Nov. 10, 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: Eugene Montgomery is shown with a pretty little rainbow trout caught on a fly yesterday on the White River near Cotter Trout Dock. Eugene was enjoying a November afternoon with the temperature at 80 degrees. That type of weather is about to leave us though, according to weather forecasts. Photo provided by Cotter Trout Dock.
Quick links to regions:
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://join.fishbrain.com/agfc-page
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 11-10-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water has come up just a tad, but not much more than that. “It’s awfully low here,” they say. The crappie are starting to pick back up a little bit. They were doing well, then quieted down some last week, but have started back to hitting again. Use small jigs for crappie. At night, they will hit minnows baited on yo-yos (and some during the day as well). “All your jig fishermen and doing their best on jigs.” The crappie are shallow at night, though Bates was not sure of the depth. Primarily they are in the deeper areas of the lake, like around the Highway 89 bridge and in Gold Creek.
Bream have been good. Anglers also are catching some bass but nobody is talking about baits.
Water quality is the usual Conway stain. “Warm days today,” they said Wednesday, “Don’t help. It should get a little bit better in the next few days. The cool days should get them going.”
(updated 11-10-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said crappie are starting to run at Gold Creek.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Generation on Wednesday reached maximum flow of 6,368 during a 3-hour generation between 5-8 p.m. Greers Ferry Lake is 7.6 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 11-10-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River continues to receive sporadic generation depending on air temperatures and need for hydropower from Greers Ferry Dam. This pattern provides wading opportunities on all sections of the river, but always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected schedule changes. Midges, egg patterns, small pheasant tails and soft hackles are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, Lowell suggests pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 11-10-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said the Southwester Power Administration has not been running much water or a consistent generation schedule of lately. Always check the USACE Little Rock app for the generation schedule before heading out. Look at the release feature on the app for unexpected releases.
“With colder weather forecast this coming week I’d expect to see more water being released for power demand,” Mike said. “For the past couple of weeks the temperatures were in the mid-50s for the morning lows and in the 70s for the daytime highs along with the SWPA running little to no generation for days. The brown trout spawn has not kicked in 100 percent just yet.
The best bite has been early morning or while fishing the falling water. When they don't run water for a few days, try fishing anywhere there's moving water or you can get a drift. Also try fishing the deeper holes they are holding fish.
Try fishing a double nymph rig with an egg and a midge dropper. Or anything small and buggy underneath an indicator.
Apricot and peach egg patterns along with midges have been producing.
Small streamer patterns have been working well while using an intermediate sink line or sink tip. Try stripping crackleback emergers and Slump Busters flies in the fast riffle water or the deeper pools.
(updated 11-10-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the water level is pretty low; Southwestern Power Administration is not running a lot of water due to less power consumption. The lake is well below pool so the Corps of Engineers doesn’t need to release any water.
Trout anglers are catching them on a 1/16-ounce Rooster Tail above and below the shoals. Also, a Trout Magnet in pink and white is a dependable lure for catches now. A 1/16-ounce maribou jig will also work well.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 454.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 11-10-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 454.45 feet msl and it’s up a few tenths and down a few tenths off and on it is 7.59 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. Turnover is happening – if you are in water that is tannic color, smells bad or has nasty-colored bubbles and foam built up, get out of it and find better-colored water. The turnover makes catching out pretty much for two weeks until it gets settled back down.
Crappie are good and better in places on jigs and minnows in 8-40 feet of water. Walleye are really scattered; some can be picked up under other game fish eating shad, while others are roaming in small schools doing same at 15-43 feet. Use spoons, crawlers, or drag a crawler on a jighead or drop-shot rig. Bream are still pretty active in 5-25 feet of water with a cricket or crawler working. Catfish are pretty active eating shad for winter in creeks and rivers with a little current; the regular catfish stuff is working.
Black bass are chewing all over lakes and rivers, on top to bottom, in 45 feet. Lots and lots of stuff are working, but remember stay away from the turnover. Hybrid and white bass are good and bad but are going to eat sometime during the day. Spoons inline spinners and swimbaits, hair jigs, Alabama rigs – any piece of metal you can get in front of them.
Remember, its going on winter. Be safe and wear your life jacket.
(updated 11-10-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the lake is about 8 feet low. Be carefully running boats in creeks with the standing timber.
Fishing has been good, anglers are “catching a bunch of fish.” The Alabama rig, from what they’ve heard and Fish ’N Stuff, is the ticket now for bass. And anglers are catching them single swimbait with an underspin. Bass are schooling anywhere they are finding baitfish. Also, anglers are catching some bass on a crawdad-colored crankbait. As the water turns cooler, the bass at Greers Ferry start favoring crawdad-type baits.
Crappie have been caught in good numbers on a 2-inch swimbait in 20-25 feet of water.
Lake clarity is clear.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-10-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports that the white bass are acting really crazy right now. Anglers have been catching a lot of white bass in the last couple of days, and you can see them jumping every day.
The temperature of the water is still a little warm. Some anglers are catching them from the dock, a few at least. Minnows and a jighead are working; use an orange color with the jighead.
Crappie are good on minnows and a variety of jigs (Shiny Hiney, Monkey Milk and the like, Bobby Garland Jigs). Crappie are being found about 3 feet deep, and good fishing is occurring morning and evening.
The boating anglers have been landing some bass as big as 5 pounds. They are using plastic worms or shad-like baits. Baby Brush Hog has also been a popular lure. They’re leaning toward some lighter colored baits, but also red or green pumpkin and watermelon colors. The best bass fishing is out into the lake, so bring a boat.
They report that lots of pelicans have moved in – “they’re kind of early this year” – along with egrets. Follow the birds to the shad, where the bass will also be.
There are a few bream being caught, though not many. The usual redworms or nightcrawlers will get the bream, though.
No reports on catfish.
Water is very low for this time of year. Clarity is muddy “with lots of green stuff.”
(update 11-10-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, said the fishing and conditions are about the same as the most recent reports. The water temperature has not cooled off much. The area received 2 inches of rainfall Friday but it didn’t do much to the lake level, he said. Overall the lake is down about a foot below normal level.
Most recently, crappie were coming up a little more in 5-6 feet depth and biting on minnows for anglers trolling the channel or around the underwater brushpiles. Bream are good on the banks on redworms. Bass are good in the evenings in shallow water on size 12 bass minnows or white spinnerbaits. Catfish are on the bottom on nightcrawlers and goldfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
At noon Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 5,122 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.52 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 897 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 11-10-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says crappie have really caught on in recent days, with fair to good catches among anglers. They are being caught at 7 feet deep on minnows and jigs. They haven’t come up into the deep water, but anglers can catch a mess of crappie.
While most anglers are focused on the crappie, the ones bass fishing have caught most of theirs on crankbaits and some on plastics – most of the catches are via cranks. Ray says nobody he knows of is fishing for bream now but “you can catch bream here anytime.” Some people were trotlining and catching catfish on liver.
Water is “fine,” he said: clear and normal level.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 5,059 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 6,312 cfs. The elevation is 249.23 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 5,481 cfs.
(updated 11-10-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says for bass fishing, anglers are throwing a white crankbait, like a Bandit 200, around jetties on the main river. Also, they are throwing a shaky head and a quarter-ounce chrome/blue or chrome/black Rat-L-Trap. A three-eighths-ounce spinnerbait is working when it’s throw mostly where the baitfish are congregated. On the backwaters, the bass are reacting well to a white Chatterbait.
For crappie, use a white and chartreuse and solid chartreuse crappie jig. Crappie are biting behind the jetties in 10-15 feet or water.
The water clarity is slightly stained though it’s kind of clear in others. The level is ranging from a little low to normal, and the river is not really moving at all with little flow through the Murray Lock and Dam.
(updated 11-10-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says crappie are starting to do better on the river. The white bass are chasing shad. Catfish are being caught at Murray Lock and Dam on skipjack.
(updated 11-10-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said that in the Arkansas River below Terry Lock and Dam, there is no current – “It’s like the Dead Sea” – and without in current there is just not much fishing on the river. “We do need some water. We need some rain.”
(updated 11-3-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good off the jetties in 8-10 feet depth on jigs. White bass are good below the dams on spoons. Catfish are good below Terry and Murray dams on cut skipjack.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-10-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is super low. You can fish around the shoreline but boats are finding it hard to put in, the water is just down to low everywhere. Last week, they reported that crappie were biting good for anglers who could get a line into the water. Use minnows or jigs.
The lake is closed to fishing until February while it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl through waterfowl season. Call 870-626-6899 for more information.
(updated 11-10-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the White River below Bull Shoals Dam has been running at minimum flow most of each day over the last week. We fish very low water in the morning hours and see varying amounts of generation in the afternoon (between 2,300 cfs to 10,000 cfs), returning to low flow by early morning the next day. We expect releases from the dam to remain very low because Bull Shoals Lake is 4 feet below power pool–that means you can expect great wadable waters for the foreseeable future.
Experienced guides and other fishing boat operators are still able to access favorite fishing holes, and the low water allows for even better viewing of the river bottom and your targeted trout. Be courteous and generous to your fellow anglers on the river. Waders: allow boaters to move down the channel safely (that's the only way to get past you and out of your way); boaters: stay clear of lines already in the water and be patient while waders clear a path for you.
The rainbow fishing has been exceptional. Florescent orange or bright yellow baits, especially under overcast skies brought success. Shrimp and crawdad tails added to the size of the rainbow, plus the larger bows have started hitting on bigger baits including sculpins and minnows.
Yellow and orange bellied stick baits (iridescent blue backs) are working well right now. Standard zebra midges (silver/red are best) and the tried-and-true red or natural San Juan worms attracted some attention. Because the browns are spawning you'll have to get their attention using shiny baits and lots of jiggle: you might need to rile them into a bite. To date, the mornings have been very mild, but cold weather is definitely on the way – get the hand warmers ready. Keep angling and we'll see you on the river.
(updated 11-10-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the storms that passed through last Friday muddied the river and washed a lot of debris from the banks. As a result, the river rose to almost 7 feet and fishing was poor Saturday through Tuesday. By Wednesday the river had dropped down to about 3 feet and was still dingy but cleared enough to be fishable. Using silver inline spinnerbaits with Power Eggs and corn have worked best in the dingy river conditions. As the water continues to clear up, Power Eggs with shrimp will work well, and with the lower water try throwing spoons or Rapala Countdowns. This week there was one trout stocking of 1,200 trout at the Calico Rock boat ramp and an additional 1,200 at the Chesmond Ferry boat ramp.
(updated 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had about an inch and a half of rainfall in Cotter, cool temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 foot to rest at 4 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 1.4 feet to rest at 7 feet below power pool and 21 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 4.4 feet below power pool or 14 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had significant wadable water daily. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The North Fork tailwater has had less wadable water.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. We have had lower flows in the morning that have been fished very well. 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 size 14 with a ruby midge size 18 dropper.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John said, “Over 20 years ago, I wrote an article on the flies that I use the most. Though I carry literally hundreds of fly patterns, most of my fishing is done with six patterns. I have written this article every five years or so and I always see changes.
My original article listed the following: Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle, Woolly Bugger, elk hair caddis, gold ribbed hare’s ear, Red Fox Squirrel Nymph and sowbug. The first three are still on the list, but the last three have changed.
“The Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle and the Woolly Bugger (my favorite color is olive) are the easiest flies to fish that I know of. These two patterns are the ones that I frequently have beginners start with, as they produce fish on a regular basis. Both are tight line techniques and strikes are easy to detect. The Partridge and Orange is fished near the top and imitates emerging or drowned insects. The Woolly Bugger is fished on the bottom and is a streamer that imitates bait fish or small crawfish.
“The elk hair caddis is a dry fly that imitates adult hatching caddis. It is easy to see and floats like a cork. It is a dead-on imitation of a caddis. I carry it in a variety of sizes and frequently use to imitate other hatching insects. My eye sight is not so good, and this fly is easy to see. When fishing dry flies, presentation is often more important than a dead-on imitation of the hatching insect.
“The gold ribbed hare’s ear has been replaced by the pheasant tail nymph. This is a solid imitation of the nymphal form of the may fly. To make it more effective, I add a little flashabou when tying it to make it a flash back, making it easier for the trout to see. I tie it on a jig hook and add a copper bead to allow it to sink quickly and not hang the bottom.
“The red fox squirrel nymph has been replaced by the San Juan worm. It imitates aquatic worms or worms that have been washed into the river. It is very effective after a rain or during high levels of generation. I tie it in worm brown, red, hot pink or my favorite, cerise.
“The sowbug is still effective on Dry Run Creek, but on the White or the North Fork River I prefer the ruby midge. These rivers are tailwaters, and tailwaters are known as midge streams. The ruby midge is a real producer. For the last seven years, I have caught more trout on this fly than any other.
“I am sure that many of you have your own favorites. Drop me a line and let me know what they are.” Email John at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(updated 11-10-2022) White River Trout Club (870-453-2424) says fishing is not great now because the water there at White Hole is so low. No reports.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 631 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.
(updated 11-10-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday the lake level is 3 feet below normal pool at 655 feet msl. The water temperature is 64 degrees, give or take a degree or two depending on location and sun and the “fall funk,” he says. He’s seeing typical fall patterns. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up and moving out deeper, 25-45 feet in the middle of the hollows and creeks. The main lake is clear. There are always a few shallow fish. Try covering water in the wind with a buzzbait, Whopper Plopper, Flopper, Chatterbait, square bill or spinnerbait, or try flipping the brush in the skinny stained water early. There are a few fish there, but spread out. Try a rock crawler on the windy channel swings, points and ledges covering water. Fish the windy side if you have ANY wind. Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water.
The jig bite is starting to improve, 10-25 feet. As the sun gets up, target the steeper banks; also points with brush at 25-35 feet. “For me, the deep bite is still the best, 35-45 feet. I’m using a drop-shot, Damiki with a Tater Shad, Jewel Scope, Shad Jigging Rap Spoon or a Roboworm. I’m focusing on points, ledges, bluff ends, and channel swings. Looking forward to cooler temperatures. Fish the conditions.”
Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.04 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 2,361 cfs during a 4-hour generation, dropping to 340 cfs at 1 p.m. Wednesday saw 15 hours of generation, with 1 hour off in between, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., averaging 2,469 cfs.
(updated 11-3-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.82 feet msl as of Wednesday morning and has dropped three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with about 8 hours of running three-quarters of a generator. They seem to like three-quarters of a generator and just vary the times they run it. There is not much effort to drop the area lake levels. The surface water temperature is around 66 degrees and has held steady with the warm weather in the main lake and warming quickly in the backs of the creeks. The runoff from last week's rain has moved downriver and is now in the Blackburn's Creek area, diminishing the water clarity, “but has either dropped out or not gotten to the area around Robinson Point where I have been fishing which is much clearer.
“The fish that I caught Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning were on brush, on and just to the inside of main lake points about 20 feet down. Several smallmouths are showing up on the inside of points just partway back in the creeks and some are in the 3- to 4-pound range. Walleye and crappie are together and black bass are together in different places.
“It has been very foggy in the early mornings making navigation difficult and dangerous, and does not burn off until about 10 a.m. It is not worth going out to get fish and endangering other people who also should not be out there. You may be able to navigate with GPS, but cannot see other boats that may be parked or running too fast.
“It has been nice not having wind, but it should pick back up with a low pressure moving in on Friday, bringing a good chance of rain. When that happens, fish windblown shoreline for bass until it rains you out.
“There are schooled temperate bass chasing shad from Mallard Point to Cranfield Island in the mornings in about 30 feet of water, and trollers are catching some white bass and 3- to 4-pound hybrids dragging umbrellas and crankbaits with weights clipped on the line in front of them to get them down and through shad.”
Overall fishing is just fair but improving and the lake is in excellent condition and at a good level. For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 11-10-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report. Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The North Fork tailwater has had less wadable water.
“There has been less wadable water on the Norfork in the morning. 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 pheasant tail nymph size 14 and a ruby midge size 18. 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are 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 1,115.74 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 2 p.m. Thursday was 20 cfs, following a 6-hour generation that averaged 3,900 cfs. The Corps also released about 3,800 cfs between 7-11 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 11-10-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake remains around 5 feet below normal pool levels and the water temperature is in the lower 60s. Fishing still has not hit that fall bite we all are waiting for. With the cold weather coming later this weekend, it should drop the water into that magic mid-50s, which should usher in some good fall fishing. Stripers are scattered throughout the lake. This is the time of year that a migration from the dam area up into the mid-lake region. Mid-lake areas from Monte Ne way up into the river arms. Trolling shad and brooders minnows will work at this time and it’s also possible to spoon some up with any half-ounce jigging spoons. White bass are just starting to school and bust some topwater. Spotted bass have been great on cranks and swimbaits. Walleye have gone missing as they usually do during turnover. Crappie are setting up shop on brushpiles and can be had using jigs and minnows. Look for brush along and near main river channels, and concentrate in 20 feet or less. Best areas are from Prairie Creek and up all the way to Camp War Eagle area. Catfish still are being caught by fisherman targeting them. Stay safe and good luck!
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 11-10-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said crappie fishing has been fair to decent. The fish have moved tight to brush right now. All of this will change next week with the nasty cold expected hit by Friday night and into Saturday. Anglers are using jigs and minnows, as well as plastic tail jigs and maribou jigs, but minnows will work well if you don’t have a jig. Crappie are “pretty good” now in 6-14 feet depth of water.
The black bass are trying to figure out what to do. Some are in their summer pattern still while some are moving to fall. Anglers have had success on topwater baits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits, while the jigs will work for some bass, too.
Striper fishing is about to really improve, they say. Some good stripers are moving up to the river arms. Live shad or live brooders will work, and there is a topwater bite for stripers in the morning.
Catfishing has been pretty good. Most guys are using trotlines but the rod-and-reel anglers also are doing well. Use live bait like bluegill or goldfish or big shiners on the trotlines. Rod-and-reels are best using liver and worms, or some stink bait.
Bluegill fishing has kind of gone away for now. They haven’t heard much on white bass either. Beaver Lake did not get the usual run of white bass they typically see.
(updated 11-10-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said nothing has changed on the tailwater except that the Corps of Engineers is generating earlier. “We still have a significant water shortage in the tailwaters,” he said.
Austin has indicated that in recent weeks that bank anglers can find plenty of holes to pull a nice fish. If you’re fishing from a boat, you are pretty much limited to Table Rock.
Try Pautzke Fire worms and Fire baits in the Beaver tailwater. Fish the worms on a 1/16-ounce jighead on bottom, twitching it every now and then. The color of worm that has produced the best has been pink and white. If you are fishing with Fire Bait, use light terminal tackle, also fished on the bottom. If you are bank fishing, look for deep holes from Spider Creek to Parker Bottoms. Towards Holiday Island, he says there has been a fair fall walleye bite. Try trolling crank baits and jigging live minnows. Once again, look for the deeper water.
“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 10-27-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said black bass are fair on plastics. Crappie are good on jigs. Bream are fair on redworms. Catfish are pretty slow. Water is stained but clearing up.
(updated 11-10-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said there were lots of boats on the water over the weekend. She had a few reports of bream catches – some were small and some had some size to them. Anglers were using worms, crickets and jigs.
She had no reports on crappie, bass or catfish.
Water temperature worked its way back up slightly to 63.5 degrees by Monday morning. The lake level is normal and the clarity is the usual murky. Lake Charles’ water likely will fall as waterfowl season approaches to provide some water to the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area’s greentree reservoirs.
(updated 11-10-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported had nothing new to report from Lake Poinsett. Remember that bass and crappie are catch-and-release only as the lake’s sport fish build back up after Poinsett’s renovation work. Bream and catfish also abound.
(updated 11-10-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no new reports.
(updated 11-10-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water is flowing at 335 cfs at the Spring and water clarity has been green tinted. The rain from Friday night murkied up the water, with the water clearing up quickly. Not enough rain to get water levels up, however.
Plenty of bugs are hatching in the mornings of caddis and mayflies. The trout have been hitting nymphs and pats rubber legs on some days fished near the bottom below an egg pattern. Then on other days the minnows feed heavy on the bug life and the trout hit minnow patterns, like the Guppy and White Lightning. And on the tough days the Y2K has been hard to beat. Just get it to the bottom …
Brown trout are being caught on streamers and nymphs. Our last few have been on Y2Ks.
Cold temps move in this weekend and that will get the trout going. The colder the better for catching trout. The leaves have fallen, thankfully, and that part of the season has passed. The winter can be the best time to catch big trout. So bundle up and stay warm and be careful wading.
Visit Mark’s blog on the springriverfliesandguides.com site for the latest river conditions and what’s working for the fish.
(updated 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was dropping at 6.69 feet and more than 8 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport falling at 4.78 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was steady at 16.35 feet or about 11.7 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-10-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said Thursday that most of the anglers they see were turning their attention to the opening of deer season this week, and the water still remains low and the fishing has been difficult in the area.
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 4,028 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.20 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 4,104 cfs.
(updated 11-10-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.
(updated 11-10-2022) After a two-year project of rebuilding the lake habitat by the AGFC while the city of Monticello had the dam rebuilt, the water in Lake Monticello now covers about 470 acres. The acreage of water in Lake Monticello’s lakebed has only increased about 20 acres since May as a result of minimal rainfall. The water in Lake Monticello covers about 1,520 acres when it is at full pool. When the lake was first flooded, it took about five years for Lake Monticello to reach full pool, with two drought years during this period.
Fisheries District 5 staff in Monticello worked with AGFC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery staff to stock about 180,000 fathead minnows, 111,902 golden shiners, 78,840 bluegill and 82,056 redear sunfish into Lake Monticello during the month of October. The fish were placed in a hog trough on a trailer pulled by a UTV. The fish were then transported about 220 yards from the boat ramp to the water’s edge, where they were stocked. It took quite a few trips to stock all of the fish that were on the hatchery truck.
The AGFC plans on stocking threadfin shad this fall. Florida largemouth bass will be stocked during the summer of 2023. The aforementioned forage and bream species will be stocked again in the fall of 2023, along with black crappie.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.47 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 687 cfs, average for what has been released this week.
(updated 11-10-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, the lake was about 1-2 inches back above normal pool and rising. Clarity worsened this week along Little River and oxbows from recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 224 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 684 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 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 remain stable this week, ranging in 65-69 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River was slightly more stained this week and further up Little River, with river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of the oxbows was normal stain, visibility was 15-25 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.
Numerous areas on Millwood Lake are fully choked with alligatorweed mats and inaccessible for navigation or fishing. The Army Corps of Engineers is monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities lake-wide and what corrective action may be necessary.
NOTE: The Millwood State Park MARINA has now CLOSED FOR THE WINTER SEASON. Millwood State Park MARINA WILL REOPEN MARCH 1, 2023.
The Millwood State Park IS OPEN for camping, and the State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for availability or additional information. USACE Campgrounds ARE OPEN for camping.
"NO WAKE" BOAT BUOYS ARE BACK IN PLACE AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP ALONG LITTLE RIVER!
Mike offered these details of the fishing this week:
* With the unseasonably warm dog days of summer recently, the largemouth and spotted bass (or Kentucky bass) continue their random schooling on shad in the oxbows and along Little River, and have drastically improved over the past few days. Bass have been good and actively chasing threadfin shad over the past several 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 most all day long. Good bass activity continues happening throughout midday hitting square-bill cranks, shad-imitation custom painted Bent Pole Little John cranks, Bandit Splatterback cranks, Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps and SpinTraps, and chrome Johnson Weedless Spoons in the pads.
The 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 and Pumpkinseed, and they continue drawing good reactions with some JJ's Magic Chartreuse Dye Dip for a flash of color.
The numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult-size classes of largemouth bass are still ganged up in many locations and feeding on threadfin shad. Better aggressiveness returned this week with milder daytime temps during the heat of the day in back of Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows on flats near vertical structure and standing timber. Creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River this week have given up several schools of largemouth, Kentucky, and white bass. These groups and different age classes of largemouth are most aggressively chasing threadfin shad all morning long into midday. 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 largemouth and 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 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. 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 Guppys and Fingerlings Crankbaits working across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 deep creek channel swings dumping into Little River. Bomber Fat Free Guppys and Fingerling's Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad continue to be good color choices 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 up river near Cemetery Slough.
* White bass returned to biting this week, and 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 USACE campground over this last week. Many continue roaming Little River and the oxbows of Clear Lake and McGuire Lake oxbows and have been caught on Millwood Magic SpinTraps and Magnum three-quarter-ounce Mag Traps, 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 2-3 pound whites in McGuire over the past 2-3 weeks.
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 12-16 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure, and 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 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 connected with rapid fire action.
* Crappie improved over the past week with more stable water temperatures and continue biting well this week! Bee Lake, Mud Lake and the Little River have been holding good groups of nice size 2- to 2.25-pound black and white crappie willing to bite minnows over the past week, 12-17 feet deep in Bee Lake in planted brush and along Little River.
* Bream improved this week about 10-12 feet deep along Little River in brushpiles on worms, with a couple bream fishermen we visited with at the second entrance to Hurricane Creek on Tuesday.
No reports on catfish this week.
(update 11-10-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reports that anglers passing through on the way to nearby Lake Columbia say crappie are doing well here. Use minnows or jigs.
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 11-10-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that anglers are catching limits of crappie, mainly on hand-tied jigs. Some are being caught on minnows. They are around 10-12 feet on timber.
“We have quite a few boats that put in this morning at the park. So you can tell the crappie are heating up by the amount of boats putting in,” they report.
Some anglers have been catching bass, but they aren’t revealing their baits now.
As for catfish, anglers are catching limits on pretty much any kind of bait.
Lake Erling clarity is clear. The mandated drawdown to tackle to giant salvinia problem has the lake down 4-4.5 feet, they report. As for clarity, “I can see my bait down 18 inches, so that’s pretty good,” they tell us. Water temperature Thursday morning was 65 degrees.
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 537.51 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.09 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 434.95 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 521.90 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 11-10-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) said crappie have been doing pretty good on White Oak Lake. “We’ll see how the cold front will help us. Water levels are still low.” Crappie are running deeper in the daytime. Curtis says he believes they’re around 8-12 feet deep usually in the daytime but coming shallow. Use minnows and jigs. Bream are still biting well, he added. Lots of people are catching them on crickets. The main bass anglers at White Oak have switched over to crappie for this time of year.
(updated 11-10-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Wednesday that anglers have been catching a lot of largemouth bass (Atkins is stocked with Florida largemouths by the AGFC, bringing those genetics into the northern largemouth population). Catches have been as nice as 3- to 5-pounders. They’re using mostly Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits.
There are lots of crappie being caught, with several 11- and 12-inch crappie being hauled in out in the brush.
The water is clear and still a little low but up from last week. They received about 1.5 inches of rain last weekend.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 11-10-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The months of September and October routinely offer anglers little opportunity for fishing in Lake Catherine around Carpenter Dam with the rainbow trout season over and the majority of area fish species completed their spawning cycles and returned to the main lake body. Mid-November marks the return of the fall trout stocking program, which will create a solid fishing environment for the public. The first stocking of rainbow trout for November has been scheduled for Thursday (Nov. 10) for 1,400 fish. The next stocking will take place sometime in early December. Normally, it takes several days for the trout to become familiar with the new surroundings and settle into a regular feeding pattern. The influx of healthy rainbow trout to the lake rejuvenates the tailrace to an earlier scenario of quality fishing.
The annual lake drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine started Nov. 1. A 5- foot drawdown was scheduled with each lake lowered 6 inches per day for 10 days. Entergy expected the process to be completed at the end of the day Friday (Nov. 11). Refilling will begin somewhere between March 1-8, with the process completed by March 15.
A 5-foot drawdown on Lake Catherine creates dangerous conditions for wade fisherman and boaters alike, so caution is advised when navigating the tailrace area. Entergy will schedule daily generation from Carpenter Dam during this period. So the public is advised to read the Entergy Hydro website news for updates on lake conditions. Remember to always wear a life jacket while on the water and follow all lake and park regulations when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 897 cfs. Elevation was 337.44 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.55 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.)
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.41 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-10-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that crappie just a little bit slow right now. They are 8 feet deep and relating to the big structure and stumps. The brushpiles and not really holding many.
Black bass are hitting well on swimbaits, spinnerbaits and worms. “The anglers don’t tell me what colors they’re using,” they report, though they are selling a lot of War Eagle white spinnerbaits.|
Anglers are catching quite a few catfish. They are using cut live shad and are doing well catching blues. The flatheads have slacked off a little bit.
Bream are biting on some minnows but are slow like the crappie.|
The water is 342 feet msl, at normal conservation pool, and clear at around 68 degrees, though maybe a little cooler Thursday morning.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 568.59 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-10-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. The topwater bite is still producing and a drop-shot with a finesse bait is working well on the spots (Kentucky bass). No reports on walleye. Stripers are still good. Live bait is working the best; try the central part of the lake for best opportunities at these fish.
No reports on bream or catfish. Crappie are very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 20-35 feet deep. The water temperature is ranging 60-64 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 568.58 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 10-27-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie aren’t stacked up as they once were, but they’re still there. “We’ve been fishing minnows under corks 18-24 feet deep over brushpiles in 28-35 feet of water.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.05 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 was on the rise at 12.59 feet, still almost 13.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-10-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) said the lake is closed to fishing until spring as it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl. Call the center at 870-241-3373 for more information.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.