Sept. 29, 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: Chuck Lajuanesse returned to the Spring River to join guide Mark Crawford on the trek for hungry smallmouth, walleye and trout. Crawford said the river is low but clear and at the right temperature for a good bite from those species. Read more in Crawford's report from the Spring River below.
LEFT: Mackey Harvin, known for guiding anglers to the best crappie holes at Millwood Lake, turned his attention this week to the hot bite of white bass at the southwest Arkansas reservoir. Read more below in Mike Siefert's report from Millwood.
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
Download the Fish Brain app and follow AGFC at: https://fishbrain.com/pages/GbHVNDc5/arkansas-game-and-fish-commission
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 9-29-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are good on redworms and crickets around the shoreline. Crappie are fair on small jigs and minnows around the trees and at Gold Creek. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, stink bait, Doc’s brand bait, black goldfish, chicken liver, shad, skipjack and trotline minnows. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, worms, jigs, crankbaits and poppers. The water is still low and has its normal stain.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. Generation on Wednesday reached of flow of just about 2,800 cfs for two hours, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Greers Ferry Lake is 6.9 feet below normal conservation pool. Check with the Army Corps of Engineers 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 9-29-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said that with cooler air temperatures, the Greers Ferry Dam generation has been reduced to one or two units of water release for 1-2 hours daily. Expect to see this generation pattern continue as long as the lake level continues to be several feet below seasonal pool and we experience cooler air temperatures. This pattern will provide wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and on the lower river in the afternoons. Midges, small pheasant tails and soft hackles are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, Lowell recommends pink, mint and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jig-heads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 9-29-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said with the temperatures in the 80s it's starting to feel more like fall. Expect to see reduced flows on the Little Red. The Southwestern Power Administration has been running low flows.
“This week we have seen them running one unit or two units of generation for an hour or two usually starting late afternoon around 5 p.m. The weekend generation schedule is about the same.”
Mike says the best bite has been in the early mornings and evenings. The fish seem to be biting a little better in the shoals or wherever there's a bit of current. With the reduced current, anywhere you can get a drift is a good place to fish.
Small pheasant tail nymphs, midges and egg patterns have been working well. “Here of lately I've been running an egg pattern and a midge dropper. Stripping small streamer patterns and Woolly Buggers have been working as well, Along with crackleback emergers on a sink tip.
(updated 9-22-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout are good on Trout Magnets in pink and white colors and 1/16-ounce Marabou Jigs in olive above the shoals.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 9-29-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 455.60 feet and falling and falling with 2-4 hours of generation a day. The lake is 6.94 feet below normal pool and boaters and anglers need to be careful motoring around as lots of new treetops are exposed now in the lake and rivers. Crappie are pretty active, feeding all over the water column on jigs and minnows as well as crank baits. Target 5-40 feet. Bream are eating crickets, crawlers and moving baits from the shoreline out to 20 feet. Walleye are roaming around eating spoons, crawlers and minnows on drop-shot. Catfishing is good on rod and reels, all types of lines and all types of baits. Bass catching is good on all species from the dirt out to 60 feet and on a variety of baits. Hybrid and white bass are chewing as well, top to bottom, in 20-60 feet; use spoons, live bait, swimbaits, grubs and the Buckshot Original.
(updated 9-29-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said black bass are good on small buzz bait and topwater walking-style bait. Bass are also good in the afternoon 15-25 yards off the shore on Carolina rigs or football jigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-29-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said crappie are good on the banks on minnows and jigs. Bass are pretty good on watermelon red worms. Catfish are good on noodles and yo-yos with bass minnows or goldfish and catfish chunk bait. Bream are good on crickets, but the size is pretty small. Water is very low (you can see many stumps) and clarity is very muddy.
(updated 9-29-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said, “Sorry there has been no report for a while but good news is the fishing is back! The water level is a little low, and the clarity is fair. The crappie have moved back in. Anglers are catching up to 20 out in boats and 10-12 off the dock. Fish 8-12 feet deep with minnows or jigs. Use brown and clear or black and white squiggly tails.”
Bream are super shallow still; use redworms and crickets. Catfish are best caught using golds or salties on jugs or noodles. Bass are slowing down but are still biting on buzzbaits or topwater jigs early in the morning.
(update 9-8-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says fishing has been consistent for several weeks now. Bass are coming up to the top in the afternoons around the shoreline on white spinnerbaits, plastic minnows, worms and crickets. Bream are good on redworms around the brush. Crappie are 6 feet deep over underwater brush piles in the channels spider-rigging on crappie minnows and Baby Shad plastics. Catfish are good on small goldfish and stink bait and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Water is normal level and a little cloudy.
(updated 9-29-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the upper 70s, ranging 78-80 degrees. Largemouth bass are fair. Reports this week have them starting to move toward the back of creeks. Also, there are some reports of the bass still being found on topwater and shallow in the morning and the evening around the grass. Try using topwater baits, crankbaits, Chatterbait and spinnerbaits. Kentucky (spotted) bass are good. Some are being found mixed in with the largemouths and are also near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other reports have them being found off brushpiles. Try using a Texas rig on brush, or jigs.
In the Trader Bill’s High School and Junior Tournament held last Sunday (Sept. 25), 50 boats fished with Vince Greenway and Daniel Romine combining to catch a winning five-bass stringer of 10.04 pounds, while Levi Roe and Tracy Roe were second with 9.73 pounds. The Junior division was won by Hunter Denton and Zane Cobb with 7.38 pounds.
No reports this week on white bass. They are slow now.
Crappie are ranging good to fair. Heard reports of a good Saturday for one angler in a nice brushpile area, but he followed up in the same location the next day and they were gone. There are reports of other anglers catching them deep this week. They can be found in 25 feet of water. The best bites are coming on small minnows and some jigs.
Bream are fair. Reports of bream being found scattered around brush, but it’s a tough bite now. Try using crickets or redworms.
Catfish reports are fair. Chicken liver, worms and crayfish are your best bets.
(updated 9-29-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that bass are good on small buzzbaits and topwater walking-style baits. Bass are also biting well in the afternoon 15-25 yards off the shoreline on Carolina rigs or football jigs.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
At noon Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 3,035 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.71 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 0 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 9-29-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water is clear and normal. Crappie are only about 2-3 feet deep now and biting well on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; try the usual early fall bass baits. Everything is pretty much the same in terms of fishing as it has been for a few weeks, Ray said.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 3,066 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 1,555 cfs. The elevation is 249.24 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.44 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 1,524 cfs.
(updated 9-29-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says bass are good on topwater baits in the early mornings, with small buzzbaits or topwater walking-style baits, but also good 10-15 feet out on mid-diving crankbaits and jigs.
(updated 9-29-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said fishing reports were much the same as last week. Catfish continue to bite well below Terry Lock and Dam on skipjack. Crappie are fair around jetties in 12-15 feet of water. Bass are good early on topwater baits.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-29-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said bream are good on crickets and redworms. The water is low. They heard no other reports.
(update 9-15-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-626-6899) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good on chicken liver and hot dogs. Water is low and stumps are showing. No reports came in mentioning bass or bream.
(updated 9-29-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake was 2 feet below desired power pool level Wednesday. Two months ago, the lake was 27 feet over power pool – which causes some concern for all of us on the tailwater – so we appreciate the work of the Army Corps of Engineers! Generation continues at approximately 1,000-3,000 cfs round-the-clock, with much higher amounts coming in the late afternoon. Release amounts are lowered during the night and we see falling water in Cotter at dawn.
Looks like there has been a sizable autumn shad kill this year. Surprised us. We're seeing shad at least 16 miles down from Bull Shoals Dam, near Cotter. The shad have been pushed through the dam during the nightly releases and stir a lot of excitement in the brown trout population. The spawn has started a little early this fall, too. The browns are responding best to sculpin and shad for now, but the spawn really kicks into high gear in the next month so keep your options open and carry an array of baits to pique their curiosity. Red/gold Thomas Buoyant spoons, the gold Cleo and one or two stick baits (Smithwicks with orange bellies are a tried-and-true favorite), are tackle box staples on the White.
Find an egg pattern or scented egg-like bait that matches the color of the trout roe, and you'll have more trout chasing your line than you can manage. Best bets: X-Factor's steelhead orange, followed by fluorescent orange or sunrise PowerBait. Red wiggler worms are always an option during high-water events, with worm imitators (red, natural or bubblegum pink) just as successful, if not more so. Cast toward the bank as you drift downstream and the rainbows and an occasional brown will snap them up. Good luck, enjoy the catch, and we'll see you on the river!
(updated 9-29-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, says the White River in Calico Rock continues to be low, dropping as low as 3 feet. The generation out of both Bull Shoals Dam and Norfork Dam has varied throughout the week. Some mornings we are seeing 6-plus feet of water and then dropping during the day. Fishing in the low water conditions has made fishing with copper or gold-colored spoons (either quarter-ounce or one-sixth-ounce) effective as the trout move up onto the gravel bars to feed. In the deeper holes, though, Rapala Countdowns in the rainbow trout pattern have worked well. Drift fishing using inline spinners with yellow, orange or sunrise-colored Power Eggs with a piece of shrimp or worm continues to be effective on both the gravel bars and deeper holes. Fishing with sculpins has been slow, but when the browns or rainbows bite, the trout have tended to be larger. With this low water, be careful when boating and stay to the gravel bar side of the river. There are many rocks and snags now exposed or just under the water surface that can damage a boat or motor.
(updated 9-29-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they have had no rain, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.9 foot to rest at 3.1 feet below power pool of 661 feet msl. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 6.6 feet below power pool and 20.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest 3 feet below power pool. The White has had some marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest 1.7 feet below power pool of 555.75 feet msl. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water.
The hot spot on the White this week has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. “We have had lower flows in the morning that have been fished very well. On the higher flows in the afternoon we have had shad coming through the generators (use big white flies). 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. My favorite has been a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.”
He also said, “This past Monday I looked at the weather and the generation schedule for the day. It looked like prime fishing conditions. That is the advantage to living here. We wake up every morning and check the conditions. Then, when we find a stellar opportunity, we can go take advantage of it. I live for those opportunities.
“The first thing I did was to ask my wife, Lori, who is my absolute favorite fishing buddy, to join me. Unfortunately Monday is laundry day at our house. Sometimes I am able to get her to postpone it till the next day or begin a bit later. She would have none of it. She was committed to doing the laundry then. I asked her again on Tuesday but she had dog training. On Wednesday she was able to join me.
“On Monday, I decided to go alone. I hooked up my boat and headed out. The river was low and the weather was perfect. It was sunny and a little cool. I started with a rod I had rigged for a client a couple of days before. It had a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper, a small split shot and a strike indicator.
“On my first drift, I saw the strike indicator go down and I quickly set the hook. It felt like I was hung up on a rock. I was about to start the motor on my boat so I could go upstream and back the hook out. About that time, the rock moved. It was a fish, and a big one. The trout fought valiantly but finally succumbed to the net. It was a really thick 22-inch female rainbow.
“We see several big browns but big rainbows are much rarer. Since there are no slot limits on rainbows, big ones are quickly removed by anglers. About the only place you see rainbows this big is the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam or Dry Run Creek.
“I wanted to take a photo before I released it. This is where the trouble began. How do you take a picture of a big fish when you are in a boat alone? If you are wading you can place it in the shallow water at the bank next to your rod. That gives you perspective. About the only thing you can do in the boat by yourself is taking a picture of it in the net. This is not as good and doesn’t give you anything next to the trout to give you an idea of how big it is.
“I tried that. As soon as I got the camera out, it bounced out of the net and landed on the deck. I quickly shot a photo and scooped the fish back in the net and carefully returned it to the water. I did not want to harm it.
“It is the worst fish photo I have ever taken. This is one reason to never fish alone.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 657.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at 1 p.m. Thursday was 3,387 cfs. There was a brief rise in flow to 10,751 at 7 a.m. and on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.34 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs. There was a brief rise in flow reaching 7,000 cfs between 5-8 p.m. Wednesday.
(updated 9-29-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is back to normal pool level; actually the Corps reports it as more than 3 feet below normal pool. The water temperature is around 77 degrees. Junk Fishing 101 has begun. It’s typical fall patterns. The cooler nights have the shad starting to move. There are always shallow fish. Try a Chatterbait, square bill or spinnerbait. Target channel swings, points and ledges close to deeper water. On the right day, Del says he is covering water with a Whopper Plopper or buzzbait if it’s overcast and windy. Brushpiles are in play, 25-35 feet deep. When the sun starts getting high, move out toward the main lake and use a Jewel Special Ops Football Jig in green pumpkin orange or other green pumpkin variations and keep the boat around 40 feet.
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 553.87 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 1 p.m. Thursday was 1,825 cfs. Wednesday saw 11 hours of generation (noon to 11 p.m.) averaging 2,450 cfs.
(updated 9-29-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday morning the lake level is 554.01 feet msl and has dropped a little less than 1 inch in the last 24-hours as of Wednesday with three-quarters of a generator running for about 12 hours starting at noon. The White River at Newport is 4.08 feet, indicating not much water is being released anywhere on the chain of lakes or the North Fork River. The surface water temperature was 80 degrees today and should continue to drop with the cool weather. It has been beautiful with highs near 80 degrees and sunny until Wednesday when it is not going to get past the low 70s.
“We have not received any rain for about three weeks and it is getting very dry. The water is pretty clear on the main lake but stained in the creeks except for near the shore, where it is much clearer. The thermocline is at 37 feet and most of the fish are shallower than that. You cannot tell where the thermocline is located from the surface with a fish finder.”
The crappie have moved more shallow and are right in the brush at 15-25 feet, mostly on main lake points. Walleye are with them. “I found keeper walleye yesterday suspended about 4 feet from the bottom on a main lake point near Robinson Island and some nice crappie were with them all in the same place. I have been out there every day and the fishing and diving conditions have been very good.
“Kentucky Bass are everywhere with most being at about 20 feet near cover or just past the first drop-off. They are full of crawdads, indicating they are going to the shore sometime or other to feed. I am not seeing very many largemouth bass, indicating they are still in open water on shad. They will move closer to shore as the water cools.
“Trollers are catching a few white bass and small stripers but are having to cover a lot of ground to get them. The best lure right now is the jigging spoon right in the main lake brush to catch about everything. Adjust your spoon size with the water depth with the smallest one for the shallower water. A quarter-ounce is a good one to start with. A few crappie are also biting on a slip float and live minnow. There are lots of bluegill on the shallower brush and some are very nice sized. The lake overall is in excellent condition.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 9-29-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Tuesday, “Norfork Lake has changed every day that I have been out. The surface temp is slowly dropping and the thermocline is dropping as well.
“I went to a flat where I had been fishing and doing quite well, but found that the fish have vacated this flat, no matter what depth I checked. After about 45 minutes of trolling and marking nothing, I headed northward. I found a large rounded point that was holding lots of fish. I landed a striped bass along with a couple mid-sized hybrids. Plenty of white bass were schooling in the same area. I found the fish in 42-45 feet of water on the bottom. My best bait today was the Tater Baits, Tater Shad in the white trash color. Previously, the spoon had been working the best, but today they only wanted this soft, shad-shaped bait with a chartreuse 3/8-ounce jighead. I found lots of bait from 35 feet out to 45 feet deep either on the bottom or suspended. There weren't a lot of fish in the bait, but they will find it soon.
“Yesterday, I fished a log along a bluff line that was stacked with crappie and bluegill. I landed three nice crappie and several thumper gills. I was using the Tater Baits Small Fry in silver flash with a 1/16-ounce jighead. One of our guests landed a nice striped bass and a bunch of crappie several days ago.”
The surface water temp was around 78 degrees Tuesday morning and the lake level is dropping roughly an inch per day and currently sits at 553.95 feet msl. The lake is clear on the main lake and stained in the coves. “Have a great time fishing Norfork Lake.”
Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 9-29-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest 1.7 feet below power pool of 555.75 feet. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning and it has fished much better. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-head nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). “My favorite rig has been a size 14 pheasant tail nymph and a size 18 ruby midge. The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.”
Dry Run Creek has fished poorly. School is back in session and the creek is not as busy. Weekends can get quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs, various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. 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 River, Norfork tailwater 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 9-29-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low. With cooler temperatures, the smallmouths are more 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 1,118.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The release at the dam as of Thursday noon was 20 cfs. The Corps released about 3,800 cfs between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 9-29-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake continues to drop. Water is close to 4 feet below normal levels and water temp is in the upper 70s. “We are in the midst of a slow turnover due to the warm weather last week. What that means to anglers is Beaver during turnover is a tough bite. Once that happens, fishing will really get much better in the coming months.”
As of now stripers are on and off depending on the day. Look from Prairie Creek and north to the dam. Look for bait and fish should be close. Shad and brooders will work. Walleye are the same – one day the bite is really good and the next you’re scratching your head. Crappie are fair, also. Look for brush in 15 feet of water. Minnows and jigs will work. Catfish are still good.
“Good fall fishing is just around the corner. Good luck and stay safe while on the lake.”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 9-29-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that trolling is the best right now for catching crappie. The striper catch is decent; you can pull them out of the deep water on live bait. Black bass fishing has been tough. Drop-shot, finesse worms and topwater in the morning have been working. Bream are slow; use redworms or crickets. Catfishing has slowed. The water is 80 degrees and clear and normal level.
(updated 9-15-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Man, where is the water going?! Unless you have a boat with a shallow draft (7 feet or less), you are not getting above the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. However, you do not need to get up there to get into the fish. I have been trying a new product from Pautzke Bait Co. (Fire Eggs and Fire Worms), with great success. Even though the water levels are horribly low, we are still pulling quality fish. Fishing with light terminal tackle and the above mentioned baits, on No. 14 Fire Hooks, try to hit the deeper holes. If you are in a boat in the afternoon, use the same setup, but drift with Fire Worms.
“There really isn't a ‘Hot spot’ this month, due to the water levels. You’ve just got to make your way to the deeper areas. I have not been toward Beaver town this week, so nothing to report down that way. I will try to get out there next week.
“Remember to follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for additional information and frequent river updates. Hope you all are able to get out and catch some fish.”
(updated 9-29-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said water is a little stained, and fishing is picking up. Bass are good on topwater and soft plastics. Catfish are really good now on worms and typical catfish bait. Crappie are fair, but better than last week, on minnows and jigs. Bream are really good on redworms.
(updated 9-29-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the moon times may have indicated good fishing this past week, but the results were far from it. Only bream and catfish were caught, with good numbers of bream pulled in using worms. Catfish were biting on blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver. “Fishing was a little slow this weekend, Just reports of small fish and turtles biting,” she said. There were no reports on crappie or bass. The lake’s temperature on Sunday midmorning was 74.4 degrees. The water remains murky and high.
(updated 9-29-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported recently that bream were biting well on worms and crickets. Bass and crappie are unknown at this time, though some anglers have shared limited success with spinners for bass. Catfish have bitten in the evening on stink bait, worms and livers. Remember that bass and crappie are catch-and-release at this time as the sport fish population rebuilds following the lake renovation.
(updated 9-22-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported that the lake is low. Still, fishing is fair. Bass are biting topwaters and soft plastics. Bream are fair on crickets. No other reports.
(updated 9-29-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring is flowing at 365 cfs, average flow, and water clarity has been clear. The river is low and clear. “We could use some rain but none is in forecast.”
Mark said, “The cooler temps have the trout hitting great chasing Woollies and nymphs. I have had a couple Euro nymphers with a YK2 and nymph wearing the trout out. Dry fly action can be had with caddis and blue-wing olives hatching daily. Just don't be tricked by the fish rising to bugs in the shallows; they are usually really big shad.
“Catching the big shad on dries is a great way to get the best walleye bait! We’re starting to see some of the big rainbows starting to move around with the cool temps. The colder the weather the better for big trout on the Spring.
“Smallies are still biting but have slowed some. The warm sunny days are the best for chasing the smallmouth. White Lightning has been my go-to for smallies this summer. Best technique was a big Hopper or popper with a White Lightning dropper. This almost always out-fished streamer techniques. On streamers, skull heads and lead-eye Woollies in olive and brown were hot. You need something heavy that gets down fast.
“The canoe hatch is over and the river is back to a beautiful trout dream stream. It should be April before we’re hearing the war drums of the canoe hatch again. Be safe out there! Wade safely and carry a wading staff.”
Check out Mark’s blog on the springriverfliesandguides.com site for the latest river conditions and what’s working for the fish.
(updated 9-29-2022) 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 Norfork rivers. Wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was steady Thursday, at 7.29 and about 7.7 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was rising slightly at 4.93 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was steady 15.68 feet, almost 10.5 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 0 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.50 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 2,474 cfs.
(updated 9-29-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 258.85 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 974 cfs, an amount being steadily released this week.
(updated 9-29-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that Millwood Lake on Tuesday was about 4 inches below normal pool and falling. Clarity improved this week along Little River and oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 828 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the 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 were stable this week, ranging 73-78 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River slightly cleared up this week, and further up Little River the river clarity ranged 8-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of was normal stain, visibility was 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 offered these specifics on fishing this week:
* Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Bass continue schooling activity on most areas of Millwood main lake body, Little River and the oxbows. They are active almost all day with the cooler water temps. Bass have been actively chasing shad over the past couple of weeks with excellent activity and aggressive feeding. Hot spots include creek mouths dumping/draining into Little River with lily pads and grass along primary points being key locations. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with lily pad stands are a good target area as well. Chunky 2- 3- and 4-pound bass have been most aggressive at mid-morning and then throughout the day. Good top water action is still happening early, with bass hitting Spit'n Images, Chug Bugs, Pop R's, Bass Assassin Shads or topwater plastic frogs in the pads.
These chunky 2- the 3-pound largemouths, with an occasional 5-pounder blowup, are random and scattered horizontally along the edge of vegetation, lily pad stands near 4-6 feet deep flats with stumps tapering out into 9-12 feet of depth. Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Storm Chug Bugs, Shad Assassins, Heddon Spit'N Images and Cordell Crazy Shads all have been drawing good, random, reactions on topwater at daybreak for several weeks now.
Johnson Chrome Spoons with a 3-inch curly tail Bass Assassin Curly Shad, or Bang Die Dapper trailer on back, soft plastic 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads and topwater soft plastic frogs have been drawing random good responses, early in the morning in large lily pad clusters. Best color of Bass Assassin Shads have been Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini, Pumpkinseed, and they continue drawing good reactions with some JJ's Magic chartreuse dye dip for a flash of color. June Bug, black or pumpkinseed colored Horny Toads and soft plastic frogs, in clearest water you can find in the oxbows, are working for a random blowup from 2- to 4-pound largemouths.
We also continue finding numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult-size classes ganged up in back of Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows, near creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River this week. These groups and different age classes of largemouth are most aggressively chasing threadfin shad all morning long into mid-day. Primary and secondary points along Little River, near the first and second entrance to Mud Lake, Hurricane Creek, Horseshoe and White Cliffs, all were holding decent schools of adult, adolescent and juvenile class schools of largemouths and Kentucky (spotted) bass over the past week. Good action was also noted in the flats at White Cliffs near the deeper section of the creeks with multiple schools blowing shad out of the water at the same time in numerous locations. These breaking fish were eager to bust a Rat-L-Trap or shad-colored square-bill Little John and Bill Lewis SB-57 crankbait. It's a great time to take a kid fishing!! Hammered Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons were also connecting with these breaking and schooling fish.
Even after the sun gets up over the tree line after 9-10 a.m., schooling bass were continually chasing the shad and eagerly hitting medium-diving crankbaits like custom painted Little John Square-bills, Bill Lewis MR-6 or SB-57 Square Bill, and Bandit or Bomber Fat Free Guppy's and Fingerlings Crankbaits working across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 feet deep creek channel swings dumping into Little River. Bomber Fat Free Guppy and Fingerling's Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad continue to be good choices of color, working along deep creek channels and points reaching out into Little River and 8-12 feet deep creeks dumping into Little River. The Little John custom painted square bills, Rat-L-Traps and MR-6 or SB-57 continue working with Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad and Tennessee Shad colors drawing best reactions from chunky largemouths along the Little River points and creek dumps from the oxbows, and further upriver near Cemetery Slough. Little River's water clarity got a lot more dirty with more stain this week above McGuire where the sloughs dump into the river.
* White bass: “We found a few groups of 2- to 3-pound whites/hybrids breaking on shad along Little River near Hurricane Creek, and the White Cliffs Army Corps of Engineers campground over this last week. Many continue roaming Little River and the oxbows and have been caught on vertical-jigging spoons, and custom painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppy and Bandit 200 Crankbaits along Little River."
Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/black back and chrome/blue back caught some 2- and 3-pound whites in McGuire last week. Fat Free Shad Crankbaits in Citrus Shad color, Little Georges, beetle spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads, and Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons also were working for white bass this week from about 8-10 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure, and catching whites randomly in the oxbows. Schooling whites have been noted in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows off Little River early at daybreak on flats adjacent to deeper drops in the depths from 5-10 feet deep at random intervals over the past several weeks. Most of the schools are still random and broken, although a few whites have been found schooling on large groups of threadfin shad up Little River near White Cliffs campground. Casting the Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons into the schooling whites and largemouth bass were connecting with rapid-fire action with numerous double hookups over the past week.
Creek channel mouths, as well as flats along Little River that drain and dump into Little River where little bit of current remains, are holding a few broken schools of white bass that we 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 are holding white bass. The entrance to White Cliffs Creek, Brown's Slough and Cemetery Slough had a few in random action. Reactions were fair on Cordell Hammered Spoons with a white bucktail one day, red bucktail the next day. Bomber Fat Free Fingerlings, and Guppies in Citrus Shad or Tennessee Shad, and custom painted Little John Crankbaits were working over the past week across points extending into the oxbows and into Little River where the juvenile largemouth were also feeding on shad.
* Crappie: No report. “We’ve been too busy having fun with the largemouths and white bass this week,” Mike said.
* Bream: No report.
* Catfish: Have been best over the past couple of weeks at night on trotlines and yo-yos set along outer bends of the river in stump rows of old river timber from 15-20 feet deep and baited with chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, cut buffalo and blood bait. That worked late over the weekend, as well as in the oxbows on yo-yos hung from cypress trees.
NOTICE: The American Gamebird Research Education and Development Foundation, under recommendation from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is conducting a 5-foot drawdown of Lake Erling in Lafayette County to combat the spread of giant salvinia, a highly invasive aquatic plant species not native to the United States. Giant salvinia, a free-floating South American plant that has become a major threat to fisheries in the southern U.S., was first spotted on a small portion of Lake Erling in 2018. Since that time the AGFC and AGRED, the lake’s owner, have worked together to monitor and minimize potential spread of the invasive species through information campaigns. With the recent detection of the plant at nearby Mercer Bayou and the spread of the plant within Erling, AGRED worked with the AGFC to determine a plan that would help combat the aquatic nuisance species. The drawdown will remain in effect until March 1, 2023, at which time the 7,000-acre lake will be allowed to refill. (updated 9-15-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that crappie are really good with catching limits every day. They are best 10-14 feet deep on hand tie jigs and silver minnows. Bream are good on crickets out around the islands. A few bass are schooling here and there. Catfish are really good on any kind of cut bait. The water level is dropping quickly due to the draining of the lake. (See above.)
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 539.52 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.11 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-15-2022) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) reported that the water temperature is 80-82 degrees. There has been a lot of schooling activity with the mix of largemouth and spotted bass, along with hybrids and white bass. These fish can be caught on small topwater baits, small spinnerbaits or rooster tails. The bait fish they are feeding on are very small. The best peak times are from daylight until around 10:30 a.m. and in the evenings from about 5:30 p.m. until sunset. Crappie can be caught on jigs in about 15-20 feet of water on brush piles.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 430.96 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.32 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 9-29-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) had not had any new reports of late.
(updated 9-29-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on worms (both weighted and nonweighted). No other reports. The water is 4 feet low and a little murky.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-15-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reported that very small numbers of rainbow trout remain in the tailrace below Carpenter Dam. The trout season normally comes to an end in early July but good numbers of large rainbows remained in the lake all through August. The fall trout stocking schedule is slated to begin in mid-November and quality trout fishing will resume for the public. Water temperature below the dam is 66 degrees and climbing to 70 degrees below the bridge. Clear conditions exist with a healthy summer environment created by a normal running of water through the dam. Generation keeps the water cool and prevents an overgrowth of moss and tall grass from dominating the area. Huge schools of threadfin shad are moving in and out of the tailrace, which brings white and hybrid bass in to feed. The majority of action occurs in the late evening when the turbines are running. Zara Super Spooks in clear or silver colors have taken numbers of white and hybrid bass in the 2- to 4-pound range. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current will also target feeding bass below the bridge. Walleye are also present in the tailrace and can be caught trolling or tight-lining live minnows around the bridge pilings. These fish will migrate in and out of the area following the shad schools and can be observed feeding when numbers are right.
Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules posted weekly on the Entergy website. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and remember to follow all park rules and regulations.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.70 feet msl and the tailwater was at 284.97 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage at Dardanelle is 4.82 feet.
(updated 9-22-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs reports Lake Hamilton at normal pool with surface temps in the mid- to low 80s in all areas except the river channel. Water visibility is 10 feet or more. And summer continues – black bass, especially spotted Bass, are stacking up on main lake points and deeper flats. Shade or cover is vital with the ongoing heat and lake of cool water. The depth of 12-23 feet has had good numbers of “spots” that are very willing to take a drop-shot worm in seedless green or watermelon seed. Downsize your leaders to a 4- to 6-pound because of the water clarity. “When we finally get the water cooler, these fish will switch to a diet of 100% baitfish, but that has not happened yet.
“We searched for largemouth but were unable to locate an obvious pattern, but did have some nice fish follow a Zoom Horny Toad out from under docks in the river channel.”
Bream are thick in 10-15 feet of water in shaded areas. Crickets or live worms can fill a bucket in a hurry with some pan-sized fish that are hungry and aggressive. Crappie have been spotted suspended over brushtops in 20-30 feet of water but are extremely finicky eaters. Live minnows and 2-pound line are the best bet. “We didn’t target walleye or hybrids this week. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.24 feet msl (normal pool: 344.51 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-29-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday that crappie are fair on minnows in 7-12 feet depth. Water is about 79 degrees.
Bream are fair on redworms and nightcrawlers, and also on Bream Busters. Bass are fair around the shoreline. Catfish are reported good below the dam.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 568.70 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-29-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie are doing great on live bait fished 16-24 feet deep over brush in 24-32 feet of water.
(updated 9-15-2022) John at Masterbaiters Bait and Tackle (501-209-6538) on Arkansas Highway 7 outside Hot Springs Village said he was out on Lake Ouachita on Sunday and caught 30 good-sized crappie in 12 feet of water over brush. He caught them on jigs and also on minnows. “The jigging spoons in 32 feet on points caught all the yellow and white bass you want. Was a fun four hours on the water,” he said.
(updated 9-29-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Topwater baits and drop-shot with a finesse bait seem to be working the best. No walleye reported. A three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon vertically jigged near structure should produce some of these fish, and a nightcrawler fished on a drop-shot or bottom bouncer will work, too. Stripers are still very good. Live bait is working the best on the eastern part of the lake. Bream are slow on crickets or worms in 15-25 feet depth on structure. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush in 20-30 feet depth. No reports on catfish. Water temperature temperature has falling to 74-78 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 568.63 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.21 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 12.71 feet, more than 13 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 9-29-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) had no new reports.
Cook’s Lake is open up until late October to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). 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. 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.