Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Nov. 13, 2019
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Nov. 13, 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 11-13-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is stained and the level is low. Very few bream are being caught. Try worms for any reaction. Crappie are fair on minnows. Black bass are poor. Catfishing also had very few responses this week, poor reports.
Little Red River
(updated 11-13-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said Wednesday, “When I woke this morning, someone had moved me to the North Pole. It was 16 degrees on the Little Red River. The water is clear after the rain on Monday and still low with two units of generation scheduled for 4 hours on Wednesday morning starting at 6 a.m. One hour of one-unit generation is also scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 6 p.m. With this schedule, wading will be limited to the park area after noon and Winkley Shoal before 10 a.m. This generation is due to the cold weather and will probably continue each day as long as the cold weather remains, with a possible reduction as the temperatures moderate. This cold weather may get the brown trout moving, although there has been little sign that the spawning run has started. Midges seem to be the main hatch at this time and, of course, sowbugs are always available to the trout. Rainbows are taking small midge pupa and emergers.”
(updated 11-13-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red River is receiving sporadic generation during the week with little to no generation on weekends. Fly patterns of midges, gold ribbed hares ear and pheasant tails can be productive. Consider chartreuse and hot pink bodies on chartreuse jigheads 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 460.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 11-13-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.25 feet msl and came up some, but is falling again with some generation. It is 1.79 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The black bass bite is improving every day, all getting stable, fish on top scattered from bank out to 60 feet. A good time, just use one rod and one technique you need to get down pat, and stay around bait for best results. Crappie will tighten up in schools after this weather, and will be more vertical; stay around shad. No report bream. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating well as they will get stable as well, stay around shad, 25-80 feet and use spoons, inline spinners, hair jigs or swim baits. No report on walleye. Catfish will bite all over lakes and rivers, with lines and jugs working best.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-13-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the water clarity is muddy and the lake is low. Surface temperature Tuesday was 45.8 degrees. Crappie were being caught early in the day and the catch is fair. Fish along the shoreline with minnows. Catfishing was poor to fair. Use hot dogs or goldfish on trotlines. Black bass and bream were poor.
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 11-13-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no new reports. Visit John’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for any latest updates and photos.
(updated 11-6-2019) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), says the water is clear and at a normal level (328 feet msl). The surface temperature Tuesday morning was66 degrees. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good and are still being caught in 3-5 feet depth. Use minnows and jigs and fish around the brushpiles. Black bass are in the shallows and continue to bite on nearly everything in the evening. The catch has been good. Use topwater baits for best success. Catfishing is good on chicken livers.
(updated 11-6-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature has dropped and the largemouth bass bite is good. Most of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports say the black bass are biting shallow early in the mornings on topwater baits. Try using chatterbait, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots, and swim baits. At a recent bass league event, three two-angler teams each caught more than 12.70 pounds of fish, with Dillon Roth and Kyle Faith landing a 5.19-pounder and winning the event with a five-bass stringer of 12.89 pounds.
Kentucky bass are also good. 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 Rails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are fair. Reports of them being found stacking in deeper water around 18-22 feet. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow. They are moving into deeper water around 18-22 feet. Try crickets and worms. Catfish are good. Chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish are working.
(updated 11-6-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass are biting fair on minnows and Carolina-rigged plastics. Crappie are still biting pretty well very early in the mornings on minnows and small jigs. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream fishing has been slow.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 11-6-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish and crappie have been biting for some customers using No. 6 minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows, soft plastics and small spinnerbaits. Bream have been biting fair on crickets and redworms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 11-6-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says No. 6 and brooder minnows were used to catch a mixed stringer of smallmouth, rock bass, catfish and crappie for a couple of customers Tuesday. Bream are biting crickets and worms. One customer reported catching a couple of walleye and several rock bass on No. 12 minnows. The gar are still biting minnows and are fun to catch.
For hot spots outside the immediate area for her customers, Lisa says Lake Ouachita crappie have been doing well on pink crappie minnows and No. 6 and No. 4 crappie minnows. But also some huge bream have been caught while fishing with the No. 6 crappie minnows.
(updated 11-6-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting well for some customers using No. 6 minnows. Bass fishing is fair with spinnerbaits and Carolina-rigged plastics. Catfish are biting fair on minnows and chicken livers. Bream fishing has slowed but you can still catch a few with crickets and redworms.
(updated 11-6-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie were biting well last week for some customers using No.4 minnows and jigs. Bass are biting minnows and Carolina-rigged plastics. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream fishing has been slow but one customer reported catching a few big ones on minnows while crappie fishing.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 11-13-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 11-6-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river remains clear and the water is normal. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good, with crankbaits and plastic worms working best. Catfishing is excellent. They’re being caught on yo-yos baited with minnows. Bream reports are poor.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 10-30-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says catfishing is good using minnows or cut shad. No other reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-13-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water level and current are high. Most fishing is poor. Black bass are fair with fish being found around underwater jetties. They’re being caught using swimbaits or Texas rigs with Beavers. Crappie are poor, though some have been caught off the jetties or around brushpiles. Use black jigs. Bream and catfish are poor.
(updated 11-13-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the river is muddy and high with a lot of current. No reports.
(updated 11-13-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reported that near the Terry Lock and dam, the crappie bite is good on minnows and jigs. The black bass range from poor to fair, with fish biting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on bream or catfish. The water is clear and the level is a little above normal. The surface temperature Tuesday was in the low 50s.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-13-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and the level is normal. Surface temperature is in the low 40s. The crappie bite is good on minnows and jigs. Black bass reports were poor, but some were biting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. There were few catfish caught; best bet is with nightcrawlers. No reports on bream.
(updated 11-13-2019) Donna Muherin at Herman’s Landing (870241-3731) says the lake is closed for hunting season. It reopens in February.
(updated 11-13-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the White River watershed, which includes Beaver Lake, Table Rock Lake and their tailwaters, in addition to Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes, saw a significant increase in elevation due to rainfall this past week. Bull Shoals Lake rose more than 7 feet since our last report and continues to rise because of spillway and turbine releases from Beaver and Table Rock dams. High water throughout the system all the way down to Newport has caused a need to decrease releases into the tailwater from Bull Shoals. We have seen a change in the river level from a steady four units (approximately 12,000 cfs) to fluctuations between minimum flow and 14,000 cfs daily for the last four to six days. A return to mid- or high-level flows will occur as the water level stabilizes downstream and the ability to lower the lake level comes in to play.
All this means that your bait needs will change throughout the day as releases from the dam hit your fishing spot. Low water is a perfect time to lay a sculpin on the bottom to tempt a brown to come out of hiding. During the rise, turn to live worms, red wigglers were a massive success last week. Then when the high water comes in and stays for a while late in the day, you’ll be able to cast great big stick baits. That’s when you can try the Rapala Rainbow Countdown or blue back, orange belly Smithwick. Blue/silver spoons (Cleos or Thomas Buoyant) will work well in the low to mid-depth water levels, too. “We’ve felt the predicted arctic blast yesterday and this morning, so if you’re braving the weather (and we have some anglers out doing that very thing today), bundle up!”
(updated 11-13-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-4352169) said that during the past week, they had yet another major rain event (almost 4 inches in Cotter), cold temperatures (to include winter weather advisories) and moderate to heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 5.8 feet to rest at 9.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.6 feet to rest at 2.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest 8.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.8 foot below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation with some limited wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 2.6 feet to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw moderate generation with some wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last four weeks all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the next few weeks.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam has closed through Jan. 31, 2020, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch and release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On Feb. 1, 2020, this section will open to fishing.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the 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 high water San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it). Use long leaders and plenty of lead to get your flies down.
John also talked about taking a first-time fly-angler out on the high water: “My wife, Lori, had a client, Peggy, a retired field engineer, that wanted to learn how to fly-fish. Lori spent some time teaching her to cast and some of the basics. She was reluctant to take Peggy out due to the high water. Lori does not run the boat, so all of her gigs are usually wade trips. I will go along if needed to run the boat.
“Peggy was in town for a few months and they had held off booking a trip waiting for lower water. High water is more difficult to fish because the fish are not as concentrated and the casting is much more difficult. As you know, that has not been in the cards. This is one of the worst high-water years I have seen in a long time. It is almost Thanksgiving and they are still running high water with no end in sight. As Peggy’s time in the Twin Lakes was coming to an end they decided to book a trip on high water with me handling the boat. That way Lori could concentrate on coaching Peggy.
“I arrived at the ramp first and rigged a couple of rods for high water (two heavily weighted flies, a San Juan worm and an egg, a big split-shot and a deeply set strike indicator) and launched the boat. They arrived as I was parking my trailer. They were running about 16,000 cfs, or the approximate equivalent of five full generators. The temperature was about 50 degrees with way more wind than predicted.
I am the high-water specialist. Therefore I took a few minutes to teach Peggy how to make a Belgian cast. This is a simple cast that easily delivers heavy two fly rigs without tangling. You bring the fly line back with a smooth side cast and transition to an overhead forward cast when the back cast is fully extended. She picked it up quickly.
“We began fishing and she was soon into trout. While she picked up the casting quickly she was more challenged with fighting the fish. She lost the first three trout she hooked before she landed one. Lori worked with her. She concentrated on hooking the trout, keeping constant pressure on it, and allowing it to run if necessary.
“Peggy was incredibly conscientious. She really wanted to learn how to fly-fish. She carefully listened to Lori’s instruction and did her best to pick it all up. There is a lot to learn in one day and it is not easily done. She began to pick it up. Soon she was performing flawlessly catching several nice trout.
“Around noon we headed back to the ramp and I put the boat back on the trailer. Lori took a few minutes to teach Peggy how rig and fish a Woolly Bugger. They walked over to the ramp and picked a couple more trout. Peggy was stoked. She had picked over a limit on her first day of fly fishing and did it on heavy water.”
(updated 11-6-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said little has changed in recent weeks. The river is high with six generators running at the dam. Anglers are catching rainbows but not a lot of browns.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 669.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-6-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the water is clear and Bull Shoals has risen to about 2.5 feet high as of Tuesday morning. The lake is at 65 degrees on the surface. Del reported last week that the lake has turned over. Crappie continue to be caught, with good results reported. They are deep, however. Most are being caught in 25-30 feet of water and are being found around the Corps brushpiles. Use minnows. The bass are picking up with the Corps running a lot of water, he says. If it’s windy, Del suggests using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Otherwise, got with topwater baits, the Whopper Plopper, or fish with jigs around the rocky points. The reports have been good on bass. Walleye are being caught trolling. Nothing has been reported on bream, while catfish reports were poor. Check out Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his latest video reports and tips on catching the fish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 558.06 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 11-13-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good to me the last week, but things will be changing with the polar blast we are currently getting. The cold frigid weather will push the bait out of the creeks. They will head to more comfortable water temperatures in the main lake and yes, the fish will follow. The bite has been good for all species and will continue to get better and better as the fish start to feed heavily for the upcoming winter months. Start looking at the large flats in 30-50 feet of water for bait and fish of all species in the coming days, as the water continues to cool rapidly.
A couple different types of areas have been holding striped and hybrid bass. The best areas for striped and hybrid bass at this time, have been back in the major creeks or up river. Bennett’s, Big Creek and upriver from Calamity to the Udall areas have been great places to find striped and hybrid bass. The bait has been very thick in all these areas and the fish have been feeding. Fishing with live bait, such as shiners, thread fin and gizzard shad has been producing the largest number of fish, but artificial baits have also been catching fish. You will find stripers in these creek type areas in 20-40 feet of water and they will be at all depths. The second type of area where I have been finding stripers and hybrids, as well as, white bass is on large flats. You will need to do some searching with your electronics until you find bait. The fish will be nearby. I have found large schools of fish and you can have a blast vertical jigging with a spoon, as long as you can stay on the feeding fish. Most of the fish I’ve found on the flats have been in 30 – 45 feet of water. The fish may be suspended, but the best bite is when you find them feeding on the bottom. The flats fishing should get much better as the bait starts to move out of the shallow water of the creeks.
The crappie bite continues to be good. On Sunday (Nov. 10) I decided to check out a brushpile that was near the flat where I had been fishing. It was a main lake point that has brush in very shallow water and out to about 30 feet of water. I started to jig with a quarter-ounce green with florescent green back spoon. I moved across the point and when I got to 10 feet of water the bite just exploded. The fish were 5 to 10 feet down, in the very shallow water out to about 20 feet of water. I landed 14 fish in less than 20 minutes. This really is not the norm, but when you find fish this active it is a blast. Typically, the crappie have been on 25-35 feet deep brush and have been suspended 10-20 feet down over the top of the brush. Live bait, small grubs tipped with a crappie minnow or a small spoon have all been working.
The bass bite has also been good. Bass seem to be everywhere, in shallow water, as well as deep water. During the late fall I look for feeding bass in 30-45 feet of water on large flats. Once you find the school of fish, drop a ¾ ounce spoon on them and you will catch one after another. I typically do not find feeding bass until midmorning, after the sun gets high in the sky. The best locations on the flats are under water ledges or underwater points on the flats. Drop-shot rigs will also work very well on these deep fish. The bass are in shallow water as well. Plastic worms, crawdads, lizards, etc. are working well for the shallow fish. Cast your bait up to the shoreline and work it back slowly. Bass are hanging in the sunken buck brush along the shallow shoreline or along the deep bluff lines on the drops and ledges. Crank baits, buzz baits and spinner baits are also working well depending on the wind. As the water continues to cool the jerk bait bite will start to work. This should happen soon.
Walleye and catfish are also feeding on the flats in the 30-45 feet of water. Jigging a spoon will catch you some nice fish of all species.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature is falling. The surface water temperature is in the upper fifties and should drop a few more degrees over the next several days with the cold air temperature that we are currently having. The lake level is on a slow rise and currently sits at 558.03 feet MSL. The water on most of the lake is stained, but will begin to clear again as the water level stabilizes. A few more very cold days are forecast for our area, but warmer fall type weather is on its way back the latter part of this week. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 11-13-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report.
(updated 11-13-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 2.6 feet to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw moderate generation with some wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last four weeks all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the next few weeks.
The Norfork has been fishing better on the moderate flows but has been a bit crowded. The dissolved oxygen level is slightly improved. Navigate this stream with caution as 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. 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 weekends can be pretty busy. 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.
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 11-13-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit high and off-color. The smallmouths are less active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-13-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is at 1,129 feet msl, 9 feet above normal pool. “We ran a couple trips this week and a couple with some friends. Folks, fishing is tough for sure. I ran from all the way up the White River to the Highway 45 bridge and back to Starkey Marina. There is lots of debris from Hickory Creek up into the river arms. Best marks for fish and shad were at Prairie Creek up towards Ford Creek. Lots of birds hanging out in that region. We fished EVERY possible way, from trolling to live bait. Caught some spotted bass; had a few walleye on, did not land them. It was brutal. I am hoping that the War Eagle Arm will clear; this is where the shad and fish should be.”
Lake water was at 57 degrees as of last Sunday. Still was picking up thermocline at 45 feet, in certain areas, “which is kind of strange for this time of year. I assume with lows in the teens the lake will finally flip all the way and good fishing should follow. I have a trip Wednesday and we are going to try War Eagle Arm. I will report conditions on my Facebook Guide page Thursday. Fishon Guides Goshen Arkansas.
“Watch out for debris and let’s keep the rain away. If you want to fish, I would really concentrate around Fords Creek and Rocky Branch. This is where the most bait is at. Be safe! Fish can be caught, just move and do not stay to long in one area if fish are not there.”
(updated 11-13-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is stained and the level is now 8.5 feet high. The surface temperature is ranging from the low 50s to the high 40s. Crappie reports have been good. Anglers are using minnows and finding success around the brushpiles and stumps. Bream reports were poor. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 11-13-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (470-244-0039) said he did not fish the past week due to the weather and the flood gates at the dam being opened. When the water and conditions were better two weeks ago, Austin reported that trout were responding well to various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. He had a little better response with various jigs, from 1/8 to 1/4 ounce, in various colors.
(updated 11-6-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the clarity is a little stained. The surface temperature has fallen to 49 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. They’re being caught in 8-14 feet depth. Black bass are good on cranks. Catfish and bream have fallen off, with poor reports.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 11-13-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, had no report.
(updated 11-13-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the lake is clear, while the level continues to run high. Surface temperature was as low as 18 and up to 30 Tuesday after the front moved through. Crappie reports from the past week were good, with minnows and jigs working. Bream are poor. Black bass reports are poor. Catfish ranged from fair to good. They are deep. Fish with chicken liver.
(updated 11-6-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and is down about 1 foot below normal. Surface temperature as of Tuesday morning was 57 degrees. Fishing is “pretty slow,” they report. Crappie are fair. Use minnows. Poor reports on bream, bass and catfish, however.
(updated 11-6-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park had no reports on any catches this week. She asks anglers to please top by the Visitors Center for a great selection of fishing tackle and nightcrawlers. She adds that the best moon times for fishing this month are Nov. 23-29. Good days should be Nov. 9-15. Lake conditions are murky clarity and a high level. Surface temperature Sunday morning was 45 degrees.
(updated 11-13-2019) 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. 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.”
Also, District 3 biologists in the AGFC Fisheries Division report that 232 spider buckets have been staged and ready to be deployed in Lake Poinsett. Spider buckets are artificial habitat structures composed of ABS pipe, set in concrete-filled buckets. These new structures will replace degraded woody habitat as part of the lake renovation. These structures have benefits for all lake species. They can be placed on the ground in shallow, shoreline areas to benefit catfish and largemouth bass or on pallet towers in open waters to give a more tree-like appearance for crappie and sunfish species.
Also, The foundation work began on the new water control structure on Oct. 8, with the driving of the first foundation H-piling. In total, nine 50-foot pilings will be driven. The 50-foot pilings will create the foundation and support for the water control structure.
The upcoming public forum on Lake Poinsett project progress and plans for 2020 is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12; it had previously been reported as Nov. 14. The event will be held in Harrisburg.
(updated 11-13-2019) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides says water levels are at 355 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity is lightly green tinted. It is rare for the Spring River to be truly clear being spring fed. It has a natural green tint to it under normal conditions. During low water the river can become very clear. A nice rain of almost 4 inches has brought river levels up to average flow. This can make for tougher wading, so be safe and use a wading staff.
Leaves are finally done falling for the most part. Before the rain, minnow patterns were hot. This week it has been Y2Ks and Orange Blossom Specials. They seem to like orange lately. From now till Jan. 1 is spawning time for rainbows. We have caught our biggest rainbows this time of year as they move up the river to spawn. Please stay off of the redds.
Orange and red have been the hot colors in Trout Magnets lately. Really hard to beat hot pink, also. Always a go-to color. And for bigger rainbows don’t be afraid to try Crappie Magnets for trout. True. Be safe and be sure to layer up for these cold temps. If you happen to go for a swim, then head for a warm place right away. Winter is here this week.
(updated 11-13-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a bit high and off-color. 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 11-13-2019) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 10-30-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the river is clear and the level is 11-12 feet high but steady. Black bass are biting fair on crankbaits. Catfish reports are good, with stink bait and Sonny’s Bait working best. Walleye reports were fair; use minnows or jigs. No reports on bream or crappie.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-30-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the mid-60s, visibility is up to 1.5 feet in Lake Langhofer, less than 6 inches on the main river channel. The water was up about a foot on Sunday and the river was ripping from the recent rains, so be careful if you venture out to the main channel over the next few days. Black bass are biting well on white-colored shallow crankbaits and spinnerbaits with some wind or light current, and dark-colored jigs in calm areas. If you don’t notice shad in the area, you should probably move on until you find them again.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 11-13-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 11-13-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says fishing on Lake Chicot appears to have stalled. As expected the cooler temperatures had pushed the fish into deeper water during the cold snap. Those brave enough to fish at this time have to deal with the cooler temperatures. Although the cooler temperatures are difficult, the worst part is the cold winds that have been kicking up, causing the temperatures to feel a lot colder than they really are. It looks like the next few days should be mostly sunny, so that should make the situation a bit more bearable, but the wind can pick up very easily, so if you going to attempt fishing do dress warmly. The lake level is still low from the drawdown, so be mindful of this as well.
(updated 11-13-2019) 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. Some nice fish reportedly were still being caught in late September, though the lake is noticeably way down now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.93 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 11-13-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake remains on the rise and about 18 inches above normal conservation pool currently, near 260.7 feet msl; and the discharge around 13,600 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was around 238 feet msl with good discharge at the gates and dam. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels, especially during drawdown conditions.
Surface temps as of Monday ranged 55-60 degrees; expect that to drop rapidly over the coming week if the cold fronts hit again. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for stumps, random broken, or floating timber with high flow rates in Little River in effect. Clarity consistent from last week, muddy lines are pushing daily into the oxbows. Little River is muddy with rapid current, and worse further up river with random broken timber and logs and debris. More stain increased with current in Little River over the past couple weeks, and Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 3-5 inches.
Millwood bass are still biting with a frenzy and the largemouth, white bass and Kentucky bass are showing signs of feeding binges. It’s a great time to take a kid fishing on Millwood! Nice fat, chunky largemouth bass continue chasing and busting shad with cooler temps during early morning, and the overall surface activity improved in the pads and on shallow flats adjacent to creek channel swings. Bass continue moving in an out of lily pad stands chasing shad and blowing up with abandon on Bass Assassin Shads, Chrome Johnson Spoons with a 3-inch grub in pearl, white or snowstorm trailer. This shallow lily pad bite can break into a frenzy in several different areas at the same time. When bass begin chasing and breaking on shad into the lily pads can be mayhem. The largemouths, Kentucky bass and whites are following these schools of shad and chasing them at the surface again with improved consistency over the past few weeks. Square-bill crankbaits like the Echo 1.75 in shad patterns and Ghost Minnow, Rat-L-Traps and Bomber Fat Free Fry, Shad and Fat Free Guppy continue catching these schooled up bass.
Over the past week, the schooling bass are in the rear part of Horseshoe Lake and McGuire Lake, with random surface-breaking – mostly adolescents and juvenile bass and tons of fun for kids. Cordell Crazy Shads, Heddon Spit’n Image, and Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps are working again on the morning schooling bass when surface-breaking.
Bass anglers should be able to find and hook into a nice mixed school of largemouth and whites by trolling crankbaits in McGuire Lake and Horseshoe Lake oxbows, up Little River. Trolling medium to medium-deep, crankbaits from 6-12 feet deep will connect with large, mixed-bag schools. 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 10-15 feet deep. War Eagle Underspins, Heddon Rattling Sonar or Heddon Gay Blade will be able to cast and reach any surface breaking Bass that may randomly appear.
The crappie in the river have scattered over the past couple weeks with the increased current and muddy inflow in Little River, but in the back of the oxbow lakes along Little River, the crappie are recovering. They are biting jigs and minnows near standing timber where water clarity is much better. Blue/white, white/chartreuse or blue/chartreuse jigs and minnows were getting bit again over the past week, vertical-jigging near standing timber in Horseshoe. Catfish improved over the past week with the increased current in Little River. Hanging yo-yos, juglines and fishing noodles in oxbows like Horseshoe on Little River and White Cliffs Campground were working early in the week, best in the afternoon, using blood bait, punch bait or chicken liver.
(updated 11-6-2019) 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 537.43 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-13-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is almost 11 feet below full pool of 548 feet msl, which is normal for this time of year. Water temps are around 60 degrees and dropping with this cold weather. The bass are in their fall patterns. They can honestly be caught anywhere from 1 foot deep to 30 feet deep right now. If you find the shad you will find the bass. Bandit 200 Crankbaits in shad colors are working on rocky points and flats really well. Booyah Hard Knockers in chrome/blue are also working well in these areas. Carolina-rigged Yum Finesse Worms or Christie Craws are also working well. Cotton Cordell Spoons are good along creek channel drops as well. Crappie have been good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep on minnows and jigs.
(updated 10-30-2019) Angler Ted Lovell, who was fishing for bass at Greeson last week, reported that lots of threadfin shad schools were migrating to the backs of creeks and main lake pockets. Bass are feeding on them, and all the fish were caught very early in the morning, then the fishing action slowed down about noon. Fish were caught on a variety of lures: shad-colored crankbaits, spinnerbaits and watermelon/green pumpkin/black and blue jigs. All spotted bass and largemouth bass; no smallmouth bass were caught. Water temps ranged 65-72 degrees. Water was stained from recent rains.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.07 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-13-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips had no new reports.
(updated 11-13-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina had no updates. He will begin reporting again after hunting season.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.78 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.15 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 11-6-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. A few being caught on spinnerbaits. Crappie are starting to bite; fish with jigs and shiners, just need to get out and fish.
(updated 11-6-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the clarity is clear and the lake level is a little low. Surface water temperature is ranging 55-57 degrees. Bream reports were poor, but there is some response with redworms. Crappie fishing, however, is excellent. They’re in deep water as well as in covered areas. Fish the brushpiles and the rocky points. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits. Some 2- to 3-pound bass are being caught. Catfishing is fair; use shad.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 11-6-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park says the clarity is clear. Surface temperature Tuesday morning was 58 degrees. The water level is lower, as Entergy has begun its annual drawdown of the lake. Plans for this year is a lowering by 3 feet. Bream are good. The fish are being found in a depth of 5-8 feet and near the docks. Use worms. Also fish near the brushpiles. No reports of crappie being taken this week. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are working. Bass have been slow to bite for a lot of anglers, though; look for them in deeper water. Catfishing is fair. Use nightcrawlers, stink bait and chicken liver. Fish for them on the lake bottom. No reports of white bass being taken.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 11-13-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports the water temperature is 49 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. The winter drawdown is now complete for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine. Each lake was lowered 3 feet, and this level will remain in place until early March 2020. Rainbow trout are now thriving in Lake Catherine. These fish are stocked in the tailrace and can be caught from boat or bank. PowerBait in white or yellow presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater is an excellent way to catch trout early in the season. Fly-fishermen can wade to areas that hold good numbers of fish and record limits of trout by casting Woolly Buggers, micro-jigs and egg patterns. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current that imitate shad or crawfish will work well in times of slack water or flow. November 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 that are moving in and out of the tailrace. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening. 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, which possess great power and are often in the 20- to 40-pound range. Blue catfish in the 4- to 6-pound range have been caught next to the dam on live minnows and stink baits. 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 Carpenter Dam tailrace.
(updated 11-13-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) said Tuesday that a front passed through overnight bringing some precipitation and frigid temperatures. “We are forecast to have clear skies and below average temperatures for the week. Highs may approach 50 degrees and the lows will be freezing until the weekend. There is not much of a warmup expected. Visibility is limited to only a few feet.” Surface water temperature is 52 degrees. As of Tuesday (Nov. 12) the Ozark Lock & Dam 12 tailwater had risen since last report about 8 feet to 355 feet msl but has fallen to a current elevation of 351 feet msl. Ozark tailwater release had risen to 145,000 cfs over the weekend and has slowed to about 107,000 cfs. There has been no power generation at Ozark for several months now. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has held near 338 feet (msl). The Dardanelle tailwater rose again to 22 feet and is currently at 18 feet. Release there approached 155,000 cfs on last Saturday and is near 127,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last several months. Near Cabin Creek, Corps of Engineers floating plant continue to work at river mile 222, and a contract dredge was expected to start work at river mile 222 later in October. The Corps of Engineers has issued navigation instructions for areas in pool 10. Near the river bend at Shoal Bay, between river miles 221.7 and 222.5, run the red line of the currently buoyed temporary channel. Around the river bend at Cane Creek, between river miles 232.5 and 233.5, run the red line. At O’Kane, between river miles 248.0 and 250.0, run the green line. Visit www.swl.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1985098/mkarns-nav-notice-swl-19-81-pool-10-change-in-water-elevation-and-sailing-instr/ more the most up-to-date news.
Anglers, please use caution when on the water. Many channel markers have drifted and there are many submerged hazards as a result of flooding. The Lake Dardanelle State Park tournament season has entered the off-season. There are no reports from anglers over the past week. For tournament scheduling and updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 11-13-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake temps reaching the upper 50s in the main lake and low 60s in the murkier and shallower areas. “It’s really hard to do a report when we have had the drastic weather change that we have experienced over the last 48 hours. Bass have been doing very well over the last week in several different ways. Dragging a Texas-rigged tube or worm in watermelon seed, plum or pearl white/silver colors to the inside of main lake points and 8-15 feet of water. Preferably near some type of structure like a dock, but really some submerged grass is best. The other good approach has been to vertical-jig a spoon in 15-25 feet of water in positions up creak channels. For this technique, electronics are an absolute must! Find the fish and drop it on them! Pretty simple. Crappie have been picking up in the last few weeks, but it hasn’t been stellar.
The good news about this bitter cold weather, and likely the only good news for most of you is that the crappie really turn on when that water temp gets to 50 degrees. When it does, use slip corks and minnows with a split-shot on a weightless Aberdeen hook and set them just over the tops of brush in 20-35 feet of water. There are some crappie guys out there who are getting very excited right now! Please use extra caution this time of year when on the water. Life jackets are a must from here on out. Hypothermia is a real danger! Good luck and GoGreeson.”
(updated 10-23-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that as every day goes by, the crappie are stacking up on the brushpiles in 15-20 feet of water. Fish jigs and minnows 8-12 feet deep. Use the faux spawn to your advantage. The females are staging, and you might find a few males in shallower water. Once the water temp drops into the 50s they’ll move back out to the staging brushpiles.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.19 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-6-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the lake is a “pretty dingy” and the level has gone from a little low last week to high. Bream are poor. Anglers say the numbers are dropping off, but they are still catching a few. Crappie are good. They’re in deeper water, 8-16 feet. The usual minnows and jigs are catching them, but also try Arkansas Shad, they say. Black bass are fair on buzzbaits and jitterbugs. Catfishing is good using shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 571.11 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 11-13-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is about 7 feet below full pool and has risen about 3 feet in the last couple of weeks. Water temps are around 60 degrees and will get lower with the cold weather we are having. Bass have been very good lately using a variety of methods. Drop-shots or shaky heads with Yum Finesse Worms (watermelon/green pumpkin) are working really well around brush 20 feet deep. Half-ounce Cordell and War Eagle Spoons are also working well in the same areas. You never know what you might catch when dropping those spoons. Crappie have been fair to good around 20-25 foot brush using Bobby Garland plastics on 1/16-ounce heads. Slow is the key.
(updated 11-13-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. The topwater bite is working early, late and on cloudy days. Drop-shot rigging a finesse worm is working well for spotted bass. Walleye are fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are still 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 fair with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair to good. Try a small jig near brush in 20-30 feet of water. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod and reel using live nightcrawlers or hot dogs around brush piles. The water clarity is clear; surface temperature is 78-82 degrees. The lake level Wednesday had risen slightly to 570.11 feet msl, still almost 7 feet below normal pool. 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 384.94 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-6-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the water is a muddy and high. That appears to have turned off the fishing. Ronnie had poor reports on all species. The crappie bite had been good but the fish scattered after heavy rain last week and the bite now is down. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for up-to-date reports as well as photos from his and his clients’ catches. Water temperature at Horseshoe Lake oxbow has dropped to 54 degrees.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 11-6-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said there is not much to report out there way. They have some anglers hanging on to the end of the season, but no big catches to report. “Most of our fishermen have hung up the rods and picked up their camo; hunting season is upon us here in the forest,” she said.
(updated 11-6-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says the fishing season is over at Cook’s Lake. “Fishing was very slow this year but that is the cards we were dealt,” he said. Fishing is closed until spring 2020 so that the lake can serve as a waterfowl rest area. Check back in late February for the spring plans and reopening for fishing. For information, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
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