Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Nov. 22, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Nov. 22, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 11-22-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that crappie are excellent and biting around the Highway 89 bridge, Gold Creek and Caney Creek. The bite is mostly on minnows and white/chartreuse jigs. Big crappie are reportedly being caught (fish at least in the 12-inch range). Bream are biting well in deep water on redworms. You have to pick the worm right off the bottom for a reaction. Bream are active around the dam as well as the Highway 89 bridge. Catfish are biting on yo-yos and limblines baited with goldfish or large minnows. Results have been excellent. Bass are fair on topwater baits, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits around the shoreline. The water is a foot low at Lake Conway, but that is normal winter pool. Clarity is stained, as usual. Surface water temperature on Tuesday was a splendid 58 degrees. Bates’ telephone line is now repaired and anglers can reach the shop on the phone number listed above.
(updated 11-22-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red continues to experience low water conditions most days due to the small amounts of sporadic water release from the Greers Ferry Dam. This pattern is creating good wading conditions, but challenging boating on most sections of the river. Lowell says, “We are in the brown trout spawning season here on the Little Red River, so our browns are moving to their spawning areas on shoals. I encourage you not to fish for them while they are spawning and let them do their thing. If you do wade in or pull a boat through the spawning areas, be careful where you walk and don’t walk or disturb their redds (spawning beds).” 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 Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Army Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 11-22-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains low and clear with some generation during the week, usually Tuesday through Thursday, with no generation over the weekend. This makes for very low water conditions over the weekend through Mondays. Greg says he doesn’t expect any generation over the holiday due to low demand for electricity. Check the proposed generation before planning your trip. The brown trout are showing some signs of moving but have not gotten on the shoals to spawn in any numbers. A few browns have been caught that have spawned, but the majority are still carrying their eggs. This could be due to the warmer weather, low water or a combination of both. Be cautious to avoid damage to your outboard motor during the low water. Greg says his jet river boat is having trouble navigating the shallow water. Drift-fishing is good when the water levels permit, and wade fishing is good above and below the shoals during the low water. Locating the area where the fish are holding is the key. Fish are very spooky on the shoals due to the low, clear water. Stealth wading and good presentation are required for any success. Midge pupas and mayfly nymphs and emergers have been Greg’s best choices, he said.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.82 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 11-22-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 456.92 feet msl on Tuesday, which is 5.12 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The level will continue to fall with no rain. The black bass fishing is good shallow on spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. The deeper fish can be caught on a C-rig or football head out to 40 feet. Some topwater action and some jerkbait bite are going on as well. The catfishing is good for blues on cut bait all over the lake. Some walleye are being caught under the white bass and hybrids. We presume the rest are on the move. You might fish a minnow on a jighead in 27-35 feet of water for some action on the end of flats. The crappie are eating well in 15-23 feet of water on jigs and minnows as well as Road Runners. No report on bream. The hybrid and white bass are eating well on structure all over the lake with some breaking going on at various times. Use spoons, inline spinners, hair jigs, Alabama rigs and topwater baits. Stay around the threadfin shad.
(updated 11-15-2017) Cody S. Smith of FishGreersFerry.com (501-691-5701) said Greers Ferry is currently on a slow fall and is fishing really well. Crappie have really started over the last two weeks and anglers are catching limits most every day. Water temperatures cooling as much as 6 degrees over the last week have turned the fish on. Basically anything less than 20 feet of water is holding the largest concentrations of baitfish and game fish. Loads of shad are on the upper end and the fish are taking advantage. Get on the water as the fall bite has started.
(updated 11-15-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said fishing picked up a little bit during the past week. The water clarity is clear and the surface temperature earlier this week was 65 degrees. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good.
(updated 11-8-2017) 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, gumdrop, Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish biting on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Bass are biting on buzzbait and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hog and Whopper Ploppler. 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, worms and Rock Hopper.
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 11-8-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 68 degrees. Bass are doing well around brush and grass with black worms and purple flukes. Bream are slow but still catching a few. Catfish are doing good on jugs, yoyos and trotlines using size 12 bass minnows and size 20 trotline minnows. Had a 40-pound flathead brought in last Friday. Crappie are doing well around docks, walkways and other structures even out in the channels, using minnows and jigs. There has been a bunch of limits come out in the last week or so.
(updated 11-8-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are biting on shaky head jigs, warm-colored crankbaits, drop-shot, buzzbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks are in the weeds and off the edge line. They’re shallow during dusk and dawn. Drop 12-18 feet in deep water and drop just below fast-moving schools of shad. Kentucky bass are good and are being caught on hair and finesse worm jigs, spoons and minnows. They can found mixed in with the black bass. White bass reports are poor. They are running in 14-20 feet of water off of the channels. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Crappie are good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and soft plastic bodies with a weighted jighead. Lots of 11-15 inch crappie are being caught 7-12 feet and 18-22 feet depths. Fish off channel or under water bridges. Bream are slow. Bream can be found near the brush piles but moving quickly. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfish are good. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water but are moving into shallower wate; use stink bait, small bream, worms and chicken livers. Reports of cats near rocks on shoreline by the weeds.
(updated 11-8-2017) 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. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 11-15-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) a few reports of bream being caught off of crickets over by the bridge that goes to the other side. Some crappie being caught early in the morning off of size 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been slow off of bait shrimp, chicken livers and bass minnows. Bass have really been hitting the top of the water over there. One customer said he threw lots of different artificial baits but nothing was working. He got some No. 12 bass minnows going back but haven’t heard back yet on his results .
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 11-15-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) A few small crappie have been hitting the pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been hitting on Sonny’s Super Sticky dip bait, and nightcrawlers. Bream have been hitting redworms and crickets. While bass have been hitting pink plastic worms and red shad-colored ones.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 11-15-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) well it’s that time for the walleye! Lisa says her husband caught three Sunday using brooders on a No. 2 bronze plain shank hook with a very small split shot. He said the river was still way down and while the walleye weren’t doing as good as they usually do for him, the catfish were really biting. He also caught a smallmouth and some spotted bass. Only the walleye came home with him. One of Lisa’s customers reported doing well on catfish as well using chicken livers. A few reports of some crappie being caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows.
(updated 11-15-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been hitting brooder minnows. A few crappie being caught on No. 6 crappie minnows, and Kalin’s Tennessee Shad-colored 2-inch grubs. Catfish have been doing fair on nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Bream caught off crickets.
(updated 11-15-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie have been hitting No. 6 crappie minnows as well as the No. 12 bass minnows. Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bass are biting minnows as well. No report on bream.
Two area lakes that have been very hot for some of Lisa’s customers lately are Harris Brake Lake – very nice crappie being caught off of the No. 6 crappie minnows. And Lake Atkins – crappie, bass as well as bream being caught off of the Bobby Garland scent wigglers in the color sunrise .
(updated 11-8-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few people have been fishing the river. Most people Charley has seen out on the river are checking for ducks and scouting their duck hunting spots. Monday and Tuesday of this week, lots of geese were flying over. Catfish are going up and down the water depth. Best time for catfishing seems to be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the jetties. Use skipjack. Reports have been fair. Bass are best from noon to 5 p.m. on the jetties. Use crankbaits or slow roll a spinnerbait. The bass action has been slow. White bass are around the shad schools. Watch for shad schools going crazy. They’re also on the jetty tips. Use a CC Spoon. Reports have been fair. No reports on crappie, bream or stripers.
(updated 11-22-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and level and current are normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie reports were good. Crappie are biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on trotlines. No reports on bream. No reports on white bass.
(updated 11-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said bass reports have been good in the area near Murray Lock and Dam. Try using a Keitech swimbait with a ¾-ounce jighead.
(updated 11-8-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said water level and current are normal. No clarity or surface water temperature was recorded. Crappie are good. Anglers report the crappie in 5-6 feet depth. They are biting jigs. Bass are fair. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures all were working at various times of the day. No reports on catfish, bream or white bass.
(updated 11-22-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature was recorded in the low 50s on Monday. Water level and current are normal. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing reportedly is fair, but no baits were reported. Bream fishing is poor, anglers say the action is very slow.
(updated 11-8-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said crappie are good on 10-12 feet depth. Use minnows or blue jigs. Bass are good, with best results using jerkbait. No reports on catfish. No reports on bream.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-22-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is murky and at a normal level. Monday, the surface water temperature was 58 degrees. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is poor. Bream are poor but the bream that are active are biting worms.
Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) will be closed until February.
(updated 11-22-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Happy Thanksgiving to all and now … on to the Christmas season!” The White River below Bull Shoals Dam has been running just at minimum flow most of each day for the last week. Bull Shoals Lake is 6 feet below power pool so we expect the releases to remain very low – that means you can expect great wadable waters for the foreseeable future. The lower level still allows experienced guides and other fishing boat operators to access your favorite fishing holes and also allows for even better viewing of the river bottom and your trout. Be generous to your fellow anglers on the river: Waders, allow boaters to move down the channel safely (that’s the only way to get past you and out of your way; boaters, stay clear of lines already in the water and be patient while waders make a clear path for you.
The rainbow fishing continues to be prolific. Try a dark bodied Rooster Tail with a gold spoon in this low water and keep it just above the growth on the river bed; that might mean running it almost on top. Because the browns are spawning you’ll have to get their attention using shiny baits and lots of jiggle: irritate them into snapping at you just to get you to move away from them. The mornings have been chilly–come prepared. Stop in for a cup of hot coffee and catch up on the local news.
(updated 11-8-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river level is normal, with two generators running. Fishing was good. Rainbows were biting PowerBait, Rooster Tails and pink worms.
(updated 11-22-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Saturday that during the previous week, they have had a trace, cool temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped a foot to rest at 6.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 42.3feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.1 feet to rest at 1.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 0.2 feet to rest at 1.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had some wadable water with light generation. The hot spot remains Rim Shoals. The hot flies are 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 14 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 652.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Saturday that the lake level was at 652 feet msl and the surface water temperature was 62 degrees, give or take, depending on where you were fishing. The fish are moving around. Some of the creeks have tons of shad in them. If it’s warm in the back, then fish the flats. The water temperature is right and there’s a little bit of water coming in and there’s a ton of shad in the back. Those fish are relating to shad, isolated cover, brush piles – so, once you go back there, if the water’s dirty you can go spinnerbait, gold blades, War Eagle spinner. You’ll do fine in the brush piles back there. You want to be 2-10 feet or right off the shoreline or right by the bush, and the last bit of deep water will hold some fish. You can catch them on a jig. Del has been using half-ounce or 5/16-ounce jigs trailing with either a Rage Tail or straight Beaver. When Dell is flipping into cover, he sayd, you catch some of the fish in the middle of the brush piles. Any kind of wood is going to be holding a couple of fish right now. If it gets cold overnight, those fish will move back out early and then they’ll go back in throughout the day. The fish using the channels as they’re moving in and out of the creek are following the old channels and the channel swings. They’re sitting on the transitions of those channel swings, be it bluff rock or big rock, and any of those channel swings seem to be holding a couple of fish. Del is using Rock Crawler or Wiggle Warts in those areas. As for colors the Rock Crawler red crawl is working, green crawl is working as well. With a Wiggle Wart, you want to be parallel the bank, look for the wind and keep the boat relative to the wind in shallow water (10-15 feet). If it’s windy and cloudy you can be right up by the shoreline, he said. Those fish are keyed in on the bigger-size chunk rock of the shore. But don’t be afraid to go into a windblown pocket either. Just keep an eye on the shad, the birds and the wind. Del and other anglers have reported seen a lot of loons and seagulls move in, so if you’re going into the creeks, he says, keep eye out for those birds as they are going to be keyed in the shad. Your points in the back of the creeks are holding more of the drop-shot fish right now. Del is using either Dream Shot or shaky head; just use 5/16-ounce head with a green pumpkin and a Zoom worm, watermelon red, green pumpkin red. The shad-shape worms are working. Those drop-shot fish seem to be anywhere from 26-32 feet to as deep as 40 feet. That bite is not quite hot yet, but as the temperature drops, those fish will start congregating more and more.
K Dock Marina has closed for the season. It will reopen in March.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says stripers on Norfork Lake continue to feed during the day on flats in the 30-foot range. There are large schools of shad roaming the flats and the stripers are cruising within the shad. Tom said he pre-fished Friday on the flat pass Fout Boat Dock and found large schools of stripers and hybrids. What Tom found was large bait balls from 20 feet to the bottom in water depths of 30 feet. You may not see many fish while you are watching your depth finder. This is due to the fish staying inside the bait balls and then coming up in big bunches to feed. Tom had seven live bait rods out with lines set at 15 feet and 20 feet. Tom also had two free lines out with a small split-shot in the back of both about 50 feet. Tom said he was using small shad but large shiners will also work now and thorough to spring. The stripers will continue to feed for winter until the water gets cold enough to drive the shad to deeper water. Tom says he would concentrate on the flats in the mid-lake area. As it gets colder the shad and stripers will just move to their winter feeding grounds around Blue Lady, Float, Bidwell Point and between the bridges. The best places right now are the flat above Blue Lady, Fouts Flat and Bennetts Bayou although Tom says he has received reports of stripers and crappie being caught near the 1C area to the east of Hand Cove Resort and Jordan Marina. Modern gun deer and duck season are now open. So November is the best month for the Arkansas sports person. If you do not have a place to deer or duck hunt give STR Outfitters a call; they offer guided deer, duck and pheasant hunting trips.
(updated 11-22-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said fall fishing on Norfork Lake is in full swing. This year has been a typical fall so far, with cold fronts followed by warm fronts and anywhere in between. One of the most important things about fall fishing at Norfork Lake is to be prepared with plenty of warm-layered clothing. Lou has mainly been fishing main lake flats and has been catching every species in the lake. Lou says he’s a creature of habit and continues to use two types of baits: a spoon for vertical-jigging and a blade-type bait. The Kastmaster is his favorite blade bait. He typically fishes the mornings and the bite has been pretty consistent. At daybreak he is finding fish up shallow from 8-20 feet of water. Many mornings he will see seagulls feeding on dead shad that the fish are leaving behind. He starts off casting his Kastmaster into this shallow water to catch the feeding fish. There has been some topwater in the early mornings, but not every day. The best thing about the fall bite is that you never know what species you will be catching. Striped bass, hybrid bass, white bass as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye and the occasional catfish will all hammer the Kastmaster or spoon at any time. As the morning wears on, the bait will start to migrate out to a little deeper water. Typically by 8 or 9 a.m. the bait is being found in 30-40 feet of water and the fish will be close by. He is finding large schools of fish that are at all depths. This is when he starts using his spoon and will vertical-jig it at the depth of the fish, whether they are suspended at 10 feet or on the bottom at 40 feet. Lou has been fishing on the flats in the Cranfield area, Seward Point and Red Bank area as well as the flats before you get to 6B and 6A in the Fouts and Bennetts areas. He said he’s had credible reports that the afternoon bite for striped bass has been good down south in the Big Creek area as well as back in the Bennetts area.
Lou said, “I am still finding some really nice largemouth bass on the same flats mentioned above. Where I typically find the bass is in the area on the outside ends of the flats where a deep channel is swinging in close to the flat. The water depth has been 28-32 feet of water and this has not changed for the last four weeks. A second area where I found some nice largemouth bass was on a deep bluff line point. I was in 100 feet of water and found bass suspended down 15-20 feet. I was able to pick up a couple nice fish jigging a spoon at their depth. Crankbaits are also picking up some nice fish along bluff lines. I really have not found any consistent topwater action for largemouth, but this is the time of year that they should start coming up in the mornings and late afternoons. The water temperature is close to being in the upper 50s so it should be getting close to jerkbait time.”
He reports the surface water temperature Tuesday morning was in the upper 50s to very low 60s. Norfork Lake is very slowly lowering and sits at 552.27 feet msl. Most of the lake is stained to off color, but still a very good fishing color. Periodic power generation is occurring mainly to maintain the water level. He says they are looking forward to having the Bassmaster Team Championship tournament on Norfork Lake early in December. It should be a fun time for all.
(updated 11-22-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 1.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork experienced light generation and significant wadable water. The water is stained and the lake is turning over resulting in low dissolved oxygen. It has fished poorly. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed after this year’s 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 brown trout have moved in for the spawn. The hot flies have been size 14 sowbugs, size 12 Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases. Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 11-22-2017) 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 cooler weather the smallmouths are less active. John’s favorite fly here is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,118.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is good and the surface water temperature on Monday was in the low 60s. Water level is normal for mid- to late-November. Crappie fishing is slow. Most of the fish are in shallow water and around brush piles. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on catfish. No reports on bream.
(updated 11-22-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says topwater time is here! Beaver Lake stripers are on the feed and most fish are on the move toward fall areas. Your best bet is to cover lots of water paying, close attention to high-percentage spots such points, humps, pockets or tree lines where stripers can corner bait. Some stripers can be caught fishing the open water or channel areas near those high percentage spots as well. Mike has 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 and make ensure you have a good spread. 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 5- or 6-inch Smithwick Rogues in similar colors 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 hybrids or combination of the two. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Check Mike’s website linked above for the daily lake level and flow data. On the mid and lower sections, check out these areas, where the surface water temps in the high 50s-low 60s: Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. In the upper section check out the Highway 12 bridge area, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Escapalia Hollow/Falls Hollow, Horseshoe Bend, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War Eagle and the War Eagle/White River junction.
(updated 11-8-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the trout bite has been really good this week. The preferred method is light terminal tackle with various power baits. Quarter-ounce spoons have also done the trick as well. Most bites have been between U.S. Highway 62 bridge and Spider Creek. A few walleye have been caught between Beaver Town and Holiday Island using a bottom-bouncing rig with various hard and soft baits. With the overcast days, a few browns should be able to be caught. Austin suggests throwing throwing spoons and blue fox “and that should be a good start.”
(updated 11-22-2017) Beaver Dam Store said trout were stocked Wednesday, Nov. 22, and it looked like they stocked some nice ones. Fisherman are reporting numbers of fish being caught. 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 area and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw quarter-ounce spoons. Flicker Shad is also doing the job.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 11-22-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass fishing good at times. Fishing the main channel is providing some action, as is sight fishing. Good baits would be anything resembling a minnow or crawdad, watermelon and black soft plastics.
(updated 11-22-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is stained and the surface water temperature earlier this week was 54 degrees. The level is a “tad” high, they say. Crappie are biting fair on jibs. Bass reports were fair, with crankbaits working best. Catfish reports were poor. Bream action is poor.
(updated 11-8-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear, and Tuesday’s surface temperature was 56 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream activity ranged from poor to fair. Crappie reacted similarly, with anglers reporting poor to fair results. No reports on bass. No reports on catfish.
(updated 11-22-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park had no report. Lake in drawdown condition.
(updated 11-8-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 59-60 degrees. Bass are excellent on flukes. Crappie are good on minnows. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 11-8-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 266 cfs at the spring (350 avg.) and water clarity has been clear. The river has been very low and clear. With the river being lower the trout have been going after a little more technical flies. Mark is using smaller nymphs and droppers. Fishing a Y2K below an indicator with a small nymph below will produce trout on the tough days. On an overcast day, stripping Woollies and big nymphs can work great. No sink tip needed. Hot pink trout magnets continue to produce when the trout don’t bite. Get them down to the bottom and be ready for a strike.
(updated 11-22-2017) 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 over and there are few boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 11-22-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said surface water temperature was 56 degrees on Monday and the clarity is clear. Water level is low. The only reports came on walleye, and the action was good. No other details were available.
(updated 11-15-2017) Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said crappie peak is still in full swing at Cane Creek State Park. Small sized Rosy Red Minnows are the most popular bait at the moment. These are follows by shiners and electric chicken colored jigs. Bass are still reacting to anything that resembles a shad or other small bait fish. Both are in shallower water near structure at the moment, although bass will move into open water following schools of shad. The best fishing seems to be going on early in the morning, before noon.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will open a special commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot to target Asian carp from Nov. 1-Dec. 31. Chicot normally is off limits to commercial harvest. Commercial anglers will be allowed to keep any commercial fish other than alligator gar during the season, and all Asian carp caught must be removed from the lake. The 16-inch minimum length regulation on buffalo is removed during the season as well. Commercial anglers should contact the Monticello Regional Office at 877-367-3559 to obtain a free permit to participate in the special season.
(updated 11-8-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said most anglers have reported fair luck with catfish, especially on limblines and noodles. The crappie haven’t been biting too well. A group that was bowfishing last weekend said they had great luck.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 258.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday was about 12 inches below conservation pool and slowly rising at 258.2 feet msl; drawdown has ended and lake pool is slowly coming back to normal conservation pool. There is current of 176 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater Monday was about 224.4 feet msl. Surface water temps dropped over the past week and ranged near 55 degrees early to 60 degrees later under full sun on Monday (depending on location). Clarity and visibility continues to improve, depending on location, for the main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 8-10 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 8-12 inches with moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranges 12-18 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. Check lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for updated gate release changes and inflow rates.
Mike says largemouth bass continue schooling in random areas and times of day, best during late morning through early afternoon on the lake. Catches of 20-40 per day of largemouths and Kentuckies (spotted bass) are common over the past few weeks. The bass are schooling on flats in the lily pads, and in Little River chasing huge shad schools. These bass remain excellent from 2-3 pounds on topwaters, Rat-L-Traps, Bass Assassin Shads, Stuttersteps, and squarebill cranks near creek channels, flats with vegetation and lily pads. Best color of Rat-L-Traps and Squarebill crankbaits are almost any shad pattern or Millwood Magic, chrome/black or ghost shad, in the creek channels or where they dump into the river. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well and best reaction Mike has had remains on the Grey Ghost and Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom colors. After the topwater excitement slows, a shallow squarebill and Rat-L-Trap will get bit in cuts, ditches and around the schooling fish in creek channels and lily pad stands. Best colors for squarebills and Rat-L-Traps over the past couple weeks have been the shad imitations like Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad, Pro Gold (cloudy days) and Ghost Minnow (clear water/sunny days). The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fat Free Fry or Fat Free Guppies are still working from 5-10 feet deep in creek channels and across primary points along Little River with the best colors over the past couple weeks drawing being the Citrus Shad, White Pearl, Threadfin Shad and Citruse. The Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Echo squarebill crankbaits continue working in creek channel swings (outer bends and deflecting off stumps) and where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into the oxbows, and the best colors over the past few days have been the Ghost Minnow or Millwood Magic in the better water clarity away from remaining current. War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working in and around vegetation and cypress trees, best on windy mornings. Colors drawing best reactions over the past week are Mouse or Hot Mouse, Spot Remover or chartreuse and Firecracker/chartreuse.
Mike says white bass and hybrids are continuing their schooling activities with the largemouth and Kentucky bass as well. Stuttersteps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Rooster Tails and Rat-L-Traps in black-chrome or Millwood Magic are still working. Crappie continue improving and are best near standing timber along backwash areas of planted brush piles in Little River as well as backs of the oxbows from 10-15 feet deep on vertical-jigging grubs, jigs and minnows. Catfish have been fair to good on trotlines for past few weeks in 8-10 feet depth along Little River, but most catfishermen must be in the deer woods this week, because Mike has gotten no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 536.16 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said Lake Greeson continues to fall and is about 11 feet below normal pool. Water is clear in most parts of the lake with the upper part of the lake having some color. Water temperature is in the lower 60s. Bass are biting well using a variety of techniques. Crankbaits, especially Bandit 200 and 300 in shad patterns, are working well in the 8- to 10-foot range around rocky points and drops. Some can also be caught on flats chasing shad with chrome Booyah One Knockers. Schooling activity has slowed down but some bass can still be caught using Super Spook Jrs., Booyah One Knockers, Cotton Cordell Spots and smaller swimbaits around main lake points. Several fish can be caught using a shaky head or drop-shot on points as well in green pumpkin or watermelon colors. Crappie are good and can be caught in and around brush in the 15- to 20-foot-depth range using Kalin’s Grubs or minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.05 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie can still be caught in the 8- to 12-foot range but they are moving toward deeper wintertime waters. Target brush piles where there is deep water close by, like points off primary and secondary channels. The white bass and hybrids are already migrating up-lake toward spawning territories. They are full of roe and milt and quite frisky most mornings. Watch your sonar and look for heavy concentrations of shad. Trolling seems to be the best method at present.
(updated 11-22-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the high 50s and the lake is clear throughout. Again, not much doing because very few are fishing. Looks like deer hunting is dominating the outdoor scene. Bass fishing is fair with a couple of decent catches reported coming from mid-lake up to Point Cedar. Try medium-running crankbaits fished across main lake points. Use natural shad in clear water and something with chartreuse when the water is dingy. Also try Texas rigged worms on the same points in both green pumpkin and red shad. Kentucky bass are plentiful off deep bluff banks at Point 28 and points 14 and 15. Best pattern is a 4-inch finesse worm, Texas rigged, and in green pumpkin. No need to drag yourself out of bed because in cold water the warmer part of the day is best. Crappie fishing is fair and could be better if there were more deep (20-25 feet) attractors. The problem is the low water with the absence of rain. There are a few deep attractors in the Shouse Ford area and if you can find one, fish are almost guaranteed. Drop a 2-inch Kalin’s Grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead to the top of the brush and over the thickest part. Black/chartreuse is hard to beat in the winter. “Where are the hybrids?” fishermen are asking. Hybrids have been scarce for the past few months with no schooling activity. About the only hope for catching a few is to troll the small umbrella loaded with 4-inch white swimbaits. Try the Beaton Creek area, especially from the mouth to Goat Island. Also Shouse Ford at Woodall cove has been historically good in late November.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436. 75 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.28 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-8-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are still biting. Crappie are starting to bite in the back lakes. No report on bream or catfish. Water level is back to normal at 65 feet.
(updated 11-8-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said some good crappie are being caught. No report on bass, catfish or bream.
(updated 11-22-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water is clear and the surface water temperature earlier this week was 56 degrees. The water level is low 1 foot. Bream are fair on redworms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were poor, with just a few catches in the slot. Topwater baits and plastic worms were being used. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 11-8-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 11-22-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is holding at 56 degrees due to the cold nights of the last week. Entergy has completed the winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine at 3 feet. These levels will remain in place until early March when the refill is scheduled to begin. Much safer conditions will exist in the Carpenter Dam tailrace this year with a 3-foot drawdown as opposed to the 5 foot draw of the past two years. This area is shallow at normal summertime pool and becomes treacherous when the current is running over exposed rock and sand bars. November marks the beginning of the fall rainbow trout stocking. Trout are now in the tailrace with sizes perfect for fishing and great tasting tablefare. Bank fishermen are catching limits of rainbows on powerbait, waxworms and mealworms, and whole kernel corn all fished just off the bottom with a marshmellow floater. Boaters have trolled shallow running crankbaits in the main channel with success during times of current flow. Patience is key as small numbers of trout have been stocked and these fish are widely scattered throughout the tailrace. December will bring thousands more trout as the stocking program intensifies. Currently, white bass continue to be caught by the bridge and close to the dam on live minnows tight-lined over deep water. These fish roam in and out of the area chasing shad and are caught year round when few game fish are present in the tailrace during the summer months. During times of generation, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern are effective over sandbars and exposed rock structure. Some striper activity has been observed in the early morning and late evening below the bridge. Little fishing has taken place in the last week; however, these fish can be caught on live shad presented under a balloon. C-10 Redfins and Super Spooks in white will draw vicious strikes from feeding stripers. A few walleye have been taken by anglers trolling shallow running crankbaits close to shore in the morning before daylight. Sizes range from 1 1/2 pounds all the way to 5 pounds. Numbers are few, but will increase as the new year begins. Good fishing is on the horizon with the coming of rainbow trout. Trout bring the tailrace to life. Quality angling will return this month to Lake Catherine. Anyone navigating the area must always wear a lifejacket and observe all park and boating regulations.
(updated 11-22-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 58 warming to 60. River Clarity is good. Bass fishing has been good rattletrap, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, Arigs. Crappie fishing has been good in the main river and in some creeks. chartreuse jigs ,chartreuse black, pink yellow has been working well 10 to 12 foot of water. White bass and stripers has been Fair rattle traps, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and swimbaits working good on points. Catfish has been Fair main River just outside the line look for the shad.
(updated 11-22-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie can still be caught in the 8- to 12-foot range but they are moving toward deeper wintertime waters. Target brush piles where there is deep water close by, like points off primary and secondary channels. The white bass and hybrids are already migrating up-lake toward spawning territories. They are full of roe and milt and quite frisky most mornings. Watch your sonar and look for heavy concentrations of shad. Trolling seems to be the best method at present. Have a great Thanksgiving, ya’ll.
(updated 11-15-2017) Greeson Marine in Hot Springs, hometown dealer of the Arkansas bred and built, all-weld Xpress fishing boats, reported that lake pool level has dropped for the yearly dock maintenance, exposing areas that haven’t been seen in a year (including the sunken crappie pile tops). Bass are biting fair to good on crawdad and pumpkinseed-colored jigs and finesse worms in 15-25 feet of water for the most part. Look for rocky buildups of main lake points and secondary drop offs. Crawfish expose themselves in low light conditions so look for the most aggressive times in the morning or evening. Spoons and lipless crankbaits in chrome and shad are also producing large numbers of spotted bass when vertical-jigged over the tops of structure and brush piles off the main channels. Pitching pumpkinseed, shad-colored and watermelon tubes this time of year have also been known to produce and they are one of our favorite setups because the versatility of the ways water can be covered all with in this one bait, plus the ability to pitch under docks adjacent to deeper water. Dance to your own tune out there and always remember to work whatever is comfortable to you, especially in the cold days ahead.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 341.58 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-8-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said most of the anglers seemed to be hunting these days. The clarity of the lake is good and the surface water temperature ranged 58-60 degrees earlier in the week. Water level is normal. Crappie are good. Bass are fair. Bass are fair. Anglers were using topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfish reports were poor. No reports on bream.
(updated 11-8-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) says crappie are starting to pick up on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in such colors as Shiney Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Gumdrop, Penny Back Baby Shad Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 567.63 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-22-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are fair to good. Spotted bass are still good on a drop-shot with a finesse worm. No report on walleye. Stripers are still fair on live bait and picking up on Alabama rigs. The western and central parts of the lake are the best areas for these fish. No report on bream. Crappie are fair and being caught on minnows in 20-30 feet of water near structure. No report on catfish. Surface water temperature on Tuesday ranged 54-60 degrees. The water clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 11-22-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that one group over the weekend were using three-quarter-ounce silver and white spoons and caught a bunch of fish, though it was a total mixed back. After trying for the timber bite, they found some channel swings and that’s where they caught them, in 25-30 feet of water in the middle of the creek. Yellows, white bass, Kentucky bass, black bass, a red horse and a catfish all in that haul. Phillip adds that when you’re spoon-fishing, you might catch a smorgasbord. In another report, a group fought the wind and white caps and still did pretty well chasing crappie, he says.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.46 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
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