Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Sept. 25, 2019
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Sept. 25, 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 9-25-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reports that the lake is stained and at a normal level. Bream continue to be good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports, though, have been poor of late. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good with cut bait or nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 9-25-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said We seem to be in a low water release pattern here on the Little Red River with 2-3 hours of generation daily 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, gold ribbed hares ear and pheasant tails can be productive. Consider chartreuse and green/black colored bodies on gold 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.
(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.”
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.83, 1.71 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and falling with a little generation as needed. “Again we are faced with low dissolved oxygen in the lake due to high water since last fall and things are decaying. Wind and rain will replenish and the fish won’t feel as though they have a hangover.
“Crappie will still eat if you put something in front of them – crank bait, live bait, jigs etc., 15-45 feet. Walleye, some are ganged up on edges of flats while others roam; use drop-shots, jigheads, crankbaits and spoons in the 18-45 feet zone. Bream are still guarding some and eating crickets, crawlers, spoons, inline spinners, crankbaits, etc. all over the lake in real shallow out to 45 feet.”
Tommy says black bass are scattered everywhere and ganged up as well. They can be caught super shallow out to 60 feet in a variety of ways. Drag something or throw it and/or in between random stuff. Catfishing has been good on some of the species; try jugs, lines, and or rod and reel. Some are shallow and also eating 28-60 feet as well. Hybrid and white bass are eating spoons, inline Texas Tornadoes, Rinky Dinks, topwater baits – they’re eating vicious at times with black bass, crappie and walleye mixed with them helping them eat as well. They’re in super shallow out to 60 feet of water.
“All the catching will improve every hour now for all species until mid-January,” he said.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 9-25-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water has cleared and the level rose to normal over the week. Bream are still good, biting redworms or crickets. Crappie fell off slightly, with fair reports. They are slower for this time of year, the resort folks say. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are excellent. Anglers report hitting limits of bass. They’re using Zoom worms (Baby Brush Hog, Green Pumpkin). Catfishing is good with worms.
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 Overcup through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 9-25-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said surface temperature is around 78 degrees and clarity is good. Lake level is about normal. Bream are slow but still catching some on crickets and redworms. Bass are doing well around brushtops and structure around the banks. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline, but are slow. Crappie are slow but should start picking up any day now with this cooler weather; still catching some good ones but not a lot.
(updated 9-25-2019) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait and Tackle at Brewer Lake, says the water is clear and is 1.5 feet below normal. Surface water temperature Tuesday morning as 84 degrees. Bream are fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie fishing is good. Anglers having success with the Bobby Garland Baby Shad, while minnows will also work. Fish those brush piles. Black bass are good. Live bait is the way to go, especially crickets. An 8-year-old angler caught a 20-inch, 5-pound bass fishing with crickets on the shoreline earlier this week. Catfish are fair. They’re on the bottom, use worms.
(updated 9-25-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said the largemouth bass bite is good. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports coming say the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet also. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are biting well. Some 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-style baits. Crappie are slow. Reports of them being found stacking 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 are good. They can be found up shallow, around 8 feet or less. Try using crickets and worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 9-25-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that even though the stock chart shows it hasn’t been stocked since June 13, “I have had good reports of catfish being caught. One couple said they caught eight catfish using nightcrawlers. Kind of makes me think that it could of not been reported on the chart.”
Chicken livers and No. 12 bass minnows have also been good on catching catfish. A few crappie being caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows and Bobby Garland Jigs (live minnow color). Bass have been good on No. 12 bass minnows and also on brooder minnows. Bream are doing well off of crickets.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 9-25-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said, “I wanted to mention this first: This Saturday, Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. -2 p.m , the Bryant Fall Fest will be held. It will include a fishing derby at the back pond that is called Lake Charles. For more information you can call 501-847-4701. The pond is only stocked with catfish this one time each year for the derby. Don’t miss out on taking the kids to this.”
Lisa says the catfish will do well on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Some people will take frozen shad and cut it up and catch catfish.
The crappie have slowed down at the ponds. A few are being caught off of size 6 crappie minnows. Bass been fair on size 12 bass minnows and also on bright-colored spinnerbaits. Bream have been good on crickets and redworms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 9-25-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are doing well on crickets. Catfish have been good on trotlines with black salties and goldfish. Bass been good off of No. 12 bass minnows and brooder minnows. Green pumpkin and watermelon seed colored plastics have been doing well, too, for bass. Crappie are being caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows. “Come October will be about right to start going after those walleye. They love those brooder minnows,” Lisa says.
(updated 9-25-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are still doing fair off of No. 6 crappie minnows, especially up in the coves. Bream are good off crickets. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and topwater baits. Catfish have been good on black salties and nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-25-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been fair on crickets. Crappie on No. 12 bass minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows and topwater baits. Catfish are good on chicken livers and bait shrimp, and also goldfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 9-25-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says the river level is still bouncing up and down. They are seeing a little more barge traffic. If you have never traveled the river, now is the time to do it. You will see how powerful Mother Nature can be, Charley says.
He reports that catfish are in deeper water. Anglers should drive a bait 10 feet to the bottom; use buffalo. A lot of nice 5-pounders and up and being caught. He rates catfish as good. Black bass are on grass and wood structure now. Use chatterbaits. The bite is fair. Drum are going crazy, he says. Use crankbaits, nightcrawlers and buffalo, or just about anything. The bite for drum is very good. White bass are schooling on jetty tips. Use crankbaits in pearl and shad color. The bite is fair.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 9-25-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on worms or crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good both early in the day and late. Anglers are having success with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair with chicken liver and shiners.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 9-25-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says white bass have been biting well. Anglers report using Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits, square-billed crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Catfishing is fair on shad. Bream are excellent; use crickets.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-25-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says fishing is OK. The clarity of the pool is stained, while the water and current are normal as of Tuesday morning. Surface temperature was mid-80s. Black bass are fair. Anglers are using small spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. Bandit 100-200 series are a good bait, as well as small quarter-ounce buzzbaits. Catfishing is good below the Murray Lock and Dam using stink bait or nightcrawlers. No reports came in for bream or crappie.
(updated 9-25-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the clarity is a little cloudy but the river level and current are normal. Bream are excellent on crickets. Crappie appear to be in 10-12 feet depth of water and the bite is fair. Look for them around brushpiles and fish with minnows. Nothing reported on black bass. Catfishing is fair; use shad. White bass reports have been good. Use Bandit crankbaits in the 200 series (black/shad color). Below the Terry Lock and Dam, they report an excellent bream bite in the backwater. The bream are at 4-6 feet depth and are biting crickets. Crappie are fair in the 10-12 foot range on minnows around brushpiles. Catfish are biting shad with a fair result. White bass are the same as in the Little Rock pool, biting well with Bandit crankbaits working best (200 series, black/shad color).
(updated 9-25-2019) 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 9-25-2019) 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 continue to bite well, with anglers trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good on topwater baits and spinners. Catfishing is good. Use worms, hot dogs and chicken liver, or just about anything, Donna says.
(updated 9-25-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Bull Shoals Lake is just 6 feet above desired power pool level today. Compare that to the 27 feet over power pool the lake was less than two months ago and we appreciate the work the Corps of Engineers has been doing. We are still receiving approximately 16,000 cfs around the clock (equivalent to five power generators) but it won’t be long before the water level drops to a less-swift, easier-to-navigate amount.
“The days are getting shorter and finally, cooler, tie that to the higher water levels and we’re seeing rainbows spawning. Find an egg pattern orscented egg-like bait that matches the color of the roe, and you’ll have more trout chasing your line than you can manage. This week that would be X-Factor’s steel head orange, followed by fluorescent orange or sunrise PowerBait. Red Wiggler Worms should always be an option during high water events, with worm imitators (red, natural or bubblegum pink) just as successful, if not more so; cast toward the bank as you drift downstream and the rainbows and an occasional brown will snap them up. The browns are continuing to respond best to minnows for now, but as the spawn kicks into high gear in the next month or so, keep your options open and carry an array of baits to pique their curiosity. Red/gold Thomas Buoyant spoons, the gold Cleo and one or two stick baits (Smithwicks with orange bellies are a tried-and-true favorite), are tackle box staples on the White. We’re due for a colorful autumn this year; come watch the leaves fall and the trout count rise. See you on the river.”
(updated 9-25-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the river is clear and is at a normal level and current. The trout bite has been excellent this week, they report. They say 500 trout were stocked recently, and one angler this week caught the trout “Grand Slam”: rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook trout. He caught all four on a fly rod. PowerBait is the bait of choice for rainbow-catching anglers this week. The rainbows are excellent and are also biting drift rigs, Power rigs and Power Worms. Brown trout are picking up and are biting on jigs and stick baits. They also report that for the first time in 15 years they had seen a summer “shad kill” on the river.
(updated 9-25-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said 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 the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam where we have had an unseasonal shad kill (white shad flies have been the ticket). 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 667.09 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the Bull Shoals Lake level is back to normal after a long summer of water being quite high. Visibility is 5-10 feet. The clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 82 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good, with best results found in the creeks and around brushpiles. Minnows or jigs will work. Black bass are shallower now, in 15-20 feet depth. The bite is good on spinnerbaits, topwater lures, buzzbaits and jigs. Nothing reported on catfish. White bass are excellent using bottom bouncers in 32-36 feet of water. 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 559.40 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said September is still hot with no rain or cold weather. “We have had some cooler days but the weather needs to turn cold with rain, which is only cure for the dam stripers. Once we get some rain and cooler weather the stripers will be able to move from the depths. We continue to catch limits of stripers above the state line. The stripers are in the water depths from 18-24 feet and the water is cooler with plenty of oxygen. We are using 3- to 5-inch gizzard shad on downlines and long lines.”
He says the bass are schooling early morning off the main lake points feeding on small shad. Small topwater lures and spoons will produce lots of action. The crappie are schooling over deep brush piles in waters no shallower then 30 feet and the crappie are suspended around 15 feet. But high water, no rain, high water temperature, little current, small dam releases, and almost no oxygen has resulted in a striper kill this year. Stripers need 5 ppm to be active, and as the summer passes and with the high water the oxygen level has continuing to decrease. “It’s now less than 2 percent and we are seeing some dead stripers at the dam. Once we get some rain and cooler weather the stripers will be able to move from the depths and the kill will be over. We can only pray this happens soon.”
Tom adds, “If you do not want to travel that far, wait until it starts 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 9-18-2019) 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 9-25-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Norfork has been fishing better on the moderate flows. The dissolved oxygen level is slightly improved. 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 9-25-2019) 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 1,122.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says, “Well it looks like we will be getting some rain this week. Beaver Lake is still in dog day pattern. Waiting for those cool nights to show to help us into fall pattern. Stripers are doing pretty good and I have heard of some fish being caught trolling and using shad, they are scattered throughout the lake. Crappie are good using cranks or minnows in and around structure from 17-25 feet deep. If you have a graph and know how to use it, you can put limits in the boat. Walleye are fair to good on crawler harnesses and Carolina-rigged nightcrawlers. Look in front of the Monte Ne arm on main river channel. Bass are good early and late with some schooling activity happening. If we get some good incoming water flow, catfish will be really good up the river arms. Anytime we get some current I personally load up on catfish up the White River arm. Hoping for cooler nights. Much better fishing coming soon!”
(updated 9-25-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is high by about 1½ feet and the clarity is clear. Surface temperature Monday afternoon ranged in the high 80s. Bream are mainly biting redworms, but they’ll take a cricket, too. The bream bite is good. Crappie are good around the brushpiles. Minnows and jigs will work. Smallmouth bass are being caught pretty deep (18-25 feet) and anglers report good results. Try Carolina rigs or football head baits. Meanwhile largemouth bass are hitting topwater baits early in the morning and late in the day. Catfish are good; use prepared bait. Walleye are good on harnesses.
(updated 9-25-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (470-244-0039) said fishing this past week has been great. The trout have been biting on just about anything from various PowerBaits, jigs and spoons. This week’s hotspot has been the U.S. Highway 62 bridge area. The white bass have been hot as well. “You have to find the right water temperatures (70s) and you will find them, just watch for them busting schools of bait fish. If you have a graph, even better.” The whites, he said, have been hitting U-rigs with white grubs and various crankbaits. The Kentucky bass are in the same area (temperature range). Throwing toward structure and chunk rock will produce the best results. A few walleye have also been in the mix as well, most of them were caught jigging live minnows. “Well, deer season is right around the corner. For all you hunters, get your fishing in before hitting the deer woods. Be safe, have fun and catch some fish,” he said.
(updated 9-25-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the clarity is “a little muddy” and the level has been on the rise with the latest rain. The level is high; the surface temperature Tuesday morning was 77 degrees. Bream reports are good. They are biting nightcrawlers and crickets. Crappie are good for anglers pulling crankbaits behind their boats. Black bass are good; use spinnerbaits or plastic worms and work the coves as bass are in there chasing the bluegill. No reports on catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 9-25-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are being found at 5-6 feet depth of water. The bite is good. Black bass will bite well on crankbaits and plastic worms. Channel catfish are good; use stink bait, punch bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-25-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is “pretty clear” and the level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie produced no reports. Black bass are good on topwater baits. Catfishing is good with 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 9-25-2019) Lake Poinsett is closed until next year as repairs continue on the habitat and other problems the lake was experiencing. The Lake Pointsett State Park Visitors Center sells bait still, and the shop is in proximity to many other fishing destinations in northeast Arkansas. Ome Coleman at the Lake Poinsett State Park says, “We are still selling plenty of minnows. Although the lake is still gone, we are still here to supply your fishing supply needs.”
(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 9-25-2019) 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 9-25-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) says most of the regular anglers have been staying away because the river is so high coming from Bull Shoals Dam. The water is clear and high as of Monday afternoon.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-25-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 9-25-2019) 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 9-25-2019) 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 259.51 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake remains under the planned 2-foot drawdown period but with a slow rise back up is only 2 inches below normal conservation pool at 259.0 feet msl. The discharge amount 175 cfs in Little River, according to the USACE. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Monday, is around 226 feet msl. Check the most recent lake level on the guide service’s website, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates 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 recently replaced 19 missing buoy markers on Little River from Yarbrough Point to Paraloma Trail;use caution where buoys are still missing. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 84 degrees to 90 later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity is consistent from last week, stained. The main lake and lower sections of Little River are better than upriver near standing timber. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, the clarity and visibility is moderate stain ranging 5-8 inches.
Largemouth bass remain best early and late. The level of topwater activity has improved and is better over the past few days with slightly cooler mornings early, cloud cover. It’s best best from dawn to around 9 a.m. Largemouths 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 the river current once the sun gets above the trees. Over the past weekend, and last few days with cloud cover during early morning, the overall surface activity improved in the pads and on shallow flats adjacent to creek channel swings. Bass were moving in and out of lily pad stands and blowing up with an improved consistency on Chrome Johnson Spoons with a 3-inch curly tail grub in pearl, white, or snow storm trailer and Yum Tip Toads. This shallow, lily pad bite slows considerably during the heat of the day with the bass pulling out to deeper, vertical or diagonal, structure near or behind points with stumps. A Yum Tip Toad in Snot Rocket, Watermelon Pearl or Summer Gill was getting good reactions over the past week. Mike says, “We have been dipping the feet of the Tip Toad in JJ’s Magic chartreuse dipping dye for a trigger/splash of color for a different appearance.” Good lily pad stands remain in Mud Lake and Horseshoe Lake and where a creek channel is close by to the deeper creek bends with lily pads. They have held good chunky bass willing to blow up on cloudy mornings lately. Mike says they typically use a 3/0 or 4/0 Owner Rig’n Hook for the weedless presentation of the Tip Toad in the pads, simply due to the thickness of the soft plastic, and get good hook-up ratios with that setup.
“Be prepared for a heart-stopping surprise when they blow up on the Tip Toad. Topwater blow ups in the lily pads can be sudden and without warning! Several nice, chunky largemouth bass over the past week were caught using this method, alongside the chrome Johnson Spoons, in 2-6 feet water depths of lily pads,” he said.
The schooling bass that were surface-breaking in the oxbows a month ago have been less visible at surface, yet can still be found randomly in the oxbows up Little River, Horseshoe and McGuire Lake. Most are adolescents and juveniles. Clear Baby Torpedoes, chrome black back Cordell Crazy Shads, Heddon Spit’n Image and Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps were working on the early morning schoolers for the past month when surface-breaking. 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, when not surface feeding on shad, can still 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 a ¾-ounce War Eagle Underspins using a 3- to 4-inch pearl or white grub trailer.
White bass continue roaming and schooling up with juvenile largemouths and spotted bass following shad in Little River at creek dumps and the oxbows at dawn. Most surface-breaking diminished over the past couple weeks in Horseshoe and McGuire lakes in the oxbows up Little River. Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fingerlings and Fat Free Guppy cranks in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad were catching a mixed bag of bass following schools of shad along both sides of points extending into Little River with stumps present. Some mouths of creek dumps held very large schools of whites and Kentucky bass over the past several weeks along the river. Crappie improved on planted brushpiles and standing timber over the past few days, with cloudy mornings having the best reactions. Crappie were suspending in and over brush in 8-14 feet depth. Blakemore Roadrunners in white, white/chartreuse or blue/chartreuse were getting bit a few days ago by vertical-jigging near standing timber in Horseshoe. Blues and channel cats have been slowly improving, definately more consistent at night, over the past several weeks using chicken gizzards and livers, hot dogs, and punch bait with fair to good catches of cats from 2 to 4 pounds. Best activity with yo-yos was in the back of the oxbows, hung from cypress tree limbs and timber from 8-12 feet deep. No reports on bream this week.
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 536.51 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.18 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says summer has finally ended but no one told Mother Nature. “Wow, has this been a killer. Water temperatures are finally on the fall. The water temperature has fallen from 87 to 83 degrees. There is little trash or debris in the water.” He says crappie fishing is still slow with most of the fish still deep 20-22 feet. They bite is still light and non-aggressive. The water temperature should trigger a more aggressive bite soon. Trolling is one alternative. Bandit 300s are the bait of choice. You can also pull jigs or minnows with single or double rigs. Lennox Marcus and Shouse Ford good areas to visit. No report on black bass or bream. The whites, the Kentucky bass, small black bass and some hybrids are still working the surface. Shouse Ford is still holding up with schooling fish. Rooster Tail jigs, 1/8 ounce, 1-ounce spoons and small topwaters are best to try. When electronics show them below surface, 2-ounce spoons counted down to correct depth or Alabama rigs done the same work well. As the day warms up, try trolling the Alabama rigs around 15 feet deep. “I hope to have better news soon. The time is right soon,” John said.
(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: 437.29 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.75 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 9-25-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are still biting fairly well. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. Good catfish being caught tight-lining in the river. Crappie are a little slow.
(updated 9-25-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the clarity is a little muddy and the surface temperature Tuesday morning was 84 degrees. Lake level is normal. Anglers will have their best success catching bream by using redworms. Crickets also will work. Crappie are fair using jigs. Black bass are good. Go with spinnerbaits, topwater lures and harder baits. No reports on catfish or white bass.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-25-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, reports that the lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 81.5 degrees. Water level and current are normal. The bream bite is excellent. Bream are in 8-10 feet depth fo water and biting worms and crickets. Crappie are poor. Black bass are fair, with anglers using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good; try stink bait, chicken liver or shrimp. No reports on white bass.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-25-2019) 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 9-25-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) says that again, like recently, this week ended with sunshine and unseasonably warm weather. The forecast expects warmer temperatures to return after the early week’s front moves out. Visibility is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 84 degrees. As of Tuesday (Sept. 24) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has remained steady around 339 feet. Release has also been steady around 25,000 cfs. There has been no power generation for several months now. “We still have no update on dredging operations between Shoal Bay and Spadra between river miles 221 and 225,” he said. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has returned to near normal. The Dardanelle tailwater has held around 7 feet and release there has also held steady around 28,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last several months.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park the Big Bass Tour on Sept. 21-22. During the two-day event 20 bass were weighed in at over 5 pounds and many of those were over 6 pounds. The grand prize bass weighed 7.03 pounds and was caught on the morning of the first day. “On Sept. 22 we also hosted the Arkansas Youth BASS Nation event and they also caught some nice-sized bass,” he said. “Reports from anglers are that the bass fishing is still 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 well under way at the state park. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.”
(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 342.49 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the lake remains clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good; use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; try any artificial bait. Catfishing is good using worms or cut shad.
(updated 9-25-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is clear and at a normal. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good with minnows and jigs. They hear black bass are fair, but that’s about it. Catfish are biting well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.81 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. The topwater bite is working early, late and on cloudy days. Walleye are fair, with three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are good. These fish are located in the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are still good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are slow. “We have been receiving sporadic reports of fish being caught with small jigs on brush in 20-30 feet of water,” he said. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using live nightcrawlers around brushpiles. Water temperature has been ranging 84-88 degrees. The clarity is clear and Lake Ouachita has fallen to 568.91 feet msl. 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 384.59 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-25-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the clarity remains clear and the level is normal. The surface temperature Tuesday morning ranged 80-82 degrees. Ronnie says bream reports are poor, but it’s more that no one is really fishing for bream. He says the bream bite did slow down after the full moon, however. Crappie are “on fire,” though. Anglers will find an excellent bite fishing for crappie in 4-5 feet of water and targeting the lily pad areas. Also look 4-14 feet under piers. Fish with shad for best results. Black bass are also excellent, and they’re in the shallows now. Look for them around the points. Use crankbaits, particularly one that resembles white shad. Catfishing reports are excellent, too. They’re favoring the crappie jigs. 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 9-25-2019) 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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