Nov. 17, 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: Tome Kelly had a great day on Norfork Lake this past week, catching some healthy stripers on a spoon in 40 feet of water fishing out of Blackburns Resort and Boat Rental. Anglers have caught stripers on Norfork in ranging 5-6 pounds in recent days. Photo provided by Steven Street.
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 11-17-2022) 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.
(updated 11-17-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said crappie are starting to turn on at Gold Creek and the Highway 89 bridge. Minnows are working best. The bite is hit-and-miss, “but there have been some happy guys coming back and going back out there.”
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 3 p.m. Thursday, which also saw three hours of generation in the morning at 6,306 cfs. A three-hour period Wednesday night saw generation range from 2,902-6,290 cfs. Greers Ferry Lake is 8.1 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 11-17-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the trout are biting really well, even with the low water in the river. They're biting on eighth-ounce Little Cleo and a sixteenth-ounce Rooster Tail, as well as pink, white and even an orange Trout Magnet. It's the first time in a while they've been biting on the orange color.
Flows are inconsistent with spotty generation. Make sure to check the Army Corps of Engineers' app or SWPA.com (Southwestern Power Administration) for the changing flow schedule, as the releases at the dam are for power needs, especially during cold spells.
(updated 11-17-2022) 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 for fly fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing pink, white and cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jig heads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 453.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 11-17-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the current water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 454.19 feet msl, which is 7.85 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and falling with on and off generation.
Black bass are chewing well all over lake and rivers, if you stay away from turnover. They are biting top to bottom, with way to many baits to mention – from the dirt of the shoreline out to 60 feet. Crappie are feeling their oats as well and feeding real regular, with a lot of fish coming in from 2 feet out to 60 all over lake and rivers. Jigs and minnows are working well.
Bream are a little deeper than usual, 8-43 feet, eating crawlers and crickets. Catfish are eating hot dogs, live bait and soap all over lake and rivers; not many are fishing for them. As for walleye, the river spawners are getting moving on their mind – some are roaming under schooling fish while others are ganged up on flats, eating spoons, big crankbaits, minnows and crawlers, all fished a variety of ways as well.
Hybrid and white bass are eating at will all over lakes and rivers from 25-60 feet. Stay around bait and away from lake turnover, and use spoons, inline spinners or live bait to swimbaits and hair jigs.
(updated 11-10-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said fishing has been getting better on Greers Ferry Lake. Anglers are catching bass mostly on crankbaits like a Rock Crawler in a green crawfish color. They're also catching a few on jerkbaits. The jerkbait bite is happening around some schooling fish. Also, Alabama rigs have been working really well, too, in roughly about 15 feet of water. The lake level is anywhere from 7.5 to 8 feet low. The water clarity is clear. You might find some stain in the upper river arms. The lower pool is not hurting the bite in the main lake, but be advised: If you are running the rivers, there is standing timber just below the water level. Boaters have said it can be treacherous in spots, so be careful running the rivers and creek arms.
If you're looking for crappie, they are in 20-25 feet of water and biting on drop-shot mjinnows and on 2-inch swimbaits with an eighth-ounce jighead.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-17-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports the valve is open, letting the lake drain some into the hunting area/Wildlife Management Area next to the lake. Water had been down anyway from the drought conditions. The clarity has improved though and was "fairly clear" by the end of this week.
Crappie have been biting off and on, with some good catches when the crappie turn on. Most of the anglers are catching them about 2 feet below the surface, though one other angler had some success just about a foot down. Fish should be moving to the deeper channels as the water drops. Live minnows and jigs are working best. Plastic worms might get a response from deep bass, but there were no reports on bass or any other species but crappie this week.
(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 3 p.m. Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 12,106 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.78 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 0 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 11,675 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 12,579 cfs. The elevation is 249.15 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.30 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 12,339 cfs.
(updated 11-17-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says Rat-L-Traps and jerkbaits are working for bass, and also a spinnerbait and Chatterbaits are catching them behind jetties and in 5-8 feet depth around baitfish. Bass are really relating to the baitfish in the river.
The water level might be a little bit low, but the clarity clear to stained for the river. There has been a little push of water this week.
Crappie are kind of in the same areas as the bass. They're being caught behind the cuts and the jetties. There have been catches behind the jetties in 10-15 water, with the crappie favoring solid chartreuse crappie jigs, as well as white/chartreuse and blue/chartreuse combo colors.
(updated 11-17-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) that when there is flow, skipjack is what to use for the catfish at Murray Lock and Dam, but there hasn’t been much flow of late. Fishing has been overall slow on the river with deer hunting and weather changes. Last week, it appeared crappie were starting to do better and the white bass were chasing shad.
(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.
(update 11-17-2022) 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 11-17-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Winter has arrived. After a week of some frigid mornings and a light snow Saturday night, we may see a few days with daytime temperatures a little more conducive to spending time outdoors. It's best to check the nighttime low temperatures rather than the daytime highs when planning your fishing trip. Dress in layers for the lowest temperatures and remove layers as the day warms up.”
Bull Shoals Lake is 4.5 feet below power pool and still dropping; daily releases have been at minimum flow or very low flows (less than one unit) during the early morning hours rising to three or four units (9,000 to 12,000 cfs) later in the day.
“It's good to know that the air temp doesn't affect the trout bite. Rainbows have been attracted to, and hitting on, pumped up nightcrawlers for the shore anglers. If you're able to float the river and choose to fish a deep hole for a while, drop a hook with shrimp and garlic-scented PowerBait (try orange first) as near to the bottom as possible. Fresh river minnows are the ticket for good-sized ’bows.
“Drift anglers had luck with a No. 5 rainbow and brook trout Rapala Countdowns and with 1/6-ounce Rooster Tails, gold blades and orange bodies, chartreuse and black skirts. We even had some luck with the Rebel Wee Craw, although it seems pretty late in the season.
“It never hurts to tie on a favorite lure and test the waters. We've had to fight for the browns. River guides have tried all the tricks in their tackle boxes to get the attention of the spawning browns. Turns out the best bites were on small to medium-sized sculpins or on an olive size 8 Woolly Bugger.
“Be careful out there. Stay warm. And keep anglin'. See you at the river."
(updated 11-17-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said fishing has been consistent over the last week with river levels varying between 3-7 feet. “Old Man Winter has made his presence felt with the cold temperatures and snow. Layer your clothes so you can add or remove layers as needed.”
Inline spinners with sunrise Power Eggs with shrimp continue to work well. During the periods of lower water, quarter-ounce spoons, Rooster Tails and Rapala Countdowns have success. When the water is higher, throwing Shad Raps (shad color) has worked well.
The changing river levels can make fishing challenging at times, but hang in there, the conditions will change again. Fishing is best if you recognize the river is starting to rise and if you can stay in front of the rising water.
(updated 11-17-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had rain, sleet and snow (about a quarter of an inch in Cotter), cold temperatures (to include winter storm warnings) and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 4.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at 7 feet below power pool and 21 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5.2 feet below power pool or 14.8 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, there had been little wadable water and higher flows during periods of peak power demand. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had little wadable water.
With the current lake levels in the White River system, anglers should expect lower flows and more wadable water. However, with the cold temperatures, expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released.
In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. This section of the White River will reopen on Feb. 1.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. “We have had higher flows 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 cerise San Juan worm with an orange egg dropper,” John said.
John added, “One of my biggest problems as a guide is to remember everything. I have to make sure that I have everything that I will need before I leave the ramp when I am fishing from my boat or my car when I am wading. I have to have a lot of gear and keeping up with it is a full-time job.
“In the boat, everything is critical because you may be far from home when you realize that you have forgotten something. This can begin on the ramp. There has been more than one time where I backed my boat into the river and went to push it off the trailer only to discover that I did not remove the tie downs before backing into the water. I have to move back up the ramp far enough for me to walk to the back of the boat and remove the tie downs. This usually occurs when another guide is waiting to use the ramp.
“Then, of course, there is the ultimate rookie mistake: forgetting to put in the plug. Here again, you don’t notice this until you back your boat into the water. Yes, I did this once but that was a long time ago. The new regulation from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission requiring that you remove the plug from the boat when you leave the water makes it more likely to make this error. I used to keep my plug in all the time. Now I always check the plug before launching.
“Something that I have forgotten several times is the boat net. I don’t realize this until my client hooks a fish and I go to release it. If I am fishing by myself, this is not much of a problem. I can just hand-release it, but a client expects you to use a net, particularly if they want a photograph. A net is also much easier on the fish. They can come in quicker and are not handled as much.
“Then there are polarized sunglasses. I usually don’t realize this until I turn into the sun on my way to the river. This usually occurs when I am short on time and can’t go back home without being late, and that is unacceptable to me. Navigating the river whether in the boat or wading is much easier with polarized sunglasses. I have called my wife, Lori, to bring them to me at lunch.
“Forgetting to fill your fuel tank is a real problem. If you are on the river and run out of gas, you are in trouble. This has never happened to me. I use the same fuel in my lawn mower and my outboard motor: premium ethanol-free. I keep a big full gas can in my garage and top off my fuel tank before I leave the house every time I head to the river.
“All of these problems can be avoided by remembering to prevent them. This gets harder the older that I get.”
Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had little wadable water.
With the current lake levels in the White River system, anglers should expect lower flows and more wadable water. However, with the cold temperatures, expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
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 eighteen 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. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.”
(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 654.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam Thursday afternoon was 3,193 cfs, with constant generation over the past two days ranging from 1,958 cfs to 12,058 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 909.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of as much as 13,249 at 11 a.m. Thursday, dropping down to 20 by 2 p.m. There was seven hours of generation Wednesday ranging from 2,194 to 13,276 cfs for easing down to 20 by midnight.
(updated 11-17-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday the lake level is 654 feet msl, or 4 feet below normal pool. The water temperature is 59 degrees. Unseasonably cold weather patterns have the shads starting to ball up. Little generational still has them spread out and moving out deeper, 40-50 feet, and in the middle of hollows and creeks. There is a notable difference in water clarity throughout the lake.
There are plenty of fish on the shoreline. If there’s wind and clouds, make sure you are covering water where the wind hits square on the shoreline. Hopefully on a point, chunk or ledge rock. Close to deeper water. Use a Spro Crawler, wiggle wart, a Flopper, square bill or spinnerbait. You’ll have to keep moving to find them, but when you do there’s usually a couple close by.
Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water. The jig bite is starting to get better in 10-20 feet as the sun gets up. Target deeper (25-30 feet) points with brush in 25-35 feet of water.
The offshore deep bite is slowly getting better. Shad are still spread out. Target bigger bait balls and shad becomes the structure. There are wolf packs of smallmouth grouped up if you can run into them. It’s not uncommon to double-up. A single swimbait or jerkbait around those high swimming shad will work. Drop-shot or moon-eye with a Tater Shad on the finicky fish. A Jewel Scope Shad or jigging Rap on schoolers and suspenders. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon for those bottom dwellers.
Each day is different, so 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 552.35 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 3 p.m. Thursday was 1,276 cfs. Wednesday saw 6+ hours of generation (6-midnight) averaging 3,300 cfs.
(updated 11-17-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.53 feet msl and has dropped about 10 inches in the last week with just a few hours of generation per day. The surface water temperature is 62 degrees and has dropped 5 degrees since last Thursday, which is a very fast temp drop. The main lake and the creeks have about the same clarity and you can see your lure down 4-5 feet in the sunshine and less on cloudy days.
“I have been catching some large crappie but not high numbers, which is not uncommon for cold weather. Open water fishermen have been catching schooled temperate bass about 40-45 feet down at various depths on the spoon, but most are white bass and are small. Some stripers in the 5- to 8-pound range are with them. They are looking hard for them with more looking than finding.
“The crappie start biting about 4 p.m. for a few minutes and then quit again at dark.
“Overall, fishing is just fair with the cold fronts that just keep coming. Some black bass are near the shore on main lake points just inside brushpiles. The cold north or northwest winds and temperatures struggling to get out of the 30s have not made for the best fishing conditions, but some nice fish are being caught in the January-like weather.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
(updated 11-17-2022) 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 11-17-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had little wadable water. With the current lake levels in the White River system, anglers should be seeing lower flows and more wadable water. However, with the cold temperatures, there has been heavy generation during peak power demand.
Therefore, it’s been less wadable water on the Norfork in the mornings. 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). John says his 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. With school in session, the creek is not as busy. Weekends can get a quite crowded, however. 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 11-17-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing poorly. With colder temperatures, the smallmouths are less active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,114.87 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). A 6+hour release starting at 6 a.m. Thursday morning averaged 3,900 cfs. The Corps released about 3,800 cfs between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 11-17-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, we went from spring like temps and in a flash of the eye straight to winter. Wow! That’s Arkansas weather for ya! Not much to report on as it has been really cold and frozen this week. One thing for sure, the water temps are tumbling down at a very fast rate, which will probably shut the fish down a bit until it stabilizes. Then fishing should get good.”
When that happens, he says, stripers will migrate south and school up anywhere from Prairie Creek south up into the river arms. Crappie will load up on brushpiles in any structure in 15-25 feet deep. Fishing winter for crappie is really good. You need to dress for conditions and, if you do, you can put together some nice limits.
The water levels continue to drop, and “now we are hitting levels that we have not flirted with in many years. My advice is make sure you have a good idea where you are running your boat. Lots of hazards are starting to come into play. One tip is to use your tracks and trails feature when running in unfamiliar water and use them on the way back out. With the water getting cold and hazards in play, make sure you wear a PFD device. You can easily get thrown out of boat if you hit something solid.
“So basically I do not have a report except the fact it has been cold with two snow days already. It seems this may be a long winter. Let’s hope for some more moderate temps in coming weeks – 18 degrees for lows and 30s for highs do not sit well with me in first weeks of November. Next week does look better and I will be out starting this weekend with a couple striper trips. Good luck and stay safe and warm!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 11-17-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said it’s quiet. The lake is normal level but our pressure very light. They are catching stripers on the upper end of the lake.
Water temperature is at a great point for the stripers to be active, it’s getting to be in the high 50s. Anglers are using brooder minnows and a hodge-podge of trolling baits (cranks, and keep a topwater handy). Stripers are termed fair though at times it can be “pretty good.” They’re feeding on threadfin shad. Stripers are moving upstream, around Point 12. “They’re doing their normal winter thing,” Southtown reports. “People are catching fish, there is just not a lot of people out.”
Crappie fishing is “all right, just the pressure is light. But a few are catching fish.” Crappie are around brush and they’re pulling into cover anywhere to 7-8 feet down to 20 feet – wherever they find the cover, and along channel edges.
Very little reports on black bass have come in. With the temperature moving into the 50s, black bass are moving into deeper areas. Some anglers are throwing crankbaits and spinnerbaits for them. Catfish also have gotten quiet.
“Anglers are tooling up for ducks and chasing deer,” they report.
The lake level is just a little below normal pool for mid-November and is clear. “The lake looks beautiful,” they report.
(updated 11-17-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “WOW! It feels as if it is winter already! With this latest shot of arctic air this week, that turned on the bite in the tailwater. Not saying that the tailwater has not been producing, because it has been. The issue has been the very low water levels and the limited places to fish from a boat. However, if you are able to get a boat in the water, keep to the deeper pockets.
“Most of our fish have been caught using Pautzke Fire Eggs and Fire Worms, with the fall bite. Using light terminal tackle, fish the eggs on bottom and, if able, drift the worms. Most of our fish have been caught near Houseman Access this week.
“If your still searching for the walleye, Beaver town is the place to be, even up to Holiday Island. Using many methods, the best has been jigging soft plastics and live minnows. Look for these fish in 10-15 feet of water.
“A side note, Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service is one of the nominees for the "Best of NW Arkansas Award 2022". If you happen to find yourself on www.votebestnwa.com and you go under the "Things to do" tab, then click on "Fishing guide," you might consider giving us a vote! Like always, for additional information, please follow my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates. Stay warm, and catch some fish!”
(updated 11-17-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said it has been a slow week overall for fishing, though a lot of anglers have been fishing for crappie and catching them on hair jigs and plastic jigs. Nobody is using minnows. And that's about it for all species this week. "It seems to be quiet," they said. The water temperature went down, so the crappie bite picked up. Water temperature at the small lake changes fast; they did not had the most recent temp, but it snowed in the area between Thursday-Friday. The lake levelis normal.
(updated 11-17-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
(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 11-3-2022) 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 11-17-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) is closed for the winter and will reopen in February.
(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 11-17-2022) 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 falling at 7.60 feet, about 7.5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was slightly up to 5.85 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was also up about a half-foot to 16.67 feet, or about 9.3 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-10-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said 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 15,602 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.50 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 13,460 cfs.
(updated 11-17-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new reports from the river.
(updated 11-17-2022) 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 259.67 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 1,970 cfs, down from earlier releases of about 3,000 cfs this week.
(updated 11-17-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, the lake is 7 inches above normal pool and rising. Clarity worsened this week along Little River and oxbows from recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 3,034 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake with discharge rates and fluctuations in Little River flow.
Surface temps dropped this week, ranging 53-60 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River was slightly more stained from storms this week, and further up Little River with river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows was normal stain, visibility ranged 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 USACE is monitoring.
Mike provided these fishing specifics from this week:
* Largemouth bass and spotted bass action has been very good to excellent, and they’ve been actively chasing threadfin shad over the past several weeks with aggressive feeding in Little River and the oxbows. Hot spots include creek mouths dumping or 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 midday into late afternoon over the past couple weeks. Good bass activity continues happening throughout midday on square-bill cranks, shad imitation custom painted Bent Pole Little John cranks, Bandit Splatterback Cranks, Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps and SpinTraps finessed through the pads.
The numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult-size classes of largemouths are still ganged up in many locations, and are chasing and blowing threadfin shad up and out of the water at surface feeding. Better aggressiveness returned again over the past couple of weeks with cooler mornings that dropped water surface temps another 5-10 degrees, along 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.
Shad have begun moving deeper into creek channels over the past week in search of continued warmer surface water temperatures, and the largemouth and Kentucky bass are following. Creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River over the past couple weeks have given up several schools of largemouth, Kentucky and also white bass.
Good action was 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.
The activity seems to improve again once the sun gets up over the tree line from 11 a.m. through the afternoon in the oxbows. The schooling bass were continually chasing and surface feeding on the threadfin shad, and eagerly hitting medium-diving crankbaits like custom painted Little John Square Bills, Bill Lewis MR-6 or SB-57 square bill, and Bandit or Bomber Fat Free Guppy and Fingerlings Crankbaits working across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 deep creek channel swings, and on primary and secondary points dumping into Little River. Bomber Fat Free Guppy 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 dump 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.
* We found a few groups of 2- 3-pound white bass and hybrids breaking on shad along Little River near Hurricane Creek, and the White Cliffs USACE campground over the 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 Traps, vertical-jigging spoons, and custom painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppy and Bandit 200 Crankbaits along Little River. Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/black back and chrome/blue back hooked 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 whites this week from 8-12 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 in the standing timber at creek mouths, and on flats adjacent to deeper vertical structure 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 Spoon into the schooling whites and largemouth bass connected with rapid fire action.
* The crappie bite continues to be very good along Little River, Bee Lake, Pugh Slough and in the oxbows over the past several weeks! Little River has been holding good groups of nice size 2- to 2.25-pound black and white crappie willing to bite minnows over the past week in 12-17 feet depth in Bee Lake among the planted brush, and along Little River.
* Bream continued biting well this week about 10-12 feet deep along Little River in brushpiles on worms, according to several bream fishermen we visited with along Little River near the mouth of Horseshoe and at the second entrance to Hurricane Creek.
* 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's 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 537.20 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.82 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-17-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he’s finding the same kind of conditions and fishing in the Hot Springs area lakes all the way to DeGray Lake. DeGray’s water temperature is tumbling to winter-time numbers. All species of fish are heading for the deep channels. Use a vertical presentation of jigs and spoons near 35-45 feet deep structure for crappie. Tipping your jig or spoon with a minnow or worm can reap the less aggressive crappie. Present your bait slow and methodical for the expected light bite. Line watching is a must. Stay safe. Cold water is even more dangerous … Fish ON.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 435.37 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 521.95 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 11-17-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Thursday that anglers are catching some black bass (ranging 5-6 pounds) on Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits on the low end of the lake. They are also catching a lot of small crappie. Some crappie are 11-12 inches with an occasional 15-incher in the bucket. All are being hooked near the bottom of the lake. Jigs and minnows are working. Donald says he sells a lot of Bobby Garland Jigs there, especially Monkey Milk and Ice Outs. “Anything with chartreuse, the crappie are hitting on it. It’s crappie season now, and next week, with the deer hunters back out on the lake, it should be just about right.”
He’s heard no reports on bream or catfish on the lake. However, anglers are catching catfish on the Arkansas River, which is about 10 miles from Atkins. He’s had catfishers coming in buying worms and stink bait lately.
The lake is clear and is still low, about 4 feet below regular pool.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 11-17-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam has dropped to 47 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Mid-November marks the return of the fall trout stocking program in Lake Catherine’s tailwater, which will create a solid fishing environment for the public. The first stocking of rainbow trout of 1,400 fish is now in the lake. Trout are widely scattered from the bridge to the dam and being caught in the shoals by fly-fishermen casting micro-jigs in black and white under a strike indicator.
Trout key in on the shad kill this time of year as freezing temperatures stun threadfin shad in Lake Hamilton and these baitfish are drawn through the turbines and scattered throughout the tailrace area. Flies that imitate injured shad will draw immediate strikes from hungry rainbows. Spin fishermen using PowerBaits and lures that represent fleeing crayfish will also catch trout that are searching for prey.
The next stocking will take place sometime in early December with numbers upward of 2,800 fish. 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, after a slow September and October.
The annual lake drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine is now complete with each lake drawn down 5 feet. Refilling will begin somewhere between March 1-8 with the process expected to be 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 when on the water and follow all lake and park regulations when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.33 feet msl and the tailwater was at 285.91 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.)
(updated 11-17-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he’s finding the same kind of conditions and fishing in the Hot Springs area lakes all the way to DeGray Lake. At Hamilton, which having a 5-foot drawdown for the winter, the water temperature is also falling to winter-time numbers. All species of fish are heading for the deep channels. Use a vertical presentation of jigs and spoons near 35-45 feet deep structure. Tipping your jig or spoon with a minnow or worm can reap the less aggressive. Present your bait slow and methodical for the expected light bite. Line watching is a must. Stay safe. Cold water is even more dangerous … Fish ON.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.48 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 568.88 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-17-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Try a jig fished from 15-25 feet. No reports on walleye. Stripers are good. Live bait is working the best; try the central part of the lake for best opportunities at these fish. Crappie are still very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 20-35 feet deep. No reports on bream or catfish. The water temperature dropping to a range of 56-60 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is up slightly from last week, at 568.89 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 11-17-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the water temp is definitely dropping to winter-time numbers. All species of fish are heading for the deep channels. Use a vertical presentation of jigs and spoons near 35-45 feet deep structure. Tipping your jig or spoon with a minnow or worm can reap the less aggressive. Present your bait slow and methodical for the expected light bite. Line watching is a must. Stay safe. Cold water is even more dangerous … Fish ON.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.32 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 a slight rise to 13.13 feet, still almost 13 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-17-2022) 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.