May 19, 2022
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 19, 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 11 a.m. the day of publication (May 19).
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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: Gary Harris caught this catfish on a Rat-L-Trap in shallow water late in the evening bass fishing on Lake Ouachita last weekend.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 5-19-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake possesses its normal stain and the water level is back to normal. No surface temperature was recorded. The bream bite remains excellent. Redworm and crickets are working, along with Dynamax Jigs. Crappie are fair, with best action found in the trees. Use small minnows and small jigs for now. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures, buzzbaits, flipping jigs and Senko worms. 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 5984 cfs (both turbine and spillway) as of 11 a.m. A release of nearly 6,000-6,100 has occurred between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. this week. Greers Ferry Lake is about 6 feet over normal conservation pool. The tailwater at 11 a.m. May 19 was 276.02 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 5-19-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said the Army Corp of Engineers has been running a consistent generation schedule of lately. The generation schedule has been two units of water starting at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. and running till 9 or 10 at night. Always check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app for generation schedule before heading out.
The falling water has been fishing well, and with the current schedule it has opened up some wade opportunities.
Caddis patterns, pheasant tail nymphs and midges have been fishing well underneath an indicator.
(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 468.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.75 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 5-19-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 468.91 feet and falling. Overall a lot of spawning is still going on with a lot of species here and will continue to be doing so for another six to eight weeks.
Catfishing is good, all species, on a lot of baits. Just pick your poison. Crappie are up onthe shoreline out to 30 feet; everything is working (jigs, minnows, etc.). Walleye are finally getting grouped up better for the drag bite with crawlers a variety of ways at 8-30 feet. Bream are the talk of the town; try crawlers or crickets and look for bream at 8-20 feet. Hybrids and white bass are eating at will; Road Runners, inline spinners, spoons, swimbaits and hair jigs are working in 8-35 feet. Black bass are “doing what they do on the shoreline out to 35 feet and will pretty much eat the whole tackle box of assorted stuff at this time,” Tommy reports.
(updated 5-19-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said black bass are good in flooded buckbrush on flukes and spinnerbaits. Also, bass are good off main lake points on half-ounce PB&J Football Jigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-19-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is fairly clear. The level is high but is going down a bit, they say. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair around the shoreline. Try a minnow or jig. Black bass shut off this week; no reports. Catfish also went unreported by anglers.
(updated 5-19-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said the water level is dropping back down. Water is murky. Crappie are out deeper; use minnows. Bream are biting on crickets. Bass are still loving the beetle spins up in the shallows. No reports on catfish.
(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 5-19-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said water temperature is in the high 70s to low 80s. Fishing for black bass is good. They 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. 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. Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley won Tuesday night’s black bass tournament with a five-bass haul of 15.33 pounds, which included a 5.46-pound Big Bass. Four duos caught at least 10.5 pounds of bass. Caleb Yielding caught a 3.98-pound bass, which was the second best bass caught Tuesday night.
No reports on white bass this week. Crappie are good. You can find them in shallow water hugging the banks using minnows or swim jigs. Bream are fair. Reports of bream being found on beds. Crickets and worms have been working well. Catfish are good: All species are being caught and biting on anything. Try using chicken liver, worms and crawfish.
(updated 5-19-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good off the end of main lake points and up shallow biting on spinnerbaits. Crappie are good, with most found out deep in 15-20 feet and biting one-eighth-ounce jigheads with Monkey Milk Crappie Jigs.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 150,849 cfs with a pool elevation of 285.80 feet msl. The stage was up again from this time from last week, at 24.51 on Thursday. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 147,577 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-19-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water is clear and the level is back to normal. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are shallow and bedded up, Ray reports. The bite is good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair. They’re back to being found in shallow water some, and will bite minnows and jigs. Black bass are good both early in the day and late. Use a spinnerbait or crankbait. Catfish are good on trotlines with live bream.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 162,173 cfs with a pool elevation of 268.97 feet msl.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 164,318 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was at 12.04 feet. Pool elevation is 248.02 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 164,806 cfs with a pool elevation of 230.67 feet. There continues to be a small-craft warning on the Little Rock pool.
(updated 5-19-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) had no reports from the Little Rock pool. The water has been fast and high in recent weeks. Check out their reports from Lake Maumelle, Greers Ferry Lake and Lake Ouachita listed elsewhere. Two weeks ago, when they had a moment to get on the river, black bass were 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 5-19-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says bream are good pretty much anywhere on redworms and crickets. Catfish are starting to move in and are very consistent with the bite on the river.
(updated 5-19-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are good. They’re on the beds, especially around Willow Beach and White Oak Bayou. Catfishing is good below Terry Lock and Dam and the Crystal Dam on skipjack. Crappie are fair on minnows and super jigs in green and chartreuse colors. Fish for crappie off the rock jetties on the main river. Black bass are biting well on black buzzbaits around the rock jetties.
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 5-19-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the lakes in the White River watershed – Beaver, Table Rock and Bull Shoals – remain very high. You might expect extensive discharge from the dam to the Bull Shoals tailwaters, but even with the rains this past week the releases in the White River below Bull Shoals have been relatively gentle during the day at around 1.5 units (5,000 cfs). Bull Shoals Lake elevation has reached 685.25 feet msl and continues to rise The dam is doing its job: holding back water to alleviate flooding downstream.
“We'll enjoy the lower flows while they last, but don't be surprised to see consistent high water in the weeks ahead. What's that say about the fishing? It's good news. Trout fishing on high water is all about drifting big baits to lure those big (and growing) fish. River minnows and sculpins drifted near the grassy banks will bring the browns out of hiding and every kind of jerkbait is a worthy agent in your search for the biggest trout to reach your personal best. We favor the Rapala Rainbow Countdowns, the 5 or 7.”
The rainbows have been biting at just about any worm, especially when a bubblegum pink or fluorescent orange worm is used in conjunction with shrimp; but don't discount the live worms – a red wiggler or the old-time nightcrawler – for catching great rainbows. Seems the copper-colored spoons and spinners are the baits to cast this time of year if that's your style of fishing. “There have been some hefty hatches giving our fly anglers a run; try the super midge and some sparkling caddis flies. Whatever form your fishing takes, bring it to the river and enjoy Arkansas, our Natural State. ‘Fish Natural’!”
(updated 5-19-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said river conditions have been all over the place this last week. The rains we received caused the river to become muddy. By the time the river started clearing we received more rain and the river was muddy again. With the muddy river conditions the fishing has been difficult at best. Those who have done well had success with using inline spinners with Power Eggs and a worm or corn on the end. Others had limited success using bright color Rooster Tails, spoons or Rapala Countdowns (gold or silver). Last Thursday 1,000 rainbow trout and again this Wednesday another 2,200 rainbow trout were stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp. By the end of the day Wednesday the river was improving, and with over 3,000 trout stocked in the last week, fishing should be good the next few days.
(updated 5-19-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had just a trace of rainfall in Cotter, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 4.3 feet to rest at 22.6 feet above power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 10.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 3.1 feet to rest at 7.8 feet above power pool and 6.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 6.1 foot to rest at 7.1 feet above power pool or 1.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 14.6 feet above power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 10.4 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. All 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 to prevent downstream flooding
On the White, the hot spot has been the Narrows. The hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan worms, gold-ribbed hare’s ears and sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try an 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 added, “Last week I had a three-day trip with two clients from Houston. They had booked several months ago. As the trip got closer they had checked the weather and got concerned. A lot of heavy rain was forecast every day they had scheduled. They were concerned that they would travel far just to sit in a boat and get rained on. They emailed me with their concerns.
“I replied that the forecast was for a 45-50% chance every day. I thought we could get in some decent fishing despite the weather. I told them a guided trip with me was a rain or shine event but that I did not fish when there was lightning about. I always remember that NASA uses graphite (the same material used to construct most fly rods) for lightning rods.
“The day before they arrived it rained all day. It was raining as I went to pick them up at Rim Shoals the first day. The water there was badly stained. The river was the color of café au lait (coffee with milk). Basically the river was blown out and not fishable there. The best thing to do, when this happens, is to head upstream until you find clear water. I knew that the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam would be clear. The water coming through the dam was clear and there are no major side creeks pumping runoff into the river there. It quit raining fairly early and we did well catching some big rainbows.
“The next day the water cleared at Rim and we fished there. We caught several nice trout. We went to the cabin my clients were staying at Rim Shoals and took a late lunch. While we were in there, it began to rain. We heard thunder and then saw a heavy lightning strike nearby. We decided to quit early. I loaded the boat and headed home in heavy rain. It rained all night and there was a lot of lightning that woke me up around 2:30 a.m.
“It was raining as I left the house the next day. I picked them up at Rim Shoals. Once again the water was severely stained. We headed to the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals. The water was clear and inviting. It quit raining but we kept our rain suits on. Once again, we caught some big fish. We had a big 27-inch rainbow to the boat before it slipped the hook. We had another big fish break off.
“About 3 p.m. I thought I heard thunder. I pulled out my iPhone and checked the weather. There was a big storm headed our way. The thunder got heavier and we headed in. We got the boat out of the water as the bottom dropped out. It rained heavily all of the way home.
“We stayed the course and fished despite the weather forecast. We ended up catching some nice trout.”
(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 681.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 662.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam is 7,244 cfs, though flow has reached about 16,000 cfs on Wednesday midday. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 923.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.58 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 21,018 cfs.
(updated 5-19-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday afternoon that limited parking at the boat dock can be an issue, so plan ahead. Despite the high water, the lake is really clear in the main portion. Bigger creeks have stain. The water temperature is 73 degrees, give or take. The lake level Wednesday was about 685 feet, or 26 feet above normal level.
Bass fishing has been up and down of late. The sunfish are spawning. There has been a shad spawn the last couple of mornings. Use a 2.8 Keitech on a quarter-ounce ball head, or swim a grub in shad colors. Target windy lake secondary points and humps. Don’t pass up shad way out on the points, and use topwater, an LC Gunfish or a Zara Spook. For sunny days, dragging a Jewel Special Ops Football Jig in green-pumpkin orange, a Ned rig with green pumpkin variations, and keep the boat out around 30 feet.
A lot of fish are on the old shoreline on secondary points and channel swings. Bloody tails are starting to show up in the summer areas. Submerged roads, flooded parking lots and picnic tables now underwater are holding fish. Use a floating worm or a drop-shot around docks.
The flipping bite is tougher as the water comes up, so around the deep bushes, the standing timber or laydowns, use Beaver/Senkos/a small jig. If you find warm, dirty, milky water, use a bright spinnerbait, a Chatterbait, Whopper Plopper or square bill. 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 571.59 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 5-19-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 571.43 feet msl and, as of this report, has risen 1 inch in the last 24 hours with about 10 hours of running one generator. The White River at Newport is 20.90 feet and dropping and the surface water temperature is in the mid-70s and the water is clear on the main lake and stained in the creeks. The topwater bite in the early morning just before sunrise is the best bite. It lasts longer on cloudy days than on sunny, clear ones. Temperate bass and black bass are coming up in the windblown creeks on shallow shad. Catfishing is getting better as the full moon wanes, and channels and blues are picking up while flatheads are slowing. “I did catch a nice flathead (Tuesday) but was catching several every day before then. Big bluegills are back under docks and in shallow cover like willows and are hitting small spoons and live worms and crickets.
“Some bass are on the old shoreline in 18-20 feet of water partway back in creeks on soft plastics and floating worms.
“Fishing overall is good. On clear sunny days get out early, fish until about 10 a.m., take the middle of the day off, and go out about 5 p.m. and fish until sunset. On cloudy days you can fish all day. Some temperate bass have moved into deep water and can be caught on the jigging spoon. Walleye are around Cranfield Island and Robinson Island and can be caught bottom-bouncing Lindy Rigs with live nightcrawlers and trolling small crankbaits and are 17-22 feet near the bottom.
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 5-19-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 14.6 feet above power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 10.4 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. All 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 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 a 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 5-19-2022) 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 are 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 1,128.44 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 2,135 cfs.
(updated 5-19-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is still well above normal pool but is dropping slowly. It is still full of debris, so caution is advised when running a boat. Fishing is fairly good. Stripers have scattered but fish are being caught. Move and move some more if that’s you target. Shad and brooders trolled are the ticket. Look from Prairie Creek all the way to the dam. Crappie have spawned and they too are really scattered. Just look for water that doesn’t have a lot of debris and start checking brushpiles and laydowns. There is no real pattern right now, but in a few weeks when the thermocline sets up it will be summer trolling time.
Walleye are scattered as the rest. “We have been catching a few each trip. Look to main lake points and flats in 15-25 feet of water. I am starting to pick them up trolling crawler harnesses.
“Bass are on and near bedding areas. Fish your favorite baits and you should do well. Again, we have caught some nice spotted bass and smallmouth while targeting walleye. Catfish are on the uptick. Time to set jugs and trotlines. Bream are bedding, so get the kids out there and enjoy catching some hard-fighting fish. Good luck and stay safe!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 5-19-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said walleye are fair; find them in the deep water on worms and small crankbaits. Bream have showed up in a big way this week, as anglers report an excellent bite in shallow water. Use the typical redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on small jigs and on minnows. Black bass are excellent; best success is coming on worms, jigs and topwater baits. Catfishing is good; try worms, chicken liver or minnows. The water appears a little dingy this week, and surface temperature has eased up to 75 degrees. Water level remains high.
(updated 5-19-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had no 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 5-19-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Thursday morning that the lake clarity is “pretty clear” and the water level has settled in to normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie were fair this week on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair on soft-plastic worm and topwater baits. No Catfish reappeared with some fair catches.
(updated 5-19-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake clarity is “pretty good” with the lake at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are still good. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are moving off the shoreline now and the bite has fallen back to good. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are a good, with spinnerbaits continuing to work well and soft plastics also getting good responses. Catfish reports remain poor.
(updated 5-19-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the crappie and bream bites are continue to be good, and catfish are hungry, too. Bream are good on worms and jigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good for anglers using blood bait, stink bait or cut bait. No reports on black bass or white bass. The lake is its usual murky and is high. Sunday’s water temperature reached 74.8 degrees. Look for good fishing still this Thursday night, based on “moon times,” while best days for fishing are coming up May 27-June 2, she says.
(updated 5-19-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says Lake Poinsett has bream and catfish biting well. The bass have started slowing down a bit, but they are catch-and-release only at this time.
Besides the catch-and-release rules for black bass, current limits at Lake Poinsett call for a half-the-daily limit on catfish and full limits for bream. Any crappie caught must be released. Crappie haven’t been stocked yet in Poinsett, but some may have made it into the lake from elsewhere.
(updated 5-19-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported Thursday that the water is clear and at normal level. Bream have started biting well; use redworms or crickets. Catfish are good on usual catfish bait. Bass and crappie provided no reports this week.
(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 wadeable but you have always gotta 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 5-19-2022) 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 8.43 feet, more than 6 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage has dropped to 20.12 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 31.08 feet, which is about 5 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 5-19-2022) 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 154,280 cfs. The pool elevation is 194.59 feet msl and the stage at Pine Bluff is 34.98 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 158,100 cfs. The pool elevation is 212.07 feet msl.
(updated 5-19-2022) 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 5-19-2022) 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 259.21 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 1,702 cfs,
(updated 5-19-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake has returned to normal level at 259.2 feet msl and is steady. Clarity is much improved along Little River. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 1,700 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the 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 in 73-78 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River is normal stain level this week with reduced discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranges 8-12 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of the oxbows are much improved at 12-22 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
As for this week’s fishing specifics, Mike said:
* Largemouth bass are fair to good, most activity in oxbows up Little River, early and late in the day. Bass are moving horizontally out to deeper water during heat of the afternoons, and shallow to cover early and late. Bass are fair to good on topwater lures around emerging new lily pad stands and vegetation at daylight. “We continue seeing 3- to 4-pound bass running in and out of shallow flats early for the past few weeks, and will bust a buzzbait, topwater Chugger, and plastic frogs in the pads early.” Big, 7-inch bulky lizards, Brush Hogs, 10-inch worms, slow-moving square-bill crankbaits and Chatterbaits will get a reaction from bass near laydown logs, cypress trees, knee, and stumps where ridges, ditches and flats are close to deeper creek channels and vertical structure. Several nice and healthy female largemouth have been recently caught and released from 5 to 9 pounds over the past several weeks.
Bass are continuing to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows once the sun gets up above the treeline in late morning. Bass Assassin Shads, Horny Toads, hollow body frogs, buzzbaits and Chatterbaits continue working. The oxbows over the past couple weeks have had the best water clarity – Horseshoe, Clear Lake and McGuire will produce best the topwater reactions from largemouths. Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple, or Spring Bream with chartreuse, are taking nice 2- to 3-pound largemouths near stumps in 3-6 feet depth.
War Eagle Smokey Joe-colored Underspins with a 3.5-inch Bass Assassin Lit'L Boss swimming bait trailer are catching fish that miss a buzzbait or topwater frog early. If the bass blow up and miss your topwater bait, an immediate throw-back past the missed strike with the Underspin and Lit'L Boss swimbait will get you bit in a reaction bite. “We are using a Smokey Joe-colored head War Eagle Underspin with a Chico's Red Ear, or Hammertime, or Silver Flash Minnow swimbait trailer to incite a reaction strike.
Buzzbaits, Cordell Crazy Shads, Boy Howdy's and Spit'n Images are randomly working early. Topwater weedless frogs like the Spro Live Target and Zoom Horny Toads are starting to get responses from nice post-spawn largemouths now.
Brazalo Spinnerbaits continue working on windy days and on creek channel drops and secondary points. Spot Remover, White, Sexy Shad and Millwood Mayhem Bream colors are best catching keeper-size largemouths in oxbows and in the pockets along the golf course and at Millwood State Park coves.
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 same areas as the topwater frogs, near new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush. Texas-rigged Bang Woopah Craws are working in these same areas near laydowns and stumps from 5-9 feet deep, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter and Blueberry. Bulky 7- to 8-inch lizards are working with Blackberry, Sapphire or Watermelon Candy colors on cypress trees in good water clarity in back of the oxbows from 7-9 feet of depth.
Salty Rat Tails, Senkos and Trick Worms were working in the edges of new lily pad stands, as well as stumps, near drop offs from 7-10 feet deep. Best colors have been Black/blue tail, Blue Glimmer or Blue Ice.
* White bass continue roaming and moving to deeper drops along Little River headed back down to the main lake in large, broken, random schools. No consistent bite from the white bass over the past week.
* Crappie have been excellent over the past couple weeks and continue their spawning near shallow ridges and cypress trees, and continued to improve shallow over the past few weeks or so. Nice, healthy spawning crappie from 2-2.5 pounds have been hitting jigs and minnows over the last week.
* No report from catfish this week with current reduced along Little River. Last week the blues and channels were fair to good on trotlines, yo-yos and limb lines. Chicken livers, gizzards, hearts, homemade cheese dough bait andKing's Punch Bait were all working well.
(updated 5-19-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports the lake is clear and high (or at full pool). Bream are excellent. They’re now up in the grass. Throw redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. A few are on the shoreline spots, buit most now are in 13-16 feet of water. Shiners and hand-tie jigs are working best. Target the brushpiles. Black bass are schooling and chasing shad around points and islands. Anglers report a good bite. Use the typical spring bass baits. Catfish are still excellent. Minnows and cut bait continue to be the go-to.
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 543.94 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 406.29 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 436.94 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.22 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 5-19-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake, as is the schedule every May, has just been fertilized. The clarity, he says, is “semi-clear” and the water level is 1 foot high. Anglers will notice the green tint to the water from the fertilizing this month, but AGFC biologists have said in the past that this should not affect the bite.
Bream are good on redworms. Crappie went back into their hiding spots, with no reports coming in. Black bass are fair; try a topwater lure or a frog. Still 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 147,577 cfs. Elevation was 337.47 feet msl, with the tailwater at 302.32 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is falling at stead at 21.65 feet (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. Its 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 362.43 feet msl (normal pool: 344.96 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-19-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that the lake is “clearing up” while the water is still high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good, with anglers finding them at 8 feet depth. Use minnows or black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are good. They’re being caught on shallow points, with Chatter Bugs, worms and swim jigs working best. Catfish are biting well now.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.58 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-19-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie are still on the brushpiles but transitioning toward deeper water. Catfish and bream and spawning. Water temperature Thursday was 78 degrees.
(updated 5-19-2022) 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 this week to check out Lake Ouachita again. They report that bass are good in flooded buckbrush, biting on wacky worm Senkos and on flukes.
(updated 5-19-2022) 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 is in full swing. Boy Howdies, Zara Spooks and Whopper Ploppers are producing some good fish right now. Walleye are still very good. A swim jig or Shad Rap works best for these fish. Stripers are very good. Live bait and trolling hair jigs are working best at this time on the central part of the lake. Bream are still excellent on crickets or worms 10-15 feet deep. Crappie are very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 10-20 feet deep. Catfish are still very good on jugs or trotlines with cut bait, shad or live bream.
Water temperature ranges from 74-78 degrees. The clarity is clear. Lake level on Thursday was 576.55 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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.04 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 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 28.14 feet, or about 2 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 5-19-2022) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said water clarity at Horseshoe remains good. Water temperature was 75 degrees on Tuesday. The lake is still falling just a little. Crappie are in their post-spawn pattern. The bite has been tough this past week with most days seeing 25-30 fish as a normal haul. The bite is light on most fish but persistence pays off. “There are shad all over the lake and I think it’s part of the problem. The pads are getting above the waters surface and there are fish in them.
“I haven’t spoken with any of the bass fishermen this past week but we have caught several bass while fishing pads.”
Catfish remain in the shallows. “We’ve hung several of them in the pads or while fishing trees.”
No reports on bream.
(updated 5-19-2022) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Potlatch Cooks Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373), said high water continues to keep access to the lake closed.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-19-2022) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no new reports.