Oct. 6, 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: One of Beaver Lake fishing guide Jon Conklin's regular clients from Texas (above) and another fishing buddy ventured up to Northwest Arkansas and had a great trip recently. Crappie, stripers and walleye are all biting in the big lake.
LEFT: Eddy Craig from Fort Smith proudly displays one of the heft white bass he landed while Millwood Lake recently. Photo provided by Mike Siefert.
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 10-6-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is still low but the clarity is the expected Lake Conway stain. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows around the trees and in Caney Creek and Gold Creek areas. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, stink bait, black goldfish, shad, skipjack and trotline minnows. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, worms, jigs, crankbaits, poppers, creature baits and Trench Hogs.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday. Generation on Wednesday reached maximum flow of 2,935 cfs at 6 p.m., with a six-hour generation of about that flow from 3-8 p.m. Greers Ferry Lake is 6.78 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 10-6-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said the Southwestern Power Administration has been having the Army Corps of Engineers run one unit of generation for two hours usually starting at 5 p.m. and usually running for two hours, on weekdays. It's subject to change so always check the USACE Little Rock app for the generation schedule before heading out. The weekend generation schedule has been about the same.
The best bite has been early morning while there's still water falling out from last night's generation. The evening bite has been good as well.
Try fishing anywhere were there's current. The fish seem to be in the deep holes and oxygenated shoals, or whatever you can get a drift. “Egg patterns and midges along with small pheasant tail nymphs have been my go-to,” Mike said.
(updated 10-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout fishing is “pretty good” on pink and white Trout Magnets above and below the shoals. Fishing is also good on brown trout-colored No. 3 Rapala Countdowns and 1/16-ounce olive Maribou Jig.
(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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 10-6-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.28 feet at this typing; it is 7.26 feet below normal pool, and the next few days it is going to come down quite a bit more with generation in this hot weather. The Corps of Engineers are going to generate 6-8 hours a day. It’s a very good time to be on the water to learn about landscape in and around lake and take pictures or videos to help you remember spots try to later when the water comes back up.
Crappie are eating well on jigs, minnows, crankbaits, etc., in 8-45 feet. Walleye will eat crawlers and crankbaits from 12-40 feet. Catfish are moving and feeding a lot all over lake and rivers on various baits. Bream are chasing moving baits and eating crickets and crawlers at various depths right on the bank out to 25 feet. Black bass are eating on top to bottom on just about every bait made at present, out to 60 feet. Hybrid and white bass are eating on top to bottom as well, from 20-60 feet out on metal and plastic baits. Lots of fish are being caught.
(updated 10-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is very low (7 feet); be careful where you go. Water clarity is clear.
“As for bass fishing, we were catching schooling fish at mouth of the main creek with Spooks and half-ounce jigging spoon suspended deep and for schooling fish. Fishing is also good on drop-shot and shaky head in 20 feet of water. Whopper Plopper in bone or black color fished around the shoreline in the early mornings and late evenings is working as well.”
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 10-6-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said the water level is low and muddy. Bass are biting early in the morning and some in the evening. Try using buzzbaits. Bream are up close to the shoreline and the boat docks and are still biting redworms and crickets. Catfish are best caught on jugs at night with goldfish. Crappie are 5-10 feet deep. Use small minnows or jigs.
(update 10-6-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, has had no reports of late. Other reports received at AGFC note that fishing is sporadic and the lake is low.
(updated 10-6-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the lake has been turning over for over a week since the cold nights started. Fishing has been good especially for catfish and bream this week. Kentucky bass are still a good bite as well but are starting to slow. It’ll start slowing down after the lake finishes the turnover. Water temperature is in the upper 70s, ranging about 77-80 degrees most days.
Largemouth bass are fair. Reports this week of them starting to move toward the back of the creeks. Other reports of the bass being found on topwater still and shallow in and around the grass. Try using topwater lures likes Zara Spooks or Whopper Plopper, crankbait, Chatterbait and spinnerbaits. The good Kentucky bass bite is being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other anglers say they are finding them on brushpiles. Try using a Texas rig on brush or jigs. The spots are also being found mixed in with the largemouths.
White bass are slow; no reports this week. Crappie are fair. Reports of people catching them deep this week. They can be found in 25 feet of water. They seem to be biting best on small minnows and some jigs. Bream are good. Reports of bream being found a few reels off the bottom around 25 feet. Try using crickets and worms.
Catfish are great, Good reports of them being caught on trotlines this week. Chicken liver and crayfish are the go-to baits to use.
(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 4,079 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.44 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 973 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-6-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water still is clear and normal. Crappie are only about 2-3 feet deep now and biting well on minnows and jigs. Little has changed in the overall fishing in several weeks.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 3,426 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 3,115 cfs. The elevation is 249.17 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.31 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 1,563 cfs.
(updated 10-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says Thursday morning that water is clearing up and at normal level with no current. Bass are getting better with cooler nights. Fishing around sandbars are good with schooling fish on quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps, bone-colored Spooks, and flukes. Also work the ends of jetties for some good responses using a Texas-rig worm and finesse jigs. Fishing is also good in the early morning and late evenings on buzzbaits in white or black colors.
(updated 10-6-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good 10-12 feet deep on the river off the rock jetties on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in tuxedo color. Black bass are good on shaky head worms in 6-8 feet deep off sandbar drops in Little Rock pool. White bass are starting to move in around the dams and are being caught on silver spoons with white curly tail grubs. Bream are good on crickets and waxworms in backwaters in 6 feet depth.
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 10-6-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-626-6899) has had no recent reports.
(updated 10-6-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said there's a sharp nip in the air these mornings – autumn is finally popping out. Cool mornings, warm days, perfect weather for float fishing on the White for trout. Bull Shoals Lake remains more than 2 feet below power pool so it's not surprising that generation flows have been low. During this past week the water level on the White River in the north-central Arkansas Ozarks has remained steady with only small upticks in generation, mostly in the late afternoon. “So we're treated to low water in the morning hours and varying amounts of generation in the afternoon, anywhere from 2,300 cfs to 10,000 cfs, returning to low flow by early morning the next day.”
The rainbows are chasing shrimp, especially when it's paired with a small piece of orange Power Bait. “We're still having success with white baits, Rooster Tails, small Rebels with white bellies, and other baits imitating shad after that late shad kill we just experienced. As we move into autumn and closer to the brown trout spawning season, change your bait color to orange, Sunrise or pink.
It's hard to beat a good day of jig fishing – again with the white. But an orange/brown jig (one-eighth-ounce works best right now) will stir up some excitement, too. Fly-fishers are using jointed mouse flies during very early morning hours.
“Whatever you're casting and whenever you can find you way to the river, we hope you'll enjoy these cool mornings and sunny days in our Natural State.”
(updated 10-6-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, says, “How about this beautiful weather!? Temperatures in the 40s in the morning, rising to the 80s during the day, have made for a comfortable day of fishing. This week we have seen varied generation from both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams, resulting in the river levels rising and falling. Due to the varied river conditions the preferred fishing method changes during the day. When the water is low, using spoons, Blue Foxes, Rapala Countdowns or Shad Raps work well. As the water gets higher, drift fishing using Power Eggs (with or without inline spinners) and shrimp has worked best. Fishing is best if you recognize the river is starting to rise and if you can stay in front of the rising water. There was one trout stocking this week at the Calico Rock boat ramp and another at the Chessmond Ferry boat ramp.”
(updated 10-6-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had no rain, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.9 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 37.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 6.7 feet below power pool and 20.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 2.6 feet below power pool or 12.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had some marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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.
On the White, the hot spot 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.”
John also says, “Last week I did a two-guide trip with my fellow guide Danny Barker. There was a family group of four – husband, wife, daughter and wife’s father, Stan. Danny took the husband and his daughter and I took the wife and Stan. She had fly-fished before but Stan had no previous fly-fishing experience.Stan is 87 years old and is still quite active. He works as an insurance agent and plays golf once a week. He is a former Air Force pilot who spent 30 years in service. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is a Vietnam veteran and served there while I was in country. He flew close air support for guys like me on the ground in combat. We had a lot to talk about.“We met for breakfast at the White Sands Cafe in Cotter. When we finished, we went to Rim Shoals and had a near perfect day for fishing. The water was low and gin clear. It was a sunny and reasonably cool day. There was little to no wind. I could not have asked for better conditions.
“I began with a quick casting lesson. He was a quick study and was soon casting well enough to go fishing. I rigged up a couple of rods and loaded my gear into the boat. I launched and helped Stan and his daughter into the boat. I would have normally put her in the rear seat near me, to give her more attention but she was more experienced. I had Stan nearby to help teach him to catch trout.
“We began our first drift and Stan cast, only to tangle the line. I explained that he was rushing the back cast and untangled the line. He cast again and it was flawless. A few minutes later he hooked his first trout. I carefully coached him on what to do. He listened carefully and soon the trout surrendered to the net. It was a stout 18-inch rainbow trout, which is a really nice catch. It was definitely a great fish for your first trout.
“Ten minutes later he hooked and landed the twin of the first trout. He had landed two significant trout back to back. We continued fishing. We fished a half-day and he landed four more for a total of six fish. A limit is five so he caught over a limit of trout on his first day of trout fishing and that included two pretty big fish. On my first day of fly-fishing, I only landed five trout.
“I finished the day with a new found respect for Stan. It was not only for his service but the ability to take up fly-fishing and do so well at 87 years of age. Maybe there is hope for me!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 3,708 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.
(updated 10-6-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is back to normal pool level. The water temperature has dropped to around 74 degrees. Junk Fishing 101 has begun. We’re seeing 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 using 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 553.47 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at noon Thursday was 204 cfs. Wednesday saw 8 hours of generation (2-9 p.m.) averaging 2,476 cfs.
(updated 10-6-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 553.52 feet msl as of Wednesday and has dropped a half-inch in the last 24 hours with three-quarters of a generator running for about eight hours. The White River at Newport is 3.72 feet and is very low, indicating not much water is being released. The surface water temperature is still 77 degrees and the lake turnover has finished, resulting in lower visibility and most fish moving in shallower. The fish that were in 37-40 feet of water are now in about 20 feet. Bass and crappie are the best bite with crappie in brush and bass on main lake river channels just off steep banks. A plastic creature bait on a jighead is working very well on the drop-offs and a small spoon or live minnow on a slip float in the brush. Place the minnow about 5-6 feet lower than you can see your bait and let the crappie come up to it.
Many large bluegill are in the same place. The water is clearing a little already and fishing will get better and better as the water cools. Some black bass have also moved in from open water and are also on the banks. The creeks are not holding as many fish as the main lake. There is very little oxygen below 40 feet so there is not much sense fishing there at this time.
“The weather has been perfect and is scheduled to stay that way for the next week, but we are very dry with no rain for a month.”
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 10-6-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.4 feet below the top of flood pool. 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 tailwater in the morning and it has fished a 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-headed 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 No. 14 pheasant tail nymph and a No. 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 a 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 10-6-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low but fishing well. 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 1,117.47 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 morning was 155 cfs. The Corps released about 3,800 cfs between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 10-6-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing is really good. Bream are good on worms, crickets and small grubs. Black bass are really good on anything that looks like a bait fish, grubs, live minnows and swimbaits. Crappie are really good on grubs, small crappie jigs and small minnows. Catfish are good on chicken liver, cut bait and large minnows and goldfish. Walleye are fair on deep-diving crankbaits and large minnows.
(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 10-6-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the tailwater is extremely low. In fact, just mere inches in a lot of places up from Houseman Access. If you are fishing from the bank, you will have no problem reaching the deeper holes. If you are in a boat, good luck! If you are fortunate enough to get to some of the deeper water, try using light terminal tackle with Fire Eggs or Fire Bait. Adjust your leader accordingly for the feet of water you will be fishing. If the Corps of Engineers starts to generate, that will give you enough room to get a little further up by boat, but not much. Tuck in behind rock bars and structure to fish the slack water. If you want to avoid the real shallow stuff, up from Houseman Access – but once again, be careful and watch for obstructions. Try pitching some hard baits around the chunk rock and in the bends – you may get surprised with a smallmouth or walleye.
“Well here is to hoping for some good rain to help bring or levels up. Good luck and be safe. 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 10-6-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said black bass are good on soft plastics and topwater. Crappie are good on jigs. Catfish are really good on anything (the fish have been freshly stocked). Bream are good on worms.
(updated 10-6-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water temperature of the lake has dropped down to a cool 67.4 degrees as of Sunday. The water is its usual murky and remains high. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. The crappie bite, however, still hasn't returned for anglers even with that dropping temp. Bass weren't reported as well. Catfish are good, though, and are biting on blood bait, chicken liver and cut bait.
(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 10-6-2022) 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 7.06 and about 8 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was up almost three-quarters of a foot to 4.46 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was steady at 14.97 feet, about 11 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 41 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.18 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 542 cfs.
(updated 10-6-2022) 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 258.58 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 773 cfs, the most being released this week (release ranging 693-773 cfs).
(updated 10-6-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake was about 8.5 inches BELOW normal pool and falling. Clarity improved this week along Little River, and oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 224 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 690 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 Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
USE CAUTION IN NAVIGATION WITH POOL BELOW NORMAL CONSERVATION POOL! STUMPS AND OBSTACLES ARE NEAR TO SURFACE!
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 70-75 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River slightly cleared up again this week, with river clarity ranging 8-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is normal stain, visibility about 20-30 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Mike had these specifics on the different species this week:
* Largemouth and spotted bass continue schooling activity on most areas of Millwood main lake body, Little River and the oxbows. Since last week's report, the bass have been continuing their schooling activities lake-wide, and active almost all day with the cooler water temps. Bass have been good and actively chasing shad over the past couple weeks with excellent activity and aggressive feeding in Little River and the oxbows. 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 the most aggressive at midmorning through the rest of the day. Good bass activity and topwater action are still happening early, hitting Spit'n Images, Chug Bugs, Pop R's, Bass Assassin Shads or topwater plastic frogs in the pads.
“We continue finding numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult-size classes of largemouths ganged up in back of Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows near creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River. 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 spots 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 chasing and feeding on shad and 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 Bills, and Bandit or Bomber Fat Free Guppys and Fingerlings Crankbaits working across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 deep creek channel swings dumping into Little River. The Little John 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 up river near Cemetery Slough. Little River's water clarity got a lot clearer this week.
* “We found a few groups of 2-3 pound whites/hybrids breaking on shad along Little River near Hurricane Creek and the White Cliffs USACE 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 Guppys, 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- to 3-pound whites in McGuire last week. Fat Free Shad Crankbaits in Citrus Shad color, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads, as well as Cordell or Kastmaster spoons, also were working for white bass this week, from 8-10 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure. We were 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 white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few 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 largemouths were connecting with rapid-fire action with numerous double hook ups over the past week.”
* No report on crappie or bream.
* Catfish have been best over the past couple 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 with chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, cut buffalo and blood bait. They were also biting in 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 10-6-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that the water is down 2 feet. The gates are opened back up, trying to get the level lower for the winter. Crappie are really good on silver shiners and hand-tied silver jigs. Black bass are schooling in the middle of the lake. Catfish are excellent as usual. Bream are good on crickets.
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 538.82 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.66 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-6-2022) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said Lake DeGray has turned over. This will make fishing a little tougher. But should get better within the next two weeks. Water temps has fallen from being 82 degrees to around 71 degrees within the last week. Some schooling activity is occurring with a mix of largemouth, spotted bass, and also with hybrids and whites. Try using a small topwater baits, Rooster Tails, or vertical jig a small spoon. Best tip for you guys is to pay attention to your graphs and look for the baitfish.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 430.58 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.03 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 10-6-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) had not had any new reports.
(updated 10-6-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says dry conditions in the area are affecting the fishing. Anglers are catching very little bass now. A few crappie are being caught on jigs. Water is very low and murky.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-6-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, had no new reports.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.81 feet msl and the tailwater was at 284.99 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.)
(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 342.13 feet msl (normal pool: 344.51 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-6-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that a variety of sport fish are fair in shallow water 3-5 feet deep. Black bass are fair on worms and shad-colored buzzbaits. Crappie are fair on minnows.
Catfish are fair running trotlines with minnows and cut bait. Bream are good on redworms and crickets.
Water is about 78 degrees.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 568.21 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-6-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie are great and moving up. “Last week we were catching crappie 18-24 feet deep. This week a limit or two can be caught over brushpiles fished 8-15 feet deep. And, as the season continues to cool, they’ll keep moving up. Ample numbers of spotted bass are being caught on points and around submerged timber just off the bottom using live crawfish.”
(updated 10-6-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still good. Topwater baits and a drop-shot with a finesse bait seem to be working the best. No walleye reported. Stripers are excellent. Live bait is working the best on the eastern part of the lake; try near the dam and state park for hte best opportunities to catch these fish. No report on bream. Crappie are excellent on small jigs or minnows. Try brush in 20-35 feet depth. No reports on catfish. Water temperature continues to drop slightly to 72-76 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 568.21 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 384.12 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 continued falling to 12.22 feet, almost 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-6-2022) 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.