pounds off the points in 8 feet of water.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 401.58 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 is steady at 28.29 feet, or 2.29 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-28-2022) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that as of Tuesday the water temperature was 64 degrees. The lake has cleared some but remains above normal pool.
Some crappie are shallow and some are still in deeper water. “I know it sounds like a broken record but they are scattered with some spawned, some are spawning, and some are not quite ready. Jigs and minnows are working. We caught ours on Wednesday using several different colors. Look for the bite to remain the same until the fish have spawned.”
Shallow is the word for bass. Trees and riprap are getting lots of attention by bass anglers. No reports on catfish. Bream are shallow, but Kent says they have not caught any of any size yet. Check the trees and shallow around piers.
(updated 4-28-2022) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Potlatch Cooks Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373), said high water continues to keep access to the lake closed.
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. Under 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. Comply with current guidelines by calling 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.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 4-28-2022) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no new reports.