Jan. 12, 2023
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: It's not every day we get a photo sent in to the Weekly Fishing Report of a sauger, nor do we hear a whole lot about sauger being caught in the Arkansas River unless it's from around the Morrilton area. But James Clingan sent us a photo this week of his girlfriend, Ashley, and her first catch ever, a sauger caught at Lock and Dam 5 on the Arkansas River. "It's her very first catch. Talk about excited, James said.
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
Lake Conway is currently in its annual winter pool drawdown from normal seasonal level. For the most updated lake level, visit the US Geological Survey's Lake Conway water level site.
(updated 1-12-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said it’s still all about crappie, although the lake has dropped some because of a problem with a couple of the gates (the lake is 3.5 inches below the winter pool level). Anglers are still going up to Gold Creek and catching crappie (on Wednesday, there wasn’t a parking spot available midday with everyone out, but Thursday’s cooler, windy weather cut into the crowd). Also, they are fishing under the Highway 89 bridge as usual and going up to Palarm Creek, too. Jigs and minnows are the go-tos, but anglers are using “a little bit of everything,” they report. You want something around 1- to 3-inch in style.
Catfish have been good and the shop is selling lots of the usual catfish bait, such as nightcrawlers, trotline minnows, bass minnows, stink bait, shad, skipjack and chicken liver.
Bass fishing has still be slow of late. Customers are buying baitfish, crankbaits or spinnerbaits for bass fishing. A few bream are being caught on redworms and crickets, and they’ve sold a few hand-tied jigs (Danamax seems the preferable jig for bream).
The lake is the normal Conway stain.
(updated 1-5-2023) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said anglers are headed to Gold Creek area for the best crappie bite. They’re fishing with both jigs and minnows and, at least last Saturday, they were bringing home limits of crappie.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday. Generation reached 2,846 cfs between 7-8 p.m. Wednesday. Greers Ferry Lake is 1.8 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 1-12-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Southwestern Power Administration is running a little bit of water early in the mornings, and the result is that midmorning fishing has been good for both browns and rainbows. Anglers are using jerkbaits in a gold color and also a Rapala No. 7 Countdown in gold or brown trout color, and also throwing the Trout Magnet Trout Worm in pink color. The water might be a little stained in some parts but is mostly clear.
(updated 1-12-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said, “We’re still experiencing low water conditions on the Little Red. Water release/generation is sporadic, with multiple days of zero water release. This pattern makes it challenging for boaters but provides wading opportunities on all sections of the river.
“We are currently in spawning season for our brown trout, so be careful when wading to not step on the spawning beds (the redds) that are made in loose gravel on shoals. Always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water release. Midges, egg patterns, small pheasant tails and soft hackles are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, we recommend pink, white and cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads.”
Check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 1-12-2023) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is 1.3 feet below the power pool with all the rain received last week. The Southwestern Power Administration has been running some water and the fish are definitely liking it. There's been a consistent generation schedule as of now. Sometimes they run in the morning, and sometimes it’s an afternoon generation schedule. Check the USACE Little Rock app before heading out. And also check the release feature in case they run water unexpectedly.
The hot fly seems to be a San Juan worm or egg patterns underneath an indicator. The streamer bite is good now that there is running water.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 1-12-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is back up. It had been on a steady, slow rise for a while, and now some on and off generation is taking place. So this week it has settled at 460.80 feet msl; that’s 1.24 below normal pool of 462.04 feet. Water temperature ranges 49-53 degrees.
Bass fishing is good all over. Try to stay away from the most stained areas unless you want to fish in that type of water – try to stay in medium stained and throw Wiggle Warts, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, A-rigs or drag a football head or hop a jig off that second drop. Deeper fish can be caught on Carolina rig as well as football head, and remember that this time of year some are right on the bank. Also, some topwater baits working.
Crappie fishing is great all over but, remember, they have moved with water now – new puzzle. Straight up and down or troll. Casting works, also. Live bait, crankbaits, jigs.
The river walleye spawners are on the move, for sure, but will eat big crankbaits trolled 15-40 feet. The lake walleye are best with a jighead minnow straight up and down or down-riggers with big cranks down to 50 feet.
Hybrid and white bass will eat two or three times a day now or sometimes all day from 40-80 feet, in turns or off of turns in deeper guts. Use hair jigs, spoons, swimbaits, inline spinners or live bait for best results.
No reports on bream or catfish.
Tommy adds, “Remember, Jan. 20-22: Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. both days, and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., it’s the 41st Annual Arkansas Marine Expo at the State House Convention Center in Little Rock. The event will have everything under one roof for the water, fishing to skiing and all in between. Come on out and enjoy, see you there.”
(updated 1-12-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said most people catching bass on an Alabama rig or crankbait in a crawfish color. Also, they’re finding success with a football jig (½- or ¾ ounce) in PB&J color. Fish are being caught in 15-25 feet depth, as well as catching them by throwing crankbaits at the bank and reeling them in.
Clarity of the main lake is clear but up into creeks, anglers might run into a little stained water. The lake level is about 1 foot low.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-5-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water temperature was on the rise. The water level is higher than in was in the most recent report, now up 2 foot high. The clarity is muddy, “there is no real color,” they said. The crappie anglers are out early before sunrise and back at it after 4 p.m., catching good numbers of crappie and “decent-sized” ones. They report some crappie ranging 13-15 inches in length, with weights from 1.5 to 2 pounds. Use your favorite Bobby Garland Jig; the crappie at Harris Brake Lake seem to favor the Shiny Hiney or Crystal colors, but warning: there was a big run on Crystal at the bait shop, so you might want to look elsewhere for the time being. Use your jig with a one-sixteenth-ounce jighead. Also, anglers are using minnows. One boating angler, they report, hooked a crappie 15.5 inches in length and weighing almost 2 pounds.
But maybe the most excitement for one angler was landed a crappie tagged by the AGFC and worth $100, they say.
White bass are jumping around and fairly easy to catch now, they report, with the regular jigs working well for them, too. Crappie minnows appear to be good bait now for largemouth bass.
Some folks were trying a noodle to land some catfish in recent days to no avail. No other reports came in.
(updated 1-5-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said, "The water levels are higher than they have been since last spring, I believe. The rain has kicked up a lot of murky water. It's throwing the fish off, but I believe by Friday the water temp will even out more and make for a better fishing day.
“Crappie are really liking the pink minnows. And if you're jig fishing, then try white with red or black tips and chartreuse tails. Redworms for bream, and catfish haven't made an appearance that I know of yet.
“Y’all remember to have your life jackets if not on your body at least by your side. The high water levels may be hiding stumps – if you're trolling around, be careful. You can always call me (501-242-1437) and I will let you know what the fish are doing at that time. Also, you can check out the Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for temperature and humidity updates.”
(updated 1-5-2023) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water level is up by 1 foot and clarity is murky. Johnny was unsure on surface temperature. “Not anything to report, seems like nobody is getting out at the moment. Things should start turning around soon.”
(update 1-12-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, crappie are over brushpiles in 6-7 feet depth and the bite is fair to middlin’. Real stuff or the tricolor jigs are the way to go.
Black bass, for some reason, sunset is the best time to catch them right when it’s turning dark. Try a Tequila sunrise worm, but they are hitting on minnows too. Also anything white and spinning. Fish at 3-4 feet depth right off the bank.
Catfish like the goldfish and stink bait. David says he’s been selling out of worms so that tells him the bream are biting, too.
(updated 1-12-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) had no new fishing reports. The lake level is down significantly as Central Arkansas Water lowers the lake to eliminate some of the hydrilla in the lake. Access in early December was reported as “iffy” from the ramps.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 22,681 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is 10.59 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 9,136 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-12-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the main thing going on at the Little Maumelle is the crappie fishing. “The crappie are doing real good. I caught a bunch yesterday afternoon myself,” Ray says. He was fishing 7-8 feet deep and using jigs fishing late in the day. He says they’re biting really early or real late, with nothing during the day.
The water is clear and at a normal level.
Anglers fishing further up from the marina caught some black bass but didn’t mention the baits used. Ray says he’d term the bass bite on the river as decent. Some redear have been caught in the past few days using redworms fished right on the bottom.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 25,098 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 23,509 cfs. The elevation is 249.10 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.51 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.
(updated 1-12-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says they haven’t heard a lot of news from the river, but the current is good and the water level is about normal. Most anglers have been catching crappie behind the jetties and into some of the entrances into the backwaters. They are catching crappie on red/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse and white/chartreuse jigs. The water is a little bit stained on the river.
(updated 1-5-2023) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said that mainly what they’ve heard is the catfish are biting off the Murray Lock and Dam by the hydroelectric plant area on skipjack. They’ve heard no other reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
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 1-12-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said these milder temperatures have made for some nice days on the river. The dingy water cleared up by Saturday and fishing was good. Fishermen were having success using silver inline spinners with two sunrise Power Eggs topped with a thumbnail-size piece of shrimp. Quarter-ounce spoons in either nickel or gold or Rapala Countdowns (rainbow trout or silver) worked well in the shallow water. Additionally, Shad Raps worked well in the deeper holes. “Going into the weekend, we are expecting some cooler mornings with highs in the 50s. Layer your clothing so you can take off layers as the day warms up. Stay safe, and happy fishing."
(updated 1-12-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a trace in Cotter, cold temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell remained steady at 2.2 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 38.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below power pool and 16.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.3 foot at 1.9 feet below power pool or 11.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water and more moderate flows. Norfork Lake rose 0.2 foot to rest at power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through 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.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals,” John said. “We have had some lower flows that have fished 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 also said, “My wife, Lori, and I got married on New Year’s Eve. I chose that date because I could remember it. In addition, as a CPA, there were certain tax advantages that I wanted to utilize. We have since had 21 years of marital bliss.
“We got married in a small chapel on the Little River in Townsend, Tennessee, and spent our honeymoon fly-fishing in the Smokey Mountains. This year Lori wanted me to do something romantic for our anniversary. I took her fishing!
“I followed our usual habit of me loading my river boat and driving over to Rim Shoals, while Lori fed and walked our Labrador retrievers, Tilley and Ghillie. When I was loading the boat, I noticed that I was a little chilled and went in the house and got a warmer full down coat.
“When I got to the river, I pulled two rods out of my Suburban. One was rigged with a cerise San Juan worm and an orange egg dropper (my high-water rig) and the other had a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper (my low-water rig). I put them in the boat and launched. I stayed near the ramp and fished until Lori arrived a couple of minutes later. It was 38 degrees with an overcast sky; the water was low (about a half a generator) and stained from the recent rain.
“We began fishing. Lori took the rod with the pheasant tail nymph and ruby midge, while I took the San Juan worm and egg. We began catching trout almost immediately, five in the first drift. It became apparent that the most trout were being hooked on the orange egg.
“Lori hooked a huge fish. It was the biggest sucker that I had ever seen. At the same time, I hung up on the bottom. It is standard procedure to motor up stream until your boat is above the spot where the fly is caught. You then just pull it out. It works about 90 percent of the time. As I was attempting this maneuver, Lori broke off the big sucker. I was able to retrieve my fly. It gave us a chance to put an orange egg on Lori’s rig.
“We replaced the missing fly with an orange egg. Lori began catching more trout. In fact, she was out-fishing me. It did not bother me at all. By this time I had caught a dozen, which was all I needed. I cranked in my line and put my rod in the bait tray. I spent the rest of the morning watching her catch trout after trout. She is an accomplished caster and an intense angler.
“She is my love and my fishing buddy, and I realized how lucky I was to have married her.”
(updated 1-12-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Welcome 2023! White River anglers are greeting these mild January temperatures in shirtsleeves and sunscreen. Always come prepared for a change in the thermometer, though; the calendar still says this is winter. Bull Shoals Lake has risen about 3.5 feet over the last few weeks from the rain received during the holidays, so releases to the river have been steady and welcome, averaging around 2,500 cfs during that time period. The lake level is 656.83 feet msl, back down to 3 feet below power pool.
“This is the year to make fishing fun again. Shouldn't be a lot of work; ought to be a time of relaxation and indulgence. Leave the performance standards at the car and enjoy every minute you can on the river.
“Traffic on the river has been light while we spend time with family around the Christmas tree. Expect a pretty consistent catch as anglers return slowly over the next week with the rainbows preferring shad imitators (start with most anything white) and peach-colored egg patterns. The brown trout spawn is nearing the finish line – many are returning to their home beds – and the bite is increasing as they're looking to replace mass lost during spawn.
“Rooster Tails, gold blades, orange bodies appeal to the browns as they continue moving back to their home bases. Fresh sculpins and minnows are a welcome treat. Happy new year!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Flow on Thursday midday was 1,868 cfs, and tailwater elevation was 452.14 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-12-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the Bull Shoals water level 656 feet msl, or about 2 feet below normal pool. The lake came up a little. Water temperature Thursday was 48 degrees, give or take. "Fishing is good. Shallow guys, there are plenty of fish on the bank. If there are wind and clouds, I’m covering water where the wind hits square on the bank – hopefully on a point, chunk rock, steep bank or ledge rock. I’m saying close to deeper water. A Spro Crawler, Wiggle Wart, Red Craw or green variations. You’ll have keep moving to find them, but when you do there’s usually a few close.
"There are always fish to be caught on a jig. If it’s flat, try sunny points with brush or ledges 30-40 feet. The winter patterns are working. Offshore video gaming. Shad are still spread out; target bigger bait balls and shad becomes the structure. Creek hollers, 50-90 feet overall depth. Every day every creek will be different. Watching the loons and graph time pays off this time of year. Use a single 2.8 white swimbait or jerkbait or flutter spoon around those high swimming shad balls. It’s usually best early or late in the day when shad are up in the water column. If they are being finicky, hang a Tater Shad over the side. For schooling fish, use a Jewel Scope or spin a Jigging Rap. Jewel Scuba Spoon for the bottom dwellers. Lots of different species showing up out there in the middle of the lake. 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 553.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Flow below the dam Thursday midday was 3,061 cfs.
(updated 1-12-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 553.76 feet msl and stable, and they are regulating closely to the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet and showing no signs of a lake drawdown so far this winter. The surface water temperature is 51 degrees and rising slowly with the warm weather this week. The water is clearing slowly and you can see your lure down about 5 feet. The main issue has been the morning fog the last few days and it is lasting until after 10 a.m. and reducing visibility to almost 0 on the lake and making it very dangerous for people trying to navigate with GPS. Trollers are catching several stripers in the 5- to 9-pound range dragging stuff through schools of shad near Mallard Point. Bass fishing is picking up on brush during the day and moving to windblown shoreline in the late evening. The big crappie are biting very slowly during the day and move up shallow to feed from about 4 p.m. until just before dark. Some are near the bank with the bass. Bluegill fishing is slow, as is catfishing, but a few are being caught.
Overall, fishing is fair to good 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 1-5-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new reports, but Lou posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 1-12-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.2 foot to rest at power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). 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’s 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 a bit better. 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.
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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-12-2023) 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 much 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 1,118.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The release at the dam Thursday was 20 cfs.
(updated 1-12-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-253-3474) said Beaver Lake level is stable and remains 3 feet under normal pool. This last week has warmed lake to upper 40s. The fishing was pretty good for stripers and crappie. Stripers are located from Point 12 up to the Prairie Creek area. Look for shad and watch for birds. They will show you where to fish. Trolling live bait, either shad or brooders, were putting some nice-sized fish in boats last week. Crappie are good and are hanging in structure located on main channel in 12-25 feet of water. Jigs and minnows will work. Also, the bigger fish are suspended near shad schools and are there for the picking if you have the electronics to do that. Walleye will start their movement up into the main river arms in the next few weeks. Stay safe and good luck!
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 1-12-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing is fairly active on the lake. Anglers are still catching a lot of crappie. They’re armed with their LiveScope and throwing both jigs and minnows with solid results. The walleye are on the move. Anglers report catching a few on the White River. Stripers are fair in the lake; brood minnows are the bait now. They haven’t heard much to report on catfish or perch. Black bass are fair and responding to hair jigs, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits.
(updated 1-12-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the water levels in the tailwater are still slowly rising. With that, more fishing ground is being opened up to access by boat. The bite has waxed and waned, but overall it has been good. Most fish are being caught with Pautzke Fire Eggs and Fire Worms (drifting). Various dough baits have also produced nice numbers as well. Quarter-ounce spoons are also producing nice numbers as well. Try looking for the deeper holes when the Corps of Engineers is not generating.
“This week’s hot spot has still been just above Houseman Access. We have been looking for the walleye up toward Holiday Island. Nothing to impressive, but a few males are being caught, most of them are shorts. Jigging soft plastics and live minnows have been the preferred methods. Try looking for flats and drop-offs and fishing those areas. “Bundle up, as it is going to get cold again. Good luck and catch some fish! Like always, for additional information, please follow my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates.”
(updated 1-12-2023) After a Christmas break, Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) will reopen Saturday, Jan. 14.
(updated 1-12-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had no new reports.
(updated 1-12-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported Lake Poinsett is full with bream and catfish able to be caught at state limits, according to AGFC. Bream have been biting on nightcrawlers toward the bottom of the lake bed. Catfish anglers “have been pretty silent about their success, but I bet you could catch a few on livers,” he says. Bass and crappie are still catch-and-release, but a few are being caught on jigs and some live minnows.
Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) is closed for the winter and will reopen in February. They are taking reservations on their answering machine for spring.
(updated 1-5-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels have been getting low at 320 cfs, and water clarity has been heavily green tinted. “Perfect conditions over the last week. A few weeks ago the river was very clear, but recent rains helped stain the water. Always check our blog for current river conditions. The warm weather this week has storms in the forecast, heavy rain can change river conditions,” he said.
The brown trout are biting with this warm up lately, with streamers, nymph rigs, tight lining and, heck – the browns are even eating the Y2Ks. The AGFC is really working to get browns in the Spring River. One of our browns was caught on the world famous bead-head olive Woolly Bugger, and on the swing, no doubt! A few bigger rainbows were rolling up on the flies, but stocking size has been smaller lately. Caddis and mayflies are hatching heavily with some dry fly action, but really good nymphing during hatches.
A few smallmouth have been caught lately, but they are few and far between. “The smallie bite should pick up as it gets colder. My most productive smallie setup during winter is a white lightning below an indicator. It really slows the presentation down and seems to work.
“Crazy nice weather for winter! Get out and enjoy it while it lasts!”
Check out Mark’s blog for latest fishing conditions at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 1-12-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is over. 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 falling 7.07, or 8 feet below flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 11.90 feet, more than a 4-foot drop from this time last week (flood stage is 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was down 3 feet from last week's reading at this time, now 25.12 and steady Thursday, less than 1 foot below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 1-12-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.
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 26,891 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is at 31.1 feet and falling (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 44,769 cfs.
(updated 1-12-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.
(updated 1-12-2023) 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 2025. The aforementioned forage and bream species will be stocked again in the fall of 2025, along with black crappie.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.88 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total hourly outflow at the dam over an 18-hour stretch up to midday Thursday was continuously around 4,101 cfs.
(updated 1-5-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday that Millwood Lake was at 259.4 feet msl, 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. Clarity went south over this past week, along Little River, and oxbows due to recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 3,500 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the US 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.
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 45-50 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River worsened further up Little River with river clarity ranging 2-3 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows was normal stain, visibility ranged 5-10 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.
Use caution when launching boat trailers at Yarbrough Ramp on the east side of the ramp due to broken concrete. Also note that the Millwood State Park marina is closed for the winter season until March 1. The state park is open for camping, and Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds are open for camping.
Mike provided these fishing specifics from the past few weeks on Millwood:
* The largemouth and spotted bass have finished up their schooling and surface breaking activities over the past couple weeks, and they were excellent for many weeks prior and were actively chasing shad with aggressive feeding in Little River and the oxbows. With the recent thunderstorms, increase in lake pool and muddy current flow conditions, the river population has all but shut down on the surface-breaking activity. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with lily pad stands, which were clear and a good target area a week ago, now have muddied up and most of the remaining living lily pads are all but gone. A few chunky 2- to 3-pound bass were the most aggressive at midday into late afternoon over the past few weeks and we’re finding those fish randomly in deeper creek channels still focused on following the threadfin shad to the backs of the creeks. The best bass activity shifted to later midday hitting square-bill cranks, shad imitation custom painted Bent Pole Little John Cranks, Bandit Splatterback Cranks, Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps and chrome/blue back SpinTraps finessed through the pads. The best water clarity and reaction from chunky bass have left the river and shifted to the back of the oxbows where the clarity is somewhat better, away from the current and muddy Little River over the past week from thunderstorms and inflow from recent runoff.
Shad continue seeking warmer water and are moving deeper into creek channels, and the largemouth and Kentucky bass are following these large groups and shad schools. Several groups and different age classes of largemouth continue to follow schools of threadfin shad into the backs of creeks almost all day. Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows along Little River had the best water clarity and the most aggressive largemouth and Kentucky (spotted) bass in recent weeks. Bass activity and action in the flats at White Cliffs nearly shut down with the muddy current along Little River. In the back of McGuire oxbow last week we were throwing a custom painted, shad colored Little John Cranks and a Bill Lewis SB-57 or MR-6 Crankbait in Millwood Magic and Tennessee Shad and picking up a few random bites.
* White bass have continued to follow the shad as well. We did find a few large schools of white bass over the past few weeks along Little River in the current above White Cliffs about 2 miles before getting to the mouth of McGuire oxbow lake. Those White Bass were in large number, ranging 2-3 pounds, and were biting well on Cordell Hammered Spoons, Bomber Tennessee Shad Crankbaits, Heddon Sonar Metal Blades and Rocket Shads. The spoons, Sonar blades and Rocket Shads seemed to work better by vertical-jigging in the school, letting the blade/spoon drop into the depth zone below the school, then ripping it up and letting it fall back into the school. The river was muddy and had a fair amount of current, but the schools were very obvious on your electronics and migrating up and along Little River. Many different schools continue roaming Little River (and the oxbows of Horseshoe and McGuire Lake) and have been caught for several weeks on Millwood Magic SpinTraps (Tailspinners) and Magnum three-quarter-ounce Mag 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, caught some 2-3 pound whites in McGuire over the past month.
* Crappie continue to be slow and random with no consistent bites the last couple weeks when the water clarity lake-wide went muddy from recent thunderstorms. Along Little River the visibility worsened when they opened the gates up 9,700 cfs.
* The catfish bite has been fairly good, especially with the increase of current along Little River. We visited with a couple catfish anglers up Little River over the past couple weeks who were running trotlines and having good responses from high-fin blues and channel cats using King's Punch Bait and catalpa worms set 12-15 feet deep across the Little River.
With the increase of discharge at the Millwood Dam and the tailwater elevation up over 10 feet from last week at the spillway, we visited with numerous anglers snagging and fishing at the spillway last week having good success with various species of catfish, along with snagging a few drum, gar and buffalo fishing from the rocks along the west side of the spillway. We saw numerous folks fishing along the west side of the spillway again this week and having good results.
No reports on bream.
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, at which time the 7,000-acre lake will be allowed to refill.
(updated 1-5-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported that the storm fronts that came through in recent days dropped more than 7 inches of rainfall on the area. “Our lake is still rising,” they reported Thursday, “it’s going over the spillway. The clarity is dingy. Fishing was tough today. Nobody had limits but we still caught some good crappie.”
All the crappie on Thursday were biting on hand-tied jigs in white-silver-white. Anglers were fishing in 16 feet of water, with some of the bigger crappie being hooked at 14 foot depth.
Anglers who went out for catfish were having a really good day, though, bringing in limits of catfish (blues and channels). They are using dip bait, as well as minnows. The cats are right on the bottom.
No reports on bass.
Water temperature Thursday was 56 and expected to rise into the weekend.
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 545.46 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.13 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 437.43 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.22 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 1-12-2023) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-251-3831) had no new reports
(updated 1-12-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) had no new reports.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 1-12-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 49 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is running water nearly every day, but the times are subject to demand and fluctuate from a few hours to all day depending on the situation. Anglers should plan on dealing with a current situation and plan accordingly. The 5-foot winter drawdown creates a dangerous environment when attempting to navigate the tailrace in current or zero flow. Numerous rocks and shallow sandbars dot the area, creating treacherous boating and wading. Extreme caution is advised by everyone using the tailrace, and the public is advised to be aware of the generation schedules posted every Wednesday on the Entergy website.
January marks the first big month of rainbow trout stocking with 9,300 fish scheduled for Lake Catherine. Trout are now 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 PowerBait and lures that represent fleeing crayfish will also catch trout that are searching for prey. Quality fishing is now happening in the tailrace as conditions have stabilized and the game fish have resumed a more normal bite pattern. The influx of healthy rainbow trout to the lake rejuvenates the tailrace to an earlier scenario of quality fishing.
It is important to note that dramatic drops in temperature greatly affect the trout bite in a negative way. It can take days for a regular bite pattern to resume after a big drop in temperature, so anglers need to be aware. Entergy will schedule daily generation from Carpenter Dam each week and 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 midday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 9,136 cfs. Elevation was 337.94 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.48 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is at up at 6.37 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.76 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-12-2023) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said “they are catching the fish” these days on Nimrod, and especially crappie. “It’s unreal,” they add. Some anglers are catching limits in 5 feet of water at 3 feet depth, while others are reporting catching 30 in four hours fishing in 12-14 feet depth. Anything with a chartreuse glow to it is preferred, and a black/chartreuse jig will be ideal. Also, anglers are using minnows when Andrews can keep them stocked, they say.
The catfish are not too bad these days. The anglers catching cats are mostly using poles to bring them in. Lake fluctuations of late have cut out most limblining, but a few are being caught on trotlines with cut bait.
Nimrod is a bluegill lake but not a lot of those are being caught right now. Black bass are somewhat slow “but the fish are out there. This is a bass lake.” Some anglers have been seen catching bass, but what they’re using for bait is a mystery.
The water is “a little chalky” and the lake is at normal level, ranging 342-343 feet msl.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was up about a half-foot from last week to 574.38 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-12-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still good. An Alabama rig or a PB&J jig should get some good results. These fish have been moderately shallow; 10-15 feet staged on brush. No reports on walleye, bream or catfish. Stripers are still good. A Bama rig or live bait on main lake points or creek channel mouths on the rivers should be the best spot to find these. Try the south fork of the river between Twin Creeks and Tompkins Bend. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 20-35 feet deep. The water temperature is ranging 48-52 degrees. Water clarity is stained. The lake level Thursday was 574.24 feet. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.76 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 steady at 25.37 feet, or 0.63 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
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.