Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
Sept. 20, 2017
Assistant Chief of Communications
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 20, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 9-20-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained, which is normal for Conway. The surface temperature is still 80 degrees. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets fished along deeper drops near boat lanes. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs fished along cypress trees near the Highway 89 Bridge. Bass are excellent, and many have been seen schooling up and chasing the shad. Crankbaits and topwater lures have worked very well on bass lately. Catfishing is fair to good on goldfish and shad.
(updated 9-13-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red continues to receive 2 to 4 hours of generation on weekdays and lesser amounts on weekends. We anticipate this generation schedule to continue unless we receive significant rainfall. Midges, soft hackles and sowbugs, along with wooly buggers, are working well for fly anglers. Pink Trout Magnets are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 9-20-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said summer returned this week with warmer weather and the generation has increased to two units running from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. This means better fishing in the upper river in the mornings and lower river in the afternoon due to water levels. The fish are still taking the smaller flies using light tippet. The bite has been mostly rainbows with a brown or two during the day. Blue-winged olives have been hatching from midday to late afternoon each day and small midges have also been active.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.77 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 9-20-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water is 2.78 feet below normal pool and falling it will continue to fall with evaporation and generation. The overall bite is a little off as the dissolved oxygen is down due to decay of matter in the lake from high water this year and has got the fish sluggish. After we receive some rain and wind the oxygen level and the fishing will pick up. A lot of the threadfin shad are sitting high in the water column and are very vulnerable, so it may be the best schooling year this lake has seen in years. Crappie fishing is fair with the fish suspended in the water 12-18 feet in the rivers and a little deeper in the lake around pole timber of brush piles, use jigs or live bait for the best catches. Bream are still guarding fry from the last spawn and can be caught with in-line spinners, small crankbaits, crickets and crawlers from real shallow out to 23 feet deep. Bass are spread from real shallow to 40 feet and all in between. Try spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater baits shallow. The deeper fish can be caught with Texas-rigged worms, Carolina rigs and football head jigs. For the in-between fish, a jighead worm and a whacky rig are working. No report on walleye. Hybrid and white bass are sluggish as they are eating at times and a lot of times just floating around suspended, but that will change soon. Just find the bait and the fish will be close. Use spoons, in-line spinners and topwater baits.
(updated 9-20-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is stained to dingy and the water level is normal. Bream are biting well. Crappie are biting excellently on minnows and jigs. No report on bass or catfish.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309
(updated 9-06-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is still about a foot high. Clarity and color are good. Water surface temperature is at 76 degrees. Bass are still doing well. Bream are slow but anglers are still catching them. Catfish are doing well on jugs and pole fishing, but are a little slow on trotlines. But we have had a 29-pound blue and a 29-pound flathead brought in the last week. Crappie are starting to pick up. He says they are catching 10-14 a day around 10 to 13 inches long. They are finding them in the channels pooled with shad.
(updated 9-20-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 77 to 83 degrees. Bream are slow to fair on worms and crickets fished in brush 15 to 18 feet deep. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits fished in the creeks, and bass should be making a push shallower as the water temperature begins to cool down. Catfishing is slow, but a few have been caught on shad and chicken livers. White bass are slow.
(updated 9-20-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the water is clear and the surface temperature ranges from 74 to 80 degrees during the day. Black bass are slow, but a few are biting on buzzbaits, drop-shot rigs, jigs and crankbaits. Most bass are about 10 feet deep at the edge of submerged vegetation, and come up shallow at dusk and dawn. You can also find them tailing just below the white bass chasing the shad, about 12-18 feet in the deep water. White bass are slow. They are schooling at the east end and some are in the Midwest portion, but it’s short lived and sporadic. Crappie are good. Crappie are stacking up around channel and brush piles. They are being caught on crappie minnows and Tennessee shad-colored jigs. Bream are good and can be found on the brush piles but moving quickly. Lots of reports about redear on west end of lake. They are being caught on crickets, and live worms. Catfishing has been slow. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 9-20-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting at Sunset Lake lately for customers using chicken livers, minnows and Sonny’s Dip Bait with blood. Bream have been biting fairly well on crickets and worms. Bass are hitting minnows, plastic worms and lizards and small topwater baits at sunrise. Crappie fishing has been slow but a few have been caught on No. 4 minnows and pink minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 9-20-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish and bream have been biting for folks fishing with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting minnows and red soft-plastic worms. Crappie have been biting fairly well on No. 4 and pink minnows but most have been small.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-20-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting brood minnows, goldfish and black salties on trotlines at night. Bass fishing has been good with minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie have been biting minnows and Tennessee shad-colored Kalins grubs. Bream will almost always bite crickets and worms on the river and are lots of fun for kids of all ages. The gar are still biting and are really fun and challenging to catch. Minnows will get the bites. Look for gar on the waters surface and just get your bait close to them.
(updated 9-20-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has still been fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting early in the mornings and at night on minnows and dark-colored plastics. Catfish are biting fairly well at night on minnows, goldfish and chicken livers. One customer reported catching a few nice crappie on No. 12 minnows earlier this week.
(updated 9-20-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been good with No. 12 minnows, plastic worms and lizards and topwater baits. Bream are biting slowly, but a few big ones have been caught lately on crickets and worms. Crappie have been biting great for a few that like to use No. 6 minnows and a few different colors of Bobby Garland jigs. Catfish are biting well from sunset to a while after dark on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows.
(updated 9-13-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the water is a little lower this week because of work on the No. 10 dam. A few more anglers have been on the water as well. Bass are biting well along the secondary drops away from grass lines on pearl-colored crankbaits. Catfishing is good on skipjack and worms fished on the upstream side of the jetties. White bass are chasing shad on the sandbars and jetties, so fishing a 3-inch Sassy Shad should catch a few of these hard-pulling fish. Bream are biting well on black Rooster Tails fished along riprap. Stripers are biting well below the locks on shad-colored crankbaits. No report on crappie.
(updated 8-30-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reports that the fishing has been fair to good recently. As for bass, the current was really rolling there for a while and really pushed the fish back into backwaters close to the main river. As the flows slow, look back to the current break areas with spinnerbaits and crankbaits. If that doesn’t produce, run sand flats with a ¼-ounce Rat-L-Trap and buzzbait. With heavier flows comes better catfishing. Anchor above deep holes on the outside bends of the river and let the current “walk” your baits back into the front of the hole to present your bait. Cody says his favorite is fresh cut bait, but definitely try other options if you have confidence in them. If you find yourself without much flow, try drifting along the main channel with your baits hanging about 1 foot off the bottom. For bream, check out shallow backwater areas within 50 yards of the main channel. Right now it is tough to beat a tube of crickets and a slip cork.
(updated 9-20-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water level is normal. Bream are slow. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair to good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is slow on worms. No report on white bass.
(updated 9-13-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that the water was stained and in the high 70s. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting fairly well on green pumpkin-colored senkos. Catfishing is fair on worms and chicken livers. White bass are fair on shad-imitating crankbaits. Bream are fair on worms.
(updated 9-13-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is good on nightcrawlers and shad below Murray Lock and dam.
(updated 9-13-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that the water is stained to murky and the surface temperature is 75 to 78 degrees. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is fair on worms. White bass are fair on crankbaits and shad-imitations.
(updated 9-20-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is low and clear. Bass are fair on jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. All other species are slow.
(updated 9-13-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the current is at normal flow and the surface temperature is in the upper 70s. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Crappie are biting well on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on worms.
(updated 9-13-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is stained and the surface temperature is about 78 degrees in the mornnings. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater lures such as the Whopper Plopper. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawlers. White bass are fair.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-20-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is at normal level. Bream are still biting fairly well on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair, with most being caught on soft-plastics and spinnerbaits. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-13-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear for Peckerwood and the water level is at normal elevation. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair on trolled minnow rigs. Bass are biting well on topwater lures in the mornings and spinnerbaits and soft-plastic worms during the day. Catfishing is good.
(updated 9-20-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is near desired power pool level but we continue to see heavy generation, so still lots of water feeding our prime fishing spots. Keep a variety of live bait on board for the browns. Sculpins, red fin minnows and crawdad tails will work very well. Keep your bait close to the bottom and to the sides of the main channel. The rainbows haven’t been as picky; we’ve gotten a great bite with pink worms and mousetails. Add a little garlic-scented PowerBait to the mix for some added attraction. Watch for a decrease in generation in the coming days.
(updated 9-20-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is high with 6 to 8 generators running. Rainbow trout are fair on PowerBait, worms and frozen shad fished from a boat.
(updated 9-13-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the previous week, they had had no rain, unseasonably cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 3.8 feet to rest at 8.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 25.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.3 feet to rest at 0.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 0.9 feet to rest at 4.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, there was no wadable water with heavier generation. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below the top of flood pool. Anglers should expect a lot of generation with limited wadable water in the near future. At the current rate of drop, John predicts the lakes reaching power pool in three weeks. Hopper season continues. Many guides are banging the bank with grasshopper patterns. Add a nymph dropper (ruby midge) to increase takes. If the grasshopper is hit or sinks, set the hook. John’s favorite grasshopper pattern is a Western Pink Lady. On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 10 Y2K with a size 10 pheasant tail suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 663.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-13-2017) K Dock Marina said The lake is continuing to drop about 4 to 5 inches per day. This has had a big impact on the number of fish being caught right now. Fish do not react well to extreme changes in water level. Water color and temp are great, just a slow bite for all species. Live bait working the best right now. Hope to get a better report from some of our anglers after this weekend.
Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no new report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 557.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-13-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says September begins the transition to fall on Norfork Lake. The first half of the month striper fishing will be good but the second half of the month fishing for stripers usually falls off until the weather turns colder and the water begins to cool. The first half of September, you still want to fish the points with long flats and river channels in waters that range from 70 to 100 feet deep. You will see the stripers on or very near the bottom. We use 4- and 5-ounce barrel weights with leaders and put the bait on the bottom then raise it a foot, so the stripers need very little movement to feed on the baits. Gizzard shad are the best baits because they will live longer than the threadfin shad. Some of the best points will be along the dam buoys, Long Point, the river channel along the dam, and Dam Cove. One or more of these points will hold fish in September once you find the fish they will usually be there for a long period of time. Striper fishing usually tails off in the second half of September because of the nature of Lake Norfork. Every year the lake warms up to 90 degrees and the oxygen level gets lower and lower and the thermocline continues to move deeper in the lake. Stripers require 6 parts per million of oxygen to stay active. By the middle of September that level of oxygen is gone down substantially and stripers become dormant and just lay on the bottom not wanting to eat or move to conserve energy. Once the weather cools and the lake start to cool down the oxygen level will start going up but will not return to normal until the lake turns over. The lake turnover is a process that begins at the head waters of Lake Norfork some 47 miles across the Missouri state line and moves down slowly to the dam. The dam area is the last place the lake will turn over since it’s the deepest part of the lake. One way to beat this is start moving your fishing up the lake toward shallower waters. By far this is the best area to consistently catch limits of stripers during the later part of the year. We will be fishing in waters no deeper than 35 feet. You will see lots of bait and stripers feeding heavily on this year’s hatch. The bass will still be in their summer pattern: early morning topwater lures, then jigs, worms and spinnerbaits are your best baits. There also is great night fishing throwing jigs, worms and black or red 3/8-oz. spinnerbaits. You can catch fish all over the main lake and creeks. As the water begins to cool the crappie will start moving up and start their fall feed. Spider rigging is the most effective technique to catch them. Brushy Creek and Big Creek, Bennett’s Bayou, Red Bank, Calamity Beach, and Pigeon Creek, will be your best choices.
(updated 9-20-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said fishing is transitioning from summer patterns to fall fishing patterns. The crappie bite has been outstanding, bass bite is good, catfishing has been good, walleye bite is fair and the striper bite for most anglers has been slow. Anglers have been finding crappie on main lake brush piles. The most productive brush piles should be in 35 feet or less of water and the crappie will be inside of the brush and up to the top of the brush pile. As the water warms during the day the crappie are moving up higher in the water column and have been caught as shallow as 8 feet down, but still suspended over the brush or very close to the brush. Small live crappie minnows, called tuffies, are a great bait for catching crappie. Rig up a light action rod with 4-pound test line (clear or green) add a slip float and a small split shot. Set the shot about 2 feet above the bait hook. I typically use a No. 6 to a No. 10 hook with a little longer shank. If you can net your own bait, small threadfin shad are outstanding. For artificial baits, I have been having good success with a ¼-ounce spoon vertical jigging it at the depth where I see the fish or at the top of the brush. Small grubs with a twister tail or a paddle tail are also a great bait to use. I typically use my artificial baits without a float, but for some, adding a slip float may make it easier to find your depth and keep it consistent once you find the depth where the fish are feeding. When using a grub you can always add a small crappie minnow to the hook, which may get you more strikes. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing has been good and appears to be getting better every day. Some bass are showing up on the surface near bluff walls near sundown. Topwater action lasted for about 20 minutes until the sun set below the treeline. Many of the fish coming up are small, but a few decent spotted bass are mixed in. The Wiggle Wart bite has picked up around brush in 8 to 15 feet of water. The largest bass have come from fishing a jigging spoon along bluff lines in 28 to 30 feet of water. Walleye fishing has been fair. The walleye have come out of 28 feet of water either close to brush or close to a main lake bluff line point on a spoon. A bottom bouncer weight with a crawler harness or a drop shot rig with a worm or minnow will also work. Deep-diving crankbaits that will get you down to the 30 feet level should also pick up a few nice fish. Catfish are hanging around the brush piles in 28 to 35 feet of water. I have landed nice-sized flatheads and channel cats vertical jigging a ¾-ounce spoon. Crawler harnesses or drop shot rigs will also pick up some nice fish. Striped bass fishing has been slow. Lou has found stripers on a large flat in the midlake area and landed several fish using live threadfin shad. I found stripers before sunrise in 20-30 feet of water on the bottom feeding. In addition, he have found small schools of stripers about 10 feet down in 20 to 40 feet of water. Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with the equivalent of one generator being run and currently is 557.72. This level is only 2 feet above normal seasonal pool. The lake surface temperature is ranging from 77 degrees in the morning to the very low 80’s in the afternoon. The mid to upper portion of the main lake is clear to somewhat stained with the coves and creeks stained.
(updated 9-13-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 5.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19 feet below the top of flood pool. The is no wadable water and the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a pheasant tail dropper (size 10). Dry Run Creek is stained but still fishing well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).
(updated 9-13-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more active. Berry’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 1,124.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 9-20-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water is high and clear. The surface temperature is 74 to 79 degrees. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on Hot n’ Tot crankbaits trolled along creek channels. Bass are slow, but a few have been caught on jigs, drop-shot rigs and spinnerbaits. No report on catfish.
(updated 9-13-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says the stripers are on the feed while still using summer areas for the most part, but some fish are beginning to move toward fall areas. They have been seeing some fish surfacing, so have your spoons, jigs or topwater plugs handy. Stripers are gorging on yearling shad and you may have noticed the little shad floating on the surface. Matching the hatch is key for getting more bites whether the fish you have found are feeding on the little shad, sunfish or minnows. Striper fishing will be good taken with live shad, minnows and bream fished on free lines and downlines from 10 feet down to about 45 feet. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors or the 5-6-inch model of Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on downriggers or snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Night fishing with lights has also still been productive. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three stripers or hybrid or combination, walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. There is no limit on white bass. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow; current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website.
Water surface temperatures are in the low 80s. On the mid and lower sections check out these hot spots: Point 1, Indian Creek, Dry Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Honey Creek, Lost Bridge South, Pine Log, Point 4, Big Clifty and Point 5. Check main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects. Walleye are in their summer mode and can be found from 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 9-06-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has very good this week. The Army Corps of Engineers has been generating from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. lately. Most trout are being caught between Spider Creek and Parkers Bottom. Trout are biting on various ¼-ounce spoons and various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. If you can find the right hole you can catch very nice fish in nice numbers. The water temperature in the area mentioned above has been between 54 and 58 degrees. Hybrids are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island pulling various Rapalas and Berkley hard baits in 6-10 feet of water. The weather has been great, so get out there and catch some fish.
(updated 9-13-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported that only one unit is running early in the morning until the evening. Anglers in boats have been catching their limits of trout while drifting PowerBait and waxworm combos. Some walleye have been caught as well using nightcrawlers in the tailwater. Fish the Bertrand and launch ramp areas just below the dam and also the Parker Bottoms area. When the water is flowing, use ¼-oz. spoons and Flicker Shad crankbaits. Good flies to try are pheasant tails, midges in blue dunn, black and olive, and hare’s ears.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 9-06-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are biting soft plastics, spoons, crawdad crankbaits, and live minnows with clear bobber and crawdads caught from creek, as well as topwater poppers. Good fishing from AGFC’s Clifty Access to low-water bridge on Gar Hole Road. Float to good smallmouth bass fishing spot every half-mile and good time to do some wade fishing back up the creek!
(updated 9-20-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is 20stained and the surface temperature is 76 degrees. The water level is slightly low. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on soft-plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawelrs.
(updated 9-13-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 80 degrees during the warmest part of the day. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows fished in 8 feet of water. Bass are biting well on topwater lures and soft-plastic worms. Catfishing is good on chicken livers and live bait.
(updated 9-06-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park reports getting a lot of phone calls asking if Lake Poinsett State Park will still be open due to the AGFC’s draining of the lake. “YES, we will be open as usual. State Parks are not the ones draining the lake. Arkansas Game & Fish are in charge of the lake. I will answer any questions I can. If I can’t, I will refer you to them,” Ome says. Now, for the fishing report: The lake is to the point that it is difficult to launch a boat. You may be able to get a small lightweight craft launched. There are some large catfish being caught as well as some very nice crappie. Ome expects that a lot of bass and bream are being caught, too. They are selling plenty of goldfish and minnows as well as worms, nightcrawlers and crickets. Happy fishing!
(updated 9-20-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is extremely clear (clear enough to see the fish in some cases). The surface water temperature is 68 to 70 degrees. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets fished around docks. Crappie are fair on squirmin’ squirt jigs fished in 10 feet of water. Bass are fair to good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits fished 10 to 15 feet deep. No report on catfish.
(updated 9-06-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 300 cfs (350 avg.) and water clarity has been clear. With the river low and clear, we have had some excellent conditions for catching trout and smallmouth bass. A variety of Woolly Buggers and big nymphs have been working great. High-stick nymphing and stripping Woollies have been the hot techniques. Big white Woollies floated below an indicator has been successful for smallmouth.
(updated 9-13-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is on and there many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 9-13-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is clear and 10 to 12 feet high. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass have been biting fairly well on spinnerbaits, soft-plastic worms and topwater lures in the mornings. Catfishing is fair on worms and whole shad. Walleye are fair.
(updated 9-06-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said bass are good and are biting on a variety of baits, primarily topwater lures. Bream are starting to slow down, but bream can still be caught on crickets. Crappie are just starting to pick up, but won’t hit hard until the weather cools down a bit more. Crappie are biting on shiners. No word on catfish, but they are out there if you can find them!
(updated 9-06-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said catfish are biting at Lake Chicot on just about anything. Anglers are having luck with bass in areas with water running into or out of the lake. Spinnerbait, swimbait and crankbait have been equally effective.
(updated 8-30-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the city’s drawdown process has begun; the Monticello city council voted down the AGFC’s proposal to completely draw down the lake for repairs, but will draw it down partially for some work to be done to restore the habitat. Water is low right now, Chris informs. Largemouth bass can be found in shallow water and the bite is good. Use a plastic worm. White bass are schooling and will hit fair on shallow-running crankbaits. There were no reports on other species. The water is clear and the surface temperature was reading 83 degrees.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 9-20-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said as of Monday the lake level is 19 inches below conservation pool and falling. Water temperatures were stable over the past week and range from 75 to 80 degrees. Use extreme caution on Little River and Millwood this week during drawdown conditions. There has not been much change in largemouth bass over the last few weeks. Bass remain good around 2-4 pounds on topwaters early at dawn until around 11 a.m. Bass continue to react the most aggressive at dawn in the oxbows of Little River where creek channels dump into main body of water. Topwater bite at daybreak remains very good over the last few weeks on soft-plastic frogs, buzzbaits, Stuttersteps, Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Jitterbugs. Soft-plastic Bass Assassin Shads and top water soft plastic frogs remain drawing good responses, early in the morning around vegetation and lily pads. The best color buzzbaits over the last few weeks included black/blue, Casper the ghost, and Firecracker/chartreuse around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels or in the river. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well and best reaction we have had remain on the Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom, or Grey Ghost, and on the Rainbow Trout colors. Best colors over the past couple weeks of the Stuttersteps are the Pro Blue, Ghost Shad, or Millwood Magic colors. When the morning topwater bite subsides, largemouths and white bass grouped together near standing timber can be coaxed up with a ¼-oz. to ½-oz. jigging spoon vertically jigged near the standing timber from 8-15 feet deep. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Firecracker with chartreuse colors, Spot Remover, and Hot Mouse, are working next to cypress tree knees and vegetation, over the past couple weeks in the oxbows away from current in Little River, once the sun gets up, in the clearest water you can locate. White bass are back to early and mid-morning schooling activities with all the recent cloud cover and cooler daytime temps. Clear baby torpedoes, Cordell crazy shads in chrome/black, Stuttersteps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Rooster Tails, and Rat-L-Traps in chrome or Millwood Magic are still working. Bomber medium diving crankbaits like the Fat Free Shads are also catching good numbers of Whites in the oxbows. Crappie continue improving near standing timber and planted brush in the backs of the oxbows from 9-10 feet deep on vertical jigging spoons, small H&H’s, paddle tail grubs, and Blakemore Roadrunners. Channel catfish are biting well on trotlines set along outer bends of the river in timber from 15-18 feet deep using CJ’s Punch Bait. Yo-Yos using shiners and minnow are catching some nice cats in the oxbows underneath cypress tree limbs from 7-9 feet deep.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.00 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-20-2017) Local angler George Graves said the surface water temperature is in the high 70s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good, but the fish are mostly small. Look for feeding fish in the vast shad schools most anywhere in the lake. Some of the better areas are the south side between points 2 and 6, along the State Park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Also look for fish at the mouth of Brushy Creek and Alpine Ridge. Look for “breaking” fish and throw most any top water plug along with swimbaits and flukes. Early morning is the best and probably the only time for the topwater bite. Crappie fishing has slowed with the water temperature creeping back up. The best bet is mid-lake between Edgewood and Point 15. Look for fish on the deeper attractors at 18 to 25 feet. Vertically fish a 2-inch Kalin’s grub in Tennessee or Arkansas shad on a 1/16-ounce jig head. Drop the lure to just above the thickest part of the brush and just move slowly around the cover. Like bass, early morning is best. Hybrids and white bass are schooling at mid lake. The white bass are in vast schools feeding on the abundant shad with some hybrids mixed in. Look for feeding fish between Caddo Bend and Alpine Ridge. Throw small topwater plugs or 3-inch swim baits. Also when the school goes down, try a small jigging spoon fished up through the fish. Bream fishing remains good with lots of fish off secondary points in the major coves. Tight line a red worm or cricket just off the bottom in 15 to 25 feet of water.
(updated 9-20-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said summer is back and the water temperatures rose from the mid-70s to the low-80s in a few days. Crappie have been suspended over fish attractors in water from 9 to 26 feet deep from Arlie Moore to Point Cedar. Casing 1.8-oz. jigs over cover and slowly reeling them back has been working. Drop shotting and bobber fishing over the cover works as well. Use your electronics to find the brush and active fish. Catfishing is slow, but some are being caught on noodles baited with prepared lures. Schooling fish are still surfacing on calm days around mid-lake, with most being hybrids. They don’t stay up long, though. Be ready with a shad-colored bait when they surface, then switch to a spoon or Shad Rap to catch a few after the surface action slows. Black bass have been slow. Bream are in the brush piles and can be caught alongside some of the crappie.
(updated 9-06-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said it’s an early fall crappie season. The crappie are starting to move up on the brush piles. Minnows and jigs fished 10-15 feet deep will produce.
(updated 9-06-2017) Greeson Marine, dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports that as of Labor Day weekend the water was clear with 8 feet visibility in most sections. The water temp varies from 81.5 degrees near the southern dam to 84 degrees as you move northwest up the lake. Spotted bass are clinging to sloping rocks and boulder fields in 15 feet of water or less and readily taking shad swimbaits in the mornings. The dams themselves are a good place to start early. Largemouth bass have moved off the rocks on most points and have placed themselves in ambush positions on partially submerged shoals with submerged grass and brush piles near river and creek channels. Look for the 15-feet mark on your sonar near creeks and start marking brush piles. Piles can be scarce, so you can bet on fish stacked up on them when found. Large black, watermelon and pumpkinseed worms and tubes (Carolina rigged or Texas rigged) should yield good, hard strikes. Good luck out there!
(updated 9-13-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s said the hybrid bite picked up on topwater lures fished in open water last weekend with the cool weather.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.72 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-30-2017) Angler Kerry Forga visited last weekend and gave us a report from Dierks. He and his wife had a great time on Dierks and camped at Blue Ridge camping area, which was perfect for kayak fishing the river. He notes that though he’s not a crappie fisherman, he’s trying to learn and caught 10 on Saturday with the average size about 12-14 –inches. Caught them all on a small crankbait. His wife was throwing a perch color while Kerry was throwing a white/black back. He says they probably caught 50 bass ranging 6-10-inches, with only a couple of keeper bass, between them. On Sunday, nothing would hit the crankbait so they switched to a Monk Minnow in Acid Rain color. They only caught a few “but WOW, what big ones they were,” he said. They spoke with a few guys camping who said they had been catching a few scattered using minnows but the fish had to be in 14 feet of water. The Forgas were upriver and seemed to catch the best in 8-10 feet and always near brushtops.
(updated 9-06-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are still biting on top water and soft plastics. Very few reports on bream, crappie and catfish. Water is still low, so be cautious when boating.
(updated 9-06-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said the only report they’ve heard is a few bream being caught.
(updated 9-20-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 84 degrees. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting fairly well on minnows and jigs fished around stumps. Bass are fair on Rat-L-Traps. Catfishing is good on worms, crickets and nightcrawlers.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 9-06-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy scheduling 10-hour generation periods each day to help maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is at its highest peak. Fast currents and possible open floodgates are dangerous and keeping the proper distance from the area is vital for safety. Life jackets should be worn at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow, which is the norm for this time of year. The bite is very slow and patience is key regardless of the techniques used. Live bait presentations are best presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms or mealworms are an excellent choice along with live minnows and crickets. Artificial lures are nonproductive as hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the area to spawn. Summer trout fishing requires stealth and patience as the fish are extremely wary and the bite lasts for only a few hours. White bass are in the tailrace and are being caught on live minnows tight-lined over deep water below the bridge. In periods of current flow, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern have worked well over rock structure and sandbars. These fish are in and out of the tailrace most of the summer season. Stripers have migrated into the tailrace to feed on the shad migration. Fish in the 20–pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the floodgates are open. Anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now than earlier in the spring. Casting weightless soft plastics perfectly match the injured shad drawn through the open gate flow. Strong lines and rods are highly recommended as many of these large predator fish are in excess of 20 pounds and are ferocious fighters when hooked. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules and always follow all park and lake regulations.
(updated 9-06-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the mid-80s. Water clarity is good in the river with a few dingy creeks. Bass have been scattered and hard to catch with overabundance of bait. Go with frogs in the lily pads, buzzbaits on the outside of the grass line, Rat-L-Traps on points. Use scam shad in the shallows and over the top of the grass. Squarebill crankbaits around rock. White bass and stripers have been good on spinnerbaits, topwater pop baits, spoons and crankbaits. Crappie fishing has been excellent 6-10 feet deep using minnows and white jigs. Bream have been excellent around trees with mayflies, and around grassy rock using redworms, crickets and grasshoppers. Catfish have been fair off of steep drops just inside of river pockets. Use cut shad, skipjack or perch.
(updated 9-20-2017) Greeson Marine reports that due to the early fall heat during the day, some spring-like patterns have returned to the lake. Fishing during the day is outstanding. Bass are readily taking topwater baits in near every color, especially bright ones. Docks and submerged structure around the 10- to 15-foot mark is still on for you wormers out there. Large black/watermelon and June bug worms work well Neko rigged or Texas-rigged. As the nights of fall are coming fast, the darkness is really turning off the fish after sunset.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.70 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-20-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature was 78 to 80 degrees over the weekend. Bream are slow, but a few were caught on worms. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs fished in deeper water. They are schooled up, so if you find one, you find a bunch. Catfishing is good from the bank or a boat on live or prepared baits. Black bass and white bass are both extremely slow.
(updated 9-06-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) says anglers have come back out and have found the water clear and now at a normal level. The bream bite is fair. Worms and crickets are both working. Crappie are fair on minnows. Anglers are using plastic worms to get a fair bite from bass. Catfishing reports were poor.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.30 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-30-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still slow and being caught with crankbaits fished near ledges and humps. Walleye are still slow and being caught on spoons or bottom bouncers on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are slow on live bait or big hair jigs. The eastern end of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are fair to good in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. No report on crappie. Catfish are still very good on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs with trotline or jugs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees. Clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 9-13-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that the water is in the upper 70s right now. The vegetation looks fantastic and most of the fish are still in the grass instead of out on the humps right now. With highs in the 80s and a lot of cloud cover that we’ve seen you could fish topwater for bass literally all day and Trader Bill’s is selling a lot of topwater baits right now. The crappie are responding to the cooler temperatures a little, and they’ll be moving shallower as the water cools.
(updated 8-30-2017) Greeson Marine, home of the original, Arkansas-bred-and-built all-welded Xpress fishing boats, is reporting an upward climb in numbers of fish being taken in the last 10 days. Breaking fish are schooling in the mornings around small fingerling shad. The bass being caught (mainly spotted bass in the 2-pound-or-less range) are gorged with these small baitfish. Small Flukes, jerkbaits and spoons should put fish in the boat. Black bass are doing well also as of lately. Color and size patterns in worms and tubes that have produced all summer are still working well. Large ribbon-tail worms in black, watermelon seed and tequila sunrise and tubes in watermelon red and June bug are still on. Points and well-covered ambush points for easy prey are the go-to right now in 15 feet of water depth. As the water cools the fish will begin to pile up on rocky points and structure waiting for baitfish to come by. Start cleaning up your stick baits, folks. Good luck and good fishing.
(updated 9-13-2017) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) had no report.
(updated 9-06-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said there has been little to report. Not too many anglers out that she has been able to catch up with and get a good report from. She hopes this cooler weather will bring them back out – and the fish along with it.
(updated 9-06-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports. There has not been much activity on the lake.
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