Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Sept. 18, 2019
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Sept. 18, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.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 listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://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: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Conway in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from Lake Conway through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 9-18-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reports that the lake is stained and at a normal level. Bream have been good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Work them around the brush. Catfishing is good using minnows and nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 9-18-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, ”Summertime and the ‘livin’ ’ ain’t so easy, but it’s good! Hot weather seems to be hanging on but they are generating enough to keep the trout happy.” He says the schedule remains for afternoon generation of about six hours starting at 1-2 p.m. during the week and a couple of hours in the afternoon on the weekends. Check each day for the exact times and amounts. The river is clear, with midges hatching in the morning and a few mayflies in the afternoons. Small mayfly nymphs and midge pupas are still a good bet with size 14 Woolly Buggers taking fish at times. If you are in an area where the fish are rising, small emergers (soft hackles) are a good choice. “Rain is forecasted for later in the week and we’ll have to wait and see the amounts and if it affects the river,” Greg says. “It is very dry in this area, so it will have to be a large amount to dingy the water.”
(updated 9-18-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is currently receiving 4-6 hours of daily generation on weekdays with lesser amounts on weekends. This generation pattern is providing good river conditions on all sections of the river. Fly patterns of midges, soft hackles, emergers, sowbugs and streamers can be productive. Consider hot pink colored bodies on chartreuse jig heads for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Army Corps of Engineers website for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.15 feet msl and falling. This is 1.39 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. “The overall bite is common for this fall transition of bait, and fish cool off and then warm up, but every day is getting better and better catching schooling fish, etc. Also we have a bunch, and I mean a bunch, of small shad 2 inches long all over the lake.” Crappie are eating minnows and jigs floating around at 30 feet deep, for the most part. Bream are guarding fry, and they’re eating crickets as well as crawlers in super shallow water out to 25 feet. Catfishing is going well overall and some fish are coming to the top, as they always do this time of year. Use your favorite baits to catch them to have fun or put some in freezer. The walleye bite is getting more stable in 28-43 feet on crawlers and small minnows. Black bass are super shallow, mid-depth, to out in 60 feet, and they’re also feeding on surface at certain times. You can use about any technique you like. Scale down some on bait size. Hybrid bass and white bass are enjoying all the young shad as well feeding down and on surface at certain times. Just stay around shad and use spoons, under spins, inline spinners and swimbaits as well as topwater plugs for the best catches.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-18-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water has a muddy clarity and the level is low. Bream reports picked up, however. They are biting well on crickets. Crappie continue to be good, particularly in the early mornings Use minnows or jigs. Largemouth bass are good on plastic worms. Catfishing is good with chicken livers on trotlines. A 4-pounder was caught on a trotline.
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Overcup in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from Lake Conway through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 9-4-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said surface temperature is around 86 degrees. Water level is high by about 1 foot. Clarity is good. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. Some are catching a lot and some not so good. Fishing seems to be going well on the south bank. Bass are doing well around brushtops and structure around the banks with spinner and crankbaits. Crappie are slow but anglers are still catching some good one sin 7-9 feet of water around stumps. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines with bream, minnows and salties.
(updated 9-18-2019) Angler Larry Walters had no report.
(updated 9-18-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said the largemouth bass bite has picked up. Results have been good. The Lake Maumelle Fish-Off for its usually Tuesday night black bass summer tournaments was held last Saturday, and Cody Bryant and Brad LeQuieu hauled in a 5-bass stringer totaling 17.90 pounds, plus a 3.96 Big Bass. Josh Jeffers and Josh Baker caught 16.24 pounds with their five fish, and eight bags weighed over 10 pounds. The word is that most largemouth bass can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports coming in this week say the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet and 16-20 feet. Chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits have been the best lures of late. Kentucky bass also are good. Reports of them being found in 10-16 feet of water outside the grass line at dusk and dawn. They can also be found in 18-22 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass are fair. Reports of them schooling but not staying up for long. Some can still be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-type baits. Crappie have slowed down. Reports of them being found stacked in and around brush in 12-15 feet of water. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream continue to be good. They can be found up shallow, around 8 feet or less. Try using crickets and worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 9-18-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair for some customers using nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms. Bass are biting early in the mornings on live minnows, topwater baits and plastic worms and lizards. Crappie fishing has been good for some that get out there before daylight and fish with No. 6 minnows around and off the dock.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 9-18-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting early in the mornings on No. 6 minnows. Customers tell Lisa they stop when the sun gets up good enough to see without a light. Bass have been biting early and late on minnows and small plastics. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and red worms. Catfish are biting slow but nightcrawlers, minnows and chicken livers will catch some if you stay after them.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 9-18-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is low and the flow is slow and that makes fishing tough. Catfish have been biting on lines baited with black salties, goldfish and minnows. Set your lines close to the bank or shallow ends of deep holes. Bass have been hitting live minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie have been slow and small but some have been caught recently on No. 4 minnows. Bream fishing is good with crickets and worms. Hopefully cooler weather and rain will come soon and improve fishing on the river and everywhere else.
(updated 9-18-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good but seems to be slowing. Crickets and redworms fished on or close to the bottom around logs, brush or rocks will catch a few keepers but numbers are dropping lately. Bass fishing has been fair at night with buzzbaits, jigs, Texas-rigged plastics and topwater baits. Catfish are biting at night as well on minnows, black salties, goldfish and nightcrawlers. No reports of crappie being caught recently on Norrell.
(updated 9-18-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting good for some using redworms and crickets. Crappie have been slow and scattered with reports of only a few being caught on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing has been slow to fair and customers say they’re throwing everything at them and catching only a few. Catfish have been biting well on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, minnows and bait shrimp fished on the bottom at dusk and after dark.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 9-11-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says hot weather and low water has kept fishermen coming early and leaving the water about 10 p.m. The Petit Jean River and Point Remove Creek have been good in the overhanging trees. Bream have been good on crickets. Bass have been good; fish the timber with Gitzits. White bass have been slow on points. Try fishing with white/shad-colored crankbaits. Catfish can be caught on the front side of the jetties and up creeks. Use worms.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 9-11-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Fish around the docks. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good both early in the day and late. Topwaters are good, as are plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms or chicken liver.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 9-11-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says all that they’ve heard is that bream are fair on waxworms.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-18-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water is strained but clearing. Surface water temperature was 86-88 degrees on Tuesday. Water level and current are normal. Bream are in the shallows and the bite is good. Use redworms. No reports on crappie. Black bass are being caught in shallow water and anglers report good catches. Use Bandit series crankbaits, black buzzbaits, white chatterbaits, and black/blue or pumpkin jigs. Fish near brush. Catfishing is good just below the dam using stink bait or nightcrawlers. The past week of fishing was pretty good overall, they report.
(updated 9-11-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says good bream reports continue to come in. The redear are in the backwaters and are being caught at a depth of 4-5 feet on redworms. Crickets also are a good bet. Crappie are good on minnows, with the reactions coming at 10-12 feet. Black bass are good. In the early mornings, they are hitting black buzzbaits and black Whopper Ploppers. Catfishing is fair below the hydroelectric plant at the Murray Lock and Dam. White bass reports are good. They’re being caught below the dam on white pearl Super Flukes. Below the Terry Lock and Dam, bream are good there on redworms and crickets, and white bass are biting just below the dam on those same white/pearl Super Flukes.
(updated 9-11-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-18-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says bream continue to bite well. Redworms or crickets will work. Catfish also are biting well on crickets and worms. No reports on crappie or black bass. The water level is normal and the lake is clear.
(updated 9-18-2019) Donna Muherin at Herman’s Landing (870241-3731) says the water is clear and is normal level. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Crappie have improved, with good results this past week. Anglers are trolling and using minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair on topwater baits. Catfishing is good. Use worms, hot dogs and fish the hot dogs around the shoreline and trees.
(updated 9-18-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Seems the summer heat is following us all the way into autumn this year. The tailwaters below Bull Shoals Dam have been fairly high throughout the last week, beginning at about 10,000 cfs (three-plus generators) to 18,000 cfs (six generators), so expect swift current and, if fishing from a jon boat, drift fishing will be the primary way to go. Browns have been somewhat elusive this week, but using Rainbow Rapala Countdowns and other rainbow trout lookalikes has proven to be very successful in drawing them out of their deep water hiding spots. The rainbow catch has been spectacular with a newer bait: orange or yellow X-Factor salmon egg clusters are a great way to reel them in. Fishing with a sinking rig in the deeper holes with live worms or plastic worm baits has been getting the bigger rainbows to bite. It looks like the temperature might be dropping later this week to almost autumn weather, so be ready for cooler mornings and warm afternoons while pulling in great trout on the White River.”
(updated 9-18-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the river is high and has been running fast. The water is also a little mossy. The trout bite is till good, however. PowerBaits and Power Worms are working well. Lots of rainbows are being caught on PowerBait. The 122/121 size power worms are catching browns, the first time in a while they’ve seen a catch haul of browns. Anglers note: You’ll need a good “designated driver” for the river as it is very fast now, they report.
(updated 9-11-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that last week they had no rain, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.1 feet to rest at 13.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This 20.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 2.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 5.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 7.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 16.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation all day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River System are at or over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future.
Hopper season is in full swing. Use a short (7½-foot) leader to turn over the big fly. Cast near the bank and hang on. The takes can be vicious. John says he prefers large western foam hoppers so that he does not need to dress them. Add a dropper nymph to increase your catch.
The White has fished very well. The hot spot 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 combination is a cerise San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it). Use long leaders and plenty of lead to get your flies down.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 670.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the Bull Shoals Lake level has dropped down a lot but is still 3 feet high at the dock. There is about 5-10 feet visibility in the water, though it’s mostly dingy. The surface temperature Tuesday afternoon was 84 degrees. Black bass are good on Whopper Ploppers, shaky head worms and jigs. Catfishing is hit or miss, he said. He terms the bite fair, with worms the best choice. Walleye are in 32-34 feet depth off the points and are being caught using a nightcrawler harness. There is shad everywhere, 15-20 feet deep. No reports on bream or crappie. Check Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his latest video report on what’s biting and techniques to use.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 560.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is on the tail end of its summer pattern with many species still in very deep water. As the weather starts to cool, the fish will become much more active and start to feed heavily. According to the long-range forecast the area is expected to start getting cooler weather very shortly, he said. “The best bite on the lake for me has been for crappie. The crappie bite has been fantastic. I have been vertical-jigging a quarter-ounce spoon and a 1-ounce spoon. The best color has been a white spoon with a chartreuse back. The fish have been aggressive and are hammering the spoon as it is falling. Find brush piles that are in 30-35 feet of water that come up to around 15 feet. The crappie have been suspended on the top of the brush around 15 feet as well as being buried in the brush all the way to the bottom. I have been catching the larger fish toward the bottom. Most of the crappie that I have been catching are in the 9- to 11-inch range. The bigger slabs are still out roaming away from the brush, but will be heading into the brush as the water cools. Norfork Lake has a 10-inch size limit, but I have been catching many keeper-size fish.
“The bass bite has also been very good. Again, many smaller fish are feeding up toward the surface early in the morning, with the larger ones hanging around in deeper cooler water. I have been catching spotted bass that have been in the 13- to 15-inch range. The best areas I have found are on main lake points with lots of buckbrush still partially submerged. I have been casting a swimbait up next to or even inside of the brush and letting it sink, and the spots are hammering it on the fall. The fun part is trying to get them out of the brush. I have also marked many bigger fish along deep bluff lines suspended down 10-15 feet deep.”
The striped bass bite has slowed, Lou says, which is very typical for this time of year especially with higher than normal water levels. The stripers that head down toward the dam area should be moving away from the dam area and are scattering throughout the lake. As the water cools, they will again start to school and become very aggressive. Norfork Lake’s surface water temperature is holding in the mid-80s, but should start to drop with the upcoming cooler weather. The lake continues to drop 1-3 inches per day depending on how much power generation is going on. The current water depth is 560.94 feet msl, which is only about 5 feet above normal seasonal pool. The main lake is clear with a slight stain, with some of the creeks and coves a little more stained. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake,” he says.
(updated 9-11-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the bite has died at the dam. The oxygen level is so low the stripers are not moving and laying in the mud to keep alive. The lake usually starts a slow temperature drop, but with the hottest weeks next week Tom sees no relief, he said. “We did have two good outings, then on Friday Sean (his son) and I both had clients and I caught one and Sean had no bites. I suggest if you’re trying to striper fish you will need to find cooler waters and make sure if you hire a guide have him tell you where your fishing – if they say the dam, cancel your trip.
“Both Sean and I fished up toward Calamity Beach and found active fish and bait. The water is a little cooler and since it’s not that deep the fish have move to oxygen due to some current coming from the river. I will fishing up there until the lake turns over in late October. It’s a long boat ride but worth the effort if you want to catch stripers. The best will be 6- to 8-inch gizzard shad fished on downlines and long lines weighted with a split shot. If you do not want to travel that far, wait until its start getting cooler at night and the water temperature gets into the mid-70s, then try the creeks and Robinson Point. One trick is go up the creeks until you find a drop in the water temperature, the stripers will be close by.”
(updated 9-11-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that over the past week Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 7.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 16.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation all day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River System are at or over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future.
Hopper season is in full swing. Use a short (7½-foot) leader to turn over the big fly. Cast near the bank and hang on. The takes can be vicious. John says he prefers large western foam hoppers so that he does not need to dress them. Add a dropper nymph to increase your catch.
The Norfork has been fishing slow. The dissolved oxygen level is low and has slowed the bite. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the 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 ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (size 14). The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing better. The browns have begun making their annual migration up stream. With school back in session it will be less crowded during the week The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 9-11-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. His 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 1,122.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is near normal levels. Crappie are good; look in 20 feet of water. Bass are fair with early and late topwater action. Stripers are good. Look on the clear end of the lake for activity. Cooler weather is coming and fishing will just get better.
(updated 9-18-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water remains clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets, and after the full moon they’ve been prevalent in the shallows Crappie are good and are seen pretty much everywhere around the lake. Use minnows. Black bass are good. Largemouths are hitting topwater lures early in the morning and late in the day. Stripers are in deep water and are hungry for large minnows and large jigs. Catfish are good. Anglers reports success using PowerBait for the cats. Walleye are hitting bottom bouncers in deep water.
(updated 9-18-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (470-244-0039) said the bite has been consistent this past week, but it has slacked off a bit. However, plenty of fish are still being caught. Trout are biting on various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle, jigs and various spoons. The area around Houseman Access has produced the best numbers. A few walleye were also caught this past week, between Beaver and Holiday Island. The walleye responded to various crankbaits and jigging with live minnows, as well as artificial. Kentucky bass and smallmouth are being caught in structure and chunk rock, using soft plastics and deep-diving crankbaits. “Hope you all can get out and catch some fish, stay hydrated and be safe.”
(updated 9-11-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake is a little stained but is at normal level. Surface water temperature Monday was 81 degrees early that afternoon. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. Anglers report them biting at 8 feet on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good. They are chasing the bluegill around and are being caught on chicken liver and live shad.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 9-18-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, had no report.
(updated 9-18-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is clear. Water level is normal. The bream bite is good, with the best bite in the shallow water. Redworms or crickets should work. Crappie appear to be very deep now, and anglers only report poor results. Black bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair; use stink bait, nightcrawlers or punch bait.
(updated 9-18-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clear. The surface water temperature on Tuesday morning was 86 degrees. The level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie appear to be at a depth of 20 feet; results the past week were poor. Black bass are mainly being caught at night. Good results reported, with topwaters working best. Catfish are good using worms or chicken liver.
(updated 9-18-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park says the water temperature Sunday afternoon was 70 degrees. Water level is normal. She says there are still reports of catfishing biting worms and chicken liver, with good reports. No reports on bass or crappie. Bream are still biting worms and cricket, with good results.
(updated 9-18-2019) Lake Poinsett is closed until next year as repairs continue on the habitat. The Lake Pointsett State Park Visitors Center sells bait still, and the shop is in proximity to many other fishing destinations in northeast Arkansas.
(updated 9-11-2019) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides says water levels are running at 360 cfs (350 average) and water clarity has been clear. The trout have been biting well. “Guppies, my minnow imitation, has been hot this week,” he said. “The trout are hitting right when it hits the water and at the end of the swing. The smallmouth bass have been hitting olive Woollies on a short fast strip back upstream. Watch for them chasing it.” The canoe hatch is coming to an end. After Oct. 1 all of the canoe rentals will close for the season, except for Riverside Resort and Saddler Falls. “Really looking forward to the fall season and cooler temperatures,” Mark says.
(updated 9-11-2019) 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 officially over. 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 9-18-2019) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 9-18-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-18-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 9-18-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 9-18-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says the lake is low from the drawdown, but the fish are still biting. The boat ramp in the state park is still usable. A 46-pound catfish was caught last week. The lake is still usable for fishing and some boating, but do use caution while boating and fishing on Lake Chicot.
(updated 9-18-2019) The lake is undergoing a drawdown so that the dam can be repaired and the fish habitat rebuilt. There are no limits on game fish during the drawdown.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 258.30 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake remains under a planned, 2-foot drawdown for Army Corps of Engineers maintenance at the dam and the AGFC’s millet planting for fall migratory flight paths. Millwood is slowly rising, currently a foot below conservation pool at 258.2 feet msl; the discharge is 181 cfs in Little River according to the Corps. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was around 224 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels, especially during drawdown conditions. USE EXTREME CAUTION IN THE UPPER END OF THE BOAT LANE FROM THE HIGH LINE TO THE LITTLE GAS LINE CUTOFF AND WATCH FOR MISSING OR DAMAGED TELEPHONE POLE LANE MARKERS and NUMEROUS RIVER BUOYS are MISSING along Little River from Paraloma Trail to main lake clear-cut. The Corps has replaced 19 missing buoy markers on Little River from Yarborough Point to Paraloma Trail, USE CAUTION where river buoys are still missing. NO-WAKE ZONES are in effect at White Cliffs Campground on Little River. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 85 degrees early to 92 later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over the past couple weeks.
Mike says largemouths have slowed over the past few weeks with the heat. “Most bass we are finding are suspended over cover and structure behind points along Little River. The level of topwater activity has diminished over the past couple of weeks, with early, cloudy mornings being best days from dawn to around 8 a.m. Largemouth bass continue retreating to the first and second drops out of the flats and deeper sections of the creeks or the river behind primary and secondary points out of river current once the sun gets above the trees.”
Over the past couple weeks, he said, the schooling bass have been less visible at surface, yet can still be found randomly in the oxbows like Horseshoe and Mud Lake and McGuire Lake, most being adolescents and juveniles. A clear Baby Torpedo or chrome black back Cordell Crazy Shad was working on the early morning breaking yearling and adolescent schooling bass for the past month. Mostly, the juvenile bass were randomly breaking for 30-60 seconds at a time, early just after dawn in the backs of several oxbows up Little River. When the bass are not surface breaking, you can still locate the large schools on your electronics. These large schools of juveniles and adolescent largemouths can be caught randomly using Bomber Fat Free Shads and Fat Free Fry in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad colors, along with jigging a Cordell Hammered Spoons, Tail Spinner Rat-L-Traps, and ¾-ounce War Eagle Underspins with a 3-4-inch pearl or white grub trailer. Several anglers hooked into a nice mixed school of largemouth and white bass last week trolling crankbaits and spoons in McGuire Lake and Horseshoe Lake oxbows, up Little River. Trolling medium to medium-deep, crankbaits from 6-12 feet deep continues to be a good method to locate large, mixed-bag schools of black and white bass, this time of year in the oxbows and in Little River or Saline River, as the ganged-up bass are following shad. Once you locate a large blob or school of shad on your electronics, that is a good place to begin slow trolling crankbaits from 30-40 yards behind the boat. Most of these schooled-up bass are suspending under the shad from 12-15 feet deep.
For several weeks, juvenile and adolescent Kentucky Bass have been roaming and schooled up with the largemouths and white bass chasing shad. Spin-tail Rat-L-Traps, Bomber Fat Free Fry and Fat Free Shad in Citrus Shad or Tennessee Shad colors were catching some spotted bass from 1-2 pounds over the past couple weeks, near creek mouth junctions and points extending into the river. No reports on crappie. Blues and channel cats have been slow but more consistent at night over the past couple weeks using chicken gizzards and livers, hot dogs and punch bait. There have been fair to good catches of cats from 2 to 4 pounds. Best activity using yo-yos was in the back of the oxbows, hung from cypress tree limbs and timber from 8-12 feet deep. Trotlines in Little River have not done as well lately over the past few weeks since the Corps reduced current in Little River. Bream were biting redworms and crickets off the floating dock at Jack’s Isle a couple weeks ago, with several kids having a big day.
(updated 9-18-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) has heard no reports.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyflishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 536.98 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, had no report.
(updated 9-18-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.24 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-11-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says lake level is 398.41 feet msl, which is fairly low. There are lots of brushpiles showing you can mark. Water is clear and free of much debris. Full moon is here, use your electronics to find the bream beds. Arlie Moore and Lennox Marcus are solid areas to look for the beds, and don’t forget Ozane. Bass fishing reports are almost all about whites, small blacks and hybirds. Reports are that the hybrids are very spotty and will not stay up and you usually get one or two on spoons or swimbaits. It’s full moon time so use your electronics and side imaging. Find the beds in 6-8 feet deep and stand off and cast to the beds with a barrel sinker and swivel. Crappie are very slow and they are deep. Trolling is actually the best report for all fishing. Pulling deep-diving crankbaits and Alabama rigs that run around 16 feet is producing the most consistently. “It’s summer dog days and the fish are showing it. Go early. Hydrate and fish deep. Good luck.”
(updated 9-11-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid bass are schooling.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.84 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.77 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 9-18-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(updated 9-11-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the fishing has picked up. Bass, crappie and catfish are biting well. Still some nice bream being caught.
(updated 9-18-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the water is “really clear” and the lake is getting low. Bream are fair on redworms. Some anglers are catching a few crappie, and overall the bite is fair; use jigs. Black bass are good. Plastic worms and soft baits are your best bet. Catfishing is fair, with nightcrawlers working best.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-18-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, reports that Lake Catherine’s conditions are clear clarity with a surface temperature of 82.5 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are excellent. They are biting worms and crickets in 8-10 feet depth. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good; use stink bait or chicken liver. No reports on white bass.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-18-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the water temperature is 65 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is alternating a minimum flow pattern along with selected days of generation that last several hours, as Lake Ouachita remains over 8 feet below flood pool. Only small numbers of rainbow trout are left in the area because of the heavy flooding early in the year. Bank fishermen can still catch some trout in slack water periods by presenting trout with nightcrawlers and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Waxworms and mealworms used in the same manner will allow anglers to catch rainbows that are actively searching for food. Live bait presentations cannot be overemphasized because trout become much more wary as their environment warms and the summer heat sets in. Quality trout fishing will return to Lake Catherine in late November when the trout stocking program resumes for the winter season. September still holds numbers of white bass, although the size is smaller than in a normal year. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig presentations will all draw strikes from these temperate bass from the dam to the bridge as they feed on shad for months. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers always migrate into the area in the summer months in search of food and cooler temperatures. Balloon rigs with gizzard shad give anglers a good chance to hook a big striper, but artificial lures such as Super Spooks and Alabama rigs should not be overlooked. Strong rods and lines are recommended for these predator fish, as they possess great power and are often in the 20- to 40-pound range. Anyone navigating Lake Catherine should always wear a life jacket and be aware of the generation schedules. All park rules and regulations must be followed in the tailrace.
(updated 9-18-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) says the week ended with sunshine and unseasonably warm weather. The forecast expects a break in the heat with temperatures in the upper 80s and chances of showers for the weekend. Visibility in the lake is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 88 degrees. As of Tuesday the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 fallen to 339 feet. Release had been around 41,000 cfs going last weekend and is now around 21,000 cfs. There has been no power generation. We have no update on dredging operations between Shoal Bay and Spadra between river miles 221 and 225. The Army Corps of Engineers has released a navigation notice regarding this area. https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1937765/mkarns-nav-notice-swl-19-62-update-shoaling-between-nm-2217-and-2225/. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has returned to near normal. The Dardanelle tailwater has held around 7-8 feet. Release has steadily fallen from about 46,000 cfs to near 23,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last few months.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park hosted the TH-Marine BFL Arkie division championship Sept. 7-8. About half of the field weighed at least three fish out of a 5-fish limit. On Sept. 14 the Arkansas Freedom Fund held the Fishing with Heroes event to benefit our military veterans. Reports from anglers are that the bass fishing was tough, which has been typical for September. Bass have been biting on soft plastics and jigs but have been picky about structure. Small yellow bass and channel catfish are biting on worms. The fall tournament season is just getting started at the state park. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 9-18-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 9-11-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid bass are schooling.
(updated 9-11-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels normal with some water release on the river section in the afternoons. Water clarity is at most places in the lake near 8 feet of visibility. Lake temps at the surface still hover around the 90-degree mark. Although the days are hot, the bass fishing is still decent in most areas of the lake. Main lake points are holding large numbers of bass –especially spotted Bass in depths of 15-20 feet and usually over brushpiles or chunk rock bottoms. If you can find some current, it is usually very lucrative to fish the downstream side of an obstruction in or near the current. Drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, spoons and medium- to deep-diving crank baits are the way to target these fish. Shad-like colors, along with watermelon seed and plum colors, seem to do best. Bass are not super aggressive, so just be patient with them and downsize your bait and hooks. With the days getting shorter, bass are starting to bulk up on baitfish, but because of the warm temperatures they are resistant to go into a full-fledged binge. Odds are fall is going to roar in all of a sudden one of these days and when it does … IT’S ON and the reels will be screaming!
Catfish are good as usual on cheese and cut baits in creek channels and off main lake drop-offs near current. Several reports of hybrid schools feeding heavily at times near the Carpenter Dam area. No crappie report this week. Good Luck! And Go Greeson!
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.69 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that the clarity still is clear and the water level is normal as of Tuesday. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. They have moved shallow, in 8-10 feet of water with the bite at about 5-foot depth, best around the brushpiles. Use minnows, Electric Chicken and jigs. Black bass are good, with best results on plastic worms or black/silver Rat-L-Traps, Carolina rigs and worms. Catfishing is good. Goldfish are great for noodling, otherwise use crankbaits or jigs for the cats.
(updated 9-18-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.36 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 9-11-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair to good. Texas-rigged worms, drop-shot rigs and spoons fished over points are working. The topwater bite is picking up early and late. Walleye are still fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are still good. They are located in the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-26 feet of water near brush. No reports on crappie. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using nightcrawlers around brushpiles. Water temperature is ranging 86-90 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Contact the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822_ for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.71 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin had no report.
(updated 9-18-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the clarity is clear and the level is normal. The surface temperature Tuesday afternoon was 89 degrees. Ronnie says some people are catching limits of bream, but most people are catching about 15-20. The bream do not appear as “turned on” this month, he added. He rated the bite fair; use worms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are in 6-10 feet of water. He adds that trolling 10-12 feet deep in 20 feet of water also will catch some. The crappie are under the piers and around the lily pads, mostly. Black bass are excellent. The bass are 12 feet deep and hitting crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms or chicken livers. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date information and photos of his and his clients’ catches.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 9-18-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 9-18-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said that because of lack of fishing on the lake, he had no report for this lake. He said that conditions are right to catch fish there, however.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile-long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing during normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility-impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but use only trolling motors. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
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