Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Oct. 11, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 11, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
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
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 10-11-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is at its usual Lake Conway stain, and the level is 1 foot below normal. Surface temperature earlier this week was 82 degrees before the cool front rolled through. Bream are fair and can be found about 10 feet off the shorelines. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good, with anglers finding best success around the Highway 89 bridge, in Gold Creek or at Caney Creek. Minnows or jigs will work. Bass are good. They’re hanging around lily pads and hitting white spinnerbaits and biting plastic worms. Catfishing reports have been excellent, both on limblines and yo-yos. Use minnows and goldfish around the creek channels
(updated 10-4-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said Tuesday night that the weather finally feels like fall. A cool breeze was blowing on the Little Red. The water remains low and clear with a small amounts of generation in the afternoons (1-3 hours). It’s best to check each day before planning your trip. The bite has been slow in the mornings but the fish are beginning to move and feed about 11 a.m. and through the afternoon hours. Small flies and small tippet are still the rule because of the clear water.
(updated 10-4-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving 3-4 hours of generation on weekdays and lesser amounts on weekends. Sowbugs, midges, soft hackles and Woolly Buggers are working well for fly anglers. Pink-colored Trout Magnets are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.42 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 10-11-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the lake is about 3½ feet below normal pool. The fishing and catching now has made the turn and is getting better again every day and will continue to do so until late December or early January. The bass fishing is good shallow with wind, on several different baits, or without wind you have some schools chasing bream shallow. The deeper fish can be caught with a drop-shot rig or dead-sticking a fluke-type bait for suspended fish and a football head is working as well. Bream fishing is good shallow as they have just finished spawning with this last full moon. Try crickets, crawlers, inline spinners and topwater flies for the best action. The crappie are eating minnows and jigs out to 20 feet. Most are suspended in 12-18 feet in open pockets, and some with pole timber and over and around brush piles. No report on walleye. The catfishing is picking back up as well with catches coming in all over the lake on a variety of baits. The hybrid and white bass are eating at different times all over the lake and trying to come up and stay on top pushing shad; use Alabama rigs, inline spinners, swimbaits or hair jigs as well as some topwater baits.
(updated 10-4-2017) Cody S. Smith of FishGreersFerry.com (501-691-5701) said Greers Ferry is currently on a slow fall and is fishing really well. Crappie have really started over the last two weeks and anglers are catching limits most every day. Water temperatures cooling as much as 6 degrees over the last week have turned the fish on. Basically anything less than 20 feet of water is holding the largest concentrations of baitfish and game fish. Loads of shad are on the upper end and the fish are taking advantage. Get on the water as the fall bite has started.
(updated 10-11-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water is clear and the level is low. Anglers have had a good week for every species. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good; try big minnows.
(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are starting to pick up, biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone/chartreuse, and Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Largemouth bass are biting on buzzbait and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309
(updated 9-27-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is back to normal, around 22 feet. Clarity is dark but good. Bream are slow, but anglers are still catching some smaller ones. Bass are doing well but nobody has been lately. Catfish are doing good with nightcrawlers and bass minnows on poles, jugs and trotlines. Crappie are starting to pick up on jigs and minnows at different depths around the creek channels. Johnny says he has seen some good crappie come out last week. It has slowed up from the heat but it should pick up with cooler weather coming in.
(updated 10-11-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) had no report this week. In last week’s report, Larry said t hat the dropping water temperature (down to 77 degrees) had crappie chasing shad in 10-12 feet depth. Use minnows and jigs. Bass reports were good, with anglers using crankbaits or buzzbaits. Catfishing was good in 10-12 feet depth. Bream were fair on worms or crickets.
(updated 10-11-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) heard fair reports from anglers looking for crappie. They were using both minnows and red jigs.
(updated 9-27-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass fishing is good. There have been more reports coming in this week of limits being caught. Black bass are biting on crankbaits, drop-shot, jigs, buzzbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks are in the weeds and off the edge line. They shallow during dusk and dawn. Drop 12-18 feet in deep water and drop just below fast-moving schools of shad. Kentucky bass are slow. The spots are being caught on hair and finesse worm jigs, spoons and minnows. They can found in the deep water mixed in with the black bass. White bass action has been slow as well. They are coming up for a shorter period of time and moving quickly with the schools. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Crappie are good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (Tennessee Shad). Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught 12-15 feet and 17-20 feet deep. Fish off channel or under water bridges. Bream fishing is slow, but bream can be found near the brush piles moving quickly. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is good. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water, moving to shallower water. Use stink bait, small bream, worms and chicken livers. There have been reports of cats near rocks on shoreline by the weeds.
(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad and Slab Slanger and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Black bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 10-11-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream have been slow but some are biting crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair on minnows and small plastics. A few crappie have been biting on pink minnows in the mornings.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 10-11-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have really been biting well on minnows chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting minnows and red plastic worms and lizards. Crappie have been biting occasionally on pink and No. 4 minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 10-11-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been fair on large minnows, small plastic lizards and crawdad-colored crankbaits. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and black salties on trotlines and limblines at night. Crappie have been tough to find but will bite size 6 minnows or Kalin’s grubs when you find them. Bream are still biting and fairly easy to catch on a small hook baited with a crickets or redworms. Gar fishing is fun right now on the river with minnows fished on strong line and sharp hooks.
Customers have been giving good reports from other areas as well. Crappie fishing has been good on DeGray and Millwood with size 6 and pink minnows as well as Bobby Garland jigs and Kalin’s grubs. Catfish have been biting well on the Saline at Jenkins Ferry on cut shad.
(updated 10-11-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting for some customers using nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and minnows. Bream fishing has still been pretty good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting minnows, plastic worms and Baby Brush Hogs. Crappie have been biting No. 6 and pink minnows for just a couple of people that know where they are on the lake.
(updated 10-11-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting great for some customers using pink and size 6 minnows, Bobby Garland or Kalin’s jigs and tube jigs. Bass have been hitting minnows, plastic worms and lizards and some crankbaits. Bream are biting fair on crickets , redworms and nightcrawlers. Catfish are biting chicken livers, minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp.
(updated 10-11-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) hears good reports on crappie. Anglers have had fair catches, with the fish in 12-14 feet depth. Pink minnows and orange jigs are the way to go. No reports on any other species.
(updated 10-4-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 9-27-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley with Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282) reports that the fishing has been pretty slow on the river lately. With slow flows and warm water temperatures, the fish are not exactly in the biting mood. For bass, with the low flow of the river you will find fish really spread out in most places instead of stacked in current break areas. To key in on these fish you need to STAY ON THE MOVE! This is the time of year for “junk” fishing. This means that you need to pick up your favorite shad-imitating bait (squarebill, spinnerbait, buzzbait) and cover as much water as possible. Cody says he would start on the outside of the rock jetties with a buzzbait and work your way into the backwaters. If you have access to side-imaging sonar, try dragging a dark-colored drop-shot-rigged worm over shell beds and other hard structure that you can find on the main river. Bends in the channel are always good.
Cody says light to no flow will make catfishing tough. The best method right now is definitely drift-fishing down the edge of the channel. Position your baits about 1 inch to 2 inches off the bottom and use your trolling motor to stay in that depth zone. Experiment with different bait sizes and types to find what they are wanting on that particular day. For bream, check out shallow backwater areas within 50 yards of the main channel. Right now it is tough to beat a tube of crickets and a slip cork. When fishing for other species get tough, these guys are a great way to add a little excitement back into the day – especially if you have some kids in the boat!
(updated 10-11-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear, and the level and current are normal. Water temperature earlier this week was in the mid-70s. Angler activity has been slow, but the fish are biting, particularly crappie and largemouth bass. Crappie reports were fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass reports ranged from fair to good. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are the go-to. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
(updated 9-27-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is murky and the temperature is in the mid-80s. Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair and are biting redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The bass bite ranges poor to fair, but no baits were reported. Catfishing is fair to good, and the best bet is with skipjack. No reports on white bass.
(updated 10-11-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that in the Murray Lock and Dam area, catfishing is fair. Skipjack and shad are the baits to use. No other reports.
(updated 10-4-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the temperature is ranging 75-78 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream are good. They are in 4-5 feet of water and are biting crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. The bass was fair, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms the way to go. Catfishing is fair below the dam. No reports on white bass.
(updated 10-11-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river has a slight stain and the level and current are normal. Surface water temperature was in the high 70s earlier this week. Bass are good on small topwater lures, crankbaits and buzzbaits. Vince had no reports on bream, crappie or catfish.
(updated 10-11-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is murky in the Terry Lock and Dam end of the pool. Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair with minnows and jigs. Bass are good; use spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good. Worms and live bait work best for the catfish now.
(updated 10-4-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the temperature is ranging 75-78 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream are good. They are in 4-5 feet of water and are biting crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. The bass was fair, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms the way to go. Catfishing is fair below the dam. No reports on white bass.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-11-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water is normal and, of course, clear. Anglers are getting good catches off bass. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms are all working. Bream reports fell off with just poor response. Worms or crickets should get a nibble, though. Crappie also fell off with poor reports. Minnows or jigs will work best. No reports on catfishing.
(updated 10-11-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the activity in terms of anglers fishing remains slow, but the ones who are fishing are having OK results. The water is clear and the level is high. Surface temperature on Monday morning was in the mid-80s, so expect a little drop into this weekend. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass reports range fair to good. Anglers are having success with spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good; use worms. Looking ahead, Herman’s Landing will be closed on Halloween, Donna says.
(updated 10-11-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the tailwaters below Bull Shoals Dam and through Cotter are running low after a long period of high water. Both the anglers and the trout are adjusting to the new water level, and the rainbow catch has been phenomenal. You’ll be able to bring in some healthy, brightly colored trout with spinners with gold blades (try your favorite Panther Martin), 1/8-ounce jigs with white, white-gray or orange-black skirts, garlic-flavored yellow or pink PowerBait and shrimp. Keep your midges tied on if you’re casting flies: ruby midges and others (red/silver, black/silver), and Copper Johns were a hit over the last week or two. October is turning out to be a perfect month to be on the river: cool nights, warm days, and fall colors blooming. Come visit.
(updated 10-11-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and the river level is normal. There have been 1-2 generators running this past week. The trout bite overall is good. The week has been very good for rainbows. Anglers were reporting good catches using PowerBait and drift bait. It’s also been a good week for browns. Use stick baits.
(updated 10-11-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week they have had a trace of rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 1.6 feet to rest at 0.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 36.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.3 feet to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 1.4 feet to rest at 0.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with moderate generation. Hopper season continues. Many guides are banging the bank with grasshopper patterns. Add a nymph dropper (ruby midge) to increase takes. If the grasshopper is hit or sinks, set the hook. John’s favorite grasshopper pattern is a Western Pink Lady. On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 10 Y2K with a size 14 prince nymph suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber-soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John says September was a fairly slow month for him in the fly-fishing guide business. The perpetual high water has kept a lot of anglers from coming up to fish our rivers. That has been a bit surprising to him because, through all the high water we have had, the fishing has been consistently good. On all of his guide trips during this time, his clients have caught plenty of trout, and had the added bonus of plenty of river to fish with little pressure. His wife, Lori, and John had some great days on the water fishing on their own in the last month, he said. The extra time allowed him to finish enclosing hbis front porch and complete a few furniture refinishing projects that have been sitting around his shop for a while, he said. That’s likely to change soon, though, he added. “With the promise of low water, Lori and I have picked up several bookings for October for clients on the White and Dry Run Creek.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) K Dock Marina said they have finally reached normal pool of 659 feet msl. Water is very stained but all species of fish are really starting to hit. Water temperature is still 75-78 degrees, which is really warm for October. They need this to drop for some good fall fishing. Of course, some rain would help. Got some good crappie reports this week, finally. The fish are over brush piles in coves. Bass are getting better on topwater plugs and jigs. Also large crankbaits, white or anything with chartreuse due to the murky water conditions. Walleye are much better trolling medium to deep crankbaits and dragging nightcrawlers. Crappie are hitting live minnows and chartreuse plastics. See a pattern here? Throw a chartreuse-colored jig, craw or crankbait. Shad are schooling by the millions around the lake. These fish have a lot to eat after the April flood. Keep casting! Find the shad and you’ll find the big fish under them. Also, the boat launch is now available at K Dock; it was out since the middle of April.
(updated 10-11-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says water temperature Sunda was 67 degrees. They are getting some of those cooler nights, and the lake is finally starting to cool down a little bit. The fishing is kind of the same deal of what it’s been, he said. There is bait everywhere. There’s shad in up the water column and that is what Del has been targeting with some shad-style baits off the bottom. Anglers are catching some walleye bottom-bouncing in the 28- to 30-feet range. As for bass fishing, depending on the day Del is putting trolling motor down and covering ground. You’ll run into them, he says, you just have to stick with it. Del says he has been keying in on bushes. If the water is flat, he likes to throw a frog in there, or a buzzbait. A buzzbait will get you a little bigger fish. If it’s real windy, cloudy or nasty, or front moving in, anglers are catching them on the Whopper Plopper. That’s a lot of fun, Del notes. If you get into open water, you better have a topwater, walk-the-dog style bait tied on. Folks are catching a few on the Sammy or a Gunfish. You can throw a Zara Spook. If the fish blow up on you, you can throw a fluke in there, or a throwback bait if they’re not quite committing to it. Del has been using a Keitech along the outside of the bushes. The deepest he’s been fishing is 15 feet. With a lot of the bait being up in the water column, you’ve got the fish suspended right outside the bushes or in the bushes. If it’s flat and sunny, go key in on some of the shade, the docks and the points. The point fish are ambushing the shad as they come through. Pay attention to the generation, though, as the generation has slowed down. The Army Corps of Engineers has stopped running the big water out of the river, so that’s affected the point bite. If fish come across laydowns, Del is picking up the jig, and the type of bank he’s throwing on is a laydown along the bushes, or if he’s in the main creek channel and there is a little bit of wind and little bit deeper bank, you need that bigger chunk style rock. That’s going to have couple of fish on it, too. It’s that time of year to put the trolling motor down and go for it. Some days are going to be better down others. The crankbait bite will be here before you know it. The topwater, Bull Shoals Lake still has a lot of topwater fish to catch, he says.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said cappie and bass are biting exceptionally well on Norfork Lake. The last month has been one of the best crappie bites Lou has seen in quite a while, he says. The crappie have schooled on sunken brush and are at all depths, depending on the depth of the brush. Lou has a couple of sunken trees where he has been fishing that has branches that are only 10 feet under the surface, and other brush piles are coming up to about 20 feet. Most of the time he is catching the crappie on the top of the brush no matter of the depth. He has been jigging a quarter-ounce spoon (white with a green back), but others are jigging with a hair jig or little grubs with a twister or paddle tail. Live crappie minnows with a slip float are also working really well. Lou is catching very few short crappie, but the majority of the fish are just in the 10-12 inch range. One of Lou’s guests did land a nice 14-inch crappie last weekend.
Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting on their fall feed. They are feeding on small minnows as well as crawdads. Tuesday morning, Lou said, he was vertical-jigging with a spoon along a bluff line in 20-30 feet of water and ran across a small school of smallmouth bass lying on the bottom. Lou marked the fish with his depth finder and then they starting attacking his small 1/4 spoon. Lou ended up landing three very nice smallies; they sure are a lot of fun to battle on a light weight rod with 6-pound test, he said. Lou also landed several other small largemouth bass in the same type of area. One of his guests this morning, for a hour, caught largemouth and spotted bass in 30-32 feet of water on a large flat area. His fish were feeding on crawdads. He was vertical-jigging with a half-ounce spoon. Last week Lou had a family out bass fishing; their son had lots and lots of fun landing many bass. His best bait was a Texas rigged worm worked along a bluff line. His fish were coming out of 15-25 feet of water and most on the bottom.
Striped bass fishing is still off, at least for Lou, but with the upcoming cooler weather, he says he believes anglers will see some activity in this species over the next couple of weeks. He did get into some feeding hybrids last Friday in 18 feet of water several hours before sunrise. The striped bass are still scattered though out the lake waiting for a water temperature that makes them feel good. The surface water temperature is holding around 76 degrees in the early morning and rises a few degrees with the heat of the day. Cooler weather is on its way, so Norfork should start seeing a steady fall in water temperature over the next week. The lake level has reached normal pool and generators are being run sporadically to maintain this level. The stabilization of the lake should help improve the bite for all species. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake appears to be clearing to clear.
(updated 10-11-2017)John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 0.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation and no wadable water and the water was stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. 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 size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a pheasant tail dropper (size 10). Dry Run Creek is stained but still fishing well. The brown trout have begun moving in for the spawn. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
(updated 10-11-2017)John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more active. John’s favorite fly is a 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake’s clarity is good for fishing. Surface temperature earlier this week was in the mid-70s. The level for Beaver Lake was little above normal for early October. Bream are slowing down. Results were poor. Worms and crickets. Crappie reports were best if trolling with crankbaits. Fair results still. Bass are fair, but its getting better, they report. Square crankbaits will get the best responses, and keep throwing spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is fair. Chicken liver and prepared baits are best now.
(updated 10-11-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says striper forecast for the week is good. Stripers are still on the feed in their summer areas but most fish are on the move toward fall areas and your best bet is to cover lots of water, paying close attention to what Mike Bailey refers to as “high percentage spots.” High percentage spots are typically points, humps, pockets or tree lines where stripers can corner bait. Some striper can be caught fishing the open water or channel areas near high percentage spots as well. We have also been seeing some fish surfacing so have your spoons, jigs or topwater plugs handy in order to capitalize on a quick rush when they pin bait to the surface. Fishing free lines, balloons and downlines between 10 feet deep to about 40 feet in order to ensure you have a good spread. You can also try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, or 5-6-inch model of Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on down riggers or snap weights and planer boards to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Make sure you do not keep stripers under 20 inches and not more than three stripers or hybrids or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Bailey’s website linked above. On the mid- and lower sections, water surface temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s. These are hot spots: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 4, Big Clifty, Point 5 (check main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects), Point 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow.
Walleye are in their fall migration mode and can be found from 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Give a try to slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bailey says they’ve been getting a lot of walleye over 50-100 feet of water 25-35 feet deep off of rocky points and tree lines on the main lake. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs typically produce walleye here.
(updated 10-11-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the front that has blown in slowed the vote a little today. Water temperatures between Houseman and Highway 62 bridge were in the mid to high 50s. Trout were caught on light terminal tackle using various PowerBaits and power eggs. Trout also responded nicely to spoons of various colors. The generation has stopped pretty much in the morning times, with the Army Corps of Engineers picking it up in the afternoon/evening. Remember, as far as the generation schedule is concerned, there is an app for that! Austin says he would suggest sticking with PowerBaits and hitting those deeper pockets of water and doing a little drift-fishing.
(updated 10-11-2017) Beaver Dam Store said the water is off below Beaver Dam. Fly-fisherman are reporting numbers of trout being caught. Generation was off Friday, Oct. 6, until 2 p.m. The brown trout should start spawning really soon if they haven’t already started doing so, so be aware of the reds in the river and not walk all over them. Fisherman in boats are catching their limits while drifting with Powerait and waxworm combos. There have been some walleye caught using nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers are working well for catching trout. Fish the Bertrand and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker’s Bottom area. When water is flowing, throw quarter-ounce spoons. Flicker shad are also doing the job. Starting October 23, the store will be closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will be open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The store also notes that its annual one-fly, one-lure tournament is Saturday, Oct. 21. Pick up a registration at the front desk of the store.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 10-11-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass fishing is going good between Parkerford and the low water bridge off Gar Hole Road. Floating to good smallmouth bass fishing spot every half-mile and wading back up rapid stretches will offer some good fishing, especially in locations that have a bluff hole by them. Smallmouth bass are biting crawdad crankbaits, Rooster Tails, spoons and watermelon-colored soft plastics.
(updated 10-4-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is dingy and at a low level. Surface temperature was 74 degrees earlier this week. Bream are good and are biting redworms. Crappie fishing remained good the past week on both minnows and jigs. Bass reports were poor. Catfishing is good, with worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken livers all working for cats.
(updated 10-11-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake clarity is clear and the level is about 2 inches below normal. Surface temperature was in the 70s on Monday. Crappie reports were fair. Anglers report crappie about 6 feet deep and biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are working best for black bass. Catfishing is good using chicken livers or live bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 10-11-2017) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park says it is “really astounding, but with the lake draining, people are catching a ton of fish at Lake Poinsett.” One gentleman caught over 100 crappie on minnows this past Sunday, while there have been several large catfish from 25-40 pounds brought out of the lake. There are no limits on fishing until it is completely gone in about two weeks. Bass and bream are doing well. Seth says another angler was talking about a huge shellcracker he caught on a bream killer the other day as well.
(updated 10-11-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported the water is clear and is low about 1 foot. Surface water temperature is in the mid-70s. Bream are fair on redworms. Crappie are good. Try small jigs or use minnows or nightcrawlers for best success. Bass are fair. Topwater baits are working in the early morning. Crankbaits and plastic worms have been getting hits the all day. No report on catfish.
(updated 10-11-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 270 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The river looks great and the trout have been hitting Woollies and Y2Ks. Cool weather this week should get bigger trout moving. There has not been a rain for some time. Hot pink Trout Magnets fished below a float has been producing trout really well. Chartreuse Trout Magnets work well for brown trout.
(updated 10-11-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is still on and there many boats on the river. Be sure to 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 (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 10-4-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said fishing continues to be slow. The water clarity is clear and the water level is low. Surface water temperature is 78 degrees. Bream are poor. Crappie are poor. Bass are fair. Catfishing is poor. Walleye reports were fair. No baits were reported.
(updated 9-27-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said bream are slowing down fast at Cane Creek Lake. Crickets will not be available at the park bait shop until the coming spring. However, crappie and bass are hitting fairly well! Bass are hitting steady on topwater baits for now. Crappie are picking up, and are biting on shiners. Cane Creek Lake is about to hit its prime crappie season in the next few weeks. Right now, morning temperatures are cool — almost chilly — while afternoons are quite warm. Catfish are nowhere to be found, but things should pick up on cats when the weather cools off some more.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will open a special commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot to target Asian carp from Nov. 1-Dec. 31. Chicot normally is off limits to commercial harvest. Commercial anglers will be allowed to keep any commercial fish other than alligator gar during the season, and all Asian carp caught must be removed from the lake. The 16-inch minimum length regulation on buffalo is removed during the season as well. Commercial anglers should contact the Monticello Regional Office at 877-367-3559 to obtain a free permit to participate in the special season.
(updated 10-4-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said people fishing for catfish have reported fair catches. Limblines and noodles have been more effective than rod and reel, especially late in the evening or early in the morning. Not many people are catching crappie. A few people have caught bream, mostly on crickets.
(updated 9-27-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the lake is getting very, very low from the drawdown. Water temperature is in the mid-80s and the clarity is fair. Reports on bream, crappie and catfish are all poor. The bass bite is good, however. Bass are active in the shallow parts as well as in the deepest areas. They are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday was about 19 inches below conservation pool and slowly rising at 257.6 feet msl during lake drawdown period. There was current of 180 cfs in Little River. The tailwater as of Monday is about 224.5 feet msl. Water temps were stable over the past week; on Monday they ranged near 73 degrees to 80 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Check lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service website’s “helpful links page” or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels during ongoing drawdown conditions. The Corpus is conducting a fall drawdown to run through Nov. 15 for planting millet grass in the shallow flats for fall duck hunting. The drawdown will be held to about current level until Oct. 15, when the Corps will begin raising back to normal conservation pool expected on Nov. 15. Use extreme caution in navigation on Millwood Lake during drawdown conditions as this has brought stumps and broken timber close to surface pool in many areas, and the boat lanes are much shallower than routine conditions, exposing submerged objects at or near surface pool.
Clarity and visibility continues improving, depending on location for the main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging 8-10 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 8-12 inches with moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity currently ranging 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike says there has not been much change in the largemouth bass bite over the past few weeks. The lake’s drawdown has moved the bass to deeper drops off of major and secondary points and creek dumps that junction in Little River. Bass remain good around 2-4 pounds on topwaters early at dawn up to around 9 a.m. Bass continue to react best early. Topwater bite at daybreak remains very good over the past few weeks on almost any topwater prop or chugger bait. Seems like windy mornings, bass prefer the prop and splash baits more than the plastic fogs. On calm days, soft plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads and Jitterbugs will draw good reactions near vegetation and lily pads. Best color of buzzbaits over the past couple weeks included black/blue and Firecracker/chartreuse around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels or in the river. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well, and best reaction anglers have had still are on the Grey Ghost, Houdini, Molting or Rainbow Shad colors. After the topwater excitement slows, a shallow squarebill and Rat-L-Trap will get bit in cuts, ditches and creek channels. Best colors for squarebills and Rat-L-Traps over the past week or so are the shad imitations like Millwood Magic, Black Bone Nova, Gold Tennessee Shad and Holographic Transparent. The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fat Free Fry or Fat Free Guppys are still working from 5-10 feet deep in creek channels and across primary points along Little River with the best colors over the past couple of weeks drawing best reactions being the Citrus Shad, White Pearl, Threadfin Shad and Citruse. The Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Echo squarebill crankbaits continue working in creek channel swings (outer bends and deflecting off stumps) and where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into the oxbows, and the best colors over the past few days have been the Ghost Minnow, Ghost Bluegill, Gizzard Shad or Stumpknocker in the better water clarity away from remaining current. Nice-size bass also continue biting 10-inch Magnum Berkley worms; best colors are Plum, Blue Fleck or Black/Blue. War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working in and around vegetation and cypress trees, best on windy mornings. The colors drawing best reactions over the past week are Mouse or Hot Mouse, Spot Remover or Chartreuse and Blue Firecracker.
Whites and hybrids are back to early and midmorning schooling activities with all the recent cloud cover and cooler daytime temps, away from river current in the oxbows. Clear Baby Torpedoes, Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black, Stuttersteps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Rooster Tails and Rat-L-Traps in black-chrome or Millwood Magic are still working. The crappie bite continues to improve as long as the water keeps clearing and with the reduced current of Little River. Crappie are best near standing timber and planted brush in Little River out of any remaining current, and in backs of the oxbows from 8-15 feet deep on vertical-jigging Cordell smoke-colored paddle tail grubs, and light-wire jigs in pink/white or red/white. Catfish continue biting well on trotlines set along Little River from 9-12 feet deep using CJ’s Punchbait or chicken gizzards and livers. Yo-yos using shiners and minnow are still catching some nice cats in the oxbows underneath cypress tree limbs from 9-12 feet deep.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 537.04 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.98 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Local angler George Graves said the surface water temperature is in the mid-70s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing is only fair due to the vast number of shad. The shad are so thick that they block out a sonar display. The shad will “ball up” and sit on the bottom in about 20 feet of water and the sonar display will look just like a big brush pile. Only a few decent catches of bass reported. Lots of fish are in the shad schools but they are very hard to catch. Look for schools of “breaking” fish most anywhere off main lake points. Throw smaller topwater lures because the shad are mostly small. Keep working this pattern and eventually a fish will hit. The upper end of the lake is loaded with small Kentuckies and once again they are schooling in the shad schools. Throw small Rooster Tails and small casting spoons. Crappie fishing is good with quite a few nice catches coming from the deeper attractors at about 20 feet. Look for cover on main lake points between Yancey Creek and Point Cedar. Vertically fish a Kalin’s 2-inch grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead just above the thickest part of the brush. Tennessee Shad and Arkansas Shad are the two best bets for the plastics. The problem now is that with the water dropping, it is getting very difficult to find deeper brush attractors. Lots of white bass are feeding in the shad schools, but the hybrids are pretty scarce. Look for schooling fish at mid lake between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford. Throw small white Rooster Tails and quarter-ounce spoons. Early morning is the best time for this action. George says he’s seeing lots of baby crawfish next to the Caddo Drive boat ramp, and fish really love them.
(updated 10-11-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said, “I’ve been singing, “Moooov’in on up, to theee top” every morning.” The crappie are stacking up on the brush piles fished 8-12 feet deep with jigs and minnows. A few schools of white bass have been spotted breaking but they don’t stay up very long. Look for them suspended; cast and count down spoons.
(updated 9-27-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said it is hot, hot, hot. Water level is 398.34 (as of Tuesday). Water temperatures are in the mid-80s throughout the lake. It is summertime blues in the fall. Fishing is still slowed down. Breaking fish are being reported throughout the lake from Marker 4 near Iron Mountain up to Point Cedar. The surfacing fish do not seem to stay up long. The black bass are sometimes mixed in with the whites and hybrids in some places. The surfacing hybrids are smaller than usual. It’s the same drill: shad-colored topwaters like Zara Spook Jr., Whopper Plopper and then switch to diving baits like Shad Raps, Rat-L-Traps or other crankbaits. As the school goes deeper, switch to spoons and count down the depth shown on your electronics. Crappie reported still being caught but deep due to the water temperature. Try Alpine Ridge or Lennox Marcus areas. Catfishing is slow. No report on bream or walleye. The lake is very low and many places that are shallow may not have a “shallow marker” at every location. Watch for islands and humps that do not have markers on them. Stay cool and watch out for the other guy.
(updated 9-27-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s said that the Ozark Bass Club would be fishing DeGray on Saturday (Sept. 30) and they’ll wake up to temperatures in the mid-50s with a high of 84 expected. With that, he says, “topwater, topwater, topwater, that’s my first guess” as the way to go. He says the days of throwing the Rat-L Trap on the flats on DeGray are just in front of us but he doesn’t think the first cool morning is going to move the fish on those flats; it’s going to take a little time. He says the water is still so warm that a Ribbit or buzzbait or topwater bait of some kind would have to be a deadly weapon. He’s heard there are a lot of breaking fish over in the middle part of the lake, basically from Caddo Point to Arlie Moore. A lot of those fish are smaller Kentuckies and there are a lot of hybrids as well, but he expects there are some good black bass mixed in with them.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.97 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.01 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-27-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said there are still a few bream being caught, but it’s a slow bite. The crappie bite hasn’t picked up much. No word on catfish. Bass are still being caught, crankbaits has been preferred bait.
(updated 9-27-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) received a report of a few bream being caught. Bass are said to be slow.
(updated 9-27-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water is clear and the surface temperature has been ranging mid-70s to upper 80s under full sun earlier this week. The level is normal. Best reports of the week came from largemouth bass. Anglers reported good results catching bass in slots here and there. Plastic worms and spinnerbaits worked best. Bream were poor; keep trying worms or crickets, though. Crappie are fair; the fish are hit and miss. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said are catfish biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 10-11-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 66 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is only generating every few days to maintain lake levels. Lake Catherine is at normal summertime pool with no change in water levels expected until November. A 3-foot drawdown is planned for the lake beginning Nov. 1. Catherine will begin to refill in early March. The rainbow trout season has been over for months with the bite dying out in early July. Trout stocking will begin again in mid-November. White bass migrate in and out of the area chasing shad and can be caught on spinnerbaits in white or yellow. Jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern are another good choice of artificial lure that imitates baitfish. The bite is best during periods of generation, and the late evening periods have been the most productive. Some hybrid action is mixed in with the white bass and these fish are being caught on the same techniques. Striper action is hit and miss with some topwater action observed below the bridge in the early morning around daybreak. Gizzard shad fished under a balloon give anglers the best chance to hook a large striper as these predator fish consistently target large baitfish. Large soft plastics casted weightless into feeding fish will draw vicious strikes. Strong rods and lines are recommended as many of these fish weigh over 20 pounds with some in the 40-pound class. A few walleye have been caught in the early morning on crankbaits trolled against the current. Walleye often remain the tailrace after the spring spawn with small numbers taken year-round. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of all boating and park regulations and always wear a life jacket.
(updated 10-11-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 78.5 degrees. Clarity in the river is good, with some stained to dingy creeks. Largemouth bass is steadily picking up with a buzzbait bite early and late on the flats. Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps are working well in the afternoon. White bass and stripers are also biting very well on Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, spoons; stick to the jetties. Crappie have been very good on minnows and jigs in 4-6 foot of water around stumps laying down and on the end of some rock jetties. Bream have been good in the lily pads; use worms and crickets.
(updated 10-11-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that like in DeGray Lake, the crappie are stacking up on the brush piles fished 8-12 feet deep with jigs and minnows. A few schools of white bass have been spotted breaking but they don’t stay up very long. Look for them suspended; cast and count down spoons. An ample number of yellow bass are also on the brush piles.
(updated 10-4-2017) Greeson Marine in Hot Springs, hometown dealer of the Arkansas bred and built, all-weld Xpress fishing boat, reported that black bass and spotted bass have begun their annual shad binge and fishing is fun, fast paced and fishy! Black bass and spotted bass can be found on most secondary points of the main channel in 8-20 feet of water. Bass are feeding heavily on these points for shad. Secondary points can be docks, grass, outcroppings and flats. The best way to locate fish is to reel or “burn” a shad-colored or chrome Rat-L-Trap swimbait as fast as possible in these areas. Do not be surprised by seeing three or more bass chasing or hitting your bait the whole way in. When found it is a good idea to switch to a swim jig or weighted swimbait to entice the bigger fish. Fishing is good but will get even better in the next few weeks. Get out there and have fun.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.21 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Surface temperature earlier this week was 87 degrees at midday, before the cool front entered the state. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Largemouth bass are fair, with anglers throwing spinnerbaits, topwater baits and plastic worms all with relative success. Catfish reports have been poor. Best response has come on chicken livers. No reports on white bass.
(updated 10-11-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the lake is clear, and no surface temperature was recorded. Level is normal pool. Reports on largemouth bass ranged from fair to good. Anglers were using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair to good. Try worms for best response. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie.
(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are start to pick up, biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Largemouth bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.44 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still fair and Kentucky bass are good. Try drop-shot finesse worms or live crawfish for a mess of Kentuckies. Walleye are still fair and being caught on spoons or bottom bouncers on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are picking up on live bait. The central part of the lake is still the best area for these fish. Bream have slowed but are still being caught in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are picking up and being caught on minnows in 20-30 feet of water near structure. Catfish are fair on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs with trotline or jugs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Lake conditions this week see t he water clarity clear with a water temperature ranging 78-82 degrees. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 10-11-2017) Greeson Marine, home of the Arkansas bred-and-built Xpress fishing boat, reports that fishing conditions are still good on our erratic waters this week. Temperatures are still at or around the 80 degree mark and cooking fisherman and shallow water fish. Spotted bass have been found lurking in schools over flats in between main and secondary points along with submerged shoals. Smaller fish in the 1- to 2-pound range are taking small shad over these areas with the adjacent deeper water holding the bigger fish in the 20-feet range. Deep-diving or lipless crankbaits in the shad color range along with drop-shot rigs and “turd” rigs tipped with swimbaits or small Senkos are producing well. In the heat of the day a worm in black or watermelon is a go-to option when the bite slows or stops. Remember to use your clectronics and find those balls of bait fish as they are not on every point. Good luck.
(updated 9-27-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that he heard a good report and saw photos earlier this week of a big group of crappie caught off the west end of the lake. The angler was not fishing moss but rather timber and brush, and the crappie were caught in about 15 feet of water. The water level in Ouachita is down, but Kastner says he’s seen it much lower than this in previous Octobers. However, he warns, if you’re running your boat through the creeks, pay attention as it would be easy to run up on a hump or stump. Kastner suggests that folks venture out to Bird Island on the lake, as the sight of moss there is “incredible,” a huge, wide open moss bed that stretches for miles, he says. “It goes from one end to the other, an incredible view,” he said. And, with the moss, there was a lot of activity out there with fish surfacing and breaking on the sides of the moss. “There are a lot of things moving around out there, which makes it attractive to go fishing in the morning or the afternoon,” he said, adding that Bird Island is not the only place with moss on Ouachita. He says there are “tons” of it matted up all through Buckville, in Rabbit and in Cedar Fourche, and the Blakeleys “is nothing but a great big moss bed from one end of it to the other, but Big and Little. It’s just something to see if you haven’t been up there and something to go fish.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.86 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-11-2017) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) had no report.
(updated 10-11-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said she had nothing great to report with no anglers out the past few weekends.
(updated 9-27-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said it’s been disappointing of late at the lake with little fishing activity. She’s hoping that will pick up soon as the weather cools a bit.
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