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Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 09-27-2017


Sept. 27, 2017

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Weekly Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 27, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email 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.

Central Arkansas

North Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas

Northeast Arkansas

Southeast Arkansas

Southwest Arkansas

South-Central Arkansas

West-Central Arkansas

East Arkansas


Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:


Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir

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 9-27-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is its usual “stained” and the surface temperature is 78 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream continue to bite well and can be found 10 feet from the bank in 2 feet of water. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair and will be found mostly around the Highway 89 bridge and in Gold Creek. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good and active around lily pads and the shorelines. Use a white spinnerbait or soft plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent. Catfish are hitting limblines and trotlines baited with goldfish or minnows.

Little Red River

(updated 9-27-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red continues to receive 4-6 hours of generation on weekdays and lesser amounts on weekends. Sowbugs, midges, soft hackles and Woolly Buggers are working well for fly anglers. Pink- and white-colored Trout Magnets are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website ( for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule.

(updated 9-27-2017) Greg Seaton of (501-690-9166) said the river is clear and low with afternoon generation from 2 to 4 hours. As the temperature cools, the generation will probably get less. The lake is about 3 feet low, so generation is for power demand only. The blue-winged olives are continuing to hatch in the afternoons and sowbugs and midges are also getting the trout’s attention. Size and presentation are important due to the clarity of the water.

Greers Ferry Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.18 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 9-27-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the lake level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.19 feet msl. It is 3.35 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and falling, and 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 it has got the fish sluggish. After the lake receives some rain and wind, it will rejuvenate the oxygen level and the fish will respond accordingly. This occurs with high-water years every year. A lot of the threadfin shad are sitting high in the water column and are very vulnerable to being eaten at the time, as it will be the best schooling year this lake has seen in years. The 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 or brush piles. Use jigs or live bait, fishing vertical, for the best catches. The 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. The bass are spread out from real shallow to 40 feet and all in between, and some are just roaming, schooling, eating shad and bream. Try spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater baits. The deeper fish can be caught with Texas rigged worms and football head jigs. For the in-between fish, a jigheaded worm and a wacky rig are working. No report on walleye. The hybrid and white bass are a good example of the fish being sluggish as they are eating at times, while a lot of times they’re just floating around suspended, not feeling well. That will change soon and they will be eating off and on all day on top as well as down. Just find the bait and the fish will be close. You have just got to stay on top of them and be patient. Use spoons, in-line spinners and topwater baits. At times they are coming to the surface for short bursts and then going back down as does happen when they first start to school. Also use swimbaits, topwater baits, Alabama rigs and hair jigs.

Harris Brake Lake

(updated 9-27-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Surface temperature of the water was 84 degrees. Fishing results have not been good the past week. The bream bite is poor, but the bite picks up some with the evenings. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are in about 9-12 feet of water, but they just aren’t biting well. Poor results were reported. Use minnows. Bass will react to spinnerbaits and plastic worms, but reports again were poor. Catfish reports were poor.

(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are starting to pick up, biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone/chartreuse, and Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Largemouth bass are biting on buzzbait and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper

Lake Overcup

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 9-27-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is back to normal, around 22 feet. Clarity is dark but good. Bream are slow, but anglers are still catching some smaller ones. Bass are doing well but nobody has been lately. Catfish are doing good with nightcrawlers and bass minnows on poles, jugs and trotlines. Crappie are starting to pick up on jigs and minnows at different depths around the creek channels. Johnny says he has seen some good crappie come out last week. It has slowed up from the heat but it should pick up with cooler weather coming in.

Brewer Lake

(updated 9-27-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is clear and is at a normal level. Surface water temperature was 84 degrees. Crappie reports ranged fair to good. The crappie are in 15-18 feet depths. Use minnows or jigs. Bream reports ranged poor to fair. Worms were the best bait. The bass bite is good. Bass are in 8-12 feet of water with it warm on the surface, and crankbaits are bringing them in, particularly near rocky points. Catfishing was poor to fair. Shiners and chicken livers were best baits used. No reports in white bass.

Lake Maumelle

(updated 9-27-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass fishing is good. There have been more reports coming in this week of limits being caught. Black bass are biting on crankbaits, drop-shot, jigs, buzzbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks are in the weeds and off the edge line. They shallow during dusk and dawn. Drop 12-18 feet in deep water and drop just below fast-moving schools of shad. Kentucky bass are slow. The spots are being caught on hair and finesse worm jigs, spoons and minnows. They can found in the deep water mixed in with the black bass. White bass action has been slow as well. They are coming up for a shorter period of time and moving quickly with the schools. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Crappie are good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (Tennessee Shad). Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught 12-15 feet and 17-20 feet deep. Fish off channel or under water bridges. Bream fishing is slow, but bream can be found near the brush piles moving quickly. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is good. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water, moving to shallower water. Use stink bait, small bream, worms and chicken livers. There have been reports of cats near rocks on shoreline by the weeds.

(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad and Slab Slanger and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Black bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.

Sunset Lake

(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 9-20-2017) 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.

Lake Norrell

(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.

Lake Winona

(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.

Arkansas River at Morrilton

(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.

Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)

(updated 9-27-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley with Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282) reports that the fishing has been pretty slow on the river lately. With slow flows and warm water temperatures, the fish are not exactly in the biting mood. For bass, with the low flow of the river you will find fish really spread out in most places instead of stacked in current break areas. To key in on these fish you need to STAY ON THE MOVE! This is the time of year for “junk” fishing. This means that you need to pick up your favorite shad-imitating bait (squarebill, spinnerbait, buzzbait) and cover as much water as possible. Cody says he would start on the outside of the rock jetties with a buzzbait and work your way into the backwaters. If you have access to side-imaging sonar, try dragging a dark-colored drop-shot-rigged worm over shell beds and other hard structure that you can find on the main river. Bends in the channel are always good.
Cody says light to no flow will make catfishing tough. The best method right now is definitely drift-fishing down the edge of the channel. Position your baits about 1 inch to 2 inches off the bottom and use your trolling motor to stay in that depth zone. Experiment with different bait sizes and types to find what they are wanting on that particular day.

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. When fishing for other species get tough, these guys are a great way to add a little excitement back into the day – especially if you have some kids in the boat!

Little Maumelle River

(updated 9-27-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear, while the level and current are normal. Bass reports were good with best results both early in the day and late in the evening. Bass are responding well to spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Crappie reports ranged fair to good. Crappie are in 5-6 feet depth. Minnows were working best. No reports on bream. Catfishing was poor. White bass reports were poor.

(updated 9-27-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is murky and the temperature is in the mid-80s. Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair and are biting redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The bass bite ranges poor to fair, but no baits were reported. Catfishing is fair to good, and the best bet is with skipjack. No reports on white bass.

Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)

(updated 9-27-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said white bass are fair near Murray Lock and Dam. Use a ¾-ounce or 1-ounce jighead swimbait or a twister tail. No other reports.

(updated 9-27-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is murky and the temperature is in the mid-80s. Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair and are biting redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The bass bite ranges poor to fair, but no baits were reported. Catfishing is fair to good, and the best bet is with skipjack. No reports on white bass.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)

(updated 9-27-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river appears to be clearing up. Surface temperature earlier this week ranged from the high 70s to the low 80s. Level and current are normal. Despite all that, the fishing was reported slow. Bass are fair on crankbaits around the jetties, and white bass also were fair in the same areas, hitting crankbaits. Bream, crappie and catfishing were all poor.

(updated 9-27-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is normal. No clarity or temperature conditions were recorded. The bream bite is good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are biting fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were poor. Results were also poor on catfish.

(updated 9-27-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is murky and the temperature is in the mid-80s. Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair and are biting redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The bass bite ranges poor to fair, but no baits were reported. Catfishing is fair to good, and the best bet is with skipjack. No reports on white bass.

Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)

(updated 9-27-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is at normal level. The bream remains good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are poor. Catfishing is poor.

Peckerwood Lake

(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.


White River

(updated 9-27-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said they expect to see some fluctuation in the White River water level in Cotter this week because Bull Shoals Lake is now sitting at the desired power pool elevation; Wednesday morning the river was at its lowest since before July. Expect a little reluctance on the part of our trout population to be lured into action – big changes in water level leave them wary for a day or two. Their food supply has been cut back, too, so that works in our favor: They’ll start looking for meals. Put your 5-inch Rogues away for now and see what action you find with a silver and blue spoon or a white 1/8-ounce zig jig. Some wading opportunities should open up and help the non-floating fishers; try a red and silver midge to start. It’s prime time to anchor over some old-favorite fishing holes and re-establish river bottom landmarks; structure may have moved during the long period of high water. Enjoy the changes: It keeps our interest renewed and provides a fresh outlook.

(updated 9-27-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water clarity was “terrible” earlier this week. The rainbow trout bite is fair to good, however. There are four generators running.

(updated 9-27-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that they had seen about a half-inch of rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 3.3 feet to rest at 1.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 32.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped a foot to rest at 2.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with heavy generation. 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 that they will reach power pool in one week. Hopper season is still there. 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 the narrows. 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 16 hare and copper nymph suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 660.90 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.

(updated 9-29-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says anglers are still catching some walleye. The magic numbers seems to be 28-32 feet, either trolling or bottom bouncing the main lake or the main lake points. The lake level is still at 660 feet msl, about 1 foot or 1.5 feet over the normal summer pool. The Army Corps of Enginees has been dropping it and dropping it and they’ve just starting slowing down the generation the last couple of days. The water is dirty in a lot of places, there has been a lot of changes going on in the lake. Del says they still have bushes in the water, which he says is great. The fish are waiting in the bushes, and it’s that time of year when you’re going to have to work for them. Some days it’s a feast and the next day it’s a famine. So, as you go through, just keep in mind, don’t stay in one place, cover some water and you’ll catch some fish. It’s the junk fishing time of year, he says. As these fish are following shad into the creeks, try to cover water using a buzzbait or a squarebill. With a squarebill, Del says, he’s been keying in on the flats in the backs of creeks, in the shallower areas. It’s the time of year you’ve got to go into the backs and see if the fish are there. If they are there, you can hang out, have a topwater tied on. On a bluebird day, in the middle of the day, they’ll start blowing up. The colors to use are going to change depending on where you’re at. Del says he’s going with more natural colors if the water clears up a bit. Rightn ow there’s a lot of dirty water in the lake, so bone has been working. For the Whopper Plopper, he says, what a fun bite there is now! Just parallel along the outsides of the bushes, and try to find some wind. That will help you key in on some of those fish. Del said he did notice that a lot of the fish he’s catching had big 4-inch, 5-inch tentacles hanging out of their stomachs, so he’s moved to the bigger jig and has started to catch more fish on it. They’re not afraid of that. The crawdads in Bull Shoals get fairly large so don’t be afraid to throw that big jib this time of year. Another tool that Del is using, if it is super windy and with wind and clouds, is throwing the spinnerbait. The color will depend on the water. But the Sexy Mouse is working, or try whatever your favorite bait for dirty water is and go with that. If it clears up and maybe gets really stormy, you might throw a spinnerbait and you’ll catch a few on that. The weather is getting very nice and these fish have been going through a lot of changes. The lake has seen hot weather and cold weather and that’s pushed the fish around. Anglers just have to get out there, he says. You’ll work for them but you’ll get them.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 555.71 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 latter 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 tree line. 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 mid-lake 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.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 9-27-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that Norfork Lake had fallen 1.9 feet to rest at 1.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 23 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation and no wadable water last week and the water was stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things changed a bit after 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).
John adds, “As many of you know, my wife, Lori, is also a fly-fishing guide. Last week she had a job guiding two boys on Dry Run Creek. I was not working that day and I figured that I would go along. I really like to fish with her and this was a great opportunity for us to share time on stream. Dry Run Creek is a real workout for guides, and two clients makes for a busy day. It seems like one client is tangled at the same time that the other has a trophy trout on the line. You can achieve the most success on the creek if you are able to guide one on one. That way the client gets your undivided attention and can be more effective.
“We began the day at 8:30 a.m. I generally like to begin sooner so that we can begin fishing in one of the more productive spots. Lori and I believe that our client is always right and we begin when they want. A fellow guide had beaten us there and had staked out a hot spot. We walked past him to another choice spot and noted that it was available and loaded with trout. Lori was guiding James and I had Larson. Grand Pa, Grand Ma, Mom and Dad rounded out the group.
“Lori and I were fishing about 50 feet apart and we could clearly see each other. Larson was the first to hook one up. It turned out to be a fat 24-inch rainbow. This was his first-ever trout and his first time fishing with a fly rod. I was impressed, as was he. We continued fishing and he picked up a 22-incher and then a 23, both rainbows. We continued fishing and he picked up about 30 trout that included a 16-inch brown and two 11-inch brook trout. All we needed was a cutthroat to get the grand slam. It was not to be, however.
“Toward the end of the day, though, he hooked one last trout. This one was the largest yet. It was a long struggle but it finally surrendered to the het. It turned out to be a fat 26-inch rainbow. I was careless removing the hook and forgot that trout that big have sharp teeth. I noticed blood on my glove and noted that I had an inch-long gash on my left thumb. Luckily it quit bleeding rather quickly.
“Meanwhile Lori and James were doing well. They had caught several trout, the largest being a nice 23-inch brown. I looked downstream and noticed that they were into another trout. This one seemed different. Grandpa, Grandma, Mom and Dad were on the bank nearby mesmerized by the struggle. Then I saw the trout break the surface. It was huge. I told Larson and he wanted to go check it out. We cranked up the fly line and worked our way downstream. We arrived just in time to see Lori scoop up a 28-inch, 12-pound brown trout after a 10-minute struggle. She was brightly colored with an impressive girth. It was the biggest brown Lori had ever been able to put a client on. We took several minutes to photograph and then carefully release the trout.
“It was noon and the boys were worn out. It was a good time to pull the plug and end the day on a high note. Both had caught some trophy trout and everyone was pleased. Lori and I had enjoyed ourselves. We celebrated a great day by going to Whispering Woods for lunch. Life is good.”

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 9-27-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.


Beaver Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,122.30 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 9-27-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says stripers are on the feed in their summer areas but most fish are on the move toward fall areas and your best bet is to cover lots of water, paying close attention to what Mike Bailey refers to as “high percentage spots.” High percentage spots are typically points, humps, pockets or tree lines where stripers can corner bait. Some stripers also can be caught fishing the open water or channel areas near high percentage spots. Mike says they have also been seeing some fish surfacing, so have your spoons, jigs or topwater plugs handy in order to capitalize on a quick rush when they pin bait to the surface. Fish free lines, balloons and downlines between 10 feet deep to about 40 feet in order to ensure you have a good spread. You can also try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, as well as Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers or snap weights and planer boards to get some depth and stagger your presentation. 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. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on the 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 high 70s to low 80s on the mid and lower sections of the lake. Check out these hot spots: Point 1, Indian Creek, Dry Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Pine Log, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6 and Rambo Creek Arm.
Walleye are in their summer mode and can be found from 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Use 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.

Beaver Tailwaters

(updated 9-27-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has been 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 temperatures in the area mentioned above has ranged 54-58 degrees. Smallmouths 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. They are expecting some rain toward the middle of the week with temperatures dropping a bit, so get out there and catch some fish.

(updated 9-27-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported Beaver Dam has been generating water nonstop since last Saturday morning at 4 a.m., and Sunday’s generation schedule (the day of this report) calls for continuous generation all day. As of three weeks ago, there has been one unit running early in the morning until late evening. Who knows how long this pattern will continue? The store will keep everyone advised as to when they shut the water off. Meanwhile, fisherman in boats are catching their limits while drifting with PowerBait and waxworm combos. There have been some walleye caught using nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers are working well for catching trout. Fish the Bertrand Access and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw spoons in ¼-ounce. Flicker shad are also doing the job.
The store also notes that its annual one-fly, one-lure tournament is Saturday, Oct. 21. Pick up a registration at the front desk of the store.

Lake Fayetteville

(updated 9-27-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is stained and at a normal level. Surface temperature was 78 degrees earlier this week. Crappie fishing has really picked up. Anglers who are trolling reported excellent catches. Jigs are the best lure to use. Bass are fair on spinnerbait. Catfishing was poor. Bream are nibbling at worms or crickets but the catches were poor.

Lake Sequoyah

(updated 9-27-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said water is clear and the lake is low about 4 inches. Surface water temperatures is 84 degrees. Bass are good and are biting on topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing has been good using chicken livers and live bait. Bream and crappie reports were poor.


Lake Poinsett

(updated 9-27-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park reports that Lake Poinsett is getting very difficult to get to as the complete lake drawdown continues. However, some anglers are managing to succeed. Those that are getting out there are coming in with some nice fish. Ome says they are keeping plenty of bait on hand for anglers.

Crown Lake

(updated 9-27-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported a good week for fishing. The lake is clear and is about 8-10 inches low. Surface temperature is in the 80s. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Anglers report good bass reactions. Use small crankbaits, topwater lures and other shallow running baits. Catfishing is good with nightcrawlers and chicken livers.

Spring River

(updated 9-27-2017) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 290 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The river has been running low, making for easy wading. Hot temperatures this week have made for some tough catching. Early morning hatches of caddis and mayflies can make for some great takes on nymphs. During the heat of the day Y2Ks and big nymphs will pull the trout up off the bottom. Hot pink Trout Magnets suspended just off the bottom of the river below an indicator have been very productive. Cool weather ahead should really get the trout on the bite.

(updated 9-27-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is still on and there many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).

White River

(updated 9-27-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said fishing has been slow the past week. The water clarity is clear and the water level is low. Bream are poor but are reacting a little to worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass reactions are fair to spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is poor. Walleye reports were fair.


Cane Creek Lake

(updated 9-27-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said bream are slowing down fast at Cane Creek Lake. Crickets will not be available at the park bait shop until the coming spring. However, crappie and bass are hitting fairly well! Bass are hitting steady on topwater baits for now. Crappie are picking up, and are biting on shiners. Cane Creek Lake is about to hit its prime crappie season in the next few weeks. Right now, morning temperatures are cool — almost chilly — while afternoons are quite warm. Catfish are nowhere to be found, but things should pick up on cats when the weather cools off some more.

Lake Monticello

(updated 9-27-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the lake is getting very, very low from the drawdown. Water temperature is in the mid-80s and the clarity is fair. Reports on bream, crappie and catfish are all poor. The bass bite is good, however. Bass are active in the shallow parts as well as in the deepest areas. They are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures.


Millwood Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).

(updated 9-27-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday the lake level was about 20 inches below conservation pool and falling at 257.5 feet msl for ongoing drawdown. There was current of 1,064 cfs in Little River, continuing fall drawdown according to the USACE; tailwater was about 226.8 feet msl. Water temps were stable over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 79 degrees early to 88 degrees range later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use extreme caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood, this week during drawdown conditions. Check lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels during ongoing drawdown conditions. The Corps is conducting fall drawdown through Nov. 15 for planting millet grass for fall duck hunting in the shallow flats. The drawdown will be approximately 21 -24 inches until Oct. 1 and will be raised back to 258 feet (or 14.4 inches below normal) and held there until Oct. 15 when the Corps will begin raising back to normal conservation pool. Use extreme caution in navigation on Millwood Lake during drawdown conditions as this will bring stumps and broken timber close to surface pool in many areas, and the boat lanes will be much shallower than routine conditions, exposing submerged objects at or near surface pool. New no-wake zones are in effect at both northern and southern ends of White Cliffs Campground on the river and marked with river buoys. Be advised, no tolerance of boat wakes within the marked area, and the zones are being enforced by the AGFC along the river.
Mike says clarity and visibility continues improving, depending on location for main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 6-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 8-12 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranges 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike says not much change with largemouth bass over the past few weeks. The ongoing drawdown is repositioning bass to points and major creek junctions in Little River. Bass remain good around 2-4 pounds on topwaters early at dawn up to around 11 a.m. Bass are most aggressive at dawn in the oxbows of Little River where creek channels dump into main body water. The topwater bite at daybreak has been very good over the past few weeks on soft plastic fogs, buzzbaits, Stuttersteps, Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Jitterbugs. Soft plastic Bass Assassin Shads and topwater soft plastic frogs continue drawing good responses early in the morning around vegetation and lily pads. Best color of buzzbaits over the past couple weeks has included black/blue 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 the anglers have had still are 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. The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shad continue working across underwater points in Little River; squarebill crankbaits still work in creek channel swings (outer bends and deflecting off stumps) and where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into the oxbows. Rat-L-Trap/Echo 1.75 squarebills are still catching bass, with the Gizzard Shad, Ghost Minnow and Gold Shad being the best colors in the clearer water backwaters away from current. Nice-size bass also continue biting 10-inch Magnum Berkley worms, with best colors over the past several weeks being black, black grape and blue fleck. When the morning topwater bite subsides largemouths and whites grouped together near standing timber can be coaxed up with a ¼-ounce to ½-ounce jigging spoon vertical jigging near the standing timber from 8-15 feet of depth. Once the sun gets up, and in the clearest water you can locate, War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Firecracker with chartreuse colors, Spot Remover and Hot Mouse have been working the past couple of weeks fishing them next to cypress tree knees and vegetation in the oxbows away from current in Little River.
Whites and hybrids are back to early and midmorning schooling activities with all the recent cloud cover and cooler daytime temps, away from river current in the oxbows. 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 as long as the water continues clearing and with the reduced current of Little River. Crappie are best near standing timber and planted brush in the backs of the oxbows from 10-15 feet deep on vertical jigging spoons, small H&Hs, Cordell smoke-colored Paddle Tail Grubs and Blakemore Road Runners. Channel cats continue biting well on trotlines set along outer bends of the river in timber from 8-15 feet deep using CJ’s Punchbait or chicken livers, hearts and gizzards. Yo-Yos baited with shiners and minnows are catching some nice cats in the oxbows underneath cypress tree limbs from 6-9 feet deep.

Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit for a daily update on fishing conditions.

Lake Greeson

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 537.78 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).

No reports.

DeGray Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.34 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).

(updated 9-27-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the lower 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good for schooling fish feeding in the vast shad schools. Look for fish early in the morning and try to get a surface plug or swimbait as close as possible to the “break.” The fish can school anywhere the shad are thick, but the best areas are at mid-lake between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Crappie fishing has slowed due to the warming water. A few fish can be caught from the deep attractors at 18-25 feet early in the morning. On a sunny day the fishing is over by 9 a.m. Look for attractors at mid-lake between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford. Vertical fish a 2-inch Kalin’s Grub in Tennessee Shad on a 1/16-ounce jighead over the thickest part of the brush. Even though not many fish are being caught, quite a few big fish are showing. Hybrid fishing has slowed, but the white bass are making up for the decline. White bass are in the big shad schools most everywhere in the lake, but once again, mid-lake seems to be the best area. Look for the schools at the mouth of Brushy Creek, the big flat at Point 10 and all along the south side between Ozan Point and Alpine Ridge. Throw small white Rooster Tails and small casting spoons. Bream fishing is fair with the fish scattered from 6-25 feet. Best bet is to tight-line a redworm or cricket near the bottom, on secondary points, in 15-20 feet of water in major coves.

(updated 9-27-2017) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina said it is hot, hot, hot. Water level is 398.34 (as of Tuesday). Water temperatures are in the mid-80s throughout the lake. It is summertime blues in the fall. Fishing is still slowed down. Breaking fish are being reported throughout the lake from Marker 4 near Iron Mountain up to Point Cedar. The surfacing fish do not seem to stay up long. The black bass are sometimes mixed in with the whites and hybrids in some places. The surfacing hybrids are smaller than usual. It’s the same drill: shad-colored topwaters like Zara Spook Jr., Whopper Plopper and then switch to diving baits like Shad Raps, Rat-L-Traps or other crankbaits. As the school goes deeper, switch to spoons and count down the depth shown on your electronics. Crappie reported still being caught but deep due to the water temperature. Try Alpine Ridge or Lennox Marcus areas. Catfishing is slow. No report on bream or walleye. The lake is very low and many places that are shallow may not have a “shallow marker” at every location. Watch for islands and humps that do not have markers on them. Stay cool and watch out for the other guy.

(updated 9-27-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid striper can be found schooling mid-lake. Spoons and topwater have produced. The fall feeding frenzy for crappie should be coming on soon with the cooling water temperatures. Minnows fished vertically is always the go-to.

(updated 9-29-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s says that the Ozark Bass Club will be fishing DeGray on Saturday (Sept. 30) and they’ll wake up to temperatures in the mid-50s with a high of 84 expected. With that, he says, “topwater, topwater, topwater, that’s my first guess” as the way to go. He says the days of throwing the Rat-L Trap on the flats on DeGray are just in front of us but he doesn’t think the first cool morning is going to move the fish on those flats; it’s going to take a little time. He says the water is still so warm that a Ribbit or buzzbait or topwater bait of some kind would have to be a deadly weapon. He’s heard there are a lot of breaking fish over in the middle part of the lake, basically from Caddo Point to Arlie Moore. A lot of those fish are smaller Kentuckies and there are a lot of hybrids as well, but he expects there are some good black bass mixed in with them. 

De Queen Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.17 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).

No reports.

Dierks Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.44 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).

No reports.



(updated 9-27-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said there are still a few bream being caught, but it’s a slow bite. The crappie bite hasn’t picked up much. No word on catfish. Bass are still being caught, crankbaits has been preferred bait.

Lake Columbia

(updated 9-27-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) received a report of a few bream being caught. Bass are said to be slow.


Lake Atkins

(updated 9-27-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and at a normal level. Surface temperature is ranging 80-82 degrees. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair using spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are fair on chicken livers. Poor results with white bass.

Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)

(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said are catfish biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.

Lake Catherine
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 9-27-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 66 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is only generating every few days to maintain lake levels. Lake Catherine is at normal summertime pool with no change in water levels expected until November. A 3-foot drawdown is planned for the lake beginning Nov. 1. Catherine will begin to refill in early March. The rainbow trout season has been over for months with the bite dying out in early July. Trout stocking will begin again in mid-November. White bass migrate in and out of the area chasing shad and can be caught on spinnerbaits in white or yellow. Jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern are another good choice of artificial lure that imitates baitfish. The bite is best during periods of generation, and the late evening periods have been the most productive. Some hybrid action is mixed in with the white bass and these fish are being caught on the same techniques. Striper action is hit and miss with some topwater action observed below the bridge in the early morning around daybreak. Gizzard shad fished under a balloon give anglers the best chance to hook a large striper as these predator fish consistently target large baitfish. Large soft plastics casted weightless into feeding fish will draw vicious strikes. Strong rods and lines are recommended as many of these fish weigh over 20 pounds with some in the 40-pound class. A few walleye have been caught in the early morning on crankbaits trolled against the current. Walleye often remain the tailrace after the spring spawn with small numbers taken year-round. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of all boating and park regulations and always wear a life jacket.

Lake Hamilton

(updated 9-27-2017) Greeson Marine reports that topwater frogs are and shad-colored swimbaits are rocking on Lake Hamilton, as well as Lake Catherine and the Hot Springs Village lakes. Nothing much else to report.

Lake Nimrod

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.55 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).

(updated 9-27-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the surface temperature earlier this week hit 86 degrees. Water is clear. The lake is at normal level (342.59 feet msl). Bass reports were good, with some anglers pulling in 14-pound stringers using monster worms. Plastic worms are the way to go. The catfish bite has been excellent. Use worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver and jigs. Crappie are fair on minnows and purple jigs. Bream reports were fair with worms or crickets.

(updated 9-27-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.

(updated 9-27-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are start to pick up, biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Largemouth bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.

Lake Ouachita
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.03 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

(updated 9-27-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair and spotted bass are good. Try a drop-shot finesse worm or live crawfish for a mess of Kentuckies. Walleye are fair and being caught on spoons or bottom bouncers on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central part of the lake is still the best area for these fish. Bream are good in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are picking up and being caught on minnows in 20-30 feet of water near structure. Catfish are good on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs with trot line or jugs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees. The water is clear. Lake level on Tuesday was 569.03 feet. 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 9-29-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that he heard a good report and saw photos earlier this week of a big group of crappie caught off the west end of the lake. The angler was not fishing moss but rather timber and brush, and the crappie were caught in about 15 feet of water. The water level in Ouachita is down, but Kastner says he’s seen it much lower than this in previous Octobers. However, he warns, if you’re running your boat through the creeks, pay attention as it would be easy to run up on a hump or stump. Kastner suggests that folks venture out to Bird Island on the lake, as the sight of moss there is “incredible,” a huge, wide open moss bed that stretches for miles, he says. “It goes from one end to the other, an incredible view,” he said. And, with the moss, there was a lot of activity out there with fish surfacing and breaking on the sides of the moss. “There are a lot of things moving around out there, which makes it attractive to go fishing in the morning or the afternoon,” he said, adding that Bird Island is not the only place with moss on Ouachita. He says there are “tons” of it matted up all through Buckville, in Rabbit and in Cedar Fourche, and the Blakeleys “is nothing but a great big moss bed from one  end of it to the other, but Big and Little. It’s just something to see if you haven’t been up there and something to go fish.”

Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.12 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).

No reports.


Bear Creek Lake

(updated 9-27-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek some anglers out this weekend/early part of the week with nothing positive coming in. When they do catch something, it’s been too small to mention. The bait shop is still carrying assorted live and artificial bait for those willing to try, however they do not currently have any minnows. Hoping it’ll pick back up this weekend.

Storm Creek Lake

(updated 9-27-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said that like in Bear Creek, Storm Creek is still lacking a decent fishing report. Some anglers went out but had no reports. The bait shop still has assorted live and artificial bait for those willing to try; however, there are no minnows available.



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