April 27, 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: This young angler is 10-year-old Corbin (no last name provided) from Texas, who lassoed this impressive 21-inch rainbow out of the Beaver Dam Tailwater in northwest Arkansas while fishing with guide Austin Kennedy. Corbin was fishing with chartreuse Fire Eggs. That's a memory he'll never forget.
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
For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey's Lake Conway water level site.
(updated 4-27-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are doing great. Redworms, nightcrawlers and crickets are best baits. Bream are on the banks. Bream seekers are advised to just move around on the shoreline and fish anywhere there is moving water – and there is plenty of moving water around now. Crappie are a little slow. They were shallow but little activity has happened there in recent days. Their guess is that the crappie may be off in the flats. Bass are also up on the shoreline. Anything with white in the topwater lures, along with jerkbaits, lizards and worms in blue and black colors are working the best.
Catfish are starting to pick up. They’re liking nightcrawlers and dip baits along with trotline minnows, as well as bass minnows used on the yo-yos.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reported the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 8,750 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday, with round-the-clock release of about that same flow for days. The tailwater was at 278.65 feet as of noon Thursday. Greers Ferry Lake is 6.3 feet above 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 4-27-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is 6.6 feet above normal (conservation) power pool. The Army Corps of Engineers have been running water round-the-clock to get the lake to pool. The current generation schedule is one unit and six floodgates open. “I’d expect the generation schedule to continue as is, unless we get rain in the forecast and they shut it down for a while for the creeks to get to normal flows.
“The fishing has been good considering the high water. I'm fishing out of the boat with a deep-water nymph rig. Depths vary depending on where I fish, but usually it’s 9-12 feet deep with split shot to get it down underneath a large indicator. The hot flies have been caddis patterns and pink San Juan Worms.
“The Streamer bite has been good. Try fishing a 8-weight rod with sink line and throw toward the bank with a short leader and an articulated fly. The hot flies for streamer patterns have been Double Deceivers in yellow/brown and white or olive.”
(updated 4-27-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Little Red is somewhat blown out by all the constant generation from one generator and through the spillway. There is lots of water this week, and your best bet over the next few days is likely bank fishing by the dam or maybe some boat fishing. Rig up with a Carolina rig and PowerBait or live bait for best success in these conditions.
(updated 4-20-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said that with recent rains, Greers Ferry Lake is above top seasonal pool. To lower the lake as quickly as possible, the Corps of Engineers currently has two units and four spillway gates open 24 hours each day. This release schedule could change depending on rainfall, but expect the schedule to continue through at least the end of the month. If you plan to fish the Trout Magnet in high water, consider using extra weight and focus on eddies and close to banks using pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. For fly-fishing, consider weighted San Juan Worms, weighted egg patterns and streamers. Always check the generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water release. Check before heading to the Little Red River for Greers Ferry Dam water release by downloading the USACE Little Rock app, Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday at noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.32 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 4-27-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 468.48 feet msl, which is 6.44 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and falling. With open floodgates and generation, they have really been bringing it down. Crappie are everywhere – up shallow, out roaming and deep on structure. Scoping and old-time 2D is working well, whichever trips your trigger: cranks, jigs, minnows from 6 inches of water out to 40 feet. Black bass are pretty much the same as the crappie; use spinnerbaits, topwater lures, crankbaits, Alabama rigs, drop-shots, Carolina rigs,Texas rigs, spoons – a lot is going on every day, some are still spawning, a big shad spawn is going on in different places, and with weather forecasts it looks like the same all next month as well.
Bream are being caught real shallow out to 20 feet on crawlers, crickets and small moving baits. Walleye are getting grouped up around the lake – drag crawlers, use a jighead with plastic, drop-shots and crankbaits real shallow. They’re setting up on structure in 8-40 feet.
As for catfish, blues are eating well on points and lots of flatheads eating it up all over the lake and rivers. Floating lines, jugs, just about any method you use is working right now, and lots of different baits. Hybrid and white bass are around shad and some are still in or moving in and out of spawning areas all over lake and rivers, creeks, etc. Again it’s super shallow out to 46 feet. Float and fly, hair jigs, inline spinners, spoons and live bait are working well. Enjoy and be safe.
(updated 4-27-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday afternoon that the lake level is slightly more 6 feet high, and the water clarity on the lower end is clear to stained, while on the and upper, north end it’s kind of stained. Early morning and late in the day, anglers are fishing topwater with a Whopper Plopper or a Zoom Horny Toad around flooded buckbrush. They’ve been using mostly white color with the baits. Anglers also have been flipping the bushes with a Texas-rigged creature bait or a Texas-rigged tube. Jigs in ⅜ and ¼ ounce also will work. It appears best colors are peanut butter and jelly or green pumpkin for jigs.
On the lower end of the lake, a Carolina rig with a creature bait trailing behind, fished in 8-15 feet of water, is the way to go.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-27-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says crappie are still slow, not what they expect there for this time of year. Anglers are buying minnows and using jigs to try to catch them still. Most anglers are catching bream in the shallow areas on redworms and crickets. A few caught some black bass on the bank. One angler was using crankbaits and some dark worms. Also, some people have caught a few catfish on trotlines and noodles baited with either bass minnows or baby bream. They weren’t big, but were in the 5- to 7-pound range.
The water is at a normal level but has a lot of yellow pollen on top. Overall clarity below that pollen is muddy. The water temperature is ranging 62-65 degrees.
(updated 4-27-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said bream are biting great on redworms and crickets. Black bass are doing well. Dark colored baits and minnows and nightcrawlers. Use something in watermelon red, red, blue or grape colors. Catfish are also doing well on liver of call kinds and dough baits, plus minnows and nightcrawlers.
Crappie are biting and typical for all this changing water with the weather, so move around from shallow to deep water and good luck. It is going to be hit or miss. The best colors are silver/chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver/Blue Ice, orange/white, Diamond Mist Crappie Magnet, along with minnows and nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-20-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) said the water level is getting lower. The bass are up near areas of the shoreline biting on anything that moves slowly. Use something weedless. “I got a few reports that while they were bass fishing with swimbaits and spinnerbaits they got some decent crappie!” Minnows are still holding the top of the bait list for crappie, she said.
Bream are coming in strong. Crickets are the way to go. And lastly, use some nightcrawlers and fish after dark if you’re wanting catfish.
“Y’all remember to stay safe on the water,” Lacey said. Check out the Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for water temperature and other updates.
(update 4-27-2023) AGFC biologists have recently sampled Brewer Lake and seem some very positive results concerning black bass. The high water at Brewer Lake is in the bushes now, and so are the bass. This made for a difficult sample, but the biologists say a determined angler should be able to find some good-sized fish deep in the buckbrush. A 6-pound, 5-ounce bass was sampled near the south boat ramp and in slightly deeper water than most others.
On a second night of sampling Brewer, more quality largemouth bass and crappie were collected off the south bank along the main lake along the water willow line. Most of these fish appeared to be post-spawn.
(updated 4-13-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) had no new reports, as the lake was closed to boat and angler traffic on the water last week so that Central Arkansas Water could spray to eliminate hydrilla. Their most recent report, April 13, said water temperature was in the mid- to high 50s. Lake level was full.
The lake is no longer being drawn down by CAW also. There are further treatments of hydrilla planned by CAW but no word if it will require the lake to be shut down to access for any extended time.
Before the CAW work, the largemouth bass bite was good. There were reports of the bass being found shallow along rocky points around 4-8 feet deep. Carolina-rigged lizards, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and drop-shots worked best. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) were also good. Some reports had them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet off rocky banks, while other reports say they were being found on brush piles. Go with Texas rigs on brush, or use jigs. White bass were good at this time. Reports had whites being found on the roadbeds and near rocky points not far from the channel. Red and white crankbaits, jigs or spoons were the go-tos. Crappie were fair to good. Crappie were be found suspended in 25 feet around 8-10 feet. Jigs or minnows are best now. No reports on bream or catfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 28,599 cfs. The stage at Morrilton was fishing at 10.74 feet and rising (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 8,769 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 4-27-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said things are muddy on the Little Maumelle and not much was going on this week to report.
When the weather was nice a couple of weeks back and water temperature was consistently in the 65-degree range and headed to 69, Ray reported that fishing was good. Bass and crappie both were definitely shallow at that point. Bass appear to be right there where they would start to spawn. Anglers were catching the crappie in about 2 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Pink minnows appeared to be working better than the regular ones. Bass, he said, had "just been outstanding here lately" being up shallow as well. Anglers were catching them on spinnerbaits, lizards, worms and similar baits. Catfish were being caught on chicken liver and minnows, with both channels and blue cats in the catches. There were no reports on bream.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 31,641 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 32,659 cfs. The elevation is 249.01 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was rising slightly at 7.44 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 35,870 cfs.
(updated 4-27-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports a lot of anglers say most of the bass they’re catching are through flipping shallow in the backwaters. They’re using creature baits in black and blue color, or green pumpkin with orange. Also, they’re trying a white/chartreuse spinnerbait and a green pumpkin Chatterbait and getting reactions. This is mostly in the backwaters.
(updated 4-27-2023) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) has not heard any reports of fishing on the river lately.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-27-2023) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says crappie and bream are doing well. Anglers are focused on buying crappie minnows as well as some chartreuse/purple jigs with the hungry crappie. Crickets are selling for the bream anglers.
(updated 4-27-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, Come join us for some terrific trout fishing in Cotter, Arkansas: Trout Capital USA. Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 666.47 feet msl, 6 feet from the top of power pool with steady releases from the dam, averaging 4 units (11,800 cfs). Some consider this perfect floating levels, other feel it's still a little high. Don't let the higher water levels intimidate you; it's a great time to cast almost everything in your tackle box. Maybe add some extra weight on your line to ensure the bait is staying near the bottom and get ready to net some rainbows.
This past week has been an exceptionally gorgeous one with everybody taking time out to admire the God-given beauty of the Arkansas Ozarks and shout out a great big "Thank You" prayer.
The browns kept us busy this past week -- seemed like a continuous stream sized from 17 to 27.5 inches. Lay your hands on some really nice shad or sculpin and you'll attract some really nice browns. The rainbows are showing interest in shiny silver spoons (especially Cleos and the hammered blue-silver Thomas Buoyant). Another good bet this week is the Vibrax Blue Fox spinners, gold blade, 3/16-ounce or quarter-ounce.
They're also biting at just about any worm, especially when a bubblegum pink or fluorescent orange worm is used in conjunction with shrimp.
"Whatever form your fishing takes, bring it to the river and enjoy Arkansas, The Natural State."
(updated 4-27-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “What a difference a week can make! Both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams have closed their spillway gates and are back to regular generation with four generators at Bull Shoals and one generator at Norfork. As of Wednesday night, water levels are down near 8 feet with a good color. Fishing has been great the last few days. Many different color combinations of Power Eggs with silver inline spinners and shrimp have worked great. With the lower water, drift-fishing over the gravel bars is producing some 13-inch-plus rainbow trout. Additionally, we are seeing more success with artificial lures, especially the deeper diving Rapala Shad Raps, either shad color or purple.
“The expected rain on Thursday should have a minimal effect on the river. The weekend is shaping up to be nice weather with cool mornings and warming up to the mid- to upper 60s. It is a great time to get out and catch some fish.”
(updated 4-27-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had a bit over a quarter of an inch of rainfall, warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.7 feet to rest at 7.5 feet above power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 28.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below power pool and 16.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 7.8 feet above power pool or 1.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White last week had no wadable water and more moderate flows. Norfork Lake fell 4.8 feet to rest at 0.9 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater last week had no wadable water; there had been significant spillway releases to augment generation. All of the lakes in the White River System except Table Rock are now above power pool. At the current rate of drop, expect all of the lakes in the White River System to reach power pool in three weeks.
John said, “The caddis hatch is ongoing. This is our best hatch of the year. We have seen some small hatches in late afternoon. Before the hatch, fish a caddis pupa like the Sunday Special in size 16. When you see takes on the top but see no insects, switch to a caddis emerger like my Green Butt in size 15. When you observe trout taking insects from the top of the water, switch to elk hair caddis size 16. It will be difficult to fish this hatch with the high water levels we now have.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. We have had higher flows that have fished well one day and poorly the next. 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. Use long leaders and plenty of additional weight.”
John discusses fishing with barbless hooks: “A couple of weeks ago, while guiding on the White River, I was hooked by my client. His errant cast drove a size 10 San Juan Worm into my flesh just below my lower lip. The cast was packed by a bit of power and the hook penetrated me all the way to the bend of the hook. The first thing that I thought was how grateful I was that I had tied the fly on a factory barbless hook. I reached up and grasped the hook and painlessly removed it from my face.
“I was fishing in a catch-and-release area where it is required by Arkansas Game and Fishing Commission regulation that you fish with barbless hooks. Years ago I made the decision to only fish barbless, for both me and my clients. Barbless hooks are better for the fish as they are easier to remove. The real reason I fish barbless is for me. As a guide I think I am the most likely person in the boat to get hooked. It seems to work that way. As a working guide, I am hooked often.
“Removing barbed hooks from your body or someone else’s can be a painful process. Many victims are inclined to seek medical assistance for their removal. In fact, if you go to the emergency room at Baxter Regional Medical Center, you can see the glass-enclosed case where they keep all of the flies and lures that they have removed from unfortunate anglers. It is quite a collection.
“There is an effective and relatively painless method to extract a barbed hook. Clip the embedded hook from the tippet. Wrap a length of stout tippet around the bend of the hook. Push the eye of the hook down toward the flesh to disengage the barb. Grip the stout tippet and back the hook out with one quick movement.
“I first used this technique on my wife, Lori. We were fishing with her sister and brother in Law on the Norfork. The fishing was hot. We were catching trout after trout. We would literally have three fish or more on at one time. Lori lost her fly, an olive Woolly Bugger. As she was tying on a fresh one she lost her balance and almost fell. She caught herself but in doing so she hooked herself with the new fly. She had not yet pinched down the barb.
“Due to the great fishing action, she wanted to continue fishing with the fly securely hooked in her thumb. I insisted that we remove the hook. I performed the maneuver described above and the hook came out easily. She said that she didn’t even feel it. She tied on the fly, mashed down the barb and finished the day.
“Be careful out there and fish barbless!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 666.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). By midday Thursday the flow was 11,854 cfs and has been around that level the last couple of days; tailwater elevation was 456.18 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-27-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Bull Shoals Lake level as of Thursday was 666 feet msl, now only 7 foot high. Water temperature is at or over 60 degrees. Cooler temps and falling water have slowed things down. There is now accessibility to ramps and parking again. The bass are grouped up and they are spawning or prespawn. “We did lose some beds because of the dropping water that put them in a funk, but I’m expecting another big wave if conditions stabilize. There’s a shad spawn with bass feeding; you can find them around docks, spread out on flats and in the bushes now. A lot of fish now are suspending, waiting to move up.
“I’m looking for prespawners by checking pockets with wind and shad. Most fish still seem to be looking up. Most the dirty water cleared out but some of the bigger creeks or up the lake have stain, while there is high visibility around the dam area. Fish it like two separate lakes.
Dirty creeks, cloudy, warm rain water you’re best powerfishing with square bill, perch or shad. Try on the last couple swing banks or in or around the spawning pockets. Cover water. Fish warm runoff if available. There are some fish in the bushes but that bite is hit or miss. Use a Senko, a popper or a Ned rig.
Sunny days with flat water and stain conditions, try points by slow-dragging a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin. Sunny with clear water, look at the old shoreline points, keep the boat in 25-30 feet, try a green pumpkin 3/16-ounce shaky head or a Ned fished slow, then go a little slower. Focus on the points outside spawning areas. The shad are moving up high, so check the backs of creeks and look for feeding activity. Bigger spreads are shallower than 40 feet, be sure to check flats. Graph time pays off. Bomb-cast around the Ol’ McMinnow 2.8 swimbait in white or shad colors, as well as a fluke and a Lucky Craft Gunfish topwater. This pattern has been the deal for me.
The bass are definitely grouping up. The walleyes caught bass fishing looked spawned out. White bass look to be absorbing their eggs. 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 midday Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 554.48 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 3,049 cfs, about 4,000 cfs drop from Tuesday midday.
(updated 4-27-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level was 554.58 and had dropped 5 inches in the last 24 hours when he went to work at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening. “The new news is that they have closed the spillway gates and there is much less water release and we are approaching the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet msl and the White River at Newport is 19.58 feet and dropping quickly. Snow melt is heading our way from up north on the Mississippi and we are fortunate that they have dropped the lake level as fast as they have. We are in good shape here on Norfork but cannot expect big water releases in the near future. We just do not need a big rain in the watershed basin.
“The surface water temperature was 54 degrees and I could see my lure down about 5 feet with a water color of a greenish brown. The lake is at an excellent level and a good color for fishing. Use a creature bait on a 3/16-ounce jighead for smallmouth on main lake shallow points. Crappie are spawning in the creeks. Hybrid stripers are active in the evenings and early mornings. Catfish are turning on, on live bait on short throw lines and jugs in the creeks. Things are getting better. A slow water drop and a small moon will really turn on the catfish.”
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's blog for a daily report.
(updated 4-27-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 4-27-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 4.8 feet to rest at 0.9 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater last week had no wadable water; there had been significant spillway releases to augment generation. All of the lakes in the White River System except Table Rock are now above power pool. At the current rate of drop, expect all of the lakes in the White River System to reach power pool in three weeks.
With no wadable water, 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 says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan Worm and an orange egg. The fishing is 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 4-27-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing better. With warmer temperatures the smallmouths should be active soon. 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 1,128.10 feet msl, or 7.7 feet above normal pool (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-27-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has come down about 1 foot but still is 7 feet above normal pool. Fishing has been up and down with the weather. Crappie are really trying to commit to the spawn; unfortunately the Corps is dropping the lake just at the right time to make the fish pull back some. Look in and around brush for your best bet. Stripers have been good. Look at the islands at Prairie Creek and Point 12 areas. Black bass are prespawn and are close to the spawn. Go back into creek arms, as some beds have been spotted. “Not sure what this cooling water temps will do, but it all should come back around once spring shows back up. Be safe and good luck!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 4-27-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing has been good this week. The cold spell slowed it down a little, but as of Friday (April 28) it was bouncing right back. Monday and Tuesday, the crappie fishing was good for reporting anglers. It wasn’t a “throw it anywhere and catch them” kind of day either day, you had to work for them, but the results wer good. A Keitech 2.5-inch or 3-inch has been working really well, and (of course) minnows. (Southtown reports they sell more minnows than anything.)
Black bass have been about the same as crappie, they say. They were on the beds, pulled off the beds when the cold front passed through, and are going back. The water as of Friday was starting to warm back up. Anglers are throwing a floating worm or wacky rig, as well as plastics, around the beds and other shallow areas.
Anglers are still catching a few walleye. As far as the fish up the river, most have pulled out after the spawn and are beginning to move back into the main lake.
Water temperature earlier this week ranged 57-58 degrees and probably did not move beyond that during the cool weather midweek. Visibility is about 6 inches in the river, and out in the big water is ranges 18 inches to 2 feet. At or near the dam, anglers typically always find clear water.
(updated 4-27-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that with the fronts moving in and out, the bite has been up and down. The Army Corps of Engineers has been generating pretty consistently, starting around 9 a.m. If you cover some deeper water, there are still a few walleye and white bass to be had. Most are being caught trolling crankbaits and tossing jerkbaits.
“The trout bite has been pretty good, with most being caught with Pautzke Fire Eggs and Fire Bait. As a matter of fact, we just completed another fishing video, which outlines how we apply out techniques on the Beaver Tailwater. You can find it by visiting my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) or search “Busch Mountain Fishing- Pautzke” on YouTube. Most are being caught with light terminal tackle, fished on bottom.
“This weeks hotspot has been between Bertrand and the Spider Creek area. I hope y'all are able to get out and catch some fish!:
(updated 4-27-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that anglers were out Friday, April 28, for both bass and crappie. The crappie hunters were doing fairly well on usual crappie baits. Nothing heard back from the bass anglers, however. No reports on bream or catfish of late. The water conditions are good as of the end of this week.
(updated 4-27-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said bream and crappie continue to bite well this past week, but catfish went into hiding, or no one was looking, and bass or bass anglers are a no-show too.
Crappie are found in shallow water and are good on minnows and jigs. Focus on brush piles, stumps and rocky points. Bream have going the crappie in shallow water, around the brush piles, stumps and rocky points. They prefer worms and crickets, but will also go for jigs.
She’s had no reports on bass for a while, and after biting well the previous week, there were no reports on catfish.
The water temperature as of Sunday morning remained where it was the previous Sunday, at 60 degrees. Water is usually murky, and the level remains high.
(updated 4-27-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett is kicking on all cylinders. The bream are biting on worms and Bream Killers.
“We haven’t heard a lot of reports on catfish,” Seth said, “but I bet they would bite all right in the evenings on live or stink bait.”
Crappie, while catch-and-release only, have been tearing up pink and chartreuse jigs. Bass are doing well on crankbaits and shallow-water baits.
(updated 4-27-2023) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no new reports.
(updated 4-27-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels at the Spring have been running at 480 cfs and water clarity is mostly clear. “It does have a perfect green stain to the water. The rain has missed us the last few rounds. Water levels are at its lowest this spring and the bite has been on!” Mark said.
The rainbows have been feeding hot and heavy with great caddis, stones and mayfly hatches most mornings. “Damsels were emerging about a week ago, making olive Woollies super hot, but that may be over. This week during the hatches a Crackleback works great! Or about most nymphs will work. The only tough days are when the sun is shining bright, then it's simply get to the bottom. Don't be afraid to add some split shot or a slow fished sink tip. The main outfit on sunny days have been indicator/split shot/ Y2K or blob/nymph or San juan Worm. Just gotta get down ... This technique has been getting some bigger browns to the boat, too.
“Smallmouth are spawning during this time and should be left alone! Give them a few weeks to make more smallies and they will be on the bite in a few weeks. We are looking forward to doing more smallie trips this year on the lower above Hardy. Few trout in this area have the smallies biting great and an occasional walleye.
“This is the quiet time on the Spring River before the big canoe hatch happens at the end of May. All of the campgrounds are open and offer great wading and are stocked weekly. Water levels are still up, so be careful wading!! A wading staff is very handy.”
(updated 4-27-2023) 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,” he says. 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 at 9.46 feet (flood stage is 15.0 feet). The Newport stage is falling at 19.34 feet (flood stage is 26 feet). The stage at Augusta is slightly dropping to 30.94 feet, still almost almost 5 feet above flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-27-2023) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said that due to so much rain and the river being so high that anglers are staying away from the water, they 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 35,103 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is rising at 31.41 (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 37,540 cfs.
(updated 4-27-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.78 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total hourly outflow at the dam has dropped significantly this week, though is slightly up Thursday; at midday it was 3,041 cfs after being just 874 cfs.
(updated 4-27-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, the lake has almost returned to normal conservation pool and clarity is improved from muddy to heavy stain in most locations. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains heavy stain. There has been reduced river flow rate and current. Millwood is almost 5 inches above normal pool and falling. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 226 feet msl and falling with gate discharge at the dam near 800 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday. 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 fluctuating, high flow conditions in Little River, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist. Lake elevation and discharge at Millwood Dam can change dramatically in mere hours with thunderstorms and fresh water influx.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 65-72 degrees depending on location and the time of day.
Mike had these fishing specifics this week:
* Largemouth bass have been spawning for several weeks in creek channels and near flats with cypress trees in the oxbows and many are now post-spawn up Little River. Males and females from 2-3 pounds have been caught shallow in 1-3 feet of water on flats near vegetation, and others in 6-9 feet deep creek channels where grass and reeds and fresh lily pad shoots are emerging. Brazalo Spinnerbaits, lizards, Bass Assassin Shads and Chatterbaits are working. Over the past couple weeks, largemouths have been randomly feeding in creek channels dumping into Little River. The oxbows continue providing best water clarity in many locations. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with any fresh grass growth, new lily pad blooms and vegetation will coax a bite on a chatterbait or square bill on warm sunny days, mainly in the afternoon. A few chunky 2- and 3-pound male bass, were the most aggressive at midday into late afternoon over the past couple weeks and we are finding those fish randomly near and close to deeper creek channels or ditches through the flats. The best bass activity has come on random hits on Chatterbaits in chartreuse Sexy Shad, black and blue, in dingy water color. Bass Assassin Shads, finessing through the new vegetation and lily pad blooms, have picked up a few male bass in the 2- to 3-pound class.
We have been seeing males guard beds for several weeks, and a few male and female bass continue to be caught with their tails bloody from fanning beds.
Floating Zoom Trick Worms, Barlow's Salty Rat Tails and Yum Dingers will get good reactions. Merthiolate, June Bug/red, Blackberry, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse colors were all randomly working in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe Lake oxbows. Bass Assassin Shads in Pumpkinseed, Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom and Chico's Red Ear have been getting bit near cypress trees and fresh vegetation from both post-spawn female and male bass near bedding areas over the past week. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover or River Shad with red blades were catching some decent prespawn males moving in and out of spawning flats over the past couple weeks when the sun was up and you could see movement in 3-5 feet of depths on the spawning flats.
* White bass have pretty much completed their spawning run up Little River, and schools are beginning to disperse back downriver. These whites are roaming points, creek channels dumping into the river, and continue to bite well in broken schools. Most of the larger schools of whites over the past couple weeks have begun moving back toward the main lake and are scattered in numerous schools along Little River. They were in large number and decent school sizes, ranging from 2-3.5 pounds, and they continue hitting on Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Hammered Spoons, Bomber Fat Free Shads, Little George Tail-spinners, Heddon Sonar Metal Blades, and Rocket Shads as long as you can locate shad and schools in creek mouths dumping into Little River.
Almost every creek dump held some broken schools of white bass over the past week. Sexy Blueback Herring and Millwood Magic custom-painted Little John Crankbaits were able to coax a bite last week from these broken schools, ranging from 1.5-2.5 pounds.
* Crappie have continued to improve on the main lake and in oxbows over the past week. Best bite has been near Saratoga, Okay Landing, Cottonshed, Beard's Bluff and Pine Island on live minnows or jigs from 2-9 feet deep in planted brush and vegetation for several weeks. Over the past week or so, they have been most aggressively feeding from 2-8 feet depth near cypress trees and grass lines near the state park on minnows from Millwood State Park. We also had good reports of nice crappie from folks camping at Cottonshed USACE campground and fishing Mine Creek and Schall Branch near Pine Island with over 50 caught per day.
* Still no reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-20-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says anglers are still catching a lot of crappie. They are still finding a few in shallow water, but most of the catches recently are deeper, and those still have eggs. “Don’t know if the water has messed them up or not, but it looks like more are going to spawn still,” they say.
Best crappie fishing is coming in 16-20 feet of water, and the crappie are suspended – they are not over anything like brush. Minnows and hand-tied jigs (gray and gray/white are the go-to colors) are your best bet.
Catfishing has really picked up well. Anglers are catching a lot of large flatheads and blues – some of these have been in the 20- to 40-pound size. They’re catching those on noodles baited with little bream or goldfish.
Also, they’re catching a lot of smaller catfish on poles with little bream, many of these being 1-pound or so fryers. There is no problem for anglers catching limits of catfish these days.
Redear have bedded up, and bream anglers are catching a lot on shoreline in beds. Some 12- to 13-inch redear were coming out of the lake this week. Most of those have been caught on crickets.
With all of that going on, there’s been nothing heard on bass fishing. But anglers can catch a lot of everything at Erling these days, they tell us.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 543.46 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.48 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-27-2023 John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hello fisher-people. Fishing time. The water level is 405.05 feet msl. Water surface temperature is in the high 60s for most parts. Water clarity is good throughout. The water starts to get a stain to it when you are traveling upriver around Lenox Marcus. Good stringers of crappie have are being caught off brush piles until the rain started. They were biting in 12-14 feet depth on minnows off tight-lining jigs. My thoughts are that the crappie were leaving the spawning area and staged in the brush piles. It appears the bigger fish have started to move on. Looks like open water sniping, spider-rigging and such may be coming.
“Bream and sand bass are jamming up in the brush piles big-time. Take a kid and some crickets and have fun. Bream will be bedding on the next moon, I believe. I hope so.
“Catfishing must be doing well. There are tons of trotlines out and noodles to boot. Stretch them down a ridge or stump field.
“White bass are showing up in the creek channels.
“In this post-spawn season we are getting toward, I think the best advice is use your electronics and find the fish. What is here today may not be there tomorrow.
“Good fishing, be safe and respect the other fisher-people.”
(updated 3-23-2023) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said bass fishing on Lake Degray has been very good over the last two weeks. Lake level is at 405.15 feet msl and water temperature ranges 68-73 degrees. Lots of bass on the shoreline looking to finish up their spawn on this next full moon. A lot of bass have already spawned on this last full moon. Shad are also getting ready to spawn, so bass that are guarding nest have been feeding on shad as the cruise on by. Bass can be caught on a variety of baits, such as a fluke, wacky worm or floating worm.
Crappie are hanging out in brush piles 6-8 feet deep and can be caught on jigs and minnows. No report on hybrids or whites.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.63 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 533.31 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 4-27-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 55 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has run four hours of generation each day in the late evening the past week, which has given the public an opportunity to safely fish and boat below Carpenter Dam. The AGFC’s trout stocking program has proceeded as scheduled despite the adverse water conditions of early in the year, so fish populations are strong in the lake. April marks the final stocking month for rainbow trout until November, with 4,320 trout scheduled to be released this month. Big numbers of fish had relocated downstream but are currently migrating upstream to feed and establish territory in the nutrient-rich tailrace. More rainfall this week has interrupted the weekly generation flow, so the public needs to check lake conditions before planning a day on Lake Catherine. Fishing below a hydroelectric dam poses many problems for boaters and anglers dictated by Mother Nature. At present, over four months of the trout season have been lost due to flooding. It is hoped the weather will become stable enough to salvage some of the remaining time the trout are present in the tailrace.
The following techniques will give anglers a chance at catching good numbers of rainbow trout that have received little fishing pressure this season:
Fly-fishermen are now handicapped to some degree with the lake now at summertime pool, but they can still access areas that hold feeding fish. Trout key in on the shad kill this time of year, as good numbers of threadfin shad in Lake Hamilton are drawn through the turbines and scattered throughout the tailrace area. Thousands of shad have migrated into the tailrace to spawn, creating a perfect environment for area fish to feed on baitfish. Flies that imitate injured shad will draw immediate strikes from hungry rainbows. Micro jigs in white or black cast with a strike indicator will produce strikes in current or slack water. Egg patterns in white or yellow used in the same manner can be productive when the action slows down. Spin-fishermen using PowerBait in yellow or white and lures such as a Super Duper and Little Cleo in silver are proven trout-catching baits in many conditions. Crankbaits that represent fleeing crayfish will also catch trout searching for prey. Live bait fishermen can use waxworms or mealworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater or earthworms and nightcrawlers in the same manner to target larger trout.
Excellent angling opportunities are now present for all methods of fishing, giving the public a good chance of success for the first time this year. The walleye spawn is nearing an end, but many fish will remain the tailrace to rest and eat from the rigors of reproduction. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current is an excellent method of covering water and locating feeding fish. The crappie spawn is still underway and these fish can be caught with live minnows and jigs fished in current breaks around sandbars and rock structure. Crappie shy away from heavy current and thrive in protected areas out of the main flow. White bass will migrate into the area next month in huge numbers to spawn, and their presence rounds out a multispecies opportunity for angling.
The public is now urged to take advantage of the changing weather and fishing possibilities at all area lakes. Always follow all park and lake regulations when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area and be aware of lake conditions before planning a day on the water.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 9,957 cfs. Elevation was 337.10 feet msl and the tailwater was at 285.45 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage was down almost 2 feet to 5.32 feet as of Thursday afternoon (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 4-27-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said that due to the recent rain, things will start to muddy up – and cool down a bit. The largemouth bass bite will still be good in some of the backwater areas that is clear. Frogs, flukes and worms will put a few in the boat. Square-bill crankbaits should be working well around bass guarding fry. Jigs are still working well around vegetation if you can find the shad. Weightless plastics such as swimbaits, lizards and Senkos will put some in the boat as well around the spawning fish.
Crappie are still biting well along jetties, stumps and brush piles. Natural colors such as Monkey Milk have been really good on the brush. Cajun Cricket has been working well along the jetties. Black/yellow or black/green has been working well around stumps.
White bass have been hanging out around the mouth of creeks. Crankbaits, spoons and inline spinners have been working well. Striped bass are still in some of the creeks, and around strong current. Swimbaits and Rat-L-Traps have been working well. Catfish have been really good on all species. Channel cats in the creeks and in some of the backwater have been good on worms and crickets. Flatheads have been good around the bluff and jetty rock on live perch. Blue cats have been good on cut bait; stick to the fresh bait, shad or skip jack. Sunfish and bream have been good on worms and crickets in the creeks and some on the edge of the backwater on sand spawning.
(updated 4-27-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said right now, in the early morning and fishing throughout the day, a small buzzbait seems to be doing well for the black bass, in a white color. Anglers are fishing it around the docks and in some of the creeks and fingers off the lake. Also, a wacky rigged Senko fished around the docks has been doing well. A Chatterbait will draw some action as well. Some anglers are targeting those 10- to 15-foot deep brush piles with post-spawn fish moving into those spots.
As of noon Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 1.3 feet high at 346.26 feet msl (normal pool: 343.71 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl). Nimrod has fallen significantly back toward normal pool level in the past week.
(updated 4-27-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) in Perryville said crappie are biting and continues to be typical for the continuous water changes due to weather, so move around from shallow to deep water. Expect it to be hit and miss. Best colors are silver, chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver Blue Ice, orange/white, Diamond Mist Crappie Magnets, and minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting great on redworms and crickets. Black bass are doing well on dark colors, as well as watermelon red, red or blue shad minnows and worms.
Catfish are biting well on liver of all kinds, dough bait, minnows and nightcrawlers.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.52 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-27-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said that the conditions and the activity continue along the same path this week on Lake Ouachita, with the crappie spawn still on. He says the black crappie are about half done and the white crappie have started and are still moving up.
Crappie have been caught on both jigs and minnows under corks as shallow as 2.5 feet deep in the banks and as deep as 12 feet deep on staging brush piles. Both largemouth and spotted bass are doing the same thing.
(updated 4-27-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Senko, Yum Dinger, floating worm, spinnerbait, and topwater rigs are go-to baits right now. For walleye, shallow-running crankbaits and swim jigs are working for these fish. Try main river/lake channel points for them. Stripers are still very good. These fish are up the river channels and can be caught on jerkbaits, Alabama rigs and a topwater C-10 redfins. Bream are fair and picking up a little. Try a cricket or worm near brush in the 20-25 feet depth range for a quality bite. Crappie are good and still being caught on small jigs or minnows. Try brush and structure 8-15 feet deep. Catfish are good on jugs and trotlines with live or cut bait.
Water temperature is about the same as last week, ranging 60-65 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level on Wednesday was 576.89 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.85 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is slightly dropping at 28.25 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet).
(updated 4-27-2023) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports.
(update 4-27-2023) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321), says high water from the White River (more than 2 feet above flood stage at Clarendon) is keeping the lake from officially opening. When the waters recede and allow access to the parking, the dock and ramp, Cook's will open for youth and mobility impaired and up to two guests. Please note the recent change in phone number to the facility as well, listed above.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.