Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Jan. 28, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 28, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 1 p.m. the day of publication (Jan. 28).
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Quick links to regions:
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
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 1-28-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake has its normal Lake Conway stain while the level is low. Bream are good on redworms, crickets and hand-tied jigs. Crappie are good. The jigs that are working best are chartreuse, white and monkey milk colors, as well as anything that resembles a baby shad. Also use minnows. Black bass are good on crankbaits and anything like a rattle-type bait or a curly tail worm bait, preferably about 7½ inches long. Catfishing is good with stink bait, chicken liver, trotline minnows, bass minnows, small bream, nightcrawlers and dough bait.
(updated 1-28-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said water remains clear and cold. Crappie very slow. Catfish are deep and hiding. Black bass are roaming all over and all depths, but the bite is questionable. For more information, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/arkansasfishingadventures
Little Red River
(updated 1-28-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the river is clear and at normal level. Trout are good on jerkbaits, ShadRaps, Rooster Tails, maribou jigs and PowerBait.
(updated 1-21-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “First of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2021 brings a more normal year health-wise to all. 2020 was a stressful year for most and I hope the fishing trips on the river helped ease this stress. Sorry I have not posted a report in a while. I have excuses, but you don’t want to hear them. Getting busier in December, more than normal, and not fishing much in early January are the main ones.
“After no generation for a majority of the time during December and early January, the schedule has returned to a more normal winter generation. Mostly early morning generation for 2-4 hours. There has also been a slight bit of generation in the evening hours. This should continue until the temperature warms or we get a large amount of rain to put the lake into the flood pool. As always, this is not written in stone so please check the schedule before planning your trip.
“The app, USACE Little Rock, is a good source and is free to download to your mobile phone. The current generation and past 24 hours are found by pressing the ‘Releases’ icon on the upper left corner of the home page. The predicted generation is found by pressing the SWPA Forecasts icon on the third row of icons on the home page. Select the day and scroll to the GFD row to view Little Red River (Greers Ferry Dam). Be sure the date is correct because the postings occur after 4 p.m. each day for the next day. After 4 p.m. on Friday, they are posted for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.”
Greg says the river is clear with rainbows taking midge pupas, size 16 hare’s ear nymphs and small emergers. There is a midge hatch daily with some winter caddis coming off as the temps warm in the afternoons. The browns are ending the spawn and a few are being caught above and below the shoals. Reports show the spawn was successful with a lot or redds being seen.
(updated 1-28-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 1-28-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.12 and is rising it is 0.08 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet. Bass catching is good if ya want to slow down and drag something or move fast and catch reaction fish shallow on crank baits,traps,spinner baits etc,football heads-rigs for dragging, Alabama rigs swim baits for suspended fish from super shallow out to fish suspended in 80 feet. Crappie are eating good about 30 feet some can be caught in 18 on down but better fish deeper, jigs and or minnows. Bream, some can be caught suspended 15-20 feet rest are on bottom in 30 use crawlers. Hybrid and White bass will eat swim baits,spoons,in-line spinners, basic tools, in 25-80 feet. Walleye are traveling some have made it, warmer nights are helping the river fish, lake fish grouped up tight in 30 and deeper, use jerk baits, crank baits, or minnows.
Tommy adds, “The 39th Annual Arkansas Marine Expo, Arkansas’s premiere boat show, takes place Jan. 29-31, 2021, in downtown Little Rock’s Statehouse Convention Center, Come on out and check us out for boats galore, fishing tackle, anything water related.”
(updated 1-28-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is clear and at normal level. Bass fishing is good on red crankbaits, green pumpkin Chatterbaits, jerkbaits and Alabama rigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-28-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake clarity is clear and the water level is low. Crappie are fair, if maybe “kind of slow,” but anglers are fishing at night around the shoreline and catching some. Try a minnow or jig. Bream are fair using redworms or crickets. Bass were better this week; anglers report good results around the shoreline, fishing mainly a night, with crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 1-21-2021) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said Wednesday the bream are biting a little but have slowed down the past couple of days. Crappie have moved to deeper waters; some people have been able to find them but it’s hard. Overcup has started to clear up. The lake is high by about 1 to 1.5 feet over normal level.
(updated 1-28-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said crappie are elusive, set up on the southwest end and drop-shot with small jigs. Cats are there, just have to find them. Many anglers catch them hunting crappie. Bass are starting to show themselves along the grass.
(updated 1-28-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature has been in the mid- to low 40s (about 43-44 on Thursday). The largemouth bass bite is fair. Some can be found just outside the grass line and in 8-12 feet of water biting a variety of lures. Try using rattle-type crankbaits, jigs or jerkbaits. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports have come in of them being found at 15-20 feet depth off drops and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass fishing is slow. Some reports of anglers catching them at 25-30 feet depth. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Reports of them moving out of deeper water and being found in 30-35 feet in the channel. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Try using worms and beetle spins. Catfishing is slow. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish.
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County reports that crappie fishing is excellent in 35-feet or more depth of water. Crappie are being caught around structure on No. 6 crappie minnows with ⅛-ounce jighead. Crappie are also being caught on Kalin’s Triple Threat Grubs in assorted darker colors. The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020 near the intersection of Arkansas highways 5 and 9; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 1-28-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-28-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water remains very clear and the level and current are normal. Crappie are good. Anglers report still catching them in the 7-to-10-foot-depth range on minnows and jigs, with success both early and late in the day. Black bass are good in 7-10 foot depth on crankbaits. No reports on bream, white bass or catfish this week.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 62,860 cfs.
No fishing reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 62,444 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 66,737 cfs.
(updated 1-28-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the pool is stained and at a normal level. Crappie are fair behind the jetties in 8-10 feet of water on white/chartreuse, blue chartreuse and black/chartreuse crappie jigs. Bass are fair in the backwaters on black and blue Chatterbaits and black and blue jigs, as well as red crankbaits.
(updated 1-28-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good in 6-8 feet depth around the Willow Beach area using Slab Slayer jigs in powder blue and pearl white colors, and on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in pearl and chartreuse . Also, the crappie fishing is good below the Terry Lock and Dam in 8-10 feet just off the rocks using regular crappie minnows. Some white bass are being caught below both dams on 3-inch chartreuse grubs. Catfishing is fair below the hydroelectric plant by the Murray Lock and Dam. Use cut shad.
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County fishing in the Arkansas River is fair with largemouth bass being caught in 2-to-3-foot deep stumpy water on white Indiana Blade Spinnerbaits.The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020 near the intersection of Arkansas highways 5 and 9; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 1-28-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake clarity continues to be clear and it’s at a normal level. Crappie reports are fair on minnows or jigs. No other catches were reported.
(update 1-28-2021) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed for the season and will reopen in February after duck season closes.
(updated 1-28-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake elevation has raised one foot to 659.59 feet msl over the last few days due to an inch of rain received Tuesday. The water level is still very near the power pool target but generation has been as high as 19,000 cfs at times. If you’re looking to fish low water, schedule your river time for early morning hours and wiggle a quarter-ounce spinner with a white tail and gold or bronze blade mid-depth to just below topwater. As the water rises (around 11 a.m. in the Cotter area), move to a red wiggler worm or nightcrawler for the next hour or two. Then, when the water reaches its peak, try angling a 4- to 5-inch jerkbait. Best bet right now is a white-bellied lure with a blue, black or midnight blue back. The bank anglers continue to have a great catch of rainbows with the shrimp/egg pattern combination, so if it’s action you crave, stock up on shrimp. Again, white would be our first choice for the egg pattern (PowerBait or XFactor), but yellow, orange or the sunrise color are good choices, too. Winter weather prevails with morning lows averaging about 30 degrees and highs in the mid-40′. Staying warm makes fishing more fun, so dress for the weather and enjoy our Natural State.
(updated 1-28-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service says that during the past week, they have about an inch of rain in Cotter, very cold temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 36.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 foot to rest at seasonal power pool and 16 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.2 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had variable generation with some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msland 26.3 feet below the top of flood pool.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is through Sunday, Jan. 31, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park is seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. The section section will reopen to fishing on Monday, Feb. 1.
The White has fished well on moderate flows. 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 combination is an egg pattern with a size 18 ruby midge).
John adds, “We finally have reliable low water and I have waded on both the White and North Fork rivers in the last few weeks. I have even had wade guide trips. While I love wade fishing, I am always aware that it is inherently dangerous. I do my best to make it as safe as possible. Dead clients don’t tip!
“The most important consideration is information. I have written about reliable generation predictions for the last couple of weeks. While I have to rely to a certain extent on predictions, I always observe water conditions carefully, whenever I am on the river. I always choose a rock that is just out of the water to observe frequently to see if there is rising water (a $100 bill placed on top of the rock will sharpen your power of observation). If you see trash in the water, hear a different sound of the water or feel the water rising, check your rock. If the water is coming up, get out, preferably on the side of the river that your car is parked on. I try to leave the water before it is scheduled to rise. It is easier to walk out on low water.
“Equipment is the next consideration. Waders are important. The basic choices are neoprene and breathable. Neoprene waders are fine for the winter but the breathable waders are more comfortable when the weather is warmer. To make the breathable waders more comfortable in the winter I wear long underwear and heavy fleece pants under them.
“Waders are boot foot (the boots are an integral part of the waders or stocking foot; the boots and the waders are separate). I always recommend stocking foot waders, because the separate boots provide better foot support. They come with a variety of soles, Vibram or felt. I use felt because it provides better traction, particularly on bedrock. Because of didymo (an invasive alga that can be carried on felt soles); many states (including Missouri) have outlawed them. They are legal in Arkansas. I also put studs in my felt soles to improve traction. You can also do this to the Vibram soles. Do not wear studded boots in boats, as they provide no traction on fiberglass decks.
“I always carry a wading staff. This is a folding metal staff that provides extra stability when wading, particularly in heavy currents. When not in use, I fold it up and carry it in a holster. I have found the Folstaff brand to be the most effective. It is well-built and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
“I always wear polarized sunglasses to cut the surface glare on the water and allow me to see into the water and avoid subsurface obstructions. My polarized sunglasses are prescription bifocals.
“The last consideration is technique. I take my time and make sure that one foot is securely planted before I move the other one. I turn my body perpendicular to the current to present a smaller surface to the water and make it easier to wade.
“I prefer wading and make sure that I have the best information, equipment and technique to make it as safe as I can.”
(updated 1-28-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that anglers are catching a lot of rainbows now. Those drift-fishing were catching them on little frozen shrimp, Power Eggs and Power Worms. The water is starting to come down a little bit every so often. Brown trout are starting to pick up after the spawn, but nothing trophy-size has been hooked. Browns are biting mainly on stick bait. The clarity is clear, the river level is high and eight generators are turning at the dam. Overall fishing outlook: good.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 659.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.14 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-21-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the baitfish are on the move again in the creeks and main lake pockets. Spend your idle time on the graph looking for loons and video gaming, and that will pay off. Fish 50-80 feet in the guts. Most of the shad are suspended over the old creek channels. A Rapala Ice Rig or a Jewell Spoon is useful if it’s windy. Use a Damiki drop-shot or McMinnow if it’s flat. Go powerfishing shallow if there’s wind, cloud, bushes/snags with deeper water close and shad. Rock Crawler, Wiggle Wart and square bill are all working with some wind on 45-degree banks with nasty rock transition. Moss is becoming prevalent and is a pain. As the sun comes up, or after a front, change tactics and slow down. Use jigs and shaky heads on channel swings. Follow the shad regardless of the depth and you’ll find the fish. Fish the conditions. Bull Shoals is clear with a surface temperature of 47 degrees. The lake is at normal conservation pool.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 554.76 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 1-28-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 1-28-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report. Look for new reports in March.
(updated 1-28-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msland 26.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork is fishing well on the wadable flows. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the flooding over the past two years. 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 pheasant tail size 14 with a root beer midge dropper. John says, “My wife, Lori, did well with an olive woolly Bugger. The fishing is better in the morning.”
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is less pressure with the colder weather. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms are still closed. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-28-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the cooler temperatures the bite has slowed. 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.
(updated 1-28-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said they received close to 1½ inches of rain this last week. It created a little stain in the river arms. Fishing overall on Beaver remained fair. Stripers were hit and miss. Most fish caught were really nice-sized. Many 20- to 30-pounders were caught on A-rigs and swimbaits. Brooder minnows were working, also. Look from Point 12 to Horseshoe Bend. Crappie are starting to move to pre-spawn areas. Look in many river and creek channels in 15 feet of water on any type of structure. Also there are a lot of suspended fish in Blue Springs and spider riggers were doing OK last few weeks in that area. Walleye are starting to be caught on cranks and swimbaits up the War Eagle arm. This will just get better in February. White bass are schooled up also; look for that push in coming weeks into the same areas that will hold walleye. “Best time of the year is coming up and I am crossing fingers the major flooding rains hold off some and we can get some fantastic spring fishing in this year and not have to deal with the high water as we did the past two years. With temps in 40s and 50s for daytime highs the fishing should be turning on soon.”
(updated 1-28-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is clear but the river arms are stained. The surface water temperature is in the high 40s. Water level is normal. Reports are that you can catch walleye occasionally. Crappie are fair. Though unusual for this time of year, target 6-7 feet depth in the river arms. Use minnows or jigs and get around the brushpiles, the crappie are close to cover. Black bass are fair, with Alabama rigs and various jigs working best. No reports on stripers, bream or catfish.
(updated 1-28-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says fishing has been consistent this past week with the trout bite. Since the Army Corps of Engineers has two floodgates open a foot, it may be difficult to fish from the shore. However, if you’re fishing from a boat, you may do a little better. The trout have been biting on various Fire baits, fished with light terminal tackle. Throwing spoons and hard baits have also produced some nice fish. The water temp is still around 43 degrees in most of the river. This week’s hotspot has been around the Spider Creek area. Just remember to watch out for the hidden structures if you decide to go up that way. While the water is flowing, try fishing the slack water around structure to locate the trout. You can also try to drift-fish as well, just downsize your weight and you should do just fine. If you get out this weekend, bundle up, it may be quite chilly. Good luck, stay safe and catch some fish!
(updated 1-28-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is temporarily closed.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 1-28-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said that the lake has stained up and is high by about 1 foot. Crappie reports are good, with the crappie in 8-10 feet depth under the bridge and in the channels. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair, with your best bet being a spinnerbait or crankbait. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 1-28-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said surface water temperature Monday morning was 50 degrees and the lake remains lower than normal, as water from Lake Charles is used to help provide water for habitat in Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA during waterfowl season. Clarity is murky. She received no reports on catches this past week.
(updated 1-28-2021) The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, allowing the lake to begin refilling with rainwater. The lake, at Lake Poinsett State Park, has been undergoing a three-year renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat with more anchoring in the plans as the lake begins to refill.
When the lake has enough water for stocking, channel catfish will be stocked to give anglers target fish to seek, while prey fish such as shiners and shad will be stocked. After the prey fish have established a base over the next year or so, predator fish such as largemouth bass and crappie will then be stocked.
(updated 1-28-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) remains closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.” However, they are still accepting RV and cabin reservations.
(updated 1-28-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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).
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 10.12 feet, almost 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 15.59, a jump of almost 6 feet from last week but still more than 10 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is up almost 5 feet from last week to 26.25 feet, just above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 1-28-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 1-14-2021) Jeff Shell, superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing remains slow for Cane Creek Lake. Water clarity is around 1 foot. Bass are suspended and the bite is slow. They can be caught by fishing bass jigs over structure. Crappie can be found around docks and structure fishing with minnows and jigs; the bite is slow and they can be found from 5 to 8 feet. Bream and catfish are slow but can be occasionally caught after rains in the mud lines where creeks feed the lake. For winter fishing at Cane Creek, overcast days will produce the best results. The bite generally slows down on cold clear days.
(updated 1-28-2021) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 1-28-2021) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam by the City of Monticello and the AGFC is making improvements to the fish habitat while the lake is currently drawn down for the dam work.
(updated 1-28-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was a foot above normal conservation pool and falling; the oxbows’ water clarity was stained, with Little River muddy. Millwood Lake pool elevation was 260.2 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 7,700 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates was around 239 feet msl and rising with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Use caution in navigation along Little River with high discharge rates and scattered, wide debris fields in heavy flow conditions.
Surface temps dropped again over the last week, ranging 44-48 degrees. Clarity reduced over the past few days in the oxbow lakes along Little River. Current along Little River decreased, and river clarity was ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows along Little River was at 12-18 inches depending on location. Further up Little River has more heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Millwood State Park is opened for campers. See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. Millwood State Park Marina is closed for its annual winter shutdown through the end of February. The Millwood State Park Office is open and can be reached at 870-898-2800 for additional information. USACE is in process of evaluation and replacing Little River buoy markers that have been shifted or moved from recent high flow conditions. Be aware of missing/broken telephone pole lane markers at upper end of Little Gas Line Cutoff boat lane!
As for the fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Bass have been hit and miss over the past week. Warmer days with blue skies have been best near vertical structure and deeper drops with 6-9 feet deep flats in close range. Over the past couple weeks, Bass were fair on swim jigs with thumper-tail trailers, Chatterbaits, jigs, and heavy thumping 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps. Most Bass we are finding continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies into the 6-10 foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 9-15 feet depth ranges. The largemouths have continued randomly turning on during the heat of the day, better on bright, sunny, clear days when water temps will rise a few degrees in mid-day. Square-bill crankbaits, Chatterbaits and Spinnerbaits will randomly connect with the shallow roaming Bass. MR-6, Echo 1.75, and Little John cranks, have been getting fair responses over the past week. Anywhere a creek channel runs into the deeper creek bends or vertical structure and drops into the oxbows, where stumps and creek mouths drop, have held some decent sized bass over the past week. The best bite continues during the heat of the day from noon-3 p.m.
Rat-L-Traps, MR-6 or SB-57 medium -iving cranks in Millwood Magic, Sunburst Shad, Red Shad or Red Chrome and Craw colors continue getting best reactions over the past several weeks, and anglers should be patient this time of year. McGuire Lake and Horseshoe Lake oxbows up Little River had the clearest water conditions. Majority of these roaming, mid-day bass are suspended near vertical structure for many hours of the day, and turn on like a light switch for a few hours under the warmest 2-3 hours of daylight, from 5-9 feet depth with 12-18 feet of depth nearby.
Swim jigs with a Bang Die Dapper, and vertical jigging Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons, are finding vertical suspended bass from 10-15 feet on ledges or deep creek, outside bends, with stumps present.
* White bass: Whites were found roaming Little River at creek junctions and dumps into the river late last week. Chartreuse Shad, Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad were picking off a few decent white bass, and vertical-jigging spoons caught several in the backwash behind points along Little River between Jack’s Isle and Horseshoe Oxbow.
* Crappie: They scattered with all the river current last week, but the reduction in current this week should help them return to planted brush along Little River this week.
* Catfish: Channel cats and blues in Little River continue to bite well on trotlines, and in the oxbows on limblines, using Punch Bait and chicken livers/hearts.
(updated 1-28-2021) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 544.72 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.00 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 1-14-2021) Local angler Charles Abernathy says, “If you haven’t read my previous weeks reports, check them out. Those reports contain info that will carry you through the winter season. When I hit the lake this time of year, I’m always close to the river channel or some major creek channel. It doesn’t matter if I’m downlake or uplake (although I do prefer to be upriver). I’m always close to a channel. I focus on the deep pockets that are right alongside those channels. I look for deep brush and/or deep standing timber. If you are close to the river channel and you see timber, there is going to be fish there and most likely if you keep your eyes on your graph you will find brush or other structure along the way. Look for bait balls on your graph when you are checking for fish. If I’m not seeing food on my graph, I’ll go somewhere else. Once you find a place like that in the winter you can pretty much count on them to be there the next trip out.”
Hint: There are tons of bait profiles and colors to select from. It can be pretty overwhelming. I try to keep it simple. I’m 2-inch or smaller during the winter regardless of the bait profile I use. If the water is clear, use something like monkey milk or maybe something clear with silver/black flake. I like whites with chartreuse a lot too. Something that looks like a real bait fish. If it gets dirty, use something dark with bright accents. If you know there are fish there and these aren’t doing it, change something minor and see if it helps. Many times, I have pitched a Bobby Garland Shad in a color like monkey milk and changed only the profile of bait (like switching to a Mr Crappie Slab Slanger) and achieved better results. Sometimes it ends up being as simple as dying the tail chartreuse. I know … these creatures can be finicky. If these go-to colors don’t work, then I move on to the million other different colors. In my experience, the profile has ended up being the major difference. Remember, keep your line tight and that bait slow.
“I’ve appreciated receiving emails regarding this body of water. As always, feel free to reach out at email@example.com for more info. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice! Hope to see you on the water.”
(updated 1-28-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) had no new reports. You’ll currently be finding Darryl sinking trees as fish habitat and cover. Look for new reports soon.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.95 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 534.69 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(update 1-21-2021) Angler Charles Abernathy said, “I had a chance to visit this lake over the last week. The water was muddy and high but the crappie were biting. The majority of the fish I caught were suspended out in open water and were very scattered. Ninety-five percent of them were caught on a Mr Crappie Slab Slanger (black body with chartreuse tail). I paired it with a plain bright orange 1/16-ounce head. The crappie were suspended anywhere from 5 feet from surface to bottom, but the majority seemed to be around 15 feet or so. The larger fish were singled out or in groups of two or three. I did see a few good schools of smaller fish.”
Hint: I had never fished this lake much in the past and did not have a lot of information about it. Crappie seem to behave similarly from lake to lake. Take what you know from one lake and use it in the next. If you have followed my reports on Degray, you know I love standing timber. I pulled up my Navionics maps at home the night before and took note of where the timber was. This was going to be my starting point. When I got to the lake, I headed up the river channel until I hit timber. I set down and started looking for fish. It didn’t take long to find them. They were close to the river channel and some of them were hanging on timber but the majority were just out in open water in the mouths of pockets. These are the ones that I ended up targeting. You can find these with side scan but it is much easier to target these with a forward-looking sonar. When selecting a bait to use, I first looked at the water. It was really muddy due to all the rain that had hit the area, so I chose a bright head with dark body and chartreuse tail. This bait worked pretty much all day.
Arkansas is very blessed with a lot of little gems when it comes to crappie fishing and this one is no exception! What a pretty little lake. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice!
(updated 1-28-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is low by about 1 foot and clarity is clear. Crappie have moved to deeper water and the reports on catches is fair. Use minnows and jigs. No reports on bass, bream or catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 1-28-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 49 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is currently running several patterns of flow in an effort to continue lowering Lake Ouachita and passing rainfall from recent days. This process has included the opening of a floodgate, which creates dangerous conditions for any boater or wade fisherman in the area. When a floodgate is opened, anyone on the water should immediately move downstream away from the dam until the flow has stabilized. While gates are open, fast flows will be the norm and caution is advised for everyone concerned. Area generation schedules are posted on the Entergy Arkansas website under the hydro/operations section every Wednesday afternoon.
Little productive fishing has been seen below Carpenter Dam this past week because of the fast currents; however, rainbow trout have been caught in areas close to the bank out of the main current. Fly-fishermen have targeted these places and had success casting Woolly Buggers in black or green under a strike indicator. San Juan worms in hot pink have also caught fish along with egg patterns in white or yellow presented in the same manner. Bank anglers have caught a few limits of rainbows using Little Cleo’s and Super Dupers in silver or gold colors. Conditions have limited anglers from accessing areas that hold schools of trout, but opportunities for success are in the near future as weather patterns don’t forecast heavy rainfall amounts.
The Game and Fish Commission has stated that trout stocking numbers have been delivered as scheduled for the last three months. Some public doubt had risen that the pandemic and flood conditions affected the fish stocking numbers, but that has not been the case as the stocking program has and will continue as planned.
February marks the beginning of the walleye spawn on Lake Catherine. Normally, in the second week smaller male walleye migrate into the tailrace to prepare the spawning beds. These fish will be present near the dam until late April. Remember to social distance in the park areas and always wear a mask as the pandemic rages on. Follow all rules and regulations and wear a life jacket while on the water.
(updated 1-28-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 1-28-2021) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), had no report. For questions contact the visitor center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 1-14-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels on the rise (at least 2 feet over the last week) and water temps in the mid-40s. The weather and especially the air temps and rainfall have really been all over the place this winter and it has the fish doing things a bit differently this year. Bass have been doing very well in ditches and in between lake points at 25-30 feet in depth by vertical-dropping a Damiki rig, Ned rig or drop-shot with a tiny craw on it. Slowly dragging an olive and blue ½-ounce football or finesse jig like the Slycked Back Hammer Slammer is getting bites in brush and timber in the shallower depths of 15-20 feet.
“What’s really standing out this year that is unusual is the drop-shot presentation. Dragging a blue Zoom Meathead Worm (wacky rigged) in green pumpkin (clear water) or sapphire blue (dirty water). Dragging this presentation in gravel flats of 20-30 feet of water is incredibly effective! Spotted bass especially can’t stay away from it.”
Crappie are suspended over or right next to standing timber and brush in the 25-45 feet range and can be caught early in the morning on jigs and minnows but really turn off when the sun comes up. No catfish report but look for them in depths of 25-30 feet right in the trough of ditches. “Get in an Xpress boat from Greeson’s and get out there!”
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County reports that crappie fishing is good on live bait and small plastics in deeper water surrounding brush and cover. Bobby Garland Baby Shad in electric chicken, ghastly minnow and bleeding shad have been working well. The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020 near the intersection of Arkansas highways 5 and 9; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.21 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-28-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is clearing up. Surface water temperature is ranging 38-42 degrees. Water is at a normal level. Good crappie reports continue to come in, with the crappie hanging around at 6 feet depth up in the river and on the shoreline. Anglers are focusing on the brushpiles with minnows and jigs. No reports on other species.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.52 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County reports that fishing is decent. Spotted bass are biting well on small spinners and live bait in 30-40ft of water off of points. Crappie fishing is good with #6 Crappie minnows and small jigs in 25-35 ft deep water around cover. The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
(updated 1-14-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports black bass are still fair to good. Try a small ⅜-ounce spoon in submerged schools 40-50 feet deep off main lake points. ’Bama rigs and Pig-n-Jigs will work for large mouths around brush 25-40 feet deep No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught on live bait and ’Bama rigs. No report on bream. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 25-40 feet of water. No reports on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 48-52 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The level is high at 579.57 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.50 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge at 20.28 feet, almost 6 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 1-28-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says anglers have reported catching large numbers of crappie at Bear Creek Lake. Anglers have had success in using artificial baits such as jigs to catch these great tasting fish! Fish have been caught in depths of 6-15 feet depending on the temperature of the water. The water temperature hasn’t been consistent due to the drastic change in weather, so it’s hard to tell at what depth they bite the best. Tuesday this week it was very warm with temperatures in the 70s, which pushed the fish into that 6-to-7-feet range.
Construction at the spillway is still waiting to be coordinated by the U.S Forest Service.
As for Storm Creek Lake, very little fishing activity has been reported. We are expecting a better outcome in the next couple of months.
(updated 1-28-2021) Fishing is closed at Cook’s Lake during waterfowl season while it serves as a waterfowl rest area through February. It will reopen to fishing in March if the water level permits. For more information please call the center at 870-241-3373.
No reports. The AGFC is in search of a new supplier of information from Horseshoe Lake and the region. Any interested parties wishing to provide a weekly fishing report from here should contact email@example.com.
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