May 5, 2022
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 5, 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 (May 5).
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Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
TOP AND LEFT: Bryson Harpole of Beebe caught this dandy brown trout on the Little Red River while fishing with guide Mike Winkler of Little Red Fly Fishing Trips. Greers Ferry Lake is high and the Army Corps of Engineers has been moving water off the lake with long (12-hour) releases at the dam. Nevertheless, Mike says, when the water is falling out the trout fishing on the Little Red has been very good. Caddis patterns and pheasant tail nymphs along with midge patterns have been great, he said, and streamer fishing has been excellent. Lowell Myers of Sore Lip'Em All Guide Service on the Little Red says this time is typical springtime on the water with anglers dealing with rain and times of heavy generation. In the favorable water conditions, though, the fishing has been good with the caddis and other hatches beginning to heat up. Just make sure to check that water before you head up to the Little Red and north-central Arkansas.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 5-5-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake is displaying its normal stain, but the water level has tended to be up and down around the normal mark.
The bream bite is excellent. Bream are bedding on various parts of the shoreline. Redworms, crickets and Dynamax hand-tied jigs are working. Crappie are hit or miss, Bates reports. Try minnows or jigs (especially tube jigs). Expect fair catches now. Black bass are good, and it still looks like they are starting to bed. They’re taking to anything that resembles baitfish as well as frogs, worms and buzzbait. Catfish are good using stink bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish and trotline minnows.
Little Red River
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 2,812 cfs (both turbine and spillway) as of 11 a.m. Greers Ferry Lake is about 4.6 feet over normal conservation pool. The flow has topped 6,000 cfs once a day now for the past week. The tailwater at 11 a.m. May 5 was 272.59 feet msl and rising. 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 5-5-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said that with spring rains the past week and lots of rainfall throughout the state, Greers Ferry Lake is above power pool. With all the rain that has fallen, look for the Army Corps of Engineers to hold back with heavy generation until the creeks and streams start to go down a bit.
The Army Corp of Engineers was running two units of generation for 12 hours on and 12 hours off until all the rain arrived again this week. “I’d expect them to start running the same generation schedule as before. Usually starting around 9 a.m. and running till 9 p.m. with two units of generation.” Always check the USACE Little Rock app for the generation schedule before heading out. With the current generation schedule, the river is fishing well in the falling-out water. Caddis patterns and pheasant tail nymphs along with midge patterns have been great.
Streamer fishing has been excellent.
(updated 5-5-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said it’s spring on the Little Red with anglers dealing with rain and times of heavy generation. When water conditions are favorable, fishing has been good with caddis and other hatches starting to heat up. San Juan worms, pheasant tails, hare’s ear, midges and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, go with pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 467.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 5-5-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 467.18, 5.14 feet above normal conservation pool, “but now it’s going back down for a few hours, then on rise again (Thursday) for who knows for how long or how much.” Main lake temperature is 66 degrees. The overall bite is good on some days, not so good on other days, just like the water levels – lots of changing conditions and changing fish locations as well. Water temps vary, from the high 50s to mid-60s to lower 50s.
Some crappie are staged up, some have spawned, some are not staged, from 40 feet to super shallow. Walleye are all over the place as well, from super shallow out to 40 feet. Drag or troll something.
White bass and hybrid bass are both scattered and in groups as well, from super shallow out to 40 feet and 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 want a fluke or floating worm. Again, some have spawned, some are staged, some have not staged yet, from super shallow out to about 40 feet. A lot of things are working. You cannot go wrong now with a Texas-rigged lizard fished up shallow.
(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 5-5-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is muddy and high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie remain poor. Black bass are good on soft-plastic worms. Catfish are good on minnows.
(updated 5-5-2022) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said water level is up about 2 feet, clarity is murky and surface temperature is around 70 degrees. Bream are starting to pick up a little; the usual redworm or cricket will get their attention. Black bass are doing fairly well on buzzbaits and topwater lures. Crappie are biting in the deeper water on jigs and minnows. Catfish are starting to bite; good reports using jugs with goggle eye. “We had a 44-pound blue caught by Orville Haile one Saturday and a 40-pound flathead Sunday by Steve Haile and Heath,” Johnny reports.
(updated 5-5-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said water level is back up. Crappie and bass are really going for beetle spins. Chartreuse, orange on black, and pink on pink are working best. No report on catfish. Bream are going for the worms and crickets.
(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 5-5-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good on main lake points using drop-shots and Carolina rigs.
(updated 4-28-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said water temp is in the upper 60s to 70 degrees. 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 say they are 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 98,406 cfs with a pool elevation of 284.79 feet msl. The stage was up significantly from last week, at 22.81 on Thursday, but this was down almost 2 feet from Wednesday. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 113,056 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-5-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water is clear and the level is normal. He had no surface temperature report. Bream are biting well and are starting to bed up, Ray says. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie, though, have started to slow down and are about to stop spawning. This week’s catches have been poor. Black bass are good and are shallow. Try spinnerbaits or a soft plastic worm. 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 150,407 cfs with a pool elevation of 268.83 feet msl.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 168,732 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was at 12.47 feet. Pool elevation is 248.17 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 160,576 cfs with a pool elevation of 230.50 feet. There continues to be a small-craft warning on the Little Rock pool.
(updated 5-5-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said black bass are good off the ends of jetties, with anglers using shaky heads and Zoom Trick Worms in green pumpkin, as well as Strike King 3XD in citrus shad color.
(updated 5-5-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says everything had started to move in, and the Little Rock (Murray Park) hydroelectric plant closed the water and that messed everyone up. Catfish were good at last check, though. Fishing overall for cats has been improving.
(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.
(updated 5-5-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake is still dingy and the water level is normal. Bream are starting to bite and this week has produced fair catches. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good, though anglers didn’t give Donna any hints on baits used. Catfish are good using usual catfish baits.
(updated 5-5-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said fishing the White River tailwater in Cotter this past week meant keeping your rain suit near and ensuring your tackle box contained rainbow-hued baits. It’s been a great week on the White – the water has been staying somewhat low and consistent, but that may soon change.
Bull Shoals Lake is continuing to rise as the spring rains in southwest Missouri and north-central Arkansas fill the reservoirs, but to alleviate conditions further downriver the Army Corps of Engineers and the Southwestern Power Administration are maintaining low-level releases. Bull Shoals Lake is at 672 feet msl. Water releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been nearly the same each day for almost a week now, so we might be tempted to believe a pattern is developing: a smooth, steady flow of about one generator, (3,300 cfs) all morning until around noon, when an extra generator is sent downstream for three or four hours.
“We'll enjoy the routine for as long as it is offered because the trout fishing has been phenomenal, the catches healthy and the cold water refreshing as the air temperatures begin to reach into the mid-80s. The fish have been snapping at a variety of baits. Shore anglers have been finding some luck with garlic-scented yellow and pink Power Eggs. Fishing with guides and from boats, the rainbows have been biting hard on pink worms and frozen shrimp. This strategy has also netted a few big browns, but the best way to catch a lunker has been with river minnows or lures with a silver flash to them. Another good bet is the Smithwick Rogue with orange belly and red eyes.
“Once the trout have had their fill of the staples, cast something new and flashy to pique their interest. Come visit and experience The Natural State in all its springtime glory. Drop in and say ‘Hey’ on your way to the river.”
(updated 5-5-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that late last week and through Tuesday the water levels stabilized with clean water. Fishing was good with many different combinations of Power Eggs catching trout. The most popular Power Eggs were the Sunrise or a combination of two white garlic Power Eggs and two orange garlic Power Eggs. Fishing with sculpins resulted in some 17-inch-plus rainbows and almost-legal brown trout. There were also some big bites on the sculpin but they couldn’t get the fish in the boat. Some people had success fishing the shoals and throwing Kast-A-Way quarter-ounce gold spoons or gold-colored CD9 Rapala Countdowns. The rains Monday and into Tuesday resulted in muddy water and high water levels of almost 14 feet on Wednesday.
Looks like another round of rain on Thursday and no rain for at least a week after that. The lakes are filling up and we expect the water will clear up, but the river may stay at higher-than-normal levels as they let more water out of the lakes.
(updated 5-5-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had several rain events (combined for a bit less than an inch in Cotter), warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.7 feet to rest at 8.7 feet above power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 26.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above power pool and 15.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.9 foot to rest at 6.9 feet above power pool or 2.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.4 feet to rest at 6.9 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 18.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had more wadable water. Most of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect some wadable water on the Norfork tailwater.
On the White, the hot spot has been Cain Island. 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 prince nymph with a size 18 ruby midge.
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, “On Monday I had a guide trip with Al, a gentleman from Dallas. We had all of our communication by text. We agreed to meet at the White Sands Cafe in Cotter at 8 a.m. The best water predicted for that day was a full day of wadable water on the Norfork. We had agreed to do that.
“When I sat down and talked to him at breakfast, I learned that he was a recent cancer survivor and that he thought that he could only wade for a couple of hours. It was time to change plans. We needed to be in the boat. It would be too low on the Norfork. On the White, the prediction called for three generators. I checked the website and found that the actual generation was a bit less than one full generator, a very nice level to fish. We opted for the White.
“My house is four blocks from the White Sands Cafe. We drove there and I hooked up my White River johnboat. I always keep it ready to go in case I get a last-minute trip. I only had to remove the boat cover to be ready to roll.
“We drove to Rim Shoals. The water was a bit stained from the previous night’s rain but the level was low and inviting. I had fished there the previous Friday with my wife, Lori, and had done well. I had the rod she used still rigged. I put it in the boat. I rigged Al’s rod the same way with a size 14 red fox squirrel nymph with a size 18 ruby midge dropper.
“I launched the boat and began drifting. We picked up a small rainbow on the first drift. On the next drift we hooked a big trout. It hugged the bottom and moved with a purpose. With the stained water it was difficult to see the trout. I finally got a glimpse of it and realized it was big brown. It fought well, but Al did everything right. I was finally able to net the big fish. It was a 24-inch male brown, a trophy. Al was stoked. We took a photo and gently released it.
“We continued fishing and landed a few more small rainbows. Then we hooked and landed a stout 19-inch female brown. We broke for lunch at noon and then returned to the river. The afternoon was a bit slower. We were able to catch a few rainbows but nothing like the browns. We quit about 4 p.m. and returned to Cotter.
“We had made a last-minute change and it had worked out well. Al was quite comfortable and had caught some nice trout. Life is good!”
(updated 5-5-2022) White River Trout Club (870-453-2424) says the river is high and muddy and they have had no reports lately.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 673.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 660.73 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam is 4,327 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 919.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.18 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 14,764 cfs.
(updated 5-5-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported similar finishing patterns again this week to his recent reports. The lake level is only 12 feet high as of Thursday morning. The temperature is ranging 60 degrees give or take a degree. Bass fishing has been fair. The unstable weather has made the fishing go up and down for several weeks. Heavy rains have the lake on a steady rise. The shad have moved and spread out. Use a 2.8 Keitech on a quarter-ounce ball head or swim a grub 2.8 swimbait in shad colors. Target windy main lake secondary points on sunny days by dragging a Jewel football jig, a Carolina rig, shaky head or Ned rig in green pumpkin variations in 5-20 feet around secondary points and channel swings. The flipping bite is tougher as the water comes up, so around deep bushes use a Beaver/Senko/small jig. If you find warm and dirty water, use bright spinnerbaits, Chatterbait or a square bill. The bite hasn’t been typical of years’ past with these cooler temps, so fish the conditions.
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 564.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.48 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at 11 a.m. was 151 cfs, though daily flows have reached 6,000 cfs once each day this week, later in the day.
(updated 5-5-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday the lake level is 563.34 feet msl and has risen 6 inches in the last 24 hours with light generation. It has risen 2 feet since the 2½-inch rain very early this week. The creeks run hard for several hours, making the backs of creeks in the lake muddy, but it settled out very quickly and is clearing again rapidly. There has been very little effect on fishing except for the very extreme areas of the lake where locally heavy rain occurred. The surface water temperature is in the mid-60s and has been stable this week with cool temperatures.
The stripers, white bass and walleye have all finished spawning and the crappie are still doing it in a piecemeal fashion, adjusting to the water rise. Some being caught are still full of eggs. Black bass are in the middle of spawning with several finished, several on beds and several just staging. “I have still seen no fry under the dock but the gizzard shad are there. Several fish of different varieties are being caught casting small plastics on jigheads to the shore part way back in the creeks and working back to the boat slowly but without dragging them.
“There is a topwater bite for temperate bass and a few black bass that have spawned some mornings, especially after a warm night, but not nearly what it usually is. Trollers are catching some stripers on planer boards with live shiners. The flathead catfish are back in the creeks and prespawn feeding on live bait, but are not very big. The ones that I am catching are in the 3- to 4-pound range and look like they all came from the same class.
“Crappie fishing has improved in the last several days with high numbers being caught instead of just big ones.
“Overall fishing is fair to good with big walleye slowing a bit and crappie increasing. More bass will start coming up with the temperate bass as the spawn progresses. Keep a topwater lure handy all the time as fish could come up anytime and anywhere when you least expect it.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 5-5-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the bite for most species has been good on Norfork. The never-ending changes in the weather have definitely affected the bite by not allowing it to become consistent. The fish keep moving around as their comfort zone changes. But with a little looking each day you will find the fish. The largemouth bite has been the best, with crappie, walleye and striped/hybrid bass all being a close second. Most of the species in our lake have spawned or are in the process except for bluegills. Catfish are close to their spawn cycle, if not already in it.
Largemouth bass have started their post-spawn feed. Topwater action can be found most early mornings and late evenings. “I have found them surface-feeding both back in creeks and coves as well as out on the main lake, especially near long brushy points. It’s prime time to start fishing with flukes and you can catch a lot of bass up inside of the newly sunken brush. Swimbaits and spinnerbaits are also working very well. If a cool front moves through, the fish do seem to move off the shoreline, but can be found nearby in 10-20 feet of water, and will move back into the brush very quickly.”
Crappie are also on their post-spawn feed. You will find them schooled up, roaming from brush to brush, out in 20-30 feet of water. A great way to catch these roaming fish is to troll Berkley Flicker Minnows in size 7. Some of these crappie are relating strictly to brush, and the brush is usually in less than 20 feet of water. A few crappie are still spawning and can be caught by casting to the shoreline with small grubs, a small swimbait or a Road Runner.
Striped/hybrid bass fishing has been good, but the fish seem to be continually moving. You need to find the shad and the stripers will be nearby. “One day I found them back in creeks close to the shoreline and the next day they were out on main lake points that have a lot of sunken buckbrush. The lake is getting more and more buckbrush under water due to recent rains and the rise in the water level. Threadfin shad are getting very close to spawning, if not already spawning, in some areas of the lake. If you can find spawning threadfin, the stripers will be close to them in very shallow water. Cast out a topwater bait, a swimbait or a Kastmaster and hang on.”
Walleye fishing has also been pretty good. “The best bite for me has been early in the morning before sunrise. Find an area with bait and cast a small 3.5-inch swimbait with a one-eighth- or quarter-ounce jighead. The walleye will be near the surface feeding on the shad. You will also find them in about 18-25 feet of water on the bottom. Vertical-jigging or dragging a crawler harness will pick up some fish. Or you can troll a hard crankbait that gets down to 15-18 feet to catch some nice ones. Back in the coves and creeks are good places to find walleye."
The surface water temperature has been keeping fairly consistent, ranging from 63 to 65 degrees. The water level is rising due to recent rains. The current level is 563.37 which is about 9 feet over normal seasonal pool. The water is fairly clear, but may stain up a bit with the most recent rains and runoff.
“If you are looking for almost daily fishing reports and to see what species are being caught, check out Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page. Give us a like and start seeing what is happening on the lake. Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 5-5-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 1.4 feet to rest at 6.9 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 18.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had more wadable water. The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect some wadable water on the Norfork tailwater.
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-head 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 at 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 and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 5-5-2022) 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 1,131.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Beaver Dam into the tailwater is a fast 43,261 cfs.
(updated 5-5-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said earlier this week Beaver Lake was inching closer to the top flood pool. The levels are around 1 foot or so from the top (Editor’s note: Thursday the lake was more than a foot over the top of the flood pool). “With the rain coming it should get interesting with floodgate releases. I personally am tired of the high waters we have had over the last four years now. It makes fishing a little harder with so much water. The Corps really wants to keep levels lower, but with all this consistent heavy rain it has been a struggle. Last week again we had a 13-foot rise on the main tributaries feeding Beaver, pushing more mud into the system.”
Crappie are spawning, as are the bass. The bite has been somewhat tough as high water has spread them out everywhere. Stripers are still fair and they are moving daily. You have to be mobile. One problem is getting under the Arkansas Highway 112 bridge. At these water levels that will stop you from either going south or north, depending on where you launch.
“As stated, the bass and crappie are in spawning mode but with all the cover the bite is good if you find the bedding fish. Walleye are making their journey back to the north end. Look for walleye in the Rambo area and Clifty. In that clearer water there is a good spotted bass bite and smallmouth bite.
“I would say you need to concentrate on the northern third of the lake right now. There is a lot of debris and mud the farther south you go. Hopefully, the weather looks to stabilize next week with some darn-near summer temps. That should really help with the overall bite. May/June is usually good for topwater striper fishing. We will see if that happens. We will just have to ride out this high water and hope for the best.”
Water temps are in the low 60s in most parts of the lake. “Stay safe and good luck!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 5-5-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that before the most recent rain and weather fronts, the white bass were “pretty good” up the river, and crappie had moved up shallow and were doing well. Right now, the lake looks like “a mud hole,” they report, and the water level is up several feet. The only reports they’ve heard in the past few days have been good catches of catfish, with shad and any prepared bait working best.
(updated 5-5-2022) 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. There have been big releases from the Beaver Lake Dam this week as the water has topped the flood pool.
(updated 5-5-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake clarity is murky and the water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie fell off some to fair this week; use minnows and jigs. Black bass also had less response this week with fair results on spinnerbaits and soft plastic worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 5-5-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is muddy and high. They report that fishing was better before the rough weather of the past couple of days earlier this week. Bream are starting to show up and the bite has been fair. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fairly shallow and biting well; try a spinnerbait or Chatterbait. Catfish are starting to show up and there has been a fair bite again this week. Anglers here tend to fish with chicken liver, nightcrawlers, shad or skipjack for cats.
(updated 5-5-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said crappie and bream are the best bites this week. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms in shallow water. Bream are good on worms and jigs and also have moved into shallow water. No reports on black bass, white bass or catfish. The best “moon times” for anglers this month show May 13-19 as good days, with best days forecast for May 27-June 2. The lake is its usual murky with a surface water temperature earlier this week of 57.8 degrees. The water level is high.
(updated 5-5-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reports that Lake Poinsett “is officially full again! Fishing has been outstanding for bream on crickets and worms. Bass and crappie have been biting on Rooster Tails (pink and white), though you are not able to keep those yet! Catfish, I haven’t had any reports as of yet.”
Current limits at Lake Poinsett call for a half-the-daily limit on catfish and full limits for bream. Any bass or crappie caught must be released.
(updated 5-5-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported Wednesday that the water was dirty and is still high. The only reports that have come in have been with black bass. They are fair on wacky-rigged worms and Zooms Trick Worms.
(updated 5-5-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring River is flowing at 580 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity has been poor. “Lots of rain this month has the river flowing strong. After heavy rains the river murks up, then clears up about 2-3 days after. Heavy rain on Thursday morning has murked things up again,” he said.
“Good news is a dry spell coming. The Spring River recovers very quickly during the rainy season. Big Woollies and eggs have been hot with the water up. For some reason, brown Woollies have been the best. I guess the crawfish are active with the water up.
“Ready for summer and dry weather! Check our blog (springriverfliesandguides.com/blog) on our website for latest river conditions.”
(updated 5-5-2022) 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 steady at 8.66 feet, more than 6 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage is on the rise now to 23.90 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 31.49 feet, which is about 5.5 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 5-5-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said the river remains high and muddy, and they had no recent 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 144,699 cfs. The pool elevation is 195.29 feet msl and the stage at Pine Bluff is 36.10 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 165,124 cfs. The pool elevation is 214.03 feet msl.
(updated 5-5-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week. All pools on the Arkansas River have a small craft warning.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-5-2022) Jeff Shell, the superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said had no new reports from Cane Creek Lake.
(updated 5-5-2022) 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 260.36 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 5-5-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake was continuing to rise and was 15 inches above normal pool. Clarity was still heavy stain to chocolate milk along Little River. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 243 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 18,500 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US 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 with discharge rates and fluctuating high-flow conditions in Little River, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging in 63-69 degrees depending on location and the day. Current along Little River was stained this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranges 2-4 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of Oxbows was at 5-10 inches depending on location. Farther up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain/muddy conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Mike broke down this week’s fishing specifics as follows:
Most largemouth bass continue in various stages of wrapping up annual spawn activity, and 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 2-4 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 female largemouth have been caught and released from 8-10.5 pounds over the past several weeks on Millwood Lake.
The clearest water you can find away from the muddy river current has produced the best bass over the past several weeks. Bass are continuing to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows. The farther from Little River's muddy current and heavy stain water, and in deeper sections of creeks, will produce the best largemouths. Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and Spring Bream with chartreuse are taking nice 2- to 3-pound largemouths.
Brazalo Spinnerbaits continue working on windy days and on creek channel drops and points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse, Sexy Shad and Millwood Mayhem Bream colors are taking nice keeper-size largemouths in oxbows upriver. Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice bass, and best colors for the past week include 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 working 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 Zoom 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 for the past couple of weeks have been roaming and in random broken schools, scattering from recent spawning runs, and are stacked behind points and secondary ridges and ditches with all the recent muddy water between McGuire Lake and U.S. Highway 71 bridge. Oxbows up and down Little River have been holding large schools of the white bass and hybrids since the recent influx of muddy water in Little River, Cossatot and Rolling Fork inflow. Shad-colored Bomber 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 and Blakemore Road Runners were all catching these whites over the past week. However, Little River up past Snake Creek over the past week has had high flow volumes and was heavily stained to muddy with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.
* Crappie continued to improve over the past couple weeks, and have begun migrating to cypress trees for their spring spawn. Nice, healthy prespawn crappie from 2-2.5 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 again this week with the increase of current to over 18,000 cfs along Little River, on trotlines, yo-yos and limblines. Chicken livers, gizzards, hearts, homemade cheese dough baits and King's Punch Bait were all working well.
(updated 5-5-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports the lake is clear and is high, or full pool. Bream fishing is excellent. The bream have started to bed up and will take to redworms or crickets. Crappie are excellent both on the shoreline and in deeper water around structure. Your best bet for bait is silver shiners. Black bass were good. A jerkbait would be a good call now; fish around the grass. The catfish bite continues to be excellent. This week, goldfish and live perch were working best.
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 544.63 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-5-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) has been spending some time at Greeson in addition to fishing DeGray Lake, and said crappie fishing is great here, as it is at DeGray. “Most of the panfish are almost done with their spawn and starting to stack up on the brushpiles. We’ve been catching most of our fish with minnows under corks 8 feet deep.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.31 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-5-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) rated the crappie fishing “great.” Most of the panfish are almost done with their spawn and starting to stack up on the brushpiles, he said. “We’ve been catching most of our fish with minnows under corks 8 feet deep.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.30 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 529.44 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 5-5-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) said that bream are good on redworms and crickets.
(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.
(updated 5-5-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and is still high. Bream have shown up and anglers have enjoyed a good bite by the spillway. Use the typical bream attractants (redworms, crickets). Crappie action has suffered from the wind and weather of late and this week has offered poor results. Toss a minnow or jig and see if the bite picks back up this weekend. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits were working well this week, as well as Baby Brush Hogs and Chatterbaits. Catfish have also shown up and the bite is good on trotlines baited with goldfish or shad.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 5-5-2022) 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 flood gates 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 113,056 cfs. Elevation was 337.37 feet msl, with the tailwater at 298.31 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is falling at 17.94 feet, dropping more than 4 feet in 24 hours (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 prespawners. 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 358.08 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-5-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that bream are doing well in the watershed lakes but not in Lake Nimrod. Water at Nimrod (like most Corps lakes this week) is high and the clarity is murky. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs (use black/chartreuse, red/chartreuse with a glow). Black bass are good on worms or Chatterbaits. Target the old, original shoreline. No reports on catfish.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 579.35 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-5-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still good. The topwater bite has started. Boy Howdies, Zara Spooks and Whopper Ploppers are producing some good fish right now. Walleye are very good. A swim jig or Shad Rap works best for these fish. Stripers are good. Live bait and a topwater C-10 Redfin are best at this time. Bream are good on crickets or worms 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush at 10-20 feet depth. Catfish are good on juglines or trotlines with cut bait, shad or live bream.
Water temperature ranges from 66-72 degrees. The clarity is clearing. Lake level on Thursday was 579.44 feet msl; the Army Corps of Engineers is trying to drop the lake level to normal. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 5-5-2022) Anglers from Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood took the opportunity of the high, swift water on the Arkansas River’s Little Rock pool the past couple of weeks to go check out Lake Ouachita again, and they report that the black bass were biting well on wacky-rigged Senkos as well as spinnerbaits around buckbrush.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.10 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 28.53 feet, or 2½ feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 5-5-2022) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that as of Wednesday, Horseshoe has cleared and the water temperatures have risen. Mid-lake surface temperature was in the mid-60s on Wednesday and the upper 60s in shallower water. Bass are shallow. “Male bass are feeding heavily on the baitfish around the cypress trees. We are catching several each day we are out.”
Catfish are in a prespawn mode and “feeding heavily on about anything you put in front of them. A recent trip crappie fishing with jigs landed a limit of catfish as well! Yo-yos, limblines or rod and reel should catch a limit of catfish. Use nightcrawlers or minnows. Remember to remove your yo-yos or limblines when not in use so fish don’t get hooked and die.
“Crappie are shallow! They are not on every tree. You have to do some searching but your work should pay off. The fish that have spawned are healthy, so the early summer fishing should be great! Ninety-degree temperatures next week, so get ready! Bream are shallow as well. Wednesday I tied on a 1/64-ounce jig and caught several in some pad stems that were showing. Crickets or worms should catch them as well.”
(updated 5-5-2022) 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 5-5-2022) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no new reports.