July 28, 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: The smallmouth bass are making a great target on the cool waters of the Spring River in northeast Arkansas. Mitch (no last name given) was fishing with Spring River guide Mark Crawford, on the Spring when he caught this nice smallie on a picture-perfect day (sure, it was hot, but the lower water temp helped). Crawford said the hotter weather has helped the smallmouth bite.He says they've been chasing smallies in deeper water areas, with black or olive Woolies tied to jigheads being hot lures.
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 7-28-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake has the normal stain but has fallen to low. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms, crickets and hair-tied jigs. Crappie are biting fair at 6 feet depth on minnows or small jigs. Black bass reports are still good. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, buzzbaits, 6½- to 7½-inch worms, anything that resembles a baitfish and a swing bait all are recommended. Catfish are good on stink bait, chicken liver, dough bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish, shad and skipjack.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 9 a.m. Thursday, July 21. Generation on Wednesday was 3-8 p.m. and averaged 6,300 cfs (the generators kicked on at about 2 p.m. at 273 cfs). Greers Ferry Lake is 3.3 feet below normal conservation pool. The tailwater was steady at 266.72 feet msl; 2 hours after generation began Wednesday, the tailwater was 10 feet higher. 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 7-28-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said always check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app for the generation schedule before heading out; it is subject to change. The Southwestern Power Administration (www.swpa.org) has been running a consistent generation schedule for several weeks now – two units of generation Usually starting around 1 p.m. and running until 7 p.m. has been the the schedule for the last three weeks. “I'd expect the same generation schedule to continue as long as we have temperatures in the 90s and a heat index in the 100s. The weekend schedule has been similar with some reduced flows.”
The current generation schedule has opened up opportunities to wade fish the entire river. The best bite has been early morning before it gets hot. Try fishing the deep holes and oxygenated riffles and along the moss beds. Drift-fishing the falling water from the boat has been good. Pheasant tails, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear and midges have been producing. Smaller streamer patterns on an intermediate line or sink tip have been working well while fishing the falling water from the boat. Try fishing an olive or brown Slump-Buster or a conehead Woolly Bugger.
(updated 7-28-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said, “It’s hot, but the Little Red River is cold. We are seeing an afternoon generation pattern from the Greers Ferry Dam of four to five hours on weekdays and slightly less on weekends. This pattern is creating good wading opportunities on the Little Red River starting on the upper river in the mornings and working your way down to the lower river accesses in the afternoon. While we are experiencing the current heat wave and warmer water temperatures especially in the afternoons, it’s recommended to limit the time a trout is out of the water to reduce potential stress. Quickly return trout back into the water. We suggest small pheasant tails, hare’s ear, frenchie and midges for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, we suggest hot pink 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 7-28-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Corps of Engineers is running water late in the evenings and water is clear. Trout are good on pink and white Trout Magnets and No. 5 Rapala Countdowns in rainbow and brown trout color and an eighth-ounce olive Marabou Jig.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-28-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.29 feet; it is 3.25 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet and falling. “Water temp is hot, but the fish have got to eat,” Tommy said.
Crappie are good day or night all over the lake and rivers at various depths. Some are shallow, some are 50 feet. Try jigs, minnows and live bait. Catfish are good as well, day or night, on jugs, trotlines and rods and reels. A lot of different baits are working. For black bass, drag something. Topwater baits or a moving bait will work. Some are super shallow out to 60 feet of water.
No report on walleye. Bream are chewing, and guarding fry as well. They are very active. Use crawlers, crickets or small moving baits, and you will find them shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrid and white bass are in 25-60 feet depth chewing at will all over the lake and river. Use inline spinners, swimbaits, spoons or live bait.
(updated 7-28-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood checked out Greers Ferry Lake again and found the water clear and down a couple of feet. They report that black bass were good on topwater (they used a clear popper with feather on the back and clear Zara Spook) early in the mornings and late in the evenings, fishing in the middle of creeks and on the lower end of the main lake. During the day, the fishing is good deep on a drop-shot in 25-30 feet of water, as well as using a Carolina-rig.
Walleye were good drop-shotting nightcrawlers and bottom-bouncing rigs on main lake points in 20 feet of water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-28-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said Wednesday afternoon that they were looking at a murky lake at normal level. Bream are still good on redworms and crickets. Crappie went back into their hiding spots; no catches were reported. Black bass also went unreported this past week. Catfish are good; bait whatever you use with baby bream or nightcrawlers.
(update 7-21-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says the clarity is still a little cloudy but the lake remains normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. They’re being caught around brushpiles. Crappie are good. Anglers are still finding them deep in the channel. Try spider-rigging. Minnows and a chartreuse/white jig are working the best. Black bass are good. They are deep now. Spinnerbaits in white will work best. Catfish are good on goldfish and black salties.
Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve bait shop.
(updated 7-21-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) reports that crappie continue to bite well in 18-22 feet of water. Use minnows or jigs. Bream are good using crickets.
(updated 7-21-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that bass are good on watermelon red Texas-rigged worms up in the grass and on Carolina-rigged worms off the end of long points.
(updated 7-21-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said they have not been busy of late so there were no new reports outside of bass and bream. Black bass are good in 20-23 feet of water, as well as being shallow early. Tuesday night's Black Bass tourney had average bags overall. Lee Brizzolara and Wes Lowder caught a five-bass stringer of 13.02 pounds, including a 4.06-pound Big Bass, to win. Josh Baker and Josh Jeffers were right behind with 11.46 pounds of bass.
Bream aren't bedding up like usual. Before this week, the bream bite was good and anglers were catching limits.
Also, before heat slowed down the fishing, crappie were fair, out deep in 20-25 feet biting on jigs. White bass have slow. Reports of them schooling for a few seconds and moving on.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 4,056 cfs. The stage was steady 9.47 feet Thursday. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam there was no flow.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-28-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the river is clear and at a normal level. Crappie are good on minnows, and jigs, and anglers are finding them 6-7 feet deep. Black bass are good using frogs and worms. He’s still heard no reports on bream or catfish for a few weeks.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 1,446 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 0 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was falling at 7.39 feet. The elevation is 249.27 feet msl and the tailwater is at 231.11 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 6 cfs.
(updated 7-28-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says water is stained, but starting to clear up, and the level is normal. There is hardly any flow right now. Black bass are fair on shaky head with 6½-inch worms and Texas-rigged ribbon tail worms in a tequila sunrise or red shad color. The bass are mostly around shallow cover or wood and along jetties. Also, they’re biting crankbaits well along the jetties on the main river and on the ends of the jetties in 8-15 feet. Early morning and late evening are the good times for bass to bite on a black buzzbait. Also, they found them biting well on Whopper Plopper in bone or black color. Catfishing is good below the Murray Lock and Dam on nightcrawlers and stink bait.
(updated 7-28-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said they hear bream are biting well on the river in the backwaters; use redworms and crickets. Catfishing is excellent below both dams on either end of the pool, with shad and skipjack being the best bait. Black bass are good in 15-20 feet depth on shaky head worms off the bridge pilings.
(updated 7-28-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says catfish are continue to be a good target in the pool. According to anglers, they are good on skipjack and live bait.
(update 7-28-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-626-6899) said the lake remains clear and low, but she’s seeing no stumps showing. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair for anglers trolling minnows or jigs. Catfish are good using typical catfish baits. No reports have come in lately on black bass.
(updated 7-28-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said that after several weeks of steady releases from Bull Shoals Dam, which caused a drop of almost 20 feet in lake elevation, the Bull Shoals tailwater is being treated to some lower flows in the mornings. Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 669.84 feet msl, 8 feet above seasonal power pool. Morning releases are about four units (12,000 cfs) with an increase of nearly 5,000 cfs later in the day. “In my opinion, the quality of rainbows caught during consistent high-water releases is better, the quantity a little less than normal,” says Ron Gamble.
“We've had tremendous success with the Rapala Husky Jerk glass blue minnow. Maybe it's the rattle, maybe it's the color. It beat out anything else after a morning of no action on other baits. Live crawdad tails have been an excellent way to reel in some great-sized fish. When sitting over a favorite fishing spot with a minnow or crawdad, don't be tempted to reel and cast, reel and cast. Be patient, leave your rod in place and keep your eye on the tip, watching for a little tremor. Then give it a tug and you might be rewarded with that zzzzzzing of a big one running with your bait.
“Trout fishing in the Arkansas Ozarks is always exciting, year-round, high water, low water – even during heat waves – and it has been very warm here lately. Be ready for the heat, stay hydrated and come ready to catch some great trout on the White River.”
(updated 7-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Tuesday that during the past week they had no measurable rain events, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.3 feet to rest at 9.3 feet above the power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 24.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 2.6 feet below power pool and 16.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 2 feet above power pool or 6.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 5.8 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 18.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had no wadable water.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water all summer. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to Aug. 18.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. We have had heavy flows. 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 cerise San Juan worm with a girdle bug.”
John also said, “Last week I got a last-minute guide trip. My friend and fellow guide, Danny, came down with the coronavirus and had to cancel his trip. It should be noted that he is fully vaccinated. By the way, I called today, as I write this, and he is doing well and should return to guiding next week.
“The clients were Hank and Missy, a nice couple from Louisiana. The weather for their day was forecast to be 103 degrees and included a heat advisory. They were scheduled to do a full-day guide trip. I was willing to do the trip but thought that they would be more comfortable with a half-day trip in the morning when it would be cooler. I contacted them and they agreed. I met them at 7 a.m.
“We drove them to the access and prepared the boat. They were running about 18,000 cubic feet per second (the rough equivalent of 5½ full generators. My rods were already rigged from a previous trip. One had a cerise San Juan worm and an orange egg and the other rod had a cerise San Juan worn and a girdle bug. These are my favorite flies for high water.
“It was about 75 degrees and sunny. A heavy fog on the river made it feel even cooler. We began fishing. I moved the boat fairly slowly because I could not see that far. I listened for other boats to ensure that I did not get hit. We caught some nice trout on the San Juan worm and the girdle bug but nothing on the orange egg.
“As we fished, the fog began to clear and the sky darkened. It began to get a bit warmer. I pulled out my iPhone and checked my weather app. I saw a small rain cell approaching us. I told Hank and Missy about it and asked them if they wanted to seek shelter. They said that a little rain did not bother them and they would just as soon keep fishing. I had on lightweight quick-drying clothing and did not mind the idea of a little rain.
“We continued fishing. The rain arrived and cooled us down. It was 76 at 10 a.m. The rain only lasted a few minutes and brought the fog back. This kept us cool. We fished until noon and never broke a sweat. The light rain was perfect. My clothing was dry in less than an hour and was never uncomfortable.
“We ended the day with several trout. Missy caught more trout than she ever had. We all had a great day and never got hot until we got in my Suburban for the trip back to Cotter. I turned up the air conditioning and we did just fine.
“It was the most comfortable trip I have had in months.”
(updated 7-28-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said it has been a good week of fishing. Both silver and gold-colored inline spinners worked well. Again this week, sunrise Power Eggs with shrimp worked well. Deeper-diving crankbaits worked well in the deep holes, while in the shallower water large gold-colored spoons or gold-colored 9-inch Rapala Countdowns produced some larger rainbow and brown trout.
There were two stockings at the Calico Rock boat ramp this week. The first stocking was 750 rainbow trout, the second stocking was 8,500 rainbow trout averaging 3-5 inches. The brown trout in the area ate well after the second stocking. Daily water levels have been cresting early in the morning at 10 feet and dropping slowly throughout the day to 8-8.5 feet before starting to rise again in the evening. There is a potential for thunderstorms through the weekend. After these high temperatures it will be nice to see a little cooler weather. Fishing in the rain can be very productive, but if you see lightning, take cover at the nearest dock, boat ramp or river bank.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 669.37 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at 9 a.m. Thursday was 18,115 cfs, and releases have picked up from last week (Wednesday saw generation as high as 22,813 cfs). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 2,287 cfs.
(updated 7-28-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake was below 672 feet msl at his last check, or around 10 feet above normal pool. The parking lots and boat ramps are starting to emerge. The surface water temperature is around 88 degrees. The fishing report is about the same as it’s been, he says, with typical summer patterns working. “There are always shallow fish but the heat and falling water has lots of bait over the old river,” he said. Target channel swings and ledges close to deep water. There is an early topwater bite; Del likes an LC Gunfish “for busting fish.” When topwater slows, a half-ounce flutter spoon in a shad pattern, small swimbait or drop-shot the fish. Fish are in 20-40 feet over 60-80 feet. Most of the shad are under 3 inches suspended in 25-35 feet. Almost all species are present under bigger shad balls. There appears to be fish throughout the top half of the water column.
The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. The topwater bite will slow when the sun starts getting high. Move out, hopping a Jewel Special Ops Football Jig in green pumpkin or orange, or a Ned rig in green pumpkin variations, and keep the boat out around 40 feet now. Channel swings, standing timber ledges and laydowns should be fished with a Beaver, a Big Worm Ol’ Monster in green-pumpkin, red or red shad, or plum. Those are working best. Always fish the conditions.
Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. 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 561.24 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 9 a.m. Thursday was 2,939 cfs, and releases over the past 36 hours have ranged 2,900-3,000.
(updated 7-28-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 561.34 feet msl and is dropping 2 inches per day with one generator running continuously. “We have dropped about 12 feet from the high of 573 feet on June 6 but are still about 10 feet above a normal level for this time of year and about 6 feet above top of power pool. It has been dropping very slowly despite the hot dry weather. The surface water temperature remains right at 90 degrees and the water remains clear except for a mudline from about 20 feet to 30 feet down. A lot of fish are in the 30- to 35-feet range near the bottom on main lake points, including walleye, largemouth bass, Kentucky bass and smaller stripers and hybrids. The white bass are schooled and suspended a little shallower. The larger stripers have gone deep near the old river channels and are not biting. Jigging spoons are the lure of choice.
The other bite is after dark for bass with a Black Light, fluorescent line and saltcraw with fluorescent pinchers from dark to about 11 p.m. Otherwise, get out early, take the middle of the day off and go out again about 7 p.m. and fish for Kentucky bass near the shoreline areas with a creature bait or plastic worm until dark.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 7-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 5.8 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 18.4 feet below the top of flood pool. There has been no wadable water on the Norfork tailwater 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 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 moderately. School is out and the creek is busy. Weekends can get quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water all summer. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to Aug. 18.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low. With hot temperatures, the smallmouths are less 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 1,123.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The Corps released about 3,800 cfs between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday and began similar releases at 10 a.m. Thursday.
(updated 7-28-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is close to normal levels and water is hot. Fishing has hit the dog days pattern of early and late bites. Stripers are fair/good depending on the day, it seems. Look from Rocky Branch to the dam. Trolling live bait is your best bet but they will also hit umbrella rigs. Walleye are being caught on crawler bottom bouncers. Look around the 25 feet level on points and flats. Crappie are suspended “and I am doing well trolling Picos in pink splatterbacks. Look for flats adjacent to the main river channels and bluff walls. Fish are in and around 15 ft deep. Catfish are good and we are catching many on trolled cranks, also.
“Rain is on the way, which may help the bite. Stay safe and hydrated!”
Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-28-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing on Beaver is OK. The best fishing now is mainly the night fishing, they add. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Stripers are being caught in fair amounts in the deep water on the lower end of the lake. They say the lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported.
(updated 7-28-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Low water and high heat and clear skies – that seems to have been the theme over the past two weeks. We need some rain! With the water levels dropping by the day, adjustments need to be made to stay on the bite.
“Finding deeper water will help with this. Fishing with light terminal tackle, with various dough baits, such as Pautzke Fire Bait, has produced some nice numbers. You may have to switch to spoons as the sun comes out. Coat the spoons with some Fire Gel and fish the deeper water.
“The white bass and walleye have been scattered between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Trolling crankbaits is still the best way to get on the bite. Use your electronics to find them and then you can jig them with soft plastics.
“Hope yall can get out and catch some fish. Stay cool and hydrated, hopefully we will get some relief soon! Follow my fishing Facebook (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for daily updates and further tips.”
(updated 7-21-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Wednesday that the lake continues to have a stained clarity and is at a normal level. Bream remain excellent on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass were only fair this week. Try a soft plastic worm, topwater bait or a frog. They heard no reports on catfish.
(updated 7-28-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said most of the fishing, other than a crappie bite that is just fair now with the heat, is good. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, topwater lures, soft plastic worms and live worms. Bream are good on worms and jigs. Catfish are good on worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver. Crappie are fair on minnows, jigs and worms. Shelly endeavored to quick a guest earlier this week who had a nice day catching bass. “When I asked what he caught them on, he said ‘this and that.’” Look for a good weekend for the fish bite if it follows what the “moon times” say, as the best bite should be through Sunday. Monday afternoon’s water temperature was ranging 82-83 degrees. The water level is normal and the clarity is the usual murky.
(updated 7-7-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, had no new update. Fishing is open now at Poinsett, but any bass or crappie caught are catch-and-release only. Bream and catfish are also in the lake and catchable.
(updated 7-28-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported Wednesday that the lake clarity is clear and the level low by 1-2 feet below normal pool. The surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Bream are good on the usual redworms and crickets. No crappie have been seen for a while. Black bass are not interested in this heat. Catfishing is good. Use nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-28-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said, “Wow, it has been hot out lately, the river has been flowing at 350 cfs and water clarity has been clear. With the heat lately, fishing early for trout before it gets too hot is key. The river is nice and cold all day, but with this heat the trout will find the deeper holes to get away from the heat.”
Mark reports that lots of bugs are hatching early and late evening. On the sunny days, nymphing has been hot with bead-head pheasant tails, copper Johns or prince nymphs, getting them down to the bottom of the river. Indicators or tight-lining both work. On the cloudy days, which have been few, you might get some streamer action. “Olive, brown or black Woollies have been my go-to on cloudy days. Those are the days to get the brown trout moving.”
The smallmouth bass have been hitting well in the hotter weather. “The areas we have been chasing smallies has deeper water, and some Woollies tied on jigheads have been hot in black, olive and brown. Weight-forward line with a long leader works great. A sink tip would work, too, but it’s a lot more work to use a sink tip. Heavy flies that dive fast are a must for smallies. Lot of the hits are on the drop.”
“Rain over the weekend may change conditions. Stay tuned to our website for and changes in river conditions at springriverfliesandguides.com and look at our blog page (springriverfliesandguides.com/blog). Cooler temps are just a month away!
(updated 7-28-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is in full swing and the boats and rafts 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.
White River (Middle Section)
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was steady at 9.38 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was steady at 12.01 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is falling slightly at 23.59 feet, which is more than 2 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
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 55 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.41 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 98 cfs.
(updated 7-28-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-21-2022) Jeff Shell, the superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said Cane Creek Lake water temperatures are running in the mid- to high 90s. Water clarity is about 1.5 feet. Bream fishing has picked up and crickets are the ticket. Early morning and late evening are the best times. Bream are typically being caught on flats at a depth of 1.5 to 2 feet.
Crappie are in their summer pattern and can be found around brush and structure with minnows and crappie jigs. Bass are in their summer pattern and can be found suspended around structure and along the bank in early morning and evening hours. Topwater and soft plastics are great for working the banks and medium-diving crankbaits and Texas-rigging soft plastics are producing results for suspended fish. Catfish have slowed down; however, as they move to a post spawn pattern, they can be caught using various attractant baits such as chicken liver. As water temperatures are on the rise, please be mindful when running trotlines and limb lines as the higher water temperatures can lead to increased mortality rates for fish that are left on the lines for too long.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.80 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 883 cfs, an amount being steadily released this week and for the past couple of weeks.
(updated 7-28-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Wednesday that Millwood Lake is 7 inches above normal pool at 259.8 feet msl and stable. Clarity improved this week along Little River and oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 226 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 885 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 Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake.Surface temps are stable this week, ranging in 88-94 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River has 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 the 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 said that it was been well over 100 degrees in southwest Arkansas for another week “and it’s still too dang hot!” He says that the crappie and bass bite is from safe daylight to 10 a.m. and then “they are done for the day.”
Here are Mike’s details for overall fishing that he offered over the past two weeks:
* Largemouth bass have slowed over the past few weeks with all the dog day summer heat, and 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; they are finding them shallow to stumps, vegetation, lily pads, 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, as well as Bass Assassin Bang RSB 7.25-inch worms and XX Fat Job Trick Worms, are working, with best colors over the past couple weeks being Candy Bug, Gooseberry, June bug/red or Redbug.
Several schools of juvenile largemouths from 1.5-2.5 pounds each were surface-breaking on shad early at daylight (around 6:30 a.m.) in Mud Lake on the back drop near the long point toward the cypress trees this week. These schooling juveniles ranged in size from 10-14 inches and would jump out of the water to bust a Cordell Crazy Shad, Pop-R or Boy Howdy. The best colors were chrome/black back, Threadfin Shad or Bone.
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 weeks have had the best water clarity and will produce best topwater reactions. 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-pounders near stumps in 3-6 feet deep.
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.
* The white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few random white bass have been found up Little River. Areas behind points where a little bit of current in Little River remains are holding a few broken schools that Mike and crew found hitting on hammered Cordell Spoons with a white/chartreuse bucktail, along with a few Kentucky bass, where washouts, ditches or creek dumps exist from 12-16 feet of depth with stumps. White Cliffs campground area and points with drains into Little River gave up a few more whites. Entrance to Snake Creek, Jack's Isle and Hurricane Creek had a few white bass in random action. Reactions were fair on Cordell Hammered Spoons with a white bucktail one day, red bucktail the next day. Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fat Free Fingerlings and Model A Crankbaits in Citrus Shad and Tennessee Shad, or Flat A's in Silver Flash or Pearl Shad, were working late last week, but cranks did not perform as well as the vertical-dropped spoons into the white bass schools as of late.
* Nothing consistent this week with the crappie. They’ve been hit or miss over the past couple of weeks, biting good one day, random and few the next. Crappie have been suspended in and over planted brush piles in 13-17 feet depth in the oxbows and along Little River over the past several weeks. Not much changed over the past week – very random, with the best bite from daylight to around 9 a.m. Best colors working over the past couple 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 reduction in release at the dam, and much less current along Little River, not much catfish activity has been seen. “We did not see many catfisher anglers out on the river over the past few days in this heat. Prior and over last several weeks the blues, flatheads and channels were fair on trotlines, yo-yos and tight lines as long as there was a good bit of current along the 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. Alligators have been noted being hung up and dragging noodles around after eating the catfish or bait attached for several weeks.
* No report on bream.
(updated 7-21-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Wednesday that the crappie appear to have slowed down, but they are still biting some on minnows. Catfish are good on stink bait and chicken liver. Bream have been biting well on crickets. You’ll find black bass active and eager to bite around the islands.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 544.40 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.37 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-21-2022) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina said, “HOT, HOT, HOT! Wow, let’s go sweat.
“OK. On to the report. Most of the bream are off the beds and moving out to cover. All the thick brushpiles in 20 feet of water have bream. Your best bet for big ones is drop-shotting to the bottom.
“Crappie … Well, it’s summer. To be short and specific, fish as deep as you can find cover with fish. Fish slow and deep. Bass, to be honest, it’s been too windy for surface fishing. With this heat, go early. A-rigs and crankbaits work this time of year for trolling, also.
“This is short, but it’s a slow time. Stay cool and hydrate.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 433.40 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.00 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 7-28-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that anglers are reporting catching a few small bass, but that is all he’s heard from his lake. He did say last week that anglers were saying catfishing was good on the Arkansas River.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-28-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reported that water temperature below the dam is 64 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Rainbow trout fishing remains strong, as good numbers of fish are present and feeding consistently from the bridge to the dam. Normally, rainbow trout fishing is over in July, but earlier flooding has kept large numbers of fish in the area that are healthy and thriving in the nutrient waters of Lake Catherine. Live bait presentations such as waxworms and mealworms or redworms fished just off the bottom are working best during times of generation. Little success has been seen using artificial lures as thousands of threadfin shad are in the tailrace finishing up their yearly spawning run. White bass have also completed the spawn and are in and out of the tailrace feeding on shad. Small gray or white jigs in one-eighth-ounce sizes have accounted for good catches in the past week while the generators are running. No striper activity has been observed or fish caught to report. Generation periods are daily but fluctuating in times because of power needs and lack of rainfall. The public can view the flow schedules by going to the Entergy Hydro-Operations website and searching for real-time lake levels. Anyone visiting Carpenter Dam is advised to follow all park rules and regulations and always wear a life jacket when on the water.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.52 feet msl, with the tailwater at 284.81 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage has fallen to 4.63 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 7-28-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs reports Lake Hamilton lake levels normal. Water clarity is more than 5 feet everywhere and surface temperatures remain in the high 80s. All species have slowed due to heat and lower water oxygen levels. Bass are fair in the early mornings and at night. Topwater presentations are the best opportunity during the morning, with many fish “breaking” off main lake points and shaded deeper areas near current. It is very important to find current in these dog days of summer. Water current provides oxygen, cooler temperatures and food. Target breaking fish with small Zara Spooks in pearl, silver or clear colors. At night the buzzbait is still king. Black and blue buzzbaits fished in the shallows near current are still producing good fish, but not in the numbers we saw last month.
The real targets of late for sport fisherman have got to be the walleye and striped bass. Whether jigging a spoon vertical or trolling a spoon, look to the deeper areas of the lake on the southern end. “We have put walleye in the boat at deeper than 70 feet and striped bass at depths of 40-50. Both of these species tend to move around all the time, and it’s important to find the baitfish before locating the sport fish. Bream are good everywhere in 10-12 feet of water and preferably in the shade. Use crickets or worms.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 343.99 feet msl (normal pool: 344.51 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-28-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday morning the lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface water temperature was reported. The bream bite continues to be excellent. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie also are still providing an excellent bite. They are reported at 4-7 feet depth. They like the usual minnows and jigs, and they’ll also bite spinnerbaits. Black bass are “touch and go,” they said, with swimbaits and worms working best. The catfish are also excellent. Try crankbaits, or fish limb lines and use bream as bait.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 573.13 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-28-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still fair. Big Texas-rigged worms or deep-diving crankbaits fished in or near structure are best for these fish, or try a buzzbait-style lure for a topwater bite. Walleye are excellent. 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 very good. Live bait and trolling hair jigs are working best at this time on the eastern part of the lake. Bream are very good on crickets or worms 15-25 feet deep on structure. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 10-20 feet deep. Catfish are very good on rod and reel, jugs or trotlines with cut bait, shad or night crawlers.
Water temperature is ranging a consistent 88-92 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level Thursday was still dropping at 573.31 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 7-14-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie are doing well. Very early in the morning you can catch them as shallow as 8 feet deep on brushpiles with jigs or minnows. As the sun climbs higher in the sky, fish deeper. Many crappie and catfish have been caught as deep as 20 feet.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.73 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
No reports. Water is down significantly from the middle of last month, however, and is about at normal pool now.
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is falling at 20.11 feet, almost 6 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-28-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) says that action is holding steady at Cook's Lake. Bass anglers are having the most luck, but bream and crappie anglers are finding some as well. All with your typical White River oxbow fishing techniques.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-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. 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. Please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 870-241-3373.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.