May 12, 2022
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 12, 2022. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 9 a.m. the day of publication (May 12).
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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: Doug Isanhart of Conway recently went back to the exact location, White Hole on the White River, where last year he had caught some beautiful brown trout and one year later connected again. In fact, his son, John, and Doug Hagee also caught brown trout in the same location. They had a great day until hitting a rock and breaking their motor, which put a halt to a three-hour fishing day. But, Doug tells us, they nevertheless landed four species of trout from the White River.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 5-12-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake has its normal stain and the water has stabilized to a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. The bream bite is excellent. Redworms and crickets are working. Crappie are fair, with the best activity coming in shady spots. Try small minnows, small jigs and hand-tied jigs. Black bass are good on many baits, including spinnerbaits, topwater lures, poppers, swimbaits, spoons and buzzbaits. Catfish are good using stink bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish, trotline minnows, skipjack and shad.
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 9 a.m. Greers Ferry Lake is about 6.693 feet over normal conservation pool. The flow has topped 6,000 cfs once a day now for the past week, usually from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The tailwater at 9 a.m. May 12 was 266.81 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 forecast generation schedule.
(updated 5-12-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is 6.6 feet above power pool. With all the rainfall throughout the state last week, look for the Army Corps of Engineers to hold back on the generation schedule until the creeks and streams start to go down. The Corps of Engineers has been running two units of water usually from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. But it's not been too predictable, so check the USACE Little Rock app for generation schedule before heading out.
With the current generation schedule on the Little Red River starting at 10 a.m. it's been opening up some wade opportunities at Swinging Bridge.
“Fishing from the boat in falling water has been great. Caddis are coming off and a caddis pattern or a pheasant tail nymph is hard to beat at the moment,” Mike said.
(updated 5-12-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said brown trout and rainbow trout both are good on Trout Magnets and Maribou Jigs.
(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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.85 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 5-12-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Thursday morning the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 469.53 feet msl, or 6.69 feet above normal pool. Crappie catching continues to be great in and around bushes and even outside of bushes; use jigs or minnows. Walleye are fair if you can get to them above or outside of bushes. A lot are in bushes right now and hard to fish for; use plastics, minnows or crankbaits. Catfish are going pretty well. “I know of one 56-pound blue that was caught. Use a variety of baits,” Tommy says.
Bream are biting well on crickets and crawlers from 20 feet and into the bank. Hybrids and white bass are eating at random in 10-40 feet of water. Spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and grubs working best. “Black bass are ALL over the place right now,” he adds. “It would take a book to explain all. Just get out there and catch them. As I said a couple of weeks ago, you cannot go wrong with a Texas-rigged green pumpkin 6-inch lizard.”
(updated 5-12-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said black bass are good around buckbrush on belly-weighted swimbaits and drop-shots off the points.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-12-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is a little muddy in appearance from the pollen. The water level is high. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are being caught in fair amounts but are smallish in size. Try a minnow or jigs. Black bass are good on soft-plastic worms and watermelon-colored Brush Hogs. Catfish are good on crickets.
(updated 5-12-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said water level is getting closer back to normal. Bass are spawning. "I got a 3-pound largemouth using the famous Lost Loot beetle spins in yellow. It was right after the sun started to go down, the fish were jumping and biting like crazy!" The water clarity is fair, better than it has been, she said. "Today is the first day I have sen the bream come up for crickets. I have been told the crappie are still biting on minnows out in the cove and brush in about 3 feet of water. Catfish are spawning, too. Catch them out on the back side of the walkway with liver or stink bait."
(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.
(update 5-12-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says the water is murky and is high, reaching the top of the boat ramp. No surface temperature was available. Fishing continues to be good all around. Bream are around the shoreline in various spots and the bite is good; use redworms. Crappie are good. Best results are coming in the channel trolling and spider-rigging in 12 feet depth and 6 feet depth over underwater brushpiles. Black bass are good in the afternoons in 4-6 feet depth. Use live bait. Catfish are favoring stink bait dropped to the bottom and the bite is good.
Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve bait shop.
(updated 5-12-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good up shallow on Texas-rigged worms and buzzbaits.
(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 126,848 cfs with a pool elevation of 285.60 feet msl. The stage was up again from this time from last week, at 25.50 on Thursday. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 145,026 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-12-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water is clear and the level has fallen to low. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are bedding up, Ray reports, and the bite is fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie have started slowing down, stopped spawning and have moved to deeper waters. The bite this week has been poor. Black bass are good both early in the day and late in the afternoon. Use a spinnerbait 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 0 cfs with a pool elevation of 269.69 feet msl.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 169,289 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was at 12.31 feet. Pool elevation is 248.38 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 157,663 cfs with a pool elevation of 230.67 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.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-12-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Wednesday afternoon that crappie are good on minnows and jigs, while bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. No other reports.
(update 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 5-12-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Celebrate! The sun is shining, no rain for several days and we're beginning to dry out. Bull Shoals tailwater has been very low – near minimum flow amounts (785 cfs) – during most of each day over the last week and fishing is good. Bait/spin fishers do best if they get on the water before the late afternoon hatch when the rainbows fill up on emerging bugs. It's a great time for topwater fly action! Water clarity at Cotter and upstream is back to normal (clear to excellent) after a few days of dinginess from creek runoff. Downriver is taking a little longer to improve due to Crooked Creek and Buffalo River drainage.
Late afternoon releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been heavy, up to five units (15,000 cfs) for a few hours before returning to minimum flow levels. The lake level is rising – 680.90 feet msl as the lakes above us are very full and Bull Shoals absorbing the high waters.
“The brown bite has switched back and forth between sculpins and minnows – keep both on hand if possible. You'll still catch some great browns with shad upriver near the dam. The rainbows have been filling up on the large insect hatch we've had this week, so luring them in with a strong scent is the best way to hook some nice fat trout. Garlic PowerBait has proved successful, with either the yellow or white being the best. Expect increased generation from Bull Shoals Dam in the coming days. Deeper water means more drift fishing, no wading opportunities – but the trout love lots of fresh, cold water and they are feisty and healthy when they get it. Stop in on your way to the river.”
(updated 5-12-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the rains last Thursday only added to the already muddy and high river conditions. By Friday the river once again topped 14 feet. Due to the muddy conditions, fishing in the main river was not feasible but moving into the creeks produced great results on Friday and Saturday. “By anchoring next to the bank and fishing with corn we saw a mix of 11- to 15-inch rainbow trout and saw some nice brown trout to include a fat 18-inch-plus brown trout. By Sunday afternoon the river started to clear up, but with both Bull Shoals and Norfolk Dams conducting reduced flows it is taking a while for the river to become clear. The last few days the river has averaged between 6-8 feet in depth.
“An additional challenge the last couple of days has been the amount of moss flowing downriver; fishing lines and bait quickly become covered in moss. In those conditions we recommend fishing the shallow gravel bars and shoals. Throw your bait upriver and let the current carry it to the deeper holes at the end of the shallows where the trout are gathering to feed. We are starting to see hotter temperatures make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water.”
(updated 5-12-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had several rain events (combined for 1.75 inches in Cotter), hot temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 11.5 feet to rest at 19 feet above power pool of 661.3 feet msl. This is 14.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 11.1 feet above power pool and 3.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.4 feet to rest at 7.5 feet above power pool or 0.9 foot below the top of flood pool. The White has had some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 6.9 feet to rest at 13.7 feet above power pool of 556 feet and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has 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. 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 White and Norfork to prevent downstream flooding.
On the White, the hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals dam. 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.
John also said, “I have often written about fishing with my wife, Lori. She is the love of my life and the best fishing partner ever. We have fished from the Smoky Mountains to Montana and a bunch of places in between. She and I share a love of fly-fishing and the outdoor life. It is our goal to fish together once a week. Her broken arm and my bout with cancer kept us off the stream for a while. Now we are both healthy. We have returned to the gym to get in shape and are fishing whenever possible with our busy schedule of guiding, writing, teaching fly-fishing at ASU-Mountain Home and showing dogs.
“We try to choose our days carefully. We want good weather with comfortable temperatures, low to moderate winds and no rain. Days like this have been hard to come by lately with our near constant rain (it is raining as I write this). We also look for lower flows on the river. Last week I caught the perfect day. The forecast was for a high temperature of 78 degrees, winds of 5-10 miles per hour and no rain. The river was quite low with flows of about 3,000 cfs, or a little less than one full generator.
As is our habit, I arrived at the river early while Lori was feeding and walking our two Labrador retrievers, Tilley and Ghillie. I rigged our rods and launched the boat. It should be noted that Lori and I had the same rod, reel, fly line, leader tippet, flies, lead shot and strike indicator.
She arrived about the time I got the motor started. She got in the boat and we motored upstream. Lori caught the first trout. I was happy for her. She caught the second trout. I was impressed. She caught the third fish. I was getting concerned. What was happening? About that time she hooked her fourth. Lori was one fish short of a limit and I had not had a bump yet.
“I was beginning to think that I was losing my touch. Was this karma for some grievous error in my past? Or is she just better than I am? Then I suddenly got a bite. I set the hook and reeled in a nice rainbow. I had broken the ice. I felt even better a couple of minutes later when I caught another. Things were starting to look up. I began to match her fish for fish. About lunch time the bite began to slow down. We decided to head home. In three hours, we had four doubles and managed to catch over 30 trout. I was redeemed!
“Sometimes it takes a minute to get going. Don’t worry about what the other angler is doing. Concentrate on your own game!”
(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 681.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.65 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam is 637 cfs, though flow has reached about 17,000 cfs once during the past two days and was at 10,000 cfs in the afternoon of May 9. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 926.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.40 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 21,485 cfs.
(updated 5-12-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday the lake level is at 680 feet msl, which is 22 feet high. Despite this high water, the lake is really clear in the main part. Bigger creeks have stain. The temperature is around 70 degrees. Bass fishing has been up and down. Heavy rains have the lake on a steady rise, almost a foot a day. The shad have moved and are spread out. If it’s cloudy and windy, use a 2.8 Keitech on a quarter-ounce ball head, or swim a grub or 2.8 swimbait in shad colors. Target windy main lake secondary points and humps. Don’t pass up the shad way out on the points, and use topwater LC Gunfish or Zara Spooks. For sunny days, dragging a Jewel Football Jig and Carolina-rigged tubs, a shaky head, Ned rig in green pump variations are the best presentations.
A lot of fish are holding on the old shoreline. Submerged roads, flooded parking lots and picnic tables are holding fish. Use a floating worm or drop-shot around docks. The flipping bite is tougher as the water comes up, so fish around deep bushes and laydowns, and use a Beaver/Senko/small jig. If you find warm, dirty water, use a bright spinnerbait, Chatterbait, Plopper or square bill.
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 570.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.40 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at 9 a.m. Thursday was 0 cfs, though daily flows have reached 3,000 cfs once each day this week, later in the day.
(updated 5-12-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 569.93 feet msl and has risen steadily since last week's report with not much generation and a very high White River at Newport. The surface water temperature has reached the low 70s with the recent hot weather, and the water clarity remains good with some floating debris but not bad. Fishing has been pretty good with most species biting and in various stages of spawn. Some crappie are holding off spawn because of the steadily rising water and continuously having to move nests with several still full of eggs and are scattered all over the lake. Casting a 2-inch jig over and around brush is working well in both the backs of creeks and main lake. Bass are still about 50 percent spawned and are doing the same thing as crappie, but many are feeding on the bank in the creeks on crawdads and creek minnows. The topwater bite for temperate bass is happening every day now just before and after sunrise but not nearly as many fish as in previous years and not as big. Bluegill are staging for spawn and there are a lot of big ones. Flathead catfish are biting very well on live shiners and perch on throwlines set in deeper creek channels. This will not last much longer but the blues and channels will come in next.
The lake overall is in excellent condition and a good color for fishing and is clearing daily. Good time for overall fishing.
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 5-12-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 6.9 feet to rest at 13.7 feet above power pool of 556 feet and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has 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. 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 tailwater to prevent downstream flooding.
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 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 5-12-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are a bit 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 1,128.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl), which is almost 3 feet lower than this time last week. Total outflow from Beaver Dam into the tailwater is 8,605 cfs.
(updated 5-12-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has stabilized and water levels are near the top of the flood pool. Water temps rose nicely last week to lower 60s. Fishing is also starting to get better after all the flooding. All varieties of bass are on beds and spawning with the full moon approaching. “We have been catching some real nice spotted bass and smallmouth while targeting walleye in the north end of the lake. Walleye are starting to load up on main lake points. Trolling and crawler harnesses are working. Look in 20 feet of water. You will catch lots of different species trolling crawler harnesses. We have been catching mixed bags every day, which includes channel cats.
“Stripers are still all over the place. They really want to go shallow for the spawn, but high and muddy water has them really scattered. When the river arms clear, which will be maybe another week or two, I would not be afraid to look way up into the White and War Eagle arms for them. Right now they have been caught from Rocky Branch down toward the dam.
“Bream are starting to bed on their first go-round on the spawn. Bream will spawn numerous times through early summer. They make for a fun day especially with new anglers. They’re a great way to introduce youngsters to the great sport of fishing.
“Crappie have spawned back in the immense amount of cover we have right now and in a few weeks will start to suspend in on the thermocline that will set up next month. That turns on the trolled crankbait bite.
“Catfish, as I wrote about earlier in this report, are really turning on. Trotlines and jugs are working, and some big flatheads have been caught. Lots of debris floating on the lake so keep your eyes open while running and be safe! Good luck and enjoy this nice weather.”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 5-12-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing is fair. Anglers just can’t get to them with all the muddy and high water. Bass and crappie are spawning. The water should improve rapidly, they say.
(updated 5-12-2022) 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 5-12-2022) 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 picked back up this week with good results using minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and soft-plastic worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 5-12-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is a good color and is at a normal level. Bream continue picking up, with this week’s bite good. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are excellent. They are found in shallow water and are biting minnows and jigs. Black bass are shallow and biting well; try your lure of choice, they say, but the action is best on spinnerbaits. Catfish reports were poor.
(updated 5-12-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said crappie and bream continue to bite well and catfish showed up nicely as well this past week. Water is very high and the clarity is the usual murky. Water temperature was 68 degrees. Bream are good on worms and jigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good using stink bait or cut bait. No reports on black bass or white bass.
Shelly notes that good fishing based on “moon times” start this weekend, May 13, and run to May 19. Also, best days are forecast for May 27-June 2.
(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 5-12-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported Thursday that the water has cleared and has returned to normal level. The bass apparently shut off, but the crappie turned on. Anglers have had fair results fishing for crappie with minnows and worms. No reports on bass, bream or catfish.
(updated 5-12-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said lots of rain last week got the river up and murky this week. The Spring is flowing at 600 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity has been poor but clearing. This dry spell this week will clear things up and make for a nice weekend to fish.
Bigger Woollies, nymphs and eggs are producing in the higher water. Sometimes extra weight really helps. Lots of big hatches of caddis and blue-wing olives might get some dry fly action, but you’ve got to watch for rising fish. The shad in the shallows rise like trout but don't give much of a fight.
For spin-fishing it's hard to beat crankbaits in these conditions. It gets down fast and floats out when stuck on bottom.
“Be very careful wading out there and floating. The river is wadable but you have always got to be safe on the Spring with its slick rock river bottom. Wading staffs and felt soles are a lot of help.”
Check out Mark’s blog (springriverfliesandguides.com/blog) for the latest river conditions.
(updated 5-12-2022) 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 8.40 feet, more than 6 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage is falling to 24.06 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 32.32 feet, which is about 6 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 121,784 cfs. The pool elevation is 194.51 feet msl and the stage at Pine Bluff is 35.55 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 161,571 cfs. The pool elevation is 212.13 feet msl.
(updated 5-12-2022) 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 5-12-2022) Jeff Shell, the superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said had no new reports from Cane Creek Lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.98 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 16,511 cfs.
(updated 5-12-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake had crested and was falling at 11 inches above the normal conservation pool. Clarity of heavy stain to chocolate milk continued along Little River. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 243 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 17,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Always check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 68-77 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River 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 5-10 inches depending on location. Further 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 provided these details to the fishing this week:
* Largemouth bass are pretty much done spawning or wrapping up their annual spawn activity in most oxbows up Little River, and are moving horizontally out to deeper water. Bass are fair to good on topwater lures around emerging new lily pad stands and vegetation. We have seen 2- to 4-pound bass running in and out of shallow bedding areas for the past few weeks, and most beds seen over the past few weeks are now empty. 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 recently been caught and released from 8-11 pounds over the past several 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. Bass continue to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows. Bass Assassin Shads, Magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs and Chatterbaits continue working. The best largemouths will be found the further from Little River's muddy current and heavy stain water, and in deeper sections of creeks. Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and Spring Bream with chartreuse are taking nice 2- to 3-pound largemouths.
Buzzbaits, Cordell Crazy Shads, Boy Howdy's and Spit'n Images are working early. Topwater weedless frogs like the Spro Live Target and Zoom Horny Toads are starting to get responses from nice post-spawn largemouth bass now. 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 few weeks 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. Texas-rigged 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 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 were 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, but the Little River up past Snake Creek continues to have high-flow and heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.
* Crappie have been very good to excellent over the past week, and continue moving to their spawning areas near cypress trees, and have improved shallow over the past couple weeks. They have been 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 several 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 17,000 CFS along Little River, on trotlines, yo-yos and limb lines. Chicken livers, gizzards, hearts, homemade cheese dough baits and King's Punch Bait were all working well this week.
(updated 5-12-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports the lake is clear and at full pool. Bream fishing is excellent. Look around the islets and use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. A few have been caught around the shoreline, but most are in 14 feet depth. Use shiners or hand-tied jigs. No reports on black bass. Catfish are still excellent. Minnows and cut bait will attract them.
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 545.46 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 406.82 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 437.07 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 531.89 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 5-12-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake, as is the schedule every May, is being fertilized. The clarity is clear and the water level is high. Anglers will notice the green tint to the water from the fertilizing, but AGFC biologists have said in the past that this should not affect the bite.
Bream are good on redworms. Crappie picked back up this week with good results. Angles have been using jigs and crankbaits. Black bass are good, with spinnerbaits, Baby Brush Hogs and Chatterbaits working best. No reports on catfish.
(updated 5-12-2022) Slycked Back Fishing LLC, producer of the world’s toughest and Arkansas-built fishing products in Hot Springs, reports Lake Catherine’s temps finally reaching into the low to mid-60s in most areas. Catherine has produced a TON of high poundage sacks this spring with some topping 20 pounds. The spawn is starting to become a thing of the past and the fishing is changing rapidly. Water clarity has been stained for most of the last month but should become clear shortly. The bass are transitioning from shallow to deep areas of the lake, and current is always key. Although colder temps in Catherine may say otherwise, topwater is already picking up! Whopper Ploppers, Spooks, poppers and buzzbaits are getting hotter in the shallower areas.
If you plan on fishing deeper water or drop-offs, then the drop-shot rig tipped with a silver fluke or even a flutter spoon is hard to beat. The night bite is getting good as the days get warmer, so keep that in mind when planning to be on the water. Chatter-style baits and large-profiled jigs will be effective in the coming weeks.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 5-12-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita remains in the flood pool by a half-foot but is steadily falling. Entergy has scheduled very heavy generation for all area dams in an effort to bring Ouachita down to normal levels for the last several weeks. This process has been a 24/7 event and has created unsafe boating conditions below Carpenter Dam. Very little fishing has taken place in the last month due to the treacherous conditions as boaters and anglers are cautioned to stay off the lake until Lake Ouachita has fallen out of flood pool and a much safer generation scheduled has been established. High generation will be the norm for at least another week as the lowering process continues.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 145,026 cfs. Elevation was 337.58 feet msl, with the tailwater at 302.57 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is falling at stead at 21.85 feet, which is about 4 feet higher than this time last week (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 5-12-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at full pool with temps in the low 70s in most areas except the upper river channel. Water color is slightly stained with visibility of 3 feet or more. Winds have been stiff lately, and with the spawn for the most part over, most bass have reverted back to the summer patterns. Bass have taken up positions on points and deep structure to feed on baitfish. “Most of the better quality fish we have caught over the last week have been between 18-28 feet and are very aggressive toward the drop-shot rig. A fluke tipped and shad-colored drop-shot presentation worked where current is present is very effective right now.
“If you are a shallow-water fisherman it’s the season to lean on the unweighted wacky rig. It’s versatile and can be skipped under docks and behind boat stalls as well as open areas. Watermelon seed or black and blue Senkos are the good color choices. Power fisherman should probably lean on a deep-diving crankbait, swim jig or a Buzz Toad. Cover water and keep throwing.
“No crappie report but we have seen schools suspended on 30 feet or more of water above old bridge structures. Bream have been stacked up in depths of 10-25 feet against structure. Worms and crickets work best, for sure. No catfish report.
“Lots of pleasure boats out on the lake and it will be getting much heavier. Fishermen, keep your head on a swivel.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 363.73 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 578.64 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-12-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. The topwater bite is in full swing. 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 still good. Live bait and trolling hair jigs are working best at this time. Bream are excellent on crickets or worms 10-15 feet deep on brush. Crappie are still very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 10-20 feet depth. Catfish are very good on jugs or trotlines with cut bait, shad or live bream.
Water temperature ranges from 68-74 degrees. The clarity is clearing. Lake level on Thursday was 578.33 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 5-12-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said Thursday afternoon (May 12) at most of the crappie are done with their spawn at Ouachita and they are hungry. "We've been catching ample numbers on minnows under corks fished 8-14 feet deep on brushpiles. You have to start at first light because the bite is done by 10 a.m."
(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 406.69 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 28.42 feet, or nearly 2.5 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 5-12-2022) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that over the past week the water in Horseshoe has cleared tremendously. Water temperature Wednesday was 75 degrees at the surface. The crappie spawn is winding down. A few fish are still on the beds and the rest are on the move. They are in a typical post-spawn pattern and are feeding on shad. Look for fish in the 3- to 6-foot range. Jig colors that have been good are red/white, brown/olive and Junebug.
Bass are shallow. “I did not get any information from anyone bass fishing. We caught some smaller fish in the trees,” Kent said.
Catfish has produced good reports from those fishing with yo-yos and jugs. Catfish are in good shape and should be getting ready to spawn.
Bream are shallow. There are lots of bream in the shallows. Males have some good color to them. Try a 1/64-ounce jig in black color or crickets and worms.
(updated 5-12-2022) 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 5-12-2022) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no new reports.