Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Oct. 18, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 18, 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: water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: 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 10-18-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake has the stain anglers look for here, and the level is now low. On Tuesday under a full sun the surface temperature was 79 degrees. Crappie are excellent. Minnows and jigs are being used, and the fish are most active in the usual haunts: the Highway 89 bridge, Gold Creek and Caney Creek. The bass bite is good. Anglers have having success with white spinnerbaits and soft plastic worms fished around lily pads. Catfishing is excellent. Cats are active on limblines and trotlines around the creek channels. Bait with goldfish or minnows. While bream weren’t quite as active as the other species, they’re still fair. You’ll find bream about 20 feet from the shorelines. Use worms and crickets.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said that with Greers Ferry Lake below pool and with cooler fall temperatures, the Little Red is receiving small amounts of generation creating low water conditions. This is providing excellent wading opportunities. 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.
(updated 10-11-2017) 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.13 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 10-18-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level continues to fall with generation, and Wednesday it was 3.91 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl for this time of year. The catching overall has improved a lot over the last few days and will continue to get better every day until it gets super cold. The lake turnover is subsiding and a good water color is back, and with the rain and wind they have had lately, it has rejuvenated the dissolved oxygen content. The black bass are eating spinnerbaits, C-rigs, jigs and Texas rigged worms, with some super shallow and some out to 40 feet – pick your poison. The crappie have been eating jigs and minnows in 12-18 feet of water day and night. The walleye bite has improved some on spoons in about 25 feet of water. Or, try dragging crawlers in the same depth on a drop-shot rig. Bream are roaming around eating crickets and crawlers as well as inline spinners from real shallow out to 18 feet. No report on catfish, but the cooler water will improve the bite. The hybrids and white bass are back responding from the turnover and are eating spoons the best. Look for the topwater bite to explode soon.
(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 10-18-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the past week was a slow one at the lake. The water appears to be going low. Surface temperature was 79 degrees under sun on Tuesday. Clarity is clear. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are fair; use blood bait or chicken livers.
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 10-18-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal if not a little low. Clarity is good, temperature is around 73 degrees. Bream are slow but they are seeing some good redears. Bass are still doing well. Catfish are doing well with stink bait, bass minnows and hot dogs. Johnny had a 30-pound blue last week. Crappie are starting to pick up with jigs and minnows in the channels at different depths, some in 5-6 feet of water, 9-12 feet of water. “If you ain’t fishing, you don’t know what you are missing,” Johnny says.
(updated 10-18-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water is clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature Wednesday was 72 degrees. Largemouth bass are reacting best of any species this week on Brewer Lake. Reports were good, with anglers using spinnerbaits and Bandits for best results. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie are fair. They are in 12-15 feet of water around brush piles. Catfish are fair on worms and blood bait. No report on white bass.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shot (501-778-6944) in Benton says a couple reported Saturday that the crappie at Brewer Lake in Conway County were biting size 6 and size 4 minnows as fast as they could get them in the water. The two got excited telling us about it as they got minnows to go again.
(updated 10-18-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said crappie are excellent. Anglers report success with pink minnows, feather jigs and crappie minnows.
(updated 10-18-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are 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’re shallow during dusk and dawn. Drop 12-18 feet in deep water and drop just below fast-moving schools of shad. Almost 11 pounds of bass were hauled in by two teams in last Friday night’s tournament with a 4.3-pound big bass. Spotted bass (Kentuckies) action is slow. Spots are being caught on hair and finesse worm jigs, spoons and minnows. They can be found in the deep water mixed in with the black bass. White bass are slow. 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 reports have been good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (Tennessee Shad). Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught 7-12 feet and 18-22 feet deep. Fish off the channel or under water bridges. Bream are slow. Look for them near brush piles, but they’re moving quickly. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfish are good. Use stink bait, small bream, worms and chicken livers. There are reports of cats near rocks on shoreline by the weeds.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said fishing has been fair at Sunset Lake recently. Catfish have been biting minnows, chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bream have been scattered and biting crickets and redworms on the bottom. Bass have been a little slow but some have been biting minnows and watermelon-seed-colored plastic worms and lizards. Crappie have been biting fair very early in the mornings on pink and No. 4 minnows. Customer tell us that once the sun is up, good the crappie quit biting, so you have to be there early.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said recent stockings of catfish have made for some good catches in the park ponds the last couple of weeks. Minnows, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, bait shrimp, stink baits and even crickets have all been working pretty well for catching catfish. Bream have been biting crickets and worms, too, so you might end up with a good mixed stringer. Bass have been biting on and off on minnows and small Carolina rigged plastic worms and lizards. The crappie caught recently on pink minnows have been few and small.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river has been low and fishing has been slow. Catfish have been biting at night on minnows and black salties. Bass fishing has been fair early in the mornings with minnows, small plastics worms and lizards and small crawdad crankbaits. Crappie have been few and far between. The few have been caught on No. 6 minnows fished near sunken logs. Bream are still biting crickets and redworms on small hooks and light line. You’ll catch a bunch of small ones, but if you take plenty of bait you’ll manage to find a mess of keepers, too. The gar are still active on the river and fun to catch. Minnows, sharp hooks and strong line are good choices for simple gar fishing. Watch for gar on the surface and put your bait close enough for them to see it. You’ll probably get the bite. The rest is up to you. Have fun with it. “I hope that soon I can give some firsthand fishing reports from the Saline River. Come on rain and cooler weather,” Lisa says.
Some customers have been having fishing success in other areas of the state. Some really good stringers of catfish have been caught on Lake Ouachita with No. 12 and No. 6 minnows. Some big crappie have been caught on No. 6 and pink minnows on Ouachita as well. At DeGray Lake, customers report catching limits of nice crappie off of brush piles using Bobby Garland 2-inch Slab Slayers and Split Tails in ghost and blue ice colors. Watershed lakes in the Hollis area have all been producing some good stringers of bream for customers using crickets and redworms. A fishing couple reported Saturday that the crappie at Brewer Lake in Conway County were biting size 6 and size 4 minnows as fast as they could get them in the water. The two got excited telling us about it as they got minnows to go again.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting nightcrawlers and minnows right before, and for a while after, dark. Bass fishing has been fair with size 12 minnows, Carolina rigged plastics and red or crawfish-colored crankbaits. Bream are still biting redworms and crickets just off the bottom in deep water. Crappie are tough on Norrell but a few customers know where to find them and how to catch them. The only clues we have are size 6 and pink minnows and at the back of some coves.
(updated 10-18-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) says the crappie bite is excellent. Crappie are in 14-16 feet depth and aggressively going after minnows.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair for a few using size 12 minnows. No limits have been reported but some nice slabs have been caught and made for some good eating. Bass have been hitting size 12 minnows, Carolina rigged plastics and crankbaits in the mornings. Texas rigged plastics seem to be working best later in the day. Bream are scattered but fishing has been pretty good with crickets and redworms fished on tight lines in deep water. Catfish have been biting right at dark on nightcrawlers, chicken livers and minnows.
(updated 10-18-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said there are very few fishermen and really more hunters than fishermen using the river. Black bass are active late in the day on the jetty tops, up the Petit Jean River and in Point Remove Creek. Use crankbaits like the Rapala Fat Rap or a jig-and-pig. Reports are slow, however. Bream have been active late in the day around grass on riprap. Use crickets or a Mepps spinner in black. Like bass, bream are slow. White bass are chasing shad schools early in the day and late in the afternoon. Use crankbaits. Results have been slow. Kentucky bass are also slow, but some are around jetties. Use CC Spoons. Catfishing has been fair. Fish around the jetties using skipjack.
(updated 10-18-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the clarity of the water is perfect. Level and current are normal. No temperature was recorded. Crappie have been fair to good the past week. The fish are in about 6 feet depth. Minnows or jigs will work. Bass are fair. Anglers were having best success with spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent. Worms and chicken livers were the baits of choice. No reports on bream. No reports on white bass.
(updated 10-18-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfish are fair in the Murray Lock and Dam area. Skipjack is working best for bait, along with shad.
(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 were fair, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms the way to go. Catfishing is fair below the dam. No reports on white bass.
(updated 10-18-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water has a stain and the level and current are normal. No temperature was available. Crappie are picking up in about 15 feet depth. Reports were fair. Minnows or jigs are working. The bass bite is excellent. Crankbaits, buzzbaits and small worms all were getting plenty of response. No reports on bream. No reports on 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 of 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 10-18-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and the temperature Tuesday had taking a nice tumble to the mid- to high 60s. Water level is normal. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were fair. Anglers are using spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing ranged fair to good. Nightcrawlers were working best. No reports on bream.
(updated 10-18-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Jigs, jigs and jigs. If you didn’t think jig fishing was a successful method to catch trout, think again. It’s all in the wrist – with the right action, we’ve been pulling in really nice, fat rainbows and a good share of cutthroats.” They suggest trying the white on white, 1/8-ounce jigs that worked last week, the brown-and-orange-skirted jigs with dark heads, and the white-and-gray-skirt silver jighead. The water level is holding steady at about on unity, or 3,300 cfs. Garlic-scented PowerBait has lured in lots of trout for the wade/bank anglers. It’s the time of year to switch to orange, white and/or sunrise colors for your egg pattern flies or PowerBait. The brown bite continues to be slow. Add a few sculpins to your bait bucket and remember that you’re on the river, not at work or stuck in traffic. Enjoy the wait.
(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. 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 10-18-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that they have had no measurable rain, cooler temperatures and heavier winds over the past week. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 0.8 feet to rest at a foot below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 37 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.2 feet to rest at 0.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 0.3 feet to rest at 0.4 feet below seasonal power pool and 19 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had some marginally wadable water with light generation. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had light generation and reliable water to wade. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. Anglers should expect wadable water in the near future.
Hopper season continues on the White. 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. The hot spot the past week on the White has been Rim 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 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John adds, “It finally happened. This week all of the lakes in the White River system are finally below the top of power pool and we are getting more fishable water. If you remember, a couple of months ago I predicted that this would happen, in early or mid-October. It is nice to right every once in a while.
“The water has been much lower this week and I have been on the river every day and the fishing has been nothing short of spectacular. On Sunday, the flows on the White were around 4,500 cfs. I was guiding two gentlemen from Missouri. We rigged up both anglers with a Y2K lead fly and a size 14 pheasant tail nymph dropper. We caught over 40 trout with most of them on the pheasant tail nymph. I started with a ruby midge dropper and we did not hook a fish on it.
“On Monday I had two other anglers from the same group. The generation had decreased to 3,500 cfs, which made for even better fishing. I started out one angler with a ruby midge below a Y2K and the other with a pheasant tail nymph below a Y2K. The ruby midge was working but the pheasant tail wasn’t. What a difference a day makes. I always say the one fish on a fly is a fluke, two is a coincidence and three is a trend. It was time to change the pheasant tail for a ruby midge. Both were soon into trout. We finished the day with 50-plus trout, with 90 percent of them on the ruby midge and a couple of trout on the Y2K. All in all, it was a great day.
“Then on Tuesday I guided an angler from Texas. The generation level was down to 2,800 cfs. This is as low as I have seen the White in some time. This time I started him with a ruby midge below a Y2K. I was surprised when we caught the first two trout on the Y2K. I generally use it as an attractor, with most of my fish caught on the dropper. This day was the exception. I caught more trout on the Y2K than on the ruby midge. I had fished on three successive days and had the trout keying in on a different fly every day. It is no wonder that I carry so many fly boxes.
“During these three days, the Norfork was on the bottom, with absolutely no generation for the majority of the time. Though I love to wade it, I declined because it is still extremely off color from the flooding we had last April. In addition, there is low dissolved oxygen on the Norfork and the fish are stressed, particularly on the upper river. If you choose to fish there, be sure and carefully release any fish caught. We are finally in a position where we can fish lower water. Life is good!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 657.13 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 Sunday, Oct. 8, 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 as it’s been, he said. There is bait everywhere. There’s shad up in 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 the 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 a 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 is still in play, 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 553.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is starting to get real exciting. The fall bite is improving every day and will get better and better as the water cools. The lake is dropping roughly a half-degree a day with this current cool front and Lou said he is looking forward to the lake surface temperature reaching the 60s. All species will become very aggressive and start to feed heavily for the upcoming winter months. Lou is starting to find large schools of feeding fish and they will attack anything that comes in front of them. Striped bass fishing is finally starting to improve. Lou is finding schools as well as scattered fish feeding on the bottom on large flats. Lou says he has been fishing several different flats from the mid-lake area up to the Red Bank area. Tuesday was a little slow with the high pressure arriving after the cool frontal system arrived the other day. Lou says he did manage to find a really nice 31.5-inch striped bass on the bottom that gave him quite a battle. Lou said he didn’t think the fish knew he was hooked until he saw the boat, then the excitement started with one run after another. A very healthy and energetic 12- to 13-pound fish. Lou gave him his freedom at his dock after the photo. During the last full moon there was a very early morning (in-the-dark) bite, but recently the bite has not started until almost sunrise and Lou is finding feeding fish all the way up to noon or a little after. Lou uses his electronics to find the baitfish, then he starts jigging a spoon off the bottom. Tuesday was a little slow, but the large schools will become increasingly more common as the water cools. Live bait is working very well, either threadfin shad, gizzard shad or shiners. Lou is still using a downline for live bait with a 1- to 2-ounce weight, a 3- to 4-foot leader and a small No. 4 size hook. A larger hook should be used if you have the bigger gizzard shad. Match the hook size to the bait. Lou has mainly been vertical-jigging with a half-ounce to three-quarter-ounce spoon. All colors seem to be working as long as the predominant color is white. Lou’s favorite color is white with a chartreuse back. Feeding alongside the striped bass are the hybrids, white bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, walleye and catfish. “You never know what you are going to catch when you are jigging a spoon. I think this is why I like fishing this method so much,” he said.
Crappie fishing is still good. Find brush in 25-35 feet of water and the fish will be on the top of the brush or buried inside of the brush. In the late afternoons the fish may come up in the water column to the warmer water, so start dropping your bait down about 8 feet and keep checking deeper until the fish start to bite. Lou has been using small quarter-ounce spoons in white/chartreuse, but other colors will work. Small grubs tipped with a minnow will work very well, or just use a minnow with a slip float. The bigger white crappie are finally starting to move into some of the brush. Several 13- to 15-inch crappie have been caught recently, but most of the crappie are in the 10- to 12-inch range, which is a great size to clean and eat.
Bass fishing continues to be pretty good. Lou says he’s done exceptionally well a couple of days. While striped bass fishing on the flats, Lou and his guests have run into large schools of feeding largemouth bass and spotted bass. These have not been the little guys, all have been in the 2.5-to 4-plus-pounds range. Lou has found these fish in about 30 feet of water at all different times of day, from just after sunrise to 2 in the afternoon. Other areas to check out are along bluff walls using jig-and-pigs or Texas rigged worms. Lou had some bass fishing guests in last week and he says they had a blast catching topwater bass up on the Missouri side of the lake. They caught a lot of short fish, but some keepers were in feeding with the little guys. Crankbaits are also producing a lot of bass, but many are short fish.
Norfork Lake level has been stable for the last week and Tuesday was at 553.44 feet msl. Sporadic power generation is being used to maintain this level. The current level is a little under normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 73 degrees and the lake temperature is falling slowly due to the current cooler weather. The main lake is clear to partly stained and the creeks and coves are stained. Great fishing conditions for all species and a perfect time to take that much needed lake fishing vacation.
(updated 10-18-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the fall fishing bite on Norfork Lake has finally begun. Stripers, walleye, crappie, black bass and white bass are now feeding heavy. The bass and white bass are chasing young shad and can be caught on small topwater baits, small spoons and swimbaits along the bluffs and the flats. The crappie are stacked on brush piles that are at least 20 feet deep. The walleye have moved up in the Udall area and feeding on small shad. The same is true for Big Creek past Reynolds Island. The stripers are being caught on Robinson Point before light using threadfin shad and up past the state line on shad and trolled crankbaits. The stripers are in their fall pattern. Robinson Point is the early bite on the main lake before light. The best time starts around 5 a.m. and will last until the sun comes up. The upper end of Norfork Lake is producing the most fish. Anglers are catching stripers from first light into the afternoon using gizzard shad. Multiple limits of stripers with some over 20 pounds are being caught by Tom’s groups, he said. The walleye have begun their fall feed. On Tom’s last trip, he said, they caught four keepers and lost many more. Right now is the time to book your walleye trip or get out and troll Shad Raps and swimbaits in 10-30 feet of water above the state line. The hot spots for crappie are the Fout area and near 1C in Big Creek. The crappies are biting on minnows, small spoons and jigs on brush piles in 20-30 feet of water.
(updated 10-18-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water remains stained and it fishes well one day and poorly the next. Last week, the Norfork was on the bottom with absolutely no generation for the majority of the time. Though John says he loves to wade it, he declined last week with groups he hosted because it is still extremely off-color from the flooding last April. In addition, there is low dissolved oxygen on the Norfork and the fish are stressed, particularly on the upper river. If you choose to fish there, be sure and carefully release any fish caught.
Navigate this stream with caution as spring flooding led to 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. 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.
(updated 10-18-2017) 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 1,119.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water is clear and is at a normal level. The surface temperature is in the high 60s. Catfish are biting the best. Reports were excellent, with nice-size catfish being caught. Chicken livers are working best for the cats. Crappie are fair. You can find them in about 5-15 feet depth anywhere you see brush piles. Minnows or jigs will get a reaction. Bass are fair. Early in the day, go with topwater baits. For the rest of the day, spinnerbaits are a good bet. Crankbaits and jigs were also getting bites. Bream are poor.
(updated 10-18-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says the striper activity forecast for the week is good. Beaver Lake stripers are on the feed and most fish are on the move toward fall areas. Your best bet is to cover lots of water, paying close attention to what Mike Bailey terms “high percentage spots.” These are typically points, humps, pockets or tree lines where stripers can corner bait. Some stripers can be caught fishing the open water or channel areas near high percentage spots as well. Mike also has 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. Fish free lines, balloons and downlines between 10 feet deep to about 40 feet in order to make sure you have a good spread, and 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 a 5-6-inch model Smithwick Rogue in similar colors on downriggers or snap weights and planer boards to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Make sure not to keep stripers under 20 inches and not more than three striper/hybrid combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Live bait is the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers.
Surface water temperature is in the low to mid-70s. Check out these hot spots, and check the main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects: Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, the Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Escapalia Hollow/Falls Hollow, Horseshoe Bend and Mont Ne.
Walleye are still in their summer mode and can be found 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Mike recommends fishing with 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. Use slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 10-18-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says due to generation this week (morning hours), fishing has been kind of slow. Trolling Berkley Flicker Shads and spoons have produced some nice fish. Water temperatures have been in the lower 50s between Houseman and the Highway 62 bridge. Drift-fishing with light terminal tackle and various PowerBaits have also produced some nice fish. You can also free-line Power Eggs while drifting. This method has produced some pretty good numbers as well. Most fish are being caught between Spider Creek and the Highway 62 bridge during generation.
(updated 10-18-2017) Beaver Dam Store said the water is off below Beaver Dam. Fly-fishermen are reporting numbers of trout being caught. Generation was off last Friday morning 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 PowerBait and waxworm combos. There have been some walleye caught using nightcrawlers. Fish the Bertrand and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw a quarter-ounce spoon. Berkley Flicker Shad are also doing the job. Starting Oct. 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 well between Parker Ford and the low water bridge off Gar Hole Road. Floating to good smallmouth bass fishing spots 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 10-18-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is murky and is at a normal level. No temperature was available. The crappie bite continues to be good for the third consecutive week. Minnows and jigs are both getting good response. Bream fishing is fair. Worms or crickets will work. Bass anglers were having fair results. They reported success using spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is good. Anything thrown at the cats is getting a bite, according to folks at the boat dock.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water has remained clear and Tuesday’s surface temperature was 68 degrees. Water level is low about 2 inches. Crappie are fair. The fish are in 6 feet depth. Minnows or jigs will get a response. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfish are biting, with good reports. In fact, some big fish in the 10- to 20-pound range are being caught. Live bait is what the anglers are using. Bream have not been active for some time; no reports there.
(updated 10-18-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park says there is no more fishing here at Lake Poinsett until all the needed repairs are done. The AGFC has been drawing down the lake for several weeks. The bait shop is still selling bait, however. You can still get your minnows, goldfish, crickets, redworms, nightcrawlers, etc. They still have frozen bait and lots of other fishing supplies at Lake Poinsett State Park.
(updated 10-18-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported the water is clear and the level is down about 1 foot from normal. Surface water temperature has ranged 68-72 degrees. Bream are ranging poor to fair. Best response is with redworms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair with topwater baits. No reports on catfish.
(updated 10-18-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 270cfs (350 cfs avg.) and water clarity has been clear. The river is low and clear and it’s still tough fishing on sunny days and easy catching on overcast days. On the sunny days a Y2K down deep produces well and a brownie can be really hot some days. There have been a lot of crawfish moving around. And a big nymph in olive or brown can be really good. Stripping the Woolly or nymph upstream is the ticket. For spin fishers on tough days or even on a fly rod a hot pink Trout Magnet can be really hard to beat. On a windy day use an indicator to get down below the leaves floating in the water.
(updated 10-18-2017) 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 10-18-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is clear and the level is low. No temperature was recorded. All the reports here came from anglers hauling in nice catfish. The bite ranged from good to excellent. Worms, blood bait and stink bait all worked well. No reports on bream, crappie, bass or walleye.
(updated 10-18-2017) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said crappie are the huge thing here at the park right now. People are fishing off of the park’s courtesy dock and catching near their limit. The fish are large and hungry. Come November they expect fishermen to move in to the park to cash in on the feeding frenzy.
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.
Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report.
As of Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “HOT FLASH! Millwood is shakin’ and breakin’ this week, folks. The taste of fall in the air has got the largemouths’ appetite on FIYAHH! Fish are schooling lake-wide in almost any area you choose. Take the kiddos and get them into some of this HOT ACTION!” Siefert reports catches of 40-60/day of largemouths and Kentuckies (spotted bass) have been common this week. The bass are schooling on flats in the lily pads and in Little River chasing huge shad schools. These bass, from 2-4 pounds, remain excellent almost all day on topwaters, Rat-L-Traps, Bass Assassin Shads, buzzbaits and Jitterbugs near vegetation and lily pads. Best color of buzzbaits over the past couple weeks were 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 Mike has seen are still on Grey Ghost, Houdini, Salt and Pepper and Silver Phantom colors. After the topwater excitement slows, a shallow squarebill and Rat-L-Trap will get bit in cuts, ditches and around the schooling fish in creek channels and lily pad stands. Best colors for squarebills and Rat-L-Traps over the past week or so have been 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 being 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. Best colors the past few days have been Ghost Minnow or Millwood Magic in the better water clarity away from remaining current. War Eagle spinnerbaits continue working in and around vegetation and cypress trees, best on windy mornings, and colors drawing best reactions over the past week were Mouse or Hot Mouse, Spot Remover or chartreuse and firecracker/chartreuse.
Mike adds that white bass and hybrids are continuing their schooling activities with the largemouth and Kentucky bass. 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. Crappie continue improving as long as the water keeps clearing and with reduced current of Little River. Crappie are best near standing timber and planted brush in Little River out of any remaining current, and 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.
The lake level was about 17 inches below conservation pool Monday and slowly rising. There is current of 164 cfs in Little River. The tailwater as of Monday was about 224.6 feet msl. Water temps were stable over the past week, with Monday’s surface temps ranging 70-75 degrees. 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 Army Corps of Engineers is conducting fall drawdown to run through Nov. 15 for planting millet grass in the shallow flats for fall duck hunting. The elevation is on the rise now. Use extreme caution in navigating Millwood Lake during the 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 continue improving, depending on location, for the main lake and Little River. As of Monday on the main lake structure away from current, clarity was moderate stain, ranging 8-10 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 8-12 inches with moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranged 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
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 397.72 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 70s and the lake is clear throughout. The lake is getting extremely low with the lack of rainfall. Take caution when running because those reefs are popping up all over the lake. Overall, fishing is pretty slow due to the cold fronts and the falling water levels. Only a few bass are being caught with the fish scattered all over the lake. Best bet is to look for schooling fish early in the morning. Just cover a lot of water until fish are located. Lots of shad, in fact, there is probably too many because the fish don’t appear to be hungry. Throw most any topwater lure along with swimbaits next to where the fish “breaks.” Lots of small Kentuckies in the Shouse Ford area, but the problem is that they are mostly small. Throw small inline spinners and small spoons. Crappie fishing has slowed because the good brush attractors are now in water too shallow to attract good numbers. Best bet is to find the deepest big attractors in at least 17 feet of water and throw a 2-inch Kalin’s grub across the brush and slow-roll it back at just above the cover. Best area has been between Point 14 and Point Cedar. Hybrid fishing is hit and miss with mostly miss. The schools are now on the move and could be anywhere between the dam and Point Cedar. When and if a school is located, the catching is easy with topwater lures, spoons and inline spinners. Just cover a lot of water and look for schooling fish.
(updated 10-18-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the fishing keeps getting better every day. The crappie continue 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 10-18-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Thank goodness for cool weather.” He notes that the lake’s water temperature has dropped 4-5 degrees in the last few days. Water temperature on the surface is low 70s. “Wow,” Duncan added. “The water level is very low. Points extend out further than usual and are shallow. Fish are on the move.” Crappie, he said, are now being caught in water as shallow as 12-14 feet. They are right on the bottom or against cover. Soft bites. Fish brush piles mid-lake to Point Cedar. Bream are in the cover tight also, but a more aggressive bite. Use your electronics to locate your brush piles. Be aware that crappie may be suspended over brush piles or on points or bluffs. Look for them. The black bass report is slow now. Hybrids, whites and spotted bass (Kentuckies) are schooling. Water is needed. Schools have been from Iron Mountain Marina to Shouse Ford. If they are not on the surface and you can see on your electronics, then try a spoon. Vary your sizes to get it right. Look for some fish on bottom, also. Reports are fair around Arlie Moore and Alpine. A few walleye have been reported but randomly caught. Now is the time to get out and look for exposed structure. The lake is 10-feet low and anything you find just sticking out will be 10 feet deep in the spring. Good fishing, and be careful in the low water conditions.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton reports customers venturing over to DeGray and catching limits of nice crappie off of brush piles using Bobby Garland 2-inch Slab Slayers and Spilt Tails in ghost and blue ice colors. Watershed lakes in the Hollis area have all been producing some good stringers of bream for customers using crickets and redworms.
De Queen Lake
As of Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.87 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.84 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are still biting on crankbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are still slow. No report on bream and catfish.
(updated 10-18-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few bass are being caught on stick worms. No report on crappie and bream.
(updated 10-18-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and the level is low. Surface water temperature is 68-70 degrees. Best fishing reports have come from the bass anglers. Results were good, especially with spinnerbaits. Bream are poor. Crappie are poor but there is some response on minnows or jigs. Catfishing is poor. White bass reports were poor.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 10-18-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 10-18-2017) 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; 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 10-18-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the mid-to-upper 70s. River clarity is good with a few stained to dingy creeks. Largemouth bass have been excellent on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and Rat-L-Traps; on the warmer days flip plastic. Crappie fishing has been excellent deep and shallow; use black Chargers with pink or chartreuse and minnows. White bass have been excellent on white crankbaits, spoons and small spinnerbaits. Stripers have been good on spinnerbaits, swimbaits and topwater poppers. Catfish have been fair to good using cut bait, perch, shad and skipjack.
(updated 10-18-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that like with 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. The fishing just keeps getting better, he said.
(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 342.05 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 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 at 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.30 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton received good reports from customers who have fished lately. Some real good stringers of catfish have been caught on Lake Ouachita with No. 12 and No. 6 minnows. Some big crappie have been caught on No. 6 and pink minnows as well.
(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 electronics and find those balls of bait fish as they are not on every point. Good luck.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.70 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-18-2017) 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 10-11-2017) 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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