Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
March 8, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for March 8, 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:
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 3-1-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie are good at Gold Creek, in the flats, and at the Lake Conway dam they are biting really well. Bass are real good this week on crankbaits and soft plastics. Bream are a little slow but biting about 15 feet out from the bank on worms and crickets. Catfish are a little slow but biting on trotlines and yo-yo’s. Water is high after Tuesday’s storms and heavy rain. Before the rain the temperature was in the low 50s.
Little Red River
(updated 3-8-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said this week’s rain has discolored the middle and lower sections of the Little Red while the upper sections remain clear. Scheduled generation this week should clear up all sections in a few days. Currently we are receiving power generation on weekdays and very little generation on weekends. With forecasted rains toward the end of the week and over the weekend, we will post river condition updates on our website and social media pages. Warmer temperatures have produced good bug activity with hatches of BWO, March Browns and caddis on the middle and lower river. For fly-fishing, we recommend gold ribbed hare’s ear, pheasant tails, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Black and cotton-candy-colored Trout Magnet bodies on gold jig-heads are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the U.S. 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 Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 3-8-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said after the heavy rain and storm on Monday night, the river was muddy Tuesday. Generation Tuesday morning and evening has begun clearing the river. It is still stained from below Sulphur Creek to the 305 bridge. They were scheduled to run two hours on Wednesday morning and evening so this should help clear that area. Warmer temperatures through Friday should keep the insects active during that time, but another front is due on Saturday with rain and colder weather. You may want to check that closer to the weekend. Heavy rain will muddy the river. Mayfly nymphs and midge pupas continue to be your best choices in the clearer upper river. Small emergers are producing near the dam.
(updated 3-8-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said recent heavy rains have left most of the river high and muddy. The best fishing will be in the clear water at the base of the dam for the next several days. Be safe when fishing high water.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the lake water level is more than 6 feet below normal but on a slow rise as they are generating some. The fishing overall is good, and getting better. If you need a guide or map marking for your next tournament, visit Tommy’s website at www.arfishfinder.net or give him a call. The crappie fishing and catching is good in or close to main channel in 40 feet of water using minnows or jigs. No report on catfish. The hybrid and white bass bite are both good with some topwater action as well with shad being pushed out onto the bank at various places around the lake. Use topwater baits; the deeper fish are in various places around shad in 25-45 feet of water, so for those use spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs. No report on bream. The black bass are eating and very healthy, with all species eating well. A lot of them are ganged up in 25 feet of water in cuts in creeks and pockets, while some have moved shallow and some have stayed deep out to 45 feet. The shallow fish can be caught with traps, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. The mid-fish can be caught with drop-shots-rigs, football heads, crankbaits and wacky rigs. The deeper fish are good on football head-rigs and spoons. A good jerkbait bite is developing as well for the mid-range fish, and the old standby wiggle wart is working as well. The walleye are eating on certain days, with the river fish trying to spawn. There’s a rumor swirling of a 12-pounder caught down in the lake. Try using live bait on a C-rig, drop-shot or grub, jerkbaits and crankbaits for the best results.
(updated 3-1-2017) Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service reports Greers Ferry is 7 feet below power pool and stable with very little generation and in flow. The reservoir has surface temperatures ranging 48-58 degrees depending on location and time of day. Cody says that while they have been primarily focusing on crappie, most all species are where they should be for this time of year. The crappie bite has been excellent while single poling minnows in 22-45-feet of water fishing 11-18 feet deep. Long-lining has also been productive in these same locations; hair seems to be out-fishing plastics at this time. All three species of bass are scattered in 5-20-feet of water and are willing to take a variety of baits. Sporadic surfacing fish can be found throughout the midmorning to early afternoon hours. Small pods of game fish are pushing our new population of threadfins up and out of the water, an extremely rare sight this early in the year. Shad imitations are your best bet for catching these fish while they’re active. Look for the shallow bite to really explode over the next couple of weeks and especially around the coming full moon. Call, text or message to book your spring fishing adventure on Greers Ferry. Check them out on Facebook for the most updated reports and fishing trip pics.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 3-8-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water has some color in it after the rains and the surface temperature Wednesday was 66 degrees. No anglers have stopped in for specific reports on fish, but they do know that crappie are biting fair. Bass are good. Catfish are biting well on trotlines.
(updated 3-1-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is still up but clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 61degrees. Bream are slow but still catching on crickets and worms in 3 feet of water. Bass are doing well on yo-yo’s with bass minnows and on poles with plastic worms. Crappie are slow but picking up in 5-8 feet of water on jigs and minnows. Tim Head caught 19 last Saturday morning and 12 on Sunday morning. Catfish are doing well on yo-yo’s with bass minnows and on trot lines using cut shad and bream. Gene Bennett had six good catfish this past week.
(updated 3-8-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water surface temperature ranges 57-58 degrees and the level is 5-6 feet low. Crappie reports are good. The crappie can be found in 6-8 feet depth around brush piles. Bass are good along the bank; try a blue and silver shad. Catfishing has been good. No reports on bream.
Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) had no report.
(updated 3-8-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said water temperature is 57-60 degrees, getting up to 60 on Monday, and the lake level is still 1 foot down. The black bass bite is excellent on crankbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks can still be caught in 10-20 feet on drop-offs and creek edges. But most blacks are moving into shallow water. Last Saturday, Cody Bryant pulled in 16.04 pounds to win the Arkansas Bass Association tour tournament. Cody hauled in the Big Bass of 5.16 pounds. Brent Ellis took second with 15.11 pounds and John Smarof took 12.85 pounds of bass for third. The big fish are out there. Kentucky bass fishing is excellent. They are being caught on jigs and can be found mixed in with the largemouths. They’re moving into shallow water. White bass are excellent still. Best bet is to go with Rooster tails, CC Spoons or deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. They remain scattered west on the edges. Watch the loons and the whites will be there in large quantities. Crappie are good and being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with a very light line). They are 20-25 feet deep. Look in the edges of the channel and you will find white bass mixed in with the crappie. There have been lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie caught recently. Still no reports on bream. Catfish are good and are being caught in 25 feet of water. Use stink bait, small bream or chicken livers.
(updated 3-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 3-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair for customers fishing from the dock with No. 6 crappie minnows and blue and white jigs. Bass have been hitting minnows. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers.
Bishop Park Ponds
(Updated 3-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said there were no reports this week from the ponds. Last week, the report was that catfish were slow to bite but a couple were catching a few on chicken livers, frozen shad and minnows. Crappie fishing has been slow as well, with pink minnows working for a few small ones. Bream are biting fair on crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting minnows, but customers report only a few and most have been small ones.
Saline River Access in Benton
(Updated 3-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the recent rains have made fishing the river almost impossible and unsafe. Reports from early in the week indicated that fishing for bass, crappie and catfish was good. Bream are almost too easy to catch on the river when the water isn’t up and muddy if you offer them a cricket or worm.
(Updated 3-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are biting fair on crickets. Catfish have been biting minnows and goldfish. Bass are hitting minnows, Texas and Carolina rigged plastics, jigs and small crankbaits. Some crappie have been biting size 6 minnows.
Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(Updated 3-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers report crappie are biting No. 6 and No. 12 minnows. Catfish have been biting fair on nightcrawlers, minnows and chicken livers. Bass have been hitting minnows, Carolina rigged plastics and some crankbaits. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 2-22-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said a few people were fishing last weekend and a lot of people are buying minnows and fishing local ponds doing pretty good, too. Lake Bailey is starting to get a few fishermen. Some good crappie are being caught on minnows. On the river, catfishing is slow, but try worms. Bass are slow, but are biting plastics (lizards). Crappie are slow but will bite minnows. Striper are fair below the dam on trotline minnows and bream. Crappie are fair in Copper Gap on crappie minnows. At Point Remove, the crappie are fair on minnows. In the Petit Jean River, the reports are that crappie are slow.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
(updated 3-1-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that fishing is great right now. The days slowly getting longer are really starting to help the bite. That extra sunlight is really helping the backwater areas warm, and that is exactly where you will find the fish. Bass are definitely in a solid pre-spawn pattern. Check backwaters that have good depth to them. Good lures to try include jigs and spinnerbaits with very large blades. Look for areas where the fish can get back to the deeper water easily. More crappie are beginning to show up. Look in the deep areas just off the main river where they can escape the current of the river. Many of these deep “scour” holes behind wing dams will hold structure, along with crappie. Go-to colors are still black and chartreuse. Cody says he hasn’t been looking for catfish this week, but they should still be in the main river deep holes. Look on the outside turns of the river. Set up 50 yards about the hole and use the current to “walk” your offering back to the big girls. Fishing will only be getting better from here. Check out Cody’s new Facebook page by clicking the Best in Bass link above. Tight lines!
Little Maumelle River
(updated 3-8-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water clarity was clear and the level and current were normal. Crappie are good in 6-7 feet of water. They are biting minnows and jigs. Bass have moved into the shallow water and are biting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on chicken livers. No reports on bream or white bass.
(updated 3-1-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Try a red/chartreuse or a chartreuse with silver flake jig for best results.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 3-1-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are good around Murray Lock and Dam on jigs (white/chartreuse, red/chartreuse and black/chartreuse). Catfishing is fair; use skipjack or shad. White bass are biting fair on chartreuse or twister tail jigs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-8-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is muddy, and the surface temperature was 57 degrees. Crappie are fair in the deeper water. They appear to be about 14-20 feet deep and are biting jigs. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits and jigs in the backwater back in the brush. No reports on bream. No reports on catfish.
(updated 3-8-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said bream are beginning to pick up. Anglers are buying a lot of crickets and reports at least have been fair of late. Crappie are ranging between fair and good the past week. Minnows are working best, but jigs are getting some response. No reports on bass. No reports on catfish.
(updated 2-22-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that water is dingy but at a normal level. Surface temperature at midweek ranged 55-58 degrees. Crappie reports have been excellent. Crappie are being found in 10-15 feet of water and around jetties. Try minnows or purple and chartreuse jigs. Bass are fair on crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms and blood bait. Bream results were poor. No report on white bass.
(updated 3-8-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water is a little dingy, and the level is a little high, with no stumps showing. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. A few bass are being caught, but nobody is saying what’s getting the bite. Minnows, though, are the choice for a good bite on the catfish. No reports on bream.
(updated 3-8-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river is “pretty darn low,” but the trout bit is “pretty darn good.” Though the boats can’t get very far because they literally get stuck between a rock and a hard place, anglers were experience a good bite from the trout.
(updated 3-8-2017) Debbie Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says March blew in with 10-15 mph winds plus stronger gusts for the first several days, which made placing your bait where you planned tougher than usual. North central Arkansas has seen varied weather this past week: some very selective, scattered thunder, wind and rain storms, very chilly mornings, sunny afternoons. That may be why the rainbow bite has been a little slower this week. The browns have been less finicky than the rainbows, so if you’re after the rainbow bite, bring an arsenal with lots of selection. Work a gold-hammered spoon first, but if the bite is slow be ready to change colors or move to bait (shrimp again). The browns are snapping at live bait, and might even look at a worm if you dangle one out there. Expect the rainbow bite to increase as the weather normalizes.
(updated 3-8-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said that last week there was a trace of rain Cotter, milder temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals remained steady at 7.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 43.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at 8.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 24.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 9.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had significant wadable water with almost no generation. Meanwhile, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section at 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 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Caddis season has arrived. Berry says this is their best hatch of the year and it should arrive soon. He says he has already observed a few caddis on the Norfork tailwater. With the lower lake levels they should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects, use a soft hackle like John’s Green Butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 651.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) K Dock Marina was scheduled to reopen March 3. So far, no report on catches.
(updated 3-8-2017) Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said great fishing at the lake has started early this year. The water temps are staying in the low 50s around the lake. The dogwood trees, redbud trees and marigolds are all blooming now. That usually doesn’t happen until mid-April or so. If we don-t get some type of cold snap or snow then things should start soon. We fish year around and you can fish every day. However, the easier fishing is keyed to water temperature. The fish will move up to shallower water to feed and try to get fat before they spawn. With the early spring we are having this is going to happen early it looks like. The lake is still low around 10 feet. The state of Arkansas and southern Missouri is in a moderate drought. All of the lakes are lower than normal for this time of year. Visibility is great. Bass fishing continues to be great and hasn’t really slowed up over the winter. There are several patterns working depending on who you talk to. Swimbaits, crankbaits, jigs, Carolina rigged lizard, jerkbaits for the shallow running patterns. A-rigs in deeper water along with drop-shots. Spooning is still working on bright sunny non-windy days. Walleye are in staging for spawn. They are being caught in shallow water on stickbaits on warmer windy nights. We are catching mostly males they are spraying when put in boat. Colder nights they seem to be deeper and not on the bank as much. Crankbaits and jigs are working for the deeper patterns. Some white bass are being brought in. They are finding them way back in the creeks in the warmer colored water. Yes it is early but everything is early this year.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 546.07 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says March’s first week of weather keeps pushing their spring up by three weeks for fishing. The trees are in full bloom, the water temperature is climbing up and is now in the mid-50s, and the fish are biting all over the lake. Crappie, bass, stripers and hybrids are being caught very shallow for this time of year. Tom says he has seen schools of stripers in waters less than 15 feet. If you present the right bait, you will catch fish. Right now, stripers are hitting threadfin and gizzard shad. Some days, size does not matter but other days the stripers seem to want the small 3-inch baits. Find the warmest off-color water with bait and you will find feeding stripers. Make sure you’re on the water before sunrise as it’s an early bite; this will change when the time changes, but for now it’s an early rise to be in place to catch the stripers. All these things point to a very early spring. But a cold blast could send the bite back a week, so let’s hope for a continuation of this weather. Some brave guys have started fishing for stripers at night with some success, so get your stickbaits ready. The night bite will get in full force if the warm south winds continue.
Tom said he and his son have been doing some pre-fishing looking for active fish for their upcoming trips. Tom has been fishing the north section of the lake up around Fouts Marina. There is lots of bait and schooling stripers and hybrids that are feeding early. Tom’s son, Sean, has been fishing the Brushy Creek and Big Creek areas and finding numerous schools of stripers. On Friday he took their friend Kyle out looking for stripers. When they shut the boat down they stopped right on a school of stripers. They started getting bites right away and caught five in a very short time, the bite lasted for 45 minutes and then the stripers shut down. They were still in the area but would only mouth the bait. They hooked up with nine stripers but only boated five, yet for that short time they had a lot of action.
(updated 3-8-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake has entered the early spring bite pattern. Some species are spawning and others are moving out of the deep, cold water to shallower water following the shad. The shad are moving shallower due to the warmer water. Walleye and white bass have started their early spring spawn while other species are feeding very heavily on threadfin shad. The flowering trees have blossomed out and the redbuds are just starting to bloom. Remember the old saying that when the dogwoods are in bloom the crappie are not far behind on their spawn. Well, Lou says, he bets the crappie are not far away from moving into the shoreline. The lake water warmed quickly this year and is still 2-5 degrees warmer than past years. Last year the surface temperature in the morning was around 50 and two years ago it was in the upper 40s. Yesterday our morning surface temperature was 54.5 degrees. As always, the surface temp warms several degrees more during the afternoon with the warm sun. The striped bass bite has been good. They have moved to the shallower water of the major creeks. Lou is finding big schools of fish roaming large flats as well as close to the creek channels. Sunday he was fishing with a friend with live shad. They were in 40 feet of water and a school came under them with fish from 15 feet to 40 feet. All of sudden one pole got buried, then the second, and so forth. They had four big stripers and hybrids hooked at the same time and it was total chaos on Lou’s boat. They ended up landing three of the four, with one getting too close to the motor and cutting the line. (That must have been Kyle’s 40 pounder, Lou said with a smile). Locations vary, but Lou likes to fish secondary points that have the creek channel swinging in close to the shore. Lou says he has found fish both on the deeper bluff line side, as well as, points on the shallower side. The best bite at this time, for him, has started around 9 a.m. and goes until the early afternoon. Live bait is working great, but spooning has also picked up a few fish. Tolling with swimbaits or Alabama rigs are also working very well. You need to get your baits down to around 20-40 feet deep as the fish are at all levels. Lou has also started to fish after dark when the wind allows him. His first time out for the evening was after he wrote his last fishing report and he landed a couple stripers. He has fished several other times after dark and caught either stripers or hybrids each time. The fish have started to feed after dark, so check the hooks on your suspending stick baits and find a good shallow point with deep water close and give it a try. It is a blast hooking into a large striper when you cannot see anything and everything is by feel. A couple of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort Facebook followers read his last report and headed out after dark and landed a couple really nice fish.
Lou adds that largemouth bass are also starting to move a little closer to the shoreline. He has caught a few in the early morning up tight throwing a jerk bait, but most have been on the short side. He suggests looking at about 15-30 deep off of bluff line points. Some will be suspended, but the bigger ones will be on the bottom. It will not be long until they start moving in with a vengeance and start their pre-spawn feed. Another great spot to fish will be brush piles in 20-30 feet of water. The bass will be hanging around the outsides of the brush watching for those shad that decide to venture away from the brush. Plastics worked along the bottom are working and crank baits are starting to pick up some nice fish. White bass are still back in the creeks and coves finishing up their spawn. Try casting out Rooster Tails or Road Runners up close to the shoreline and retrieve slowly. You will also start to pick up some nice crappie fishing this way. After the majority of white bass finish up spawning, they will start moving out to the flats and then topwater action for whites will start. Lou says he looks forward to this time, as it is a blast. He is seeing a few whites come up early in the morning, but nothing to get real excited about yet. Norfork Lake level rises slowly when power generation stops and drops when the generators are turned back on. Currently minimal generation is occurring and the lake level was at 546.16 for this report. The surface water temperature in the morning has been 53-55 degrees depending on how far back in the creeks you go. The water is stained back in the creeks and the main lake is clear to partly stained.
(updated 3-8-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake fell 0.7 feet to rest at 7.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 33.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had less generation with more wadable water. Daphnia has been spotted on the upper river and could adversely affect the bite. 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). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to the unseasonable warm weather. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).
Berry adds, “I was working at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop [last week] and an angler came in and told me that he had hooked and landed a 17-inch Bonneville cutthroat trout on an elk hair caddis while fishing the Norfork tailwater the day before. This is very early to start our major hatch of the year but it doesn’t really surprise me. I have been fishing the Norfork quite a bit lately and I have observed several caddis. I think the mild winter we have had and the low water conditions we have been experiencing have pushed the caddis hatch forward this year. Last year was a tough year for fishing dry flies, but I feel that the consistent low flows we have had so far are the harbinger of a great dry fly season here. I think we are overdue for some great topwater action.
“A couple of weeks ago, while my wife, Lori, and I were fishing the catch-and-release section on the Norfork and she got into a terrific afternoon of topwater action fishing Dan’s turkey tail emerger to some nice trout hitting midge emergers there. I don’t know how many she caught, but it was constant action for a couple of hours.
“I would recommend that anyone heading to the Norfork, be ready to try dry flies if they see any topwater feeding. In addition, the same thing could happen any day on the White. This also means that the soft hackle and emerger action should be picking up. Before the hatch, when you see rises but no insects, the trout are keying in on emerging insects. I fish soft hackles. My Green Butt is a great choice. Swing it down stream at a 45-degree angle to the bank on a 12-foot leader/ tippet combination ending in 5X. When you feel a bump, quickly lift the rod to set the hook. When you see fish taking insects from the surface of the water, it is time to switch over to a dry fly. Match your fly to the hatching insects based on size, shape and color. You should have some elk hair caddis flies in size 14, 16 and 18, preferably green. I like to fish the same long leader/tippet combination ending in 5X that I use for fishing the soft hackles. You should carefully dress the fly with a good fly floatant before fishing it.
“The key to success is presentation. Cast your fly to gently land on the water about 18 inches above a rising fish and let it drift downstream in a perfect drag-free float. When the fish comes up and takes the fly, you should wait a second before you set the hook. The fish should close its mouth before the hook set. This is the longest one second in fly-fishing. I usually miss the first fish or two because I set the hook too fast until I calm down. There is something about watching the trout take the fly that gets the adrenaline pumping. I don’t know about you but I plan on having a great dry fly season this year.”
Buffalo National River
(updated 3-8-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo is navigable. With warm weather, the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 3-8-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo is navigable. With warm weather, the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is 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 1,110.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water has been clear but the rain this week left it a little dingy. Surface temperature is ranging 46-53 degrees. Water is 11 feet below normal level. Crappie are very good. They appear to be about 3-9 feet of depth around wood piles or brush piles. Use minnows and jigs. Bass are in 10 feet of depth and are hitting crankbaits and Alabama rigs. Results have been fair. Catfishing is good on live bait. Nightcrawlers are the way to go for good results on walleye. No reports on bream.
(updated 3-8-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said the fishing has been hot. Beaver Lake stripers remain in the creek arms and on the feed, with most stripers using 20-60 feet of water. You’ll find some using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing free lines and lightly weighted downlines will definitely get you some fish. Water surface temperature is in the low 50s. Check out these hot spots on the mid- and lower sections of the lake: Indian Creek (numbers of stripers being caught here and some have been real HAWGS), and check past the marina near the power lines while keeping your eyes out for surfacing fish; Lost Bridge North (similar results to Indian Creek); points 5 and 6, check in 10-60 feet of water for stripers; Rambo Creek Arm, check 10-60 feet of water for stripers; and Shaddox Hollow, check in 20-60 feet of water for stripers as they make they are making their way up the creek arms. In the upper section, check: Highway 12 bridge, look in the main channel as they are making their way up the creek arms, and check Bear Creek; Prairie Creek is hot in 20-50 feet of water; Coose Hollow, check in 20-50 feet of water; Blackburn Creek, check in 20-60 feet of water; Beaver Shores, check in 20-50 feet of water; Monte, check in 20-60 feet of water; Hickory Creek, 40-60 feet of water; War Eagle, 20-60 feet of water; and War Eagle/White River Junction (Point 12), check in 20-60 feet of water. At Horseshoe Bend, white bass are surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers as well. Walleye are making their way out of the main lake in numbers in fall migration mode but can be found scattered still around the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10 to 30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Go with three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad and Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also might try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
There continues to be some topwater activity from stripers and white bass. Try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs for stained water, or plugs like Rapala’s No. 14 Husky Jerk in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, spooks, Pencil Poppers need to be tied on and ready. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow; current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check Mike Bailey’s website on the link above for the daily lake level and flow data. Live shad as always is the go-to on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers.
(updated 3-8-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing is good between Houseman Access and Beaver. Water temperature the last time Austin was out, he says, was 49 degrees in the morning. Marking plenty of bass and crappie staging around structure. Bass are being caught with drop-shots, flukes and jigs. Trout are being caught on light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. The river is still extremely low, so fly-fisherman should have the run of the tailwaters, from U.S. Highway 62 bridge up to the dam. Austin says if they can get the water temperature to come up a little, the walleye will soon start their spawning run, as will the white bass.
(updated 3-8-2017) Beaver Dam Store said that when you’re using fly tackle, use a micro jig under strike indicator. PJ’s Jig is working well. In your conventional tackle, make sure you’re trying Rapala crankbaits, Flicker Shad, worms with white and yellow PowerBait and Colorado and Bouyant spoons for best results there. Good luck, and bring the crew a fish story to tell. The store will have longer hours for the spring-breakers, open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 15-28; after that, the store real return to its Friday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule until the season warrants full-hours.
(updated 3-8-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) said “Hello, and welcome everyone, to the latest news, from the best kept “secret” fishing hole, in all of Northwest Arkansas, Lake Elmdale.” Lucky just recently reopened the Duck Camp Fishing Retreat after being closed the latter half of 2016. He says current surface temperatures range from 53.9 to 59 degrees, and changes up and down every day. The water is clear, except when it’s white capping; then it’s dingy, and the lake is still about two feet below normal. He added, “If it wasn’t for the gale force winds out here, we’d be in Hog Heaven! On the average days, when conditions are reasonable, a Tennessee Shad jerk bait works great! You can clean up, fishing along the dam with one. When poor cold weather conditions persist, use a brown or green Pig-N-Jig. Put a ‘swimming chunk’, trailer on it, and expect your bite when it reaches the 10-foot range. Fish it slow.”
Lucky says early spring fishing is always good out in front of Preacher’s Point. Jig it, or use a plastic worm, and fish those quick bottom changes. When the water is clouded from the persistent winds, try a chartreuse and white spinnerbait. It will work better if it has a rattler and big nickel willow leaf blades. Crappie fishing was about to go wild in that 59-degree water, but then cold surface temperatures sent them back down. “One fellah caught three nice ones, in three casts, that were all over 12 inches long, then they stopped completely. Just like turning off the light,” Lucky said. A small 1/64-ounce white jig will get a strike almost anytime … almost. You’ll need to fish at 10-12 feet deep … and around Rock Island, with a graph, you can see them bunched up around brush piles at 17 feet deep. Slip that white jig, or a skinny minnow in on them, and hang on. The bluegill are coming up, and they are hungry. Ten big ones were caught last week in less than an hour using redworms at 4 feet under a bobber. That angler was fishing at Lucky’s dock and he watched him do it. If you can take the weather conditions, the bluegill are ready for a redworm or a cricket. Just put it on them at 4-5 feet under your bobber. They don’t seem to shut off as quickly as the bass and crappie do.
Lucky added that warm nights are the key to increased activity and to the bite. “Keep on your toes, and check the moon phases for the best time of the day to fish. You need all the odds in your favor, especially this time of the year,” he says. His bait shop is open Friday through Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “Stop by and say ‘hi,’ and take a look at the lake map if you’d like to. Thanks for your business, thanks for reading my report, and good luck to ya!”
(updated 3-8-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water is cloudy and the surface temperature in the middle of this week was 55 degrees. Level is normal. Bream are biting well on crickets and jigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. The bass bite is good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports were fair.
(updated 3-1-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water conditions as clear with a surface temperature of 53 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Catfish are good using chicken livers. No bream reports.
(updated 3-8-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the crappie are being caught. Fishermen are happy. There was a 3.14-pound crappie caught this past week. They are keeping plenty of minnows in stock. They are selling several boxes of nightcrawlers. They should be getting crickets in before long. Don’t forget to come by or call (870-578-2064) for information on the crappie/bream tournament at Lake Poinsett State Park on April 1.
(updated 3-8-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is dingy and the surface temperature is 52 degrees. After early Tuesday’s rain and rain from the weekend, water level appears to be about a foot above normal. Crappie are good on minnows as well as anything with white, orange or any color. Bass are excellent and are biting anything thrown their way. No reports on bream and no reports on catfish.
Lake Frierson State Park had no report.
(updated 3-8-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 305 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been mostly clear. The river has been low for easier wading, but this is the rainy season and things could change overnight. With temperatures up and down, some days are really good catching and some are tough fishing. Hatches have been high with everything from tan caddis to mayflies to black caddis. Plenty of bugs. Nymphs, Y2Ks and olive Woollies have been working well. Hot pink Trout Magnets will get a hit on even the toughest days. Chartreuse and white have also been working well. It’s a great time to be on the river!
(updated 3-1-2017) 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 fewer 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 3-1-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported that fishing continues to be “poor, poor, poor” at this time. Few anglers and no reports.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
(updated 2-22-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are in the upper 50s to low 60s (in protected backwaters). Water visibility has improved slightly, with some areas up to about one foot of visibility. Black bass and striped bass are biting very well right now in Lake Langhofer. Although it is very early, black bass are in pre-spawn locations and feeding up. Look for woody cover near sand flats and use black/blue soft plastics and jigs, and cover water with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and shallow running crankbaits in-between pieces of cover.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 3-8-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said the mornings are chilly, and the afternoons are sunny and beautiful there. Fishing is picking up for the season. Catfish are good, and biting on chicken livers and redworms. Crappie are fair and biting on shiners. The park bait shop is back to regular hours on weekends; check out the park’s selection of live and artificial bait, seven days a week from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
(updated 3-8-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said the catfishing has been doing well, but the weather has been hindering most of the fishing. It has been raining and very windy. For bass, people have been having luck with finding a runoff and using a spinnerbait from dirty water to clean water.
Local angler Geoff Wright said
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level Monday was 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2,400 cfs of Monday. Water temps rose over the past week and surface temperature Monday ranged 59 degrees early to 65 degrees. There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week. Largemouth bass are staging for pre-spawn. White bass continue running up Little River. Crappie are staging. As of Monday the tailwater level was 229.3 feet msl. Be advised there are now NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO-WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK in Little River. Clarity and visibility is stained and muddy this week, due to high wind, thunderstorms, and incoming fresh water from the Tri-Lakes. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 2-3 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 3-5 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 10-15 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.
Siefert also said that for the past couple weeks, as water temperatures are slowly continuing to rise, it is staging the bass to move out of their deeper winter holes to the spawning areas. They continue seeing and catching male and female largemouth bass from 3 to 8 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas preparing to build beds. Big, bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10-inch worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches and in creek channels. The key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8 degrees warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions. The pre-spawn females are moving into spawning areas, and several in the 5-9-pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released. The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females. Bass are beginning to roam onto flats and spawning grounds, out of the creek channels, yet still holding tight to cover. Cordell Redfins are working and continue taking nice size bass from 3 to 7 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and Millwood Lake State Park. Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6-pound largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover and white/chartreuse continue taking nice keeper-size largemouths in McGuire Oxbow upriver. Squarebill crankbaits, Echo 1.75’s and large Rat-L-Traps continue working slow and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels. Best colors continue to be the Toledo Gold, Red Shad Zombie or red chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings. Bass Assassin Shads in Houdini, Mississippi Hippie and Gold Pepper Shiner colors continue catching good bass along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush. Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, black/red glitter, and Red Shad/green glitter. Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood. Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees. Pre-spawn female largemouths full of eggs continue moving to spawning areas, and are hammering plastic lizards and brush hogs in black and blue or plum.
White bass moving upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a pre-spawn condition. Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of whites and hybrids. Cossatot inflow ditch and creek channels protruding into Little River were giving up a great number of whites and hybrids over the past couple weeks on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps. Whites continue migrating in the direction of annual spawning grounds. Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps and Blakemore Road Runners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake. Crappie are moving in right with the largemouths. Good locations over the past week were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/blue or white/chartreuse jig, and a flat-tail grub in smoke with chartreuse tip. Blues and channel cats continue biting well with the current in Little River on cut shad, Berkley Gulp chunks, hot dogs and Punch baits.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.63 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are staging and moving into the shallows for spawn.
Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
Cossatot River State Park had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.27 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature in the high 50s and the lake is clear up to Point 14 and a slight stain farther up. Bass fishing has been good despite all the rain and wind. Just about all the action has been up lake between Point 15 and Cox Creek. With the water starting to warm, the fish are starting to move up shallower. Best pattern has been working medium-running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, across secondary points in the big coves and creeks. Also try a double willow leaf spinnerbait slow-rolled across these same points. Work the wind-blown points because that is where the shad are located. Crappie fishing is good with nice catches coming from the deep attractors on the main lake. Like bass, most crappie fishing is in the Shouse Ford and Point Cedar areas. Look for brush in 24-28 feet of water and fish a 2-inch tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Fish the lure vertically in the very top of the brush. Best colors are black/chartreuse and red/chartreuse. Now is the time the big crappies will be roaming the deep water in the big coves. Slow-troll a 2-inch Kalin’s grub on a 1/8-ounce jighead in Tennessee shad or black/chartreuse. Run a long line, about 100 feet, around Point 15 and Woodall Cove.
Hybrid fishing is fair with most fish starting their “false” spawning run upriver. Best bet now is trolling the small umbrella loaded with 4-inch white swimbaits. Remember, keep the speed slow, about 1.5 mph, because the water is still cold. Work between Point 15 and Point Cedar. Also, quite a few white bass showing in the river above Point Cedar. Try a ½-ounce jigging spoon. Bream fishing is fair in the crappie attractors. Fish near the bottom just outside the brush with crickets or redworms.
(updated 3-8-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are staging and moving into the shallows for spawn.
(updated 2-22-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and creature baits. Crappie being caught on upper and lower side of river and on yoyo’s. Also, no report on catfish or bream.
(updated 2-22-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few bass being caught, but it is still a little early. Also, a few crappie being caught on shiners. No report on catfish or bream catches.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report this week.
White Oak Lake
White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 3-1-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water is clear and the surface temperature was 56-57 degrees. Water is lower than normal but not bad. Anglers are catching a lot of small bream. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, but you’ll find better success off the bank. Bass are good and crankbaits are working best. You’ll find the bass out in the lake. No report on catfish.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 3-8-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 49 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The 5-foot winter drawdown has ended with the refilling of Lake Catherine that was scheduled to begin March 3. The lake should return to normal summertime level on March 13. Rainbow trout are plentiful in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient rich water. Thousands more trout are scheduled to be stocked this month which will make fishing opportunities excellent for area anglers. Fly fishermen are able to access areas that hold good numbers of trout and are recording limits by casting micro-jigs in black or white colors with a strike indicator. Current is key so targeting the head and rear sections of shoals has produced the best results. Olive-colored Woolly Buggers and black midges have also taken trout in the 15-inch class. Egg patterns in yellow or white will often draw strikes from finicky fish that refuse other offerings. Bank fisherman have done well on live bait presentations such as wax and meal worms, redworms, crickets and small live minnows. Whether fished just off the bottom or under a bobber, these baits are proven trout killers in slack or moving water situations. Spin fishermen have accounted for the largest trout caught in the last several weeks by using Super Dupers and Rooster Tails in white or silver colors. These lures imitate a dying shad and often attract larger rainbows that feed on the baitfish drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current below the bridge is highly effective during periods of current flow. Shad killed from the freezing temperatures provide large amounts of food for all the tailrace gamefish and should be imitated by anglers serious about catching numbers of rainbow trout. No reports of striper or white bass caught near the dam. This can change overnight as more and more trout are stocked in the area. Shad are plentiful during freezing temperatures and will attract numbers of bass in any weather or current flow. The walleye spawn is in full swing with both male and females present in the tailrace from the bridge to the shoal areas. The larger females have migrated into the area ready to spawn and protect the nests. These fish can be found by trolling shallow running crankbaits in the main channel during periods of generation. Carolina rigs tipped with live minnows or nightcrawlers will also work well in current or slackwater. The majority of fish will be in the 3- to 5-pound range. Crappie will be making their way into the tailrace in the next week to 10 days for the spawn. Live minnows and small jigs are key when targeting these finicky eaters. Rock structure and sandbars are prime locations to fish, as these fish tend to spook easily at any noise from motorboats. Current flow keeps crappie near the bank out of the main flow. Trolling motors are highly recommended when approaching areas that hold spawning fish.
(updated 3-8-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 3-8-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that due to the early spring-like weather, the water has warmed considerably. All bass and crappie will quickly move up to spawn. Shallow to mid-range water depth should be your strike zone.
(updated 3-8-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 that the big rain that passed through the state Monday night into Tuesday had mud coming out of every creek in Lake Hamilton. Most importantly, it was a warm rain, and that would stir the water and put some color in it. It can’t do anything gut help. He said that after a rainfall like early this week, he’d have four rods tied with a ½-ounce Rat-L-Trap, a 3/4-ounce Rat-L- Trap, a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait and a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait. “I think I’d throw the spinnerbait and Rat-L-Trap until my arms about fell off today,” he said on Tuesday. Another big rain is forecast for Saturday, and will be Tuesday-type fishing all over again, he said. Run-off fishing, he said, is up there with what a bass fisherman dreams about at night. It doesn’t get any more simple that going into the backs of the creeks where warm, fresh water is coming in and throwing a spinnerbait and catching a 5-pounder. He suggests after the next big rain to go into any of the bigger tributaries, hopping in the backs of the cuts and on to the next and to the next, throwing a spinnerbait into that fresh run-off and catching a lot of fish. The trick also in these conditions is using a floating worm in those areas. “Spring has sprung in my mind about 2-3 weeks earlier than it did last year,” he said. “At spring break last year I was freezing to death, 35 mph winds, a little too cold to go out. This year looks different. We’re a week away from spring break and these lakes are three weeks ahead of last year.” Reports Tuesday were that it was almost too muddy on the south side of the lake and it better to move into the middle portion. “It’s just a matter of going. There are a lot of fish in these pockets right now.”
Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-7419) had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.41 feet msl (flood pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the lake level is back to normal, and the water surface temperature is 60 degrees. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. About any hard bait is drawing in the bass, and the results have been good. Catfishing is good on chicken livers. No reports on bream.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 571.97 feet msl (flood pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 3-8-2017) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said he had the opportunity to fish Lake Ouachita on Saturday and it was a good day. He and his party fished the east side of the lake and caught three striper and some large mouth. The water is still a little cloudy and has some floating sticks, and with more rain on the way, David doesn’t see it getting better. The surface temp is 57 degrees and probably climbing. Brood minnows seemed to be the choice bait Saturday anywhere from 15 to 20 feet deep, didn’t matter how deep of water they were in. Spring is coming and the lake is already seeing lots of boat traffic. Be safe out there and don’t forget to adjust your clocks Saturday night.
(updated 3-1-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still very good and being caught with chatterbaits fished 6-10 feet deep or lipless crankbaits, crawfish color, in major creek basins. Walleye are fair and being caught up the rivers during their spawning run. Stripers are very good on Bama rigs. The west end of the lake is the best area for these fish. They are making their spawning run up the rivers. No report on bream. Crappie are still very good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 50-55 degrees. The water is clearing.
(updated 3-8-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that spring fishing in Arkansas always a battle. “We need the rain, in case you haven’t heard we’re in a drought situation for this time of the year. Lake Ouachita is very low. It needs a big influx of water before the spawn starts. We need a couple of more rainfalls like we had, stick about 5 feet of water into Ouachita. It’s a long ways away from the buckbrush right now. His advice for Ouachita was like it was for Hamilton: There are a lot of fish in these pockets right now. Take a 1/2-ounce Rat-L-Trap and a floating worm. You can also catch them on a jighead worm. You can just about catch them on anything you want to throw. You can literally throw the tackle box on the deck, grab something, and it’ll work.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.38 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
Bear Creek Lake
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported
Storm Creek Lake
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