June 30, 2022
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Reports are updated weekly, although some reports may be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for current news for the lake or stream you plan to fish.
TOP AND LEFT: An angler from Eureka Springs named Rick, who was fishing with guide Austin Kennedy in the early morning mist of the Beaver Lake Dam tailwater in northwest Arkansas, landed a nice walleye from the tailwater this week. Photo provided by Austin Kennedy. Read more of Austin's report below under the Northwest Arkansas section.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 6-30-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake has its normal stain and as of Wednesday morning had fallen below normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. The bream bite continues to be good. Redworms, crickets and Dynamax jigs are working. Crappie fishing has been poor. Small minnows and small jigs will be your best bet for any action now. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are working, along with creature baits, frogs, jerkbaits, buzzbaits and Rebel Poppers. Catfish are good; bait with chicken liver, dough bait, trotline minnows, nightcrawlers, shad, skipjack and shrimp.
(updated 6-16-2022) The high and fast water on the Little Rock pool of the Arkansas River is getting the anglers from Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood out to area lakes instead. This week they checked out Lake Conway, where the black bass were biting well in the coves on single swimbaits and on topwater frogs.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 11 a.m. Thursday, June 30. Greers Ferry Lake is just below normal conservation pool. The tailwater at was steady at 266.63 feet msl. 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 6-30-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is back down to normal pool. As of June 26 the Southwestern Power Administration has taken over the generation schedule for the Little Red River.
The SWPA has been posting and running between one unit and two units of generation usually starting between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and running it for one to two hours each evening. It's been subject to change, so always check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app for the generation schedule, or swpa.gov, before heading out.
With the current generation schedule, you can wade fish the entire river. The best bite has been early morning and late evening. Fish the deep holes and oxygenated riffles. Pheasant tail soft hackles, Guide's Choice Hare’s Ear and midges have been producing.
(updated 6-30-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said they have gone from basically 24 hours of generation each day the last couple of weeks to receiving very little generation from the Greers Ferry Dam, creating low water conditions in the tailwater and downstream. Unless there is a change in the generation pattern, we are looking at one-two hours of generation daily. This pattern is creating good wading opportunities on all sections of the Little Red River. Small pheasant tails, hare’s ear, sowbugs and midges are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use pink and cotton-candy-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 the generation schedule forecast.
(updated 6-16-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout are good on olive Maribou Jigs and on white Rooster Tails.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 6-30-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the lake water level Thursday morning was at 462.24 feet msl and falling with generation. It’s now 0.3 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. Bream catching is good on crickets and crawlers, super shallow out to 20 feet of water on gravel flats. Crappie are also are eating well. Find them in 5-45 feet of water on minnows, jigs and beetle spins. Walleye are roaming around on flats, 18-60 feet, feeding when they want. Use crawlers, crankbaits and spinners with crawlers. Hybrid and white bass have been hard to pin down; a lot have been hiding out of the 23-hour-a-day generation, and now no generation makes it a “who know?” but catch them just right. Spoons, swimbaits, inline spinners will work great, just stay with program. As for black bass, a lot better fish are coming in from super shallow out to 60 feet on a variety of baits. Catfishing is good all over on lines and rod-and-reel.
(updated 6-30-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that black bass are good on a drop-shot. Ned rigs are also working in deep water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-30-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is murky and is at a normal level. Bream have been good on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good using bream or goldfish. No reports on crappie or black bass.
(updated 6-30-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said water levels are still coming down. Visibility is poor now. Crappie are biting on minnows in deep waters, and anglers are catching up to the limit. Bream are biting all over on worms and crickets. No report on catfish.
(update 6-30-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says the conditions and the fish response are the same as a week ago. The lake is murky and is still high by about 1 foot. Bream are good on redworms. Fish around the brushpiles. Crappie are good at sunrise, sunset and late at night. Try using size 6 minnows or jigs. Black bass are best in the evenings with good catches noted. Bass are shallow. Use a white spinnerbait for best chances. Catfish are good. Look for them on the bottom, and they are being caught noodling with goldfish.
Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve baitshop.
(updated 6-30-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good on watermelon red wacky worms or spinnerbaits anywhere there is wind.
(updated 7-1-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said the largemouth bass are fair. Bass are being found shallow along the grass lines, while some are being caught in deep water. Use Carolina-rigged lizards, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps or a drop-shot. Spotted bass (or Kentucky bass) are also fair, with some being caught near drop-offs at around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other reports have them in among the brushpiles, some of those near rocky points. A Texas rig will work on brush, or throw a jig, crankbait or Rat-L-Trap. While last week's Tuesday night black bass tournament saw a 22-pound, 5-bass stringer win, this week's results fell back a bit, with Robert and Tracey White taking the top spot with 12.66 pounds and 5 bass. Josh Jeffers and Josh Baker hauled in 10.88 pounds. Jack Whitbeck landed the Big Bass of 5.13 pounds.
There have been no reports of white bass schooling yet. Crappie are fair, with reports this week of crappie found at 20 feet depth and deeper. Use jigs or minnows. Bream fishing is good; anglers are catching a bunch of small ones. Most of the catches were between 10-15 feet depth, biting crickets, worms and jigs. Catfish are on the bite now with good results. "Most of the guys out here are doing good on trotlines," they report. Try using chicken liver, worms and crayfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 45,845 cfs. The stage was up about a foot to 12.54 Thursday. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 40,957 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-30-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream are biting fair. They are bedded and are shallow. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good and are being found at 6 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are being caught in 3 feet or water in good numbers. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastic worms have been working well. Catfish are good. They’re biting chicken liver at nighttime.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 50,652 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 41,778 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was steady at 7.95 feet. The tailwater is at 231.89 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 44,165 cfs.
(updated 6-30-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) have been able to get back out on the river for over the past week now, after a long break away because of weekly small craft advisory, and the fishing has been good. Bass have been good on shaky head with a Trick Worm in black color or black/blue flake. They’ve also been catching them on mid- and deep-diving crankbaits in black or any shad pattern.
(updated 6-30-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are good on redworms and crickets in 4-5 feet of water around the riprap below the Murray Lock and Dam. Catfish are excellent below both Terry and Murray dams using cut shad. Bass are good early in the morning on topwater baits and Bandit Crankbaits.
(updated 6-30-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says fishing has been about the same in the Little Rock pool now that the river has dropped and slowed down where anglers can negotiate all of it. Crappie are good. They’re being caught in about 8 feet deep in the pockets off the river. Use minnows and jigs. Bream are good anywhere and everywhere on redworms and crickets. “The river is leveling off so the fishing is about to get better there,” they report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-30-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Wednesday that the bream are still good on redworms and crickets. No reports on crappie, black bass or catfish. The lake is clear and at a normal level. Clear Lake is a private lake but has a for-pay public boat launch just off Highway 161.
(updated 6-30-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “It might be easy to take for granted the beauty of our Arkansas Ozarks when we get to live it every day, but this past week has been so exceptionally gorgeous that everybody is taking a few extra minutes to admire the God-given beauty and say a little prayer of thanks. The July and August heat will sneak in, I'm sure, but for right now we remain in awe of our Natural State.”
They report the White River is flowing very fast and deep through the north-central Arkansas Ozarks, so be prepared to add weight to your line, go deep and get ready for a fight because the trout are healthy and fighting. Bull Shoals Dam is continuing heavy releases from the lake; four or more generators – 14,000 to 17,000 cfs – has been the daily norm with the lake level currently at 682.51 feet msl and dropping. It's not uncommon with round-the-clock heavy releases to find the rainbow bite has slowed, but it's also not uncommon to observe the quality of the catch has improved.
Some say the browns are getting lazy, though; they don't have to search for food because it's coming right at them all the time from banks saturated with the high water. So cast toward the shore to pull them in: Place your bait right in front of them and flash it around. If you're using stick baits, lures or spinners make sure they are bright and carry some weight. They’ve hooked many browns on worms (plastic and live) and even nabbed a few with white PowerBait. “One of our favorite fly guides mentioned that we're blessed with good dry-fly action most any time on this river when the sun is shining and warming the topwater.
“There's a lot of sunshine reflecting off the water, so don't forget the sun screen, but don't mix your sunscreen with your bait/tackle. Trout do not like sunscreen. Keep yourself protected but continue to lure in the trout.”
(updated 6-30-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had no rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.3 feet to rest at 21.1 feet above normal summer power pool of 661.6 feet msl. This is 11.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below power pool and 14.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 6.3 feet above power pool or 2.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water of late. Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 12.5 feet above power pool of 556.4 feet msl and 11.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had no wadable water during the day. The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water all summer.
On the White, the hot spot has been White Hole. “We have had much heavier flows and some sulphur hatches. 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 San Juan worm with an orange egg,” he said.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also says, “Some of our best dry fly-fishing is provided by the sulphurs, a good-sized mayfly that comes off every June. These aquatic insects are a gorgeous yellow-orange color and are generally a size 14, which is a pretty large insect for around here. This makes them easy to see and identify. They are coming off now!
“We all like to fish dry flies. This is when the trout key onto hatching insects. The insects rise to the top of the water column. There they emerge through the nymphal husk, break through the surface of the water and drift downstream until their wings dry and then fly off. During this process, they are vulnerable to being eaten by hungry trout. The trout rise to the surface of the water and sip them.
“Casting a dry fly and imitating this drag-free drift of the aquatic insects is a challenging way to fish. It is also rewarding. Casting to rising trout and watching them take the fly really gets the adrenaline pumping. The hook set is everything. You have to let the trout close its mouth before you set the hook. It is too easy to rush this process and pull the fly from the fish’s mouth.
“We generally do this on lower water as it is not likely that the trout will rise through 6-8 feet of heavy current to key in on hatching insects. On the White River, we are currently getting generation of about 17,000 cfs, or the equivalent of six full generators. You would think that this is way too much water to fish dry flies, but there has been some great dry fly-fishing on grass beds near the bank. I have had reports of some fantastic dry fishing for large trout.
“My favorite fly for this is my brother Dan’s sulphur dry fly. It is a yellow-orange parachute fly. The parachute is a low floater, which makes it fish well on the quieter water near the bank as it is looks more realistic. The parachute wing in white makes it easy to see. If you cannot see a dry fly, you cannot fish it. You must see the take in order to properly set the hook. My rod of choice is my 30-year-old Sage light line 9-foot 4-weight. It has a sensitive tip to protect light tippets and it casts dry flies like a dream.
“I like to fish this fly pretty close to the rising trout, particularly on heavy water. The water in the center of the river will be much faster than the flows near the bank. A long cast will require a lot of mending to achieve a drag-free drift. It will make it harder to set the hook with a lot of line out due to slack in the line.
“There can be dry fly-fishing on high water. Carry the necessary flies and be ready to fish them.”
(updated 6-30-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said Bull Shoals Dam continues to keep all eight generators running, and Norfork Dam has been running two generators during the day and dropping down to one generator at night. As a result we are seeing water levels averaging between 9-10 feet. The water remains clear and cold. Inline spinners with Power Eggs with shrimp, corn or worms have worked well this week. With the higher water you might need to add an extra sinker or larger sinker to get the bait to the bottom. Sculpin continues to work well for larger rainbows and brown trout. Spoons worked well on the shallower shoals with deep-diving crankbaits in the deeper water. There have been several 15-inch-plus rainbows caught plus some nice 17-inch-plus brown trout.
On Tuesday there were 747 rainbows stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp, and on Wednesday the AGFC used a pontoon raft to release 6,600 rainbow trout between Calico Rock to Sylamore Creek. By this weekend those fish should be acclimated to their new surroundings and hungry.
“We are seeing a lot more kayaks, rafts and canoes. Be aware of your surroundings and take care of each other on the river. If you are in a boat, slow down as you approach the kayakers, etc. We hope everyone enjoys the Fourth of July weekend and be safe while celebrating our nation’s 246th birthday.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 681.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.50 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 17,931 cfs, and releases have been constant this week. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.58 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 1,455 cfs.
(updated 6-30-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday afternoon that the lake has dropped down to 682 feet msl (23 feet above normal pool) and limited parking can still be an issue there so plan ahead. “The lake is really clear towards the main part; the back of bigger creeks have stain,” he said.
Surface temperature is about 85 degrees.
He says its best to get up early and go for the topwater bite. Target windy main lake secondary points, especially when the Corps of Engineers is generating water at the dam. Shad is now way out on the points. Fish around those spots with a topwater, an LC Gunfish, or wake baits. Then the topwater slows, and it’s time for a half-ounce flutter spoon or drop-shot the fish. In 20-40 feet depth over 50-70 feet, and in the channel swings around bluffs and ledges, use suspenders around many of those spots.
The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. The topwater bite will end when the sun starts getting high. Del is then hopping a Jewel Special Ops and football jig in green pumpkin orange, a Ned rig in green pumpkin variations. Keep the boat out around 30 feet. A lot of fish are on the old shoreline. Also around the channel swings, standing timber, ledges and laydowns, try a Beaver/a big worm/an Ole Monster in green pumpkin, red, red shad or plum. And, as always, fish the conditions.
Del has a new YouTube video up. Visit his 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 568.02 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at noon Thursday was 5,815 cfs, releases over the past 36 hours have ranged from 2,858 to 5,818 cfs.
(updated 6-30-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday morning that the lake level was 568.35 feet msl and had dropped 2.5 inches in the last 24 hours with one generator running since Tuesday night. The White River at Newport is 13.93 feet and the Army Corps of Engineers has been keeping it around 14 feet for several weeks. The level had dropped a little less than 5 feet since its high on June 5. Surface water temperature is 85 degrees and has dropped a couple of degrees with the cooler weather. The water looks clear from the surface but gets cloudy after about 12 feet with a mudline down to the thermocline at about 20 feet. The water is cold at 25 feet and is clear again there.
The stripers are going deep and looking for the oxygen bubble and are on the bottom from 60-80 feet and are hitting the jigging spoon dropped on their head. Some walleye are with them, but several more walleye are on main lake points and around them in 20-26 feet of water also near the bottom. Trollers are dragging crankbaits bumping bottom in 20 feet of water. There are still some bass coming up in the early mornings but are mostly small. And several Kentucky bass are in 16-20 feet partway back in the creeks biting creature baits and plastic worms in the late evening with some smallmouth with them.
Some crappie are in the backs of creeks on wood in 25 feet of water and several more are under docks in the shade and some big bluegill are with them. Catfish are slow with the dropping water level but some are being caught on jugs drop-shotted and baited with live bluegill in about 20 feet just outside the buckbrush. “The water is dropping too fast for limb lines. I am seeing some schools of white bass just inside main lake points at 20 feet suspended, but they are not very big. The lake is still high, but almost all of the debris has stuck to the shore and the lake in general is in good condition for boating, swimming and fishing.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 6-30-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 12.5 feet above power pool of 556.4 feet msl and 11.1 feet below the top of flood pool. There has been no wadable water on the Norfork and it fished poorly. 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 eighteen 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 moderately. School is out and the creek is busy. 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 6-30-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low. With warmer temperatures, the smallmouths 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 1,127.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The Corps released about 3,700 cfs between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 6-30-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said white bass are good on minnows or live shad under the lights at night. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are biting for anglers spider-rigging with minnows or trolling crankbaits. Black bass are fair, at night mostly, while slowing during the day. Try presentations like drop-shots and shaky heads in the daylight. Spinnerbaits, deep-diving cranks, topwater lures and jigs are working later. Catfishing is good using chicken liver on trotlines and limb lines. Also try live bait, nightcrawlers and dough bait, or use liver on regular rods. The lake is clear and the water level remains high.
(updated 6-30-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is coming down inches each week but still is above normal levels. With the cooler and glorious temps, the lake has stopped its climb to bath water temps. Striper fishing the last few days has gotten much better. Many guide friends have been putting some nice fish in the box lately. It is a nighttime bite or very early morning proposition. Shad and brooder minnows are working for some fairly nice fish anywhere from 15-25 pounds the last couple of days. Look from Prairie Creek all the way to the dam. Walleye also are starting to pick up on trolled crawler harnesses. Search main lake flats in 20-25 feet of water. Crappie are on a great bite with trolled cranks that will dive to 15 feet.
“Mixed in with the crappie, we have been catching white bass and catfish. I personally caught at 37-pound blue cat on a trolled Pico Crankbait Monday on a crappie rod. Quite a fight for sure! If you didn’t know, catfish will suspend in the thermocline and readily hit trolled cranks!”
Bass are early and late and being caught on various lures. Bream are good. Bowfishing is a great option in the summer as Beaver has its share of rough fish.
“Be safe and good luck!” Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 6-30-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said this week has been great on the tailwater. The Army Corps of Engineers has been generating from about 1 p.m. until midnight, and that has increased the bite. “Most of our fish were caught using light terminal tackle, using Pautzke Fire Bait. When the sun moved higher in the sky, we would switch it over to quarter-ounce spoons and coat the spoons using Pautzke Fire Gel. Try letting the spoon sink a bit before retrieving due to the water still being deep.
“This week’s hot spot for trout has been above Spider Creek. Try hitting the deeper holes and looking for slack water. The white bass and walleye have moved up toward Holiday Island. Jigging live minnows off of points and humps has done the trick. There are still quite a few males in the river, so get after them. You may have to wade through a dozen to get a legal fish, but it is worth it.
“Remember, for additional tips, visit my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). Hope you all are able to get out and catch some fish!”
(updated 6-30-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Wednesday that the lake clarity is stained while the water level is normal. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are excellent. Anglers are having best success with redworms, but crickets will work. Crappie are fair on jigs. Black bass are good on plastic worms and with topwater baits. Catfish are back with good reports. Try worms.
(updated 6-30-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday that the clarity is stained but the lake has risen to normal level. Bream are still biting well on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair with minnows or jigs, as well as trolling. Black bass are good both early in the day and late in the evening using spinnerbaits, large, red plastic worms, buzzbaits and frogs. Catfishing is good using stink bait.
(updated 6-30-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had some good to great fishing news to report this week from northeast Arkansas. Bream are excellent on worms and on jigs. Anglers are focusing on brushpiles, stumps and the lake’s rocky points for bites. Crappie are fair, as those fish have moved into deep water. Try minnows, jigs or worms. Black bass are fair, with anglers using soft plastic worms and topwater baits. Bass appear to have settled into cooler, deeper water as well. Catfish are good on worms and blood bait. The lake is its usual murky with a surface temperature Monday of 81.5 degrees.
(updated 6-16-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says that bream are still biting well on live bait at Lake Poinsett. Crappie and bass (which are catch-and-release only) are biting decently on spinners and Rooster Tails or brighter colors. Catfish are doing OK, but most reports have been better along the old creek bottom.
(updated 6-30-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported Wednesday that the water is clear up and has fallen below normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No crappie were reported lately. Black bass are fair; best fishing is when the water is calm using a topwater lure. Catfish are good on chicken liver and nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-30-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 470 cfs (350 average), and water clarity is clear. “The last few weeks have been hot and dry, we could use some rain. The river has dropped to good wading levels in most areas. Last week with the heat the bite was hot. This week with a cold front moving through, the fish are not taking as well. Tuesday there was a very hot period where Hopper Dropper with a bead head pheasant tail got hot. Also have done well with brown Woollies most days and crawfish patterns. Lots of bugs hatching daily. Nymphs and emerges are usually hot earlier in the day, and on the sunny hot days, minnow patterns or Y2Ks work!”
The smallmouth bass are hitting well on Clousers and crayfish patterns. Not much popper action; the bass seem to be on bottom and a quick-dropping fly does the trick. “We have been tying large dumbbell eyes on our smallie patterns or even jighead flies. Weight forward fly line with long leaders work with 6-weight rods. Larger flies with sink tips on 7- or 8-weight rods work but can make for a long day of casting.
“The moss is thick in places this year on the Spring. When fishing heavy moss areas, always look for the clear runs and get that fly right at the edge of that moss. There could be a big trout hiding in the shade!
“Plenty of floaters on the river on Saturdays. It’s a good idea to fish very early, then take the day off on those days. Through the week and on Sundays the river is quiet and great time to fish. The river is very refreshing this time of year but be safe wading in the river with the rocks. Good wading shoes are a must.”
Check out Mark’s blog (springriverfliesandguides.com/blog) for the latest river conditions.
(updated 6-30-2022) 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. Canoe season is in full swing and the canoes are here. 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 slightly up at 10.24 feet, less than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was steady 13.66 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 25.56 feet, which is about a half-foot below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 6-30-2022) 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 32,240 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.217 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 38,580 cfs.
(updated 6-30-2022) 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.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.58 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 871 cfs, an amount being steadily released this week.
(updated 6-9-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake is 3 inches above normal conservation pool, at 259.5 feet msl and stable. Clarity improved this week along Little River and in the oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 870 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 US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake with discharge rates and fluctuations high flow conditions in Little River, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 85-90 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River is normal stain levels this week with reduced discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is normal stain, visibility about 20-30 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.
Mike detailed the fishing at Millwood from this week’s trips, adding that they are only taking half-day trips until the heat subsides:
* Largemouth bass have slowed over the past few weeks with all the dog day summer heat. They are fair and best at early mornings and late evenings, with best activity in oxbows up Little River early in the morning and late in the day. Bass have been moving horizontally out to deeper water drops and vertical structures during heat of the afternoons, while being shallow to stumps, vegetation, lily pads and cypress knees at dawn, early and late. Bass have been very good on topwater lures for the past couple of weeks around emerging new lily pad stands and vegetation at daylight. Chunky 2- to 3-pound bass have been striking various topwater lures on shallow flats near stumps and laydowns early for the past few weeks. Good bass will randomly bust a buzzbait, Bass Assassin Shad or topwater plastic frogs in the pads early. Big, 7- to 10-inch bulky Brush Hogs and Bass Assassin Bang RSB 7.25-inch worms and XX Fat Job Trick Worms are great, with best colors over the past couple weeks being Candy Bug, Gooseberry, June bug/red or Redbug.
Late morning after the sun gets up above the tree line around 10 a.m., largemouths are gravitating toward creek channels, deeper ditches and drops of vertical structure where flats drop into 12-15 feet zones. The oxbows over the past couple of weeks have had the best water clarity -- Horseshoe, Clear Lake and McGuire will produce best topwater reactions from largemouths. Slow deflections off stumps with a Bill Lewis SB57 or Echo 1.75 square-bill crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Minnow and Bluegill colors will draw random reactions on the flats near drops into deeper creek bends. Brazalo spinnerbaits in Spot Remover, Millwood Mayhem Bream and Hot Mouse are working for nice 2- to 3-pound largemouths near stumps in 3-6 feet depth.
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. Pitching a Texas-rigged Bang Woopah Craw and Skunk Ape will work in these same areas near laydowns and stumps from 5-9 feet, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Blank Check, Hillbilly Special and Blueberry. Bulky 10-inch Berkley Power Worms are working, and best colors of late have been Blue Fleck, Black Grape and plum colors from 8-9 feet depth near stumps.
The Bang XX Fat Jobs, Salty Rat Tails and Trick worms were randomly working in the edges of new lily pad stands and stumps near drop-offs from 7-10 feet deep in the oxbows. Best colors have been black/blue tail, Blue Glimmer, or Blue Ice.
* The white bass schools are still pretty much scattered, although a few random white bass have been found up Little River near White Cliffs campground and points with drains into Little River. Reactions were fair on Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fat Free Fingerlings, and Model A crankbaits in Citrus Shad, Tennessee Shad, or Flat A's in Silver Flash or Pearl Shad.
* Crappie have been hit or miss over the past week – biting good one day, and random and few the next. Crappie are suspended in and over planted brush piles in 13-17 feet depth in the oxbows and along Little River. Not much changed over the past week, very random, best from daylight to around 9 a.m. Post-spawn crappie from 1.5-2 pounds have been randomly hitting jigs, Southern Pro Crappie Stingers 2.0, Pro Series Lit'l Hustlers and minnows for going on three weeks, but will slow down during the day with the recent mayfly hatch. Several crappie cleaned over the past week were full of mayflies. Best colors working over the past couple of weeks on the Southern Pro Crappie Stingers and Lit'l Hustlers have been black/chartreuse, Money, blue/silk/chartreuse swirl and black/orange.
* With the release at the dam reduced, and much less current along Little River, not much catfish activity has been seen. For last several weeks the blues, flatheads and channels were fair to good on trotlines, yo-yos and tight lines as long as there was a good bit of current along Little River. Spoiled chicken livers and gizzards, cut buffalo and shad, homemade cheese dough baits and King's Punch Bait were working over the past several weeks.
For several weeks now, alligators have been noted hung up and dragging noodles around after eating the catfish or bait attached.
* Bream have finished with their spawning activities.
(updated 6-30-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) is on vacation and has no reports. They had reported that catfish for several weeks have been good to excellent. Erling has all three species of cats. Bream fishing was good earlier this month. Black bass can be found in the coves.
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 547.02 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.62 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-30-2022) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Welcome to the summer bite! It is here. Wow, things are changing fast with this early heat wave. I was talking to a friend that maintains a daily ledger of details such as water temperature and levels. Last week he stated his log stated that this time last year the water temperature was 77 degrees. At that time last week the water temperature was in the low 90s. Wow!
“So, here’s the deal. The brushpiles are full of fish. The problem is lots of them are small bream and bass long with the crappie. It makes it harder to pull the big fish. You have got to fish close to clover and even drop-shot into it. It’s a slow bit but good fish. The crappie are moving to the timber pretty fast. The best way to approach them is sniping. That is a different skill and requires certain electronics to do. Check out YouTube if interested.
“Good reports on the last moon for bream fishing. Use side imaging to find the beds and stand off about 40-50 feet. A drop-shot of slip bobbers, crickets or worms. Lots of opinions about the best time with moon phase. Most range from three days before to a few days after the full moon.
“Hybrids and whites are showing up some but not in huge schools yet that I have seen. You can always pull crankbaits like the ShadRap or Alabama rigs to get a hit on them.
“Things have slowed some. Be safe and courteous. Hydrate, and Good Fishing!”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 435.35 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.41 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 6-23-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) said bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfishing is good on the river. The Ouachita River is a little muddy but is coming down.
(updated 6-30-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said conditions and fishing success are fair to good. The lake clarity is clear, while the lake level is low. Bream are good on redworms, nightcrawlers and crickets. The crappie being caught are small in size and fair in numbers. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass also are small in size with fair fishing. Try Carolina rigs and Texas rigs. Donald has heard of good catfishing on the river. Use black salties and goldfish.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-30-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, had no recent report.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 40,957 cfs. Elevation was 337.67 feet msl, with the tailwater at 288.94 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage has dropped significantly from earlier this month and now is at 8.78 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 6-16-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports water levels are normal with good water clarity. Lake surface temps hover around 83 degrees in most areas with the exception of the river channel, which runs 60 degrees or less. Pleasure boat traffic is very high at all times on Lake Hamilton during the warm months so plan your fishing at night or early morning if possible. Bass have been good to very good lately during the twilight bourse and even well into the night throwing buzzbaits, buzz toads and Whopper Ploppers in dark or black color presentations. Fish shallow areas near some type of current for the best results. Stone walls, rocks and behind or under wooden docks produce the best results. Bass can also be caught deep or suspended on hair jigs in white, like white flutter spoons. Fish that are in or right on current should be approached with the seedless watermelon worm or fluke on a drop-shot rig.
Bream are good everywhere! Crickets and worms fished on a slip cork on deep docks can fill up a 5-gallon bucket in a hurry! No crappie or catfish to report. “Wear your kill switches and life jackets while running on Hamilton, always. It can be as rough as the ocean out here some days. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 344.79 feet msl (normal pool: 344.51 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-30-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday morning that water clarity is “pretty clear” and the water is rated high (they say the water is off or below the dam and barely above normal now). No surface temperature was reported. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, with the fish relating to the brushpiles. Spinnerbaits are the go-to bait to catch a good number of black bass now. Catfish are good on trotlines, limblines and yo-yos.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.24 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-30-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair. Big Texas-rigged worms or creature baits fished in or near structure have been getting some decent reports, and there have been a few reports of topwater schooling action, too. Walleye are fair. A three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon vertically jigged near structure should produce some of these fish, and a nightcrawler fished on a drop-shot will work, too. Stripers are still good. Live bait and trolling hair jigs are working best at this time on the eastern part of the lake. Bream are still very good 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 fair to good on jugs or trotlines with cut bait, shad or live bream.
Water temperature is ranging 85-89 degrees. The lake level is 576.46 feet msl and the clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 6-23-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the number of crappie in the brushpiles are thinning out. Those that remain are deep inside. Brushpiles are loaded with bream of all sizes.
“Lately, we’ve been transitioning to catfish and walleye. We’re finding them near existing brushpiles on shallow water (18-24 feet of water depth) flats. The same depths can target walleye on rocky points and humps. I’ll be checking that as soon as next week.
“A little surface active on bass can be seen very early in the mornings. Trolling crankbaits or A-rigs is the ticket.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 394.46 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 falling at 22.80 feet, or about a 3 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 6-30-2022) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Potlatch Cooks Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373), said Cooks Lake opened on Tuesday for youth and mobility impaired angling. “We have not had many anglers yet so not much to report. It has been slow but still catching enough bass and crappie for a meal,” he said.
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.
(updated 6-2-2022) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said the water in Horseshoe is clear, and the surface temperature was 80 degrees as of Wednesday. Crappie are slow. “We fished piers and pads and found the crappie to be very scattered. There are a few boats spider-rigging in the deeper portions of the lake but no report from them.”
No reports on black bass. Bream are very good. The bream are biting in the shallows around trees and pads. The catfish are biting. Noodles were the method of choice with nightcrawlers and cut bait being used.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-30-2022) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no new reports.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.