Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Nov. 29, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Nov. 29, 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 11-29-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that crappie continues doing really well under the Arkansas Highway 89 bridge, in Gold Creek and in Wilhelmina Cove on jigs and minnows. You’ll find crappie in water from 1 feet to as deep as 10 feet depending on where you fish. They are not staging in one area; in Gold Creek you may catch them in 1 foot of water, and meanwhile anglers are catching them in 8-9 feet of water in the coves. It’s just different among the various go-to-spots. Bass are fair on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent on shad and cutbait around the dam area. The bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. The water is down to winter pool and about 56 degrees.
(updated 11-29-2017) 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 Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 11-29-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said it’s the same song, second verse! The river remains low and clear. There has been no generation since Monday and with the mild temperatures Greg said he doesn’t expect much for the rest of the week. Small flies and good presentation are the key to catching fish in this kind of water. Midge pupa and small emergers are the best choices. Egg patterns have been taking some browns in the deeper areas of the shoals. Warm temperatures and low water have made this year’s brown spawn very unpredictable. Some browns have already spawned but many are still carrying their eggs. Greg says he believes most of the spawning is occurring at night because the water on the shoals is extremely shallow. Some browns seem to be spawning in the deeper areas. Colder weather and the possibility of rain next week may have an impact on the generation and movement of the brown trout.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.64 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 11-29-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 456.65 feet msl Tuesday and slowly falling with a little generation. It is 5.39 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The catching is great all over the lake for any species you are pursuing. The crappie fishing is in its winter mode. Try Road Runners slow rolled in the timber or vertical-fished over brush pile or in pole timer as well with jig or minnows or a combination of both in 15-25 feet of water. The black bass are feeding well for the real cold to come on jigs, C-rigs, crankbaits, topwater baits and spoons. Spinnerbaits are working as well. Try from super shallow out to 40 feet of water. The catfish are being caught on jugs all over the lake at various depths using an assortment of baits. The walleye are making their move toward rivers for spawning and the lake walleye are eating good around white bass and hybrid bass and solo. Set up in different spots. The river fish will be stopping along the way in places and feeding from time to time. Use crankbaits, spoons and minnows on jigheads and drop-shotting minnows for the best results in 5-40 feet. No report on bream. The hybrid and white bass are feeding well all over the lake. You can just about catch them all day on the right days. Use spoons, inline spinners, Alabama rigs, hair jigs and swimbaits in 15-40 feet of water.
(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 11-29-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water is about 62 degrees. Water level is dropping, about a foot below normal. Clarity is clear to cloudy, about like the weather. We’ve had some people catching crappie but not a lot of people out here. Reports are fair. No reports on other species.
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 11-29-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report.
(updated 11-29-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the crappie are doing pretty good. Catching them on minnows and jigs. 6-8 feet and some are still on the brush top. If you can find a brush top that is 10-12 feet deep, you can catch a mess of crappie. Lake is down about 4.5 feet. Water temperature is about 54 degrees. Bass are doing pretty well in the coves. Catching bass on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and even big crappie jigs. Catfish have slowed down. Bream are being caught on worms and a few crickets (mostly worms, or little bream jigs), in 8-9 foot or water, with some in close. Reports are fair.
(updated 11-29-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said crappie are good. Crappie are deep, about 25 feet. They are around the main channel. Bass are good anywhere. You can catch them in 7 feet and some are 25 feet, depending on where you area. Anglers are using plastic worms, lizards, anything you can fish slow. White bass are fair. Bream are slow.
(updated 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers have reported catching a few crappie in the mornings on No. 6 and pink minnows. The same customers tell us they are catching and releasing several bass while crappie fishing. Catfish have been slow to bite but some have been hitting chicken livers and worms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some small crappie are being caught on size 6 and size 4 minnows. Catfish have been biting slow on minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass have been hitting size 12 and size 6 minnows. Bream fishing has been slow.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is low and slow and fishing has been fair at best. Deep holes are producing some fish early in the mornings before bright sunlight hits the water. Minnows and light, clear line are the key when the water is this low and clear. Use larger bait for bass, catfish and walleye and No. 6 or No. 4 minnows for crappie. Bream will hit crickets or worms even after the sun is high and bright and are tons of fun to catch but small ones out number big ones 20 to 1.
(updated 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers tell us all fishing has been slow.
(updated 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie have been on and off for a couple of customers using No. 6 minnows. They tell us no big numbers but a few big fish. Bass are biting about the same but seem to prefer the No. 12 or bigger minnows. Catfish are biting fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. No reports of anyone bream fishing at Winona.
(updated 11-29-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few fishermen are using the river. Changing weather conditions have kept fish from getting a good fishing pattern. Bass are active in the late afternoon. Fish the underwater jetties around 4 feet and 8 feet. Use crankbaits and spinners. Use worms early around wood. Reports have been fair. Catfish are moving to deep holes. Use skipjack fillets. Reports are fair. When you find shad schools in deeper water, use a CC Spoon vertical-jigging. This is good for white bass and Kentucky bass. Reports have been fair.
(updated 11-29-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is normal and is very clear. The crappie are doing very well. They have really turned on in the last 3-4 days. They are being caught in water 7-8 feet in depth. Most are being caught on minnows. The crappie are any type of wood near the main channel. Anglers should be able to catch a limit of crappie right now. The bream are doing fair; some people catching crappie are also catching bream on jigs. If you were just trying for bream, you will catch them. Catfish are doing fairly well. Catching them around the docks on liver and minnows as well. Bass reports were doing fairly well about a week or so ago. No white bass or stripers are in the creek. The shad have not really come into the Little Maumelle yet, but when they do those fish will follow.
(updated 11-29-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie is doing really well in 5-6 feet of water of the main river off the riprap. White/chartreuse Slab Buster jigs are the way to go. They were catching a few stripers below the dams on yellow bucktail jigs. Bream are fair. Not much is happening on bass right now. Catfish are fair on skipjack below the dams.
(updated 11-29-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said that bass are biting spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps really well. Use shad colors. The fishing for bass is fair. Crappie are biting black/chartreuse or blue/chartreuse behind the jetties. Try around 8 feet depth. Reports are fair. No reports on catfish. No reports on bream.
(updated 11-29-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are doing very well. Reports of nice catches of crappie off the river in the deeper water on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good and biting skipjack.
(updated 11-29-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie is doing really well in 5-6 feet of water of the main river off the riprap. White/chartreuse Slab Buster jigs are the way to go. They were catching a few stripers below the dams on yellow bucktail jigs. Bream are fair. Very few people have mentioned any bass catches lately. Catfish are fair on skipjack below the dams. Outside of the river, trout has been stock in the area ponds by the AGFC and people are reporting nice trout catches.
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 11-29-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said that while many are turning their thoughts and energy toward Christmas (and rightly so) and hunkering down for the colder months, the folks there are still finding plenty of rainbows and browns willing to leave the comfort of their favorite hidey-holes to meet you where you’re at – but you have to be somewhere on the river. The water level below Bull Shoals Dam down past Cotter and beyond is very low, at minimum flow or below, so find some attractive bait to lure the trout out. Flashy gold Cleos should work well in this water, as well as the silver-blue hammered spoons. Fish for a sculpin to put on your hook for brown trout bait, although keep in mind it’s spawning season and many browns will be ignoring your bait unless it’s especially pesky. Kids will be looking for Christmas vacation adventures. PowerBait and shrimp are reliable baits to help them catch a few rainbows. The weatherman promises very mild daytime temperatures for the next week, so pick up your rod and reel, get outside, and come join us on the river.
(updated 11-29-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said not a lot of people of fish. Minimum flow all the way. Clarity was fair, not as clear as it normally is. Several fly-fishermen were wading and did pretty well. Most of the fish were caught in midges or Woolly Buggers. Biggest fish caught was a 15-inch brown. The drift fishing for rainbow, several were caught but they were small (9-10 inches, stockers probably). Browns will be headed for their spawn and once that’s done, things will pick up nicely.
(updated 11-29-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they’ve had no rain, cool temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.7 feet to rest at 5.6 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 1.1 feet to rest at 2.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 0.4 feet to rest at 2.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 11.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had significant wadable water with light generation. On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 10 Y2K with a size 14 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John says, “Last weekend my wife, Lori, had a two-day guide trip on Dry Run Creek. On the second day, I was between clients and had the day off. I decided to clean up my garage/man cave. On the way to Dry Run Creek, Lori noticed a low tire warning on her dashboard. She called me and apprised me of the situation. I told her that I would come over to Dry Run Creek and check out her tire and then follow her home to ensure that she made it in all right. I arrived and checked her tires. They appeared to be OK. I decided to walk the creek and see how she was doing.
“I found her and her clients upstream at one of our favorite spots. Her young client was catching trout after trout and Dad was having a great time watching all of the action. I joined them and sat there talking to Dad and enjoying watching Lori work. After a while, I went back to my car to get my cup of coffee. When I got to the parking lot, I ran into a lady and her grandson, both clad in waders. She asked if I was a guide. I said, “Yes, mam.” Then she asked if I was working. I replied “No, mam.” Then she asked if I wanted to guide her grandson. I explained that I was there watching my wife guide and that she was doing a half-day and would be finished in an hour and a half. I went on to explain that I needed to follow her home because of her possible leaking tire. She agreed to have me guide her grandson for an hour and a half. I walked over to my Suburban and pulled out my waders (I always carry all of my gear in the back of my car). I quickly donned my waders and rigged his fly rod. We were on the creek in five minutes.
“It was his first time fishing but he warmed up to it quickly. We started off by teaching him to cast. Then we concentrated on setting the hook. Once we hooked a fish it was all about how to fight and land the trout. He landed a couple of nice trout before it was time to go. Grandmother was pleased because she had learned how to rig the rod and where to fish. Her grandson had landed two trout (one was a 20-inch rainbow) and she was able to take some great photos. I had an unexpected infusion of cash while waiting on Lori.
“Lori and I finished about the same time. We had both done well. We decided to go to Whispering Woods and finished the day with a great lunch while looking out on a spectacular view of the lake. Life is good!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.72 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 said, 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, and the 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 moving 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 551.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-29-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake had a great spawn this year. There are many white bass, largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass in this lake. When you are fishing you will catch many smaller fish, but you will catch your fair share of the larger hybrids, stripers, crappie, white bass and large and smallmouth bass as well. Lou says he had many of his family members there over the holiday and they got to fish most days. They caught many fish, not a lot of the big stripers and hybrids, but they did manage to land a few. “As you would guess, as soon as all had to leave I started to find hybrids early in the morning in the same areas where we were fishing,” he said.
Lou says he’s still fishing the flats and has found that at daybreak there are big fish feeding in shallower water. He landed big 10-pound hybrids the last two days sitting in 17 feet of water and casting out a Kastmaster. When he retrieves his bait he lets it sink about 6 to 8 seconds, then he reels a little, then jerk and let it sink a little, then start it all over again until it gets to the boat. The fish have typically hit the bait while it is falling. Lou guesses he is 8-15 feet deep with his bait. After this early morning bite he has been vertical-jigging with a spoon. He looks for the bait and typically will find the fish feeding. He drops a spoon to the fish and start jigging. Most of his fish are off the bottom, but he is seeing many suspended fish which appear to be the bigger ones. You want to reel up to the suspended fish and jig at their level. He has been fishing several flats, Big Sandy a little east of the Highway 101 boat dock, the flat in front of Fout ramp and campground, the flat before you get to 6B, which is called “the cow pasture.” Going west of the Gabric’s resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, Lou has fished the big flat in front of Mallard Point, Cranfield Island flat and heading up river to Seward Point flat. There are whites on all these flats and you will run into schooling hybrids and stripers at any time. Lou says he has had a friend fishing Big Creek with live shiners and doing very well back by 1C and Reynolds Island for striped and hybrid bass.
Crappie are biting fairly well. They are on brush in 20-35 feet of water and can be at any level depending on the time of day you are fishing. The crappie are mostly on the brush, but have been moving off the brush in towards the shoreline later in the day. Live bait is working the best, but spoons and small jigs are still picking up some nice sized fish. Bass fishing has not really changed from the last report. Lou is still finding them on the flats in 30 feet of water feeding on shad. Typically when Lou finds them they are on the outside edge of the flat which is coming close to a deep channel or an old creek channel. Jigging with a spoon works best to catch these fish, but casting out a heavy jig will also pick up these fish. You could also try a finesse Ned Rig once you locate the fish. Crankbaits are also picking up a lot of fish, most on the small side, but with several keepers. Look at casting on the windblown points along the bluff lines. Jigging around brush piles is also a very good area to pick up some nice fish. Bait is typically inside of the brush, so the bass will be hanging around the outside of the brush wait to ambush that stray shad.
Lou says he has had guests walleye fishing and doing well right before and just after dark, casting suspending jerkbaits up to the shore on the shallow banks. The moon is starting to get big, so the walleye bite will even get better after dark.
Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly, and currently sat at 551.73 feet msl as of Tuesday. The lake surface water temperature is 58-60 degrees and falling very slowly. The water is still stained both on the main lake as well as in the creeks and coves. The water clarity will get clearer the closer you get to the dam.
(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 11-29-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 feet last week to rest at 1.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had light generation and significant wadable wate, 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 a bit from 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.
(updated 11-29-2017) 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 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 1,118.29 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 11-29-2017) 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 11-29-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had no report.
(updated 11-22-2017) Beaver Dam Store said trout were stocked recently 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 11-29-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
(updated 11-29-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park says most everyone knows by now that Lake Poinsett is completely drained due to a lot of repairs that need to be made by the AGFC. Please let others know that Lake Poinsett State Park is still selling bait. We stock live, frozen and artificial bait as well as a large variety of fishing supplies. It is too cold for crickets. We’ll start stocking crickets again in the spring.
(updated 11-29-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no report.
(updated 11-29-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 253 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been clear. The river has been really low lately. Makes for easy wading and a little more technical fishing. Small nymphs or sowbugs below an indicator can get the bite on during sunny days. The big white fly and Guppie have been catching larger trout and bass. Remember during a heavy bug hatch on the Spring, baitfish sometimes focus on the bugs and big fish hit the baitfish. Hot pink Trout Magnets always perform for Mark and his anglers, even when they turn off.
(updated 11-29-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the 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 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 size 10 olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash, size 10 cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and size 10 Y2Ks.
(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.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 11-29-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures are in the upper 50s, visibility is about 1 foot, water level is about normal. Black bass are biting fairly well on slow-rolled spinnerbaits and crankbaits in shad colors worked along steeper riprap banks. The quantity of bites isn’t as high as some parts of the year, but the quality is certainly above average this time of year.
(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 11-29-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.
(updated 11-29-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 258.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 11-29-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level Monday remained 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, just need more rain to continue to raise lake back to normal conservation pool. There is current of 176 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Enginees. The tailwater as of Monday is about 224.7 feet msl. Water temps dropped over the past week. Check lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Due to lack of rain the lake remains a foot below normal since the Corps ended the drawdown and began raising the level back to normal conservation pool. Use extreme caution in navigation on Millwood Lake during drawdown conditions as this will bring stumps and broken timber close to surface pool in many areas, and the boat lanes will be much shallower than routine conditions, exposing submerged objects at or near surface pool. Surface temps as of Monday were ranging near 50 degrees early to 58 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity and visibility continues improving, depending on location for main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity andvisibility is moderate stain, ranging 8-10 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 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.
Mike reports that largemouth bass schooling activities have slightly diminished over the past week or so, but at random times of day there is still surface breaking on schools of shad. This heated activity remains best during early afternoon. Catches of 20-25 per day of largemouths and Kentuckies (spotted bass) remain quite common over the past few weeks. The schooling bass are randomly schooling on flats in the lily pads, in creek channels adjacent to these same flats, and in Little River, surface breaking on the schools of shad. These bass remain very good from 2-3 pounds on topwaters, Rat-L-Traps, Bass Assassin Shads, Stuttersteps and squarebill cranks. Best colors of Rat-L-Traps and Squarebill crankbaits are almost any shad pattern like the Millwood Magic, chrome/blue or Ghost Shad in the creek channels or where they dump in to the river. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well and best reaction 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 still 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 are 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 being 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 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 and colors drawing best reactions over the past week being Mouse or Hot Mouse, Spot Remover, or Chartreuse and Firecracker/chartreuse. Big, bulky 10-12-inch Berkley Power worms are also beginning to produce a good bite in the 8-10 feet deep areas of these creek channels and ditches along, and that dump into, Little River. Best colors are the blue fleck, black grape and plum or purple. White bass and hybrid bass 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 are beginning to stack up very nicely on planted brush piles. Big slabs are best near standing timber back in oxbows along Little River and planted brush piles in Little River. Best response is from 8-12 feet deep on vertical-jigging minnows and jigs. No report on catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 535.89 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-29-2017) 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 8-10-foot range around rocky points and drops. Some can also be caught on flats chasing shad with chrome Booyah One Knockers. Some good numbers have been reported being caught on CC Spoons on flats near creek channels. Booyah Finance Jigs are also catching fish on rocky breaks in 20 feet of water. 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 15-20-foot depth range using Kalin’s Grubs or minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.82 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-29-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the high 50s and the lake is clear throughout. Note: the lake is now extremely low (down over 11 feet ), so be very careful when boating because those “lower unit eating” reefs keep popping up. Bass fishing is fair with only a few catches reported. Try working crankbaits across main lake points in the upper end between Caddo Drive and Point Cedar. Natural shad works best in clear water and something with chartreuse in stained water. The Kentucky bass are biting well all along the rock bluffs between Point 14 and the west end of Goat Island. Texas rigged Zoom 4-inch finesse worms are producing. Try green pumpkin and red shad. Crappie fishing is fair and would be better if there were more deeper attractors. Due to the low water most attractors are too shallow with the best winter depth at 20-25 feet. If some deep cover is located, drop a Kalin’s 2-inch grub in black/chartreuse on a 1/16-ounce jig head into the thickest part of the brush. Because the fish will be mostly buried in the brush, be sure to have plenty of jigs. Look for attractors on the main lake between Point 15 and Point Cedar. Once again, the hybrids have been a “no show.” No report on hybrids and most fishermen have given up fishing for them. Maybe when the water comes up, this fishing will improve. Some nice bream reported by crappie fishermen on the deeper brush. Try redworms and crickets fished near the bottom.
(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.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.67 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.12 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-29-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few bream being caught in the treetops at 6-9 feet. Crappie and bass are slow.
(updated 11-29-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said reports of a few crappie being caught. No other reports.
(updated 11-29-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature is 58 degrees. The level is low by about 2 feet. Bream reports have been poor but the bream that are biting are working redworms. Crappie have been good. Use minnows and jigs. Bass are ranging from poor to fair. Try using spinnerbaits or plastic worms for best results. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 11-29-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no new report.
(updated 11-29-2017) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas bred and built Xpress aluminum fishing boat, reports that a warm water December is creeping in on us and, that being said, the water temperatures are in the mid to high 50s in Catherine as well as most Hot Springs Village lakes. Black bass are still in the semi-aggressive stages due to the warmer water temps and the warm sunny days. They have heard good reports of large fish being taken on pumpkin/green jigs with craw trailers in the 12-20-foot range. Worked over drop-offs from flats. Other fisherman are having success throwing spybaits, suspending jerkbaits and crankbaits worked slowly over large flats in the 15-foot range with clear and rocky bottoms. Spotted bass are still periodically attacking shad near main points. Throw Zara Spooks, spoons and drop-shot rigs tipped with Flukes when spots make their presence known. Water clarity is exceptional on most lakes right now, so keep this in mind when approaching target areas. Be stealthy if possible. Crappie are fair to good in 15-25 feet of water over tree tops and brush piles near main channels. Vertical-jigging and minnows on slip corks are the ticket.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 11-29-2017) 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 sandbars. 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 marshmallow 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 and hybrid 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 sands bars 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 1½ 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, and quality angling will return this month to Lake Catherine. Anyone navigating the area must always wear a lifejacket and observe 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 piles). 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 has also been known to produce and they are one of our favorite set-ups 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 341.50 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 567.48 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-29-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still fair to good! Spots are still good on a drop-shot with a finesse worm. No report on walleye. Stripers are 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 still fair and being caught on minnows in 20-30 feet of water near structure. No reports on catfish. Surface water temperature is ranging 52-58 degrees. 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 383.38 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
AGFC Commissioner Meeting Notice
Dec. 4, 2023
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
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