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Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 03-22-2017


March 22, 2017

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for March 22, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

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 3-22-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water is stained to murky. The surface temperature was 62 degrees earlier this week, and the level is normal. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bream are fair using redworms or crickets. Bass are good, with best success coming from white spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic lizards. Catfish reports were good on trotlines and limblines using small bream, cut bait or trotline minnows.


(updated 3-22-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are excellent, particularly in Gold Creek or near the Highway 89 bridge. Use minnows or a red and chartreuse jig.


Little Red River


(updated 3-22-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is in good shape with generation on weekdays and sporadic generation on weekends. With the warmer days, they are seeing good bug activity with hatches of BWO, caddis and March Browns. With the forecasted rain this coming weekend, Lowell said they will try and updated their website and social media with changing water conditions. For fly-fishing, he recommends gold ribbed hare’s ear, pheasant tails, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. White and cotton-candy-colored Trout Magnet bodies on chartreuse 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 ( for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule.


(updated 3-8-2017) Greg Seaton of (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 457.09 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).


(updated 3-15-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is rising and is less than 5 feet below normal pool. The temp has cooled somewhat – it is 52-56 degrees. The walleye fishing is on and off with all the cold fronts. It’s hard to get to most of the river fish unless by foot. Some coming and going can be picked up in places, with a drop-shot or jighead tipped with a live bait. Grubs, crankbaits and rouges are working at times. Live bait for the lake fish is best in 25-40 of water. The bass fishing is pretty good with fish being caught real shallow or in 25 feet and some out in 40 feet of water; try spinnerbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, spoons-rigs and football heads. A Rat-L-Trap and wacky rigs are working as well. The crappie are eating all over the lake suspended in 10-15 feet of water over the deepest water you can find, with some eating in the river channels on the bottom in 40 feet. No report on catfish. The hybrid and white bass bite is good all day at various times throughout the lake on spoons and in-line spinners. Some topwater action is going on as well. On tough days a swimbait or hair jig dead stuck is working the best. No report on bream.


(updated 3-15-2017) Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service reports that currently the lake level is at 547.01 and rising slowly. Water surface temperatures have fallen back to the 51-52 degree range lake-wide after reaching the 57-58 degree range last week. This has, in turn, sent a lot of the gamefish that where moving shallow and staging for the spawn back out to greater depths. Our shad that where pushed to the middle and the back third of most major creeks and tributaries have also retreated to greater depths with the rapidly cooling water. With good inflow entering the lake it has brought cooler water but some much needed stain as well. These dirtier water areas will rebound quickly as the stained water will always warm more quickly than our clear water sections. I look for most all of our gamefish to reposition back shallow by next week with much warmer than average forecast on the way. We are still catching limits like we have been but we just have to relocate the same schools of fish most everyday while these dramatically colder temperatures persist. 


Harris Brake Lake


(updated 3-15-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water clarity is fair and the surface temperature is 54 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream catches have been food, with anglers using worms or crickets. Crappie has ranged from poor to fair, and it’s best in the early morning. Use minnows or jigs. No reports on bass. No reports on catfish.


Lake Overcup


(updated 3-22-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level up and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 59 degrees. Bream are starting to pick up around the shoreline and walkways on crickets and Trout Magnets. Bass are doing well around brush and shallow water using plastic worms and crankbaits, also Rooster Tails (black). Catfish are doing well on yo-yo’s and trotlines, as well as on jugs, using cut shad, bass minnows and bream. We had a 32-pound flathead, 32-pound blue, 28-pound blue and 21-pound blue caught last weekend. Crappie are slow and still moving around in different depths. Anglers are catching a lot of smaller ones around the shoreline. 


Brewer Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the surface temperature was 58 degrees and the water is low. Crappie fishing is good in 5-8 feet depth using minnows or jigs. Bass fishing is good around rocky points using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing has been good using worms and chicken livers. Still no reports on bream.


Lake Cargile


No reports.


Lake Barnett


No reports.


Lake Maumelle


(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 3-15-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are excellent. They’re in about 8-12 feet of depth. Use pink minnows or white or red jigs. Bass fishing has been excellent as well. Best baits have been buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers and creature baits.


Palarm Creek


No report.


Sunset Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still biting well on chicken livers, minnows, bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bream are starting to bite better on crickets and redworms. Crappie have been big fair on pink and No. 6 minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows and Zoom 4- and 6-inch lizards.


Bishop Park Ponds


(updated 3-22-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Bream are biting fair on crickets and worms. Crappie have been slow to fair with pink and No. 6 minnows. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows.


Saline River Access in Benton


(updated 3-22-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been good with large minnows, Texas rigged lizards and crawdad crankbaits. Catfish are biting minnows, black salties, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Crappie have been biting well on size 6 and size 12 minnows and a few colors of Kalin’s grubs. A few more reports have been coming in of walleye being caught on minnows and crankbaits. Bream will bite crickets and redworms.


Lake Norrell

(updated 3-22-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is getting good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting minnows and Carolina rigged plastics. Catfish are biting minnows, black salties, goldfish, chicken livers and bait shrimp. A few crappie have been biting No. 6 minnows.


Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne


No report.


Lake Winona


(updated 3-22-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been good with No. 6 minnows and blue and silver jigs. Bass have been biting fair on minnows, plastic worms and lizards, and crankbaits. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are biting crickets and redworms.


Lake Valencia


(updated 3-15-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfishing is excellent. They prefer chicken hearts or nightcrawlers now.


Lake Willastein


(updated 3-15-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported bass are fair, and the best time to catch them is mid-day. Use a Texas rigged trick bait or a buzzbait. Catfishing is fair around the launching ramp. Use nightcrawlers or minnows.


Arkansas River at Morrilton


(updated 3-22-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said folks are beginning to fish the river. Black bass are still moving out of deeper water and appear light-colored. Best baits are green pumpkin lizard with a chartreuse tail, as well as a crawfish-colored crankbait. Around jetties fish are suspended 10-15 feet deep early, moving to shallows by mid-afternoon. White bass are staging about the creek mouths of Petit Jean River, Point Remove, Coppers Gap and Flagg Lake Cutoff. Use Sassy Shads. Crappie are up in creeks including Galla Creek. Use jigs with a red head and chartreuse bodies. Catfish are best around jetties both late and early; use skipjack and fish about 6-15 feet deep. No report on bream. No report on stripers.


Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)


(updated 3-22-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that fishing is good to great on the river right now. With warm temperatures the past week, they are seeing some really nice fish become active. If you want to catch some really good quality fish, now is definitely the time to be on the water. Bass are getting super close to spawning. This past week Cody says they caught several males that were showing just a small bit of wear on their tails from where they are starting to fan beds. Now is the time that you really want to start focusing your efforts on protected backwater areas. Look for areas that have plenty of solid “stuff” for them to spawn on, whether it is wood, pad stems, rock, etc. Now is fun time to be fishing simply because lure selection isn’t nearly as important as location. Take your favorite moving bait and your favorite worm/flipping bait and go to town! 
Cody says some nice crappie slabs have also been coming, although not in high numbers. This is pretty much the same deal as bass. Look primarily for areas with large laydowns, stumps and brush. Single-line poles have been working pretty well. Go around and dip jigs (or minnows) around backwater wood cover. Black/chartreuse and white/orange tubes have been top producers. He adds that although catfish spawn later in the year, it is definitely on their mind right now. They aren’t really on the move from the main river or anything, but they have strapped on the feed bags. Still, look for those main river deep holes just outside of spawning areas. This is the time of year that Cody says he likes to try his largest offering. He’s always a fan of live or fresh cut bait, but channels can always be taken on your favorite stink bait as well. 

He says fishing is really heating up and trips are filling up. Don’t miss the bass spawn. Call to get your trip on the books.


Little Maumelle River


(updated 3-15-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is clear and at a normal level and current. Crappie moved back into deeper water over the weekend. The bite was good on minnows and jigs. Bass were reported good on crankbaits and plastic worms. No report on bream. No report on catfish.


(updated 3-15-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie good. Use red or black jigs, or medium minnows. Crappie seem most prevalent around the marina.


Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)


(updated 3-15-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that white bass are in Maumelle Creek and the bit is good. Use a white Rooster Tail.


Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)


(updated 3-22-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is stained and the level and current are normal. Crappie are good in 6-10 feet depth of water, with red and chartreuse jigs working best. Bass have a good bite now in the shallow water, at least before midweek, using white spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Look in the back creeks and coves just 2-3 feet below the surface for the largemouths. Catfish are good on stink bait.


(updated 3-22-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said level throughout the pool, including the Clear Lake area, was normal. Bream were good on worms or crickets. Crappie was fair using minnows or pink or black jigs. Catfishing was good on worms and cut bait. No report on bass.


(updated 3-15-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said at around Murray Lock and Dam, crappie are good on red or black jigs. Catfishing is fair using skipjack or shad. White bass are biting fair on chartreuse twister tails.


(updated 3-15-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the water as clear. Bream are good below Murray Dam. The bream are in 10-15 feet of water, with purple and pink/chartreuse jigs and crappie magnets working nicely. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass fishing is good both on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good; use skipjack. White bass are biting well on Rooster Tails. Below the Terry Dam, crappie are excellent in 10-15 feet depth. Use white or black and chartreuse jigs. White bass are good; try a 3-inch white grub. Catfishing below the Terry dam is good on skipjack. Bream are fair.


Peckerwood Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water was clear and the level was normal. No surface temperature reading was available. Crappie reports were good on minnows or jigs. Bass fishing was fair, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits getting the best response. Catfishing was fair using worms, blood bait, shad and cut bait. No reports on bream.




White River

(updated 3-22-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said water was clear and the river was low with a slow flow with little generation. It proved to be good fishing for trout. Use PowerBait for rainbows. Patient fishermen were reporting success with the browns.


(updated 3-22-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “What a week on the White! Spring break brings lots of old friends to town and introduces new ones, and the river never fails to surprise newcomers.” The rainbow catch seems to be bringing in more quality bows, although the total count may be smaller than some previous seasons. After two days with some amount of generation, the water level has stabilized, very low, so they’re seeing anglers anchoring over favorite fishing holes with enough weight to get deeper. Garlic-scented bait and Power Eggs with or without sparkle are catching the eye of the rainbows. Add some shrimp and catch even more. Cutthroats and browns continue to answer the call of the minnow. Celebrate spring, come fish the White!


(updated 3-22-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they have had rain and snow (combined for about a half-inch in Cotter), cold temperatures to include freeze advisories) and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 feet to rest at 7.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 43.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.2 feet to rest at 8 feet below seasonal power pool and 24 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.8 to rest at 8.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 18.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had significant wadable water with more generation. On the White, 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). Berry says this is their best caddis hatch of the year and should arrive soon. He has already observed a few caddis on the Norfork tailwater and on the White. 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 Berry’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.

Berry also says of the annual Sowbug Roundup this week in Cotter: “What began 20 years ago as a small fly-tying show at the Youth Center in Cotter has now turned into the best fly-tying show in the South, and possibly the top show in the United States. It draws tyers from all over the country and from other countries. I have been involved with it ever since I moved here 18 years ago, first as a seminar presenter, then a fly-tyer (they lowered the standards so that I could participate), then I was a vendor, and now I am a member of the Sowbug Committee. I am proud of my involvement. The Sowbug Roundup is sponsored by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, our local fly-fishing club, which is affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers. Proceeds from the show sponsor local scholarships and other educational and conservational activities. This year’s Sowbug will be held at the Baxter County Fairgrounds March 23-25 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. The entrance fee is $5 for all three days. Children under 12 years of age are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult (adults with accompanying children are also free).
“The big draw at the show is the fly-tyers. There will be around 120 tyers from all over the U.S. and Canada. They will be spread out over the three days. The idea is to watch them tie. You will be surprised and amazed at some of the flies that they create. You can learn something from every one of them. Also, there are around 20 vendors to tempt you. They include most of our local fly shops like Blue Ribbon, Dally’s, Two Rivers and Wishes and Fishes. Dave Whitlock, The Golden Rule Fly Shop and Duane Hada will also be there. I will be there with two booths, Blue Ribbon Fly Shop and Berry Brothers Guide Service. Stop by and let me tie you a fly.
“On Friday night they have the Shindig. This was originally started as a tyer appreciation night and has morphed into a fundraiser social event of the first order. Seating is limited. There is a large auction with some incredibly fine items. including some spectacular fly plates. Inquire about tickets at the registration desk at Sowbug. They will not be available at the Shindig.
“There are several seminars, including some excellent ones on fly-tying. As usual, I will teach one on ‘When, Where and How to fish the White and Norfork Rivers’ on Friday at 11 a.m. My wife, Lori, will teach a couple of seminars on fly-casting. On Friday, she has an intermediate class and on Saturday she has one for beginners. She surpassed me on fly-casting ability years ago. Several Saturday programs are designed for children. These are must-attend events. If any of this sounds like something you would like to do, please join me at the Sowbug Roundup.

“Also, the week after Sowbug, Lori and I will teach our ‘Fly Fishing Class’ at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home starting on Thursday March 30, and running for four weeks. We meet at 6 p.m. and are finished at 8 p.m. Register online through the community education department. The cost is $80.”


Bull Shoals Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 651.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).


(updated 3-22-2017) K Dock Marina was scheduled to reopen March 3. So far, no report on catches.


(updated 3-22-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake is still low at 651 feet msl and they really need some rain, and some would help. Temperature has ranged 55-63 degrees. Fish are definitely in pre-spawn mode. A couple of different things are working, depending on the weather – and last week they had snow before it was back up in the 80s. The fishing is only get better. They’re coming up shallow. They’re not all the way in backs of the creeks, but almost in the backs and in the flats. They’re still holding off a little bit. Del still hasn’t put the jerkbait away, he said. He’s also used a Shaky Head. Try a swimbait with just a little small head and casting it along the docks, outside of the docks. Around the transition banks, the fish seem to be on the sides of the points or where it goes to bluff wall to gravel; it doesn’t matter, look for those changes in the rock and you’re going to get bit. Del says that lately he doesn’t think he’s fished anything deeper than 15 feet, and you won’t have to for the next month. You can still use a Wiggle Wart a little bit, or a rock crawler bait, but that bite should begin to drop off. Got with the brighter colors in the dirtier water, more natural colors in the clear water. Also, a jig is catching a lot of fish right now, he said, especially on the steeper banks into the pockets, which are holding a lot of fish. Hit the bank with a jig and work it back nice and slow. A flashy finesse spinnerbait is also working. In the dirtier water add some flash. Walleye were still working on Tuesday and he said you probably have one more week of jerkbaiting for walleye. Go for them an hour or so before the sun goes down to an hour afterward. They’re shallow, about 18 inches below the surface. White bass are kind of tapering off, he said. Some are moving out of the creeks already. You’ll find white bass on the secondary points.


Norfork Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 545.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).

(updated 3-22-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says, “What a week of swinging weather and fishing patterns.” They started off with snow and very cold weather and wound up sunny with 60 degrees. Fishing was outstanding all week without the sun being out. They caught over 55-plus stripers during that period. On Friday Tom and his son caught 22 stripers and were excited to know the sun and warm weather was coming Saturday. Tom says he told his clients that fishing was outstanding when they came on board – “boy, was I wrong,” he quipped. They were fishing near Fout Marina, which is a narrow straight of water that does not have much room for heavy boat traffic. The sun came out and then the boats. They had a striper and bass tourney that caused heavy boating, the bass boats were flying up and down the lake, and the striper guys were trolling. The stripers have been shallow and all the traffic shut them down. Tom says he fished 5½ hours and Sean fished 9 hours and between them they boated four stripers. Sean caught them all and Tom was skunked. Sunday they went to Big Creek trying to get out of the traffic and both caught one striper apiece. Tom says he expects the pattern will improve with less boat traffic and consistent weather. On a bright note, the walleye are hitting crankbaits up above Calamity Beach; people are catching limits of walleye from the shore in the evening. Tom had a call about fishing Thursday from Mike, who had his trip canceled in Tennessee. Mike and his sons Levi and Luke, along with their friend Harlan, were on their first-time striper fishing trip. They booked an 8-hour trip. When the group left the dock, it was cold, overcast and windy. They made it to Fout, so Tom began his setup, which is 10 baited rods; two planner boards, two floats, two free lines, and four downlines. They started off slow, but their first fish was a double-headed. The young boys, 11 and 12, were the first ones to catch a striper, then the men took over and kept this up for the next 6½ hours. They caught number 12 and the boys were cold, so the trip was complete with their first limit of stripers. The boys had a trip they would soon not forget.

(updated 3-22-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the term “March Madness” definitely fits Norfork Lake this month. Three inches of snow a week ago, 90 degrees earlier this week and some thunderstorms and cooler weather on the way. The changing weather patterns play havoc with the fish, but Tuesday the fish gave signs of getting back on track. Lou says he saw sporadic surface activity for largemouth bass and striped/hybrid bass, crappie moving in tighter to the banks for their pre-spawn activity, and the white bass and walleye have started to move out to the flats, which indicates the majority of the walleye and whites have completed their spawn.
Tuesday was a very interesting morning of fishing. Lou says his game plan was to search a different area of the lake for striped bass. He didn’t find striped bass, but he ended up catching fish on five different types of baits. In the dark he started casting a suspending stickbait to the shoreline. He landed largemouth and crappie on his Smithwick Rogue. As the sun was coming up he cast out his blade bait, Kastmaster, and landed some whites. As the morning wore on he started casting out a paddle tail swimbait to the shoreline and landed a largemouth, then in deeper water he dropped a spoon and landed a walleye. Live threadfin shad landed a second walleye and he broke off a big fish, maybe what he was looking for, he said. Striped bass fishing the last couple of days has slowed with the cool system that rolled through their area last week. The snow and cold temperatures dropped the surface lake temperature from 56 degrees to 50 degrees. Tuesday morning the lake had warmed back up to 56 degrees. A few days ago the stripers that had moved back into the major creek arms were biting aggressively and could be found anywhere from 20 to 50 feet of water. Most fish that Lou was catching and marking were suspended 15-35 feet down. Tuesday, Lou said he did mark a few stripers, but they were not feeding. This will change with the warming water very shortly and the good bite will begin again.
Lou adds that largemouth bass fishing has been good. This species is moving in close to the shoreline early and late in the day. Tuesday morning brought some of the best surface activity that he have seen so far this year. This is still early for topwater, but a very good sign. Lou caught largemouth before Tuesday’s sunrise on a suspending jerkbait; after sunrise, largemouth were being caught on a 5-inch paddle tail swimbait by one of Lou’s guests. The topwater started just as the sun got above the horizon. Lou says start carrying your favorite topwater bait as he believes this will become a little more common each day. Alabama rigs are also working very well rigged out with a 3½- to 4-inch swimbait. The shorter baits are still working a little better than longer baits, but this will change as the water continues to warm.
Lou caught walleye Tuesday morning, one on a shallow flat in 18 feet of water and the other was out in 65 feet of water suspended down 55 feet. Lou marked bait from 40 feet to the bottom and saw five big arcs in the bait. He assumed the arcs were stripers so he dropped a ½-ounce spoon and landed a nice 23-inch walleye. “You tell me what the current pattern of our walleye are?” he asks with a grin. The majority of the walleye have spawned and should be moving to the flats to feed. Deep-diving crankbaits, crawler harnesses and dragging live minnows will start to pick up some nice fish. White bass have also completed the majority of their spawning activities. Lou says he’s starting to find scattered fish on large flats suspended down 20-30 feet in 30-50 feet of water. He caught several nice whites on his Kastmaster blade bait. It will not be long until large schools of whites will be roaming shallow flats feeding heavily on shad. Topwater frenzies will erupt and make the water boil. Topwater baits, blade baits, spoons and swimbaits will all pick up some nice fish.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 55-56 degrees. The lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 545.25, which is approximately a 1 foot drop over the last two weeks. The lake is somewhat stained but clearly is occurring.


Norfork Tailwater


(updated 3-22-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake fell 0.5 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, we had less generation with more wadable water, but it has fished poorly. 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. Berry’s favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to spring break. 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). 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.


Buffalo National River

(updated 3-15-2017) 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.


Crooked Creek


(updated 3-15-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the creek 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 Crooked Creek. 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.





Beaver Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,112.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).


(updated 3-22-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said there was very little stain in the water, the level is normal and the surface temperature was ranging 51-53 degrees. Bass reports were good. Crankbaits were working best for largemouths. Bream were fair on worms or crickets. Crappie were good using minnows and jigs. No reports on catfish.


(updated 3-22-2017) 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 60s. Check out these hot spots on the mid- and lower sections of the lake: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, 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 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.


Beaver Tailwater


(updated 3-22-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the tailwaters are starting to fill up with white bass and walleye. Water temperatures are hovering around 58 degrees and all that happened overnight. White bass are staging between Holiday Island and Beaver. Most can be caught pulling Rapalas, or an A-rig with white twist tails. Walleye are between Beaver and Spider Creek. You will not be able to reach Spider Creek by boat due to the water level. Jigging with minnows, throwing Rapalas and crawler rigs have been producing nice walleye. Smallmouths are being caught around structure using drop-shot and different soft plastics. Trout are being caught in great numbers between Houseman and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge; fishing light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits will get you the fish.


(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.


Lake Elmdale


(updated 3-22-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) said the lake is up a bit from its long low winter level, and hopefully will rise a bit more with the expected rainfall this week. Normally clear, the coloration will change on strong windy days to cloudy, but clears quickly. Surface temperature has been from 57 to 62 degrees. Bluegill are hot right now with some of the biggest Lucky has seen, he said. They’re being caught on redworms. Crickets will work too; however the worms have been the best. Try fishing 3-4 feet deep. Keep your split shot up a foot above your hook, and keep the point covered with your worm. Please note that you should use light line and a small hook if you’re perch fishing. Everybody seems to make the same mistake. Lucky says, just ask and he’ll check your rigging and tell you what should be changed.

Lucky says that so far, a small white jig (1/64-ounce) tipped with a white crappie nibble has worked the best for crappie. Smaller minnows will work now, too. Avoid larger minnows until the aggressive spring feeding patterns develop. Try fishing at 6 feet; you may need to go deeper at times, so adjust your bait until you get the bite. On Monday one man kept and cleaned eight crappie (the longest was just over 12 inches) and five big bluegill, all caught fishing at the bait shop dock. Saturday, after the wind stopped, and just before sundown, eight keeper crappie were caught by one man at the public access dock, as was reported to the bait shop. So far, the biggest bass this week was just over 4 pounds, and 18 inches long. It was caught by Roger Reid of Fayetteville, using a pig-n-jig while fishing along Harmon’s Bluff, last Thursday. If you would like to be included in this report, just stop in at the bait shop, and show Lucky your catch.

Lucky says the best lures for early spring bass are about the same each year. Work along the dam using a red wiggle wart, or a suspending, rattling jerkbait. Go to Preachers Point and try a jig or a “salad” colored spinnerbait. As the water clouds up on windy days, use a white/chartreuse spinnerbait. Use a green lizard (3 inches long), try dragging it into the drop-offs near the point as well. Fish Lake Elmdale every chance you get. The lake never closes, there is no motor size restrictions; however this is a “no wake” lake, so please abide by the rules and regulations set by the AGFC. No pleasure riding, skiing, tubing or personal watercraft such as Jet Ski or Wave Runners. Be safe. The bait shop is open Friday through Monday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Kings River


No report.


Lake Fayetteville


(updated 3-22-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported clarity as clear. Bream were good using worms or crickets. Bass reports were good, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits both working. Catfishing was poor. No reports on crappie.


Lake Sequoyah


(updated 3-22-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water as clear with a surface temperature of 63 degrees. Level is normal. Bream have begun to bite, with good reports using worms. Crappie were good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good using spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is good on chicken livers and shad.




Lake Poinsett


(updated 3-22-2017) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is doing well with crappie. The anglers have reported that they are biting on Rosy Red minnows suspended 3 feet around fallen logs. The regular minnows are doing well, they said, but the Rosy Reds have been the most productive. Bass are starting to become active biting on gray jigs and a few on Pop-R’s. Catfish are slowly waking up and should be biting on goldfish and rice slicks soon. Bream are biting OK on worms.


Crown Lake


(updated 3-15-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water level is normal and the water is clear. Surface temperature was 54 degrees. The fishing has been slow the past week. Crappie are fair and have moved deep. Use minnows or jigs. No reports on bream, bass or catfish.


Lake Frierson


(updated 3-22-2017) Lake Frierson State Park had no reports.


Spring River


(updated 3-22-2017) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 323 cfs about average and water clarity has been mostly clear. Olive Woollies, Y2Ks and chartreuse mop flies have been working well for trout. Large white marabou jigs are working well for smallmouth bass. And hot pink Trout Magnets are catching about all species…. Get out, have fun and be safe.


(updated 3-22-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are 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).


White River


(updated 3-22-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported that fishing picked up quickly with the good weather and normal water conditions. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass were excellent the past week on crankbaits and topwater lures such as spooks. Catfishing was fair, and walleye reports were fair.




Arkansas River at Pine Bluff


No report.


Cane Creek Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) Jennifer Albertson, the park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the lake is warming up fast. Temperatures are chilly in the early mornings and quite warm in the afternoons. The weather is beautiful. Catfish are good, with some coming out of the lake this week almost as long as the fishermen who caught them. People are out there enjoying the weather, but crappie are not biting like they wish they were. In the words of one of their visitors, you see a lot of boats out there, but you don’t see them reeling anything in. 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.


Lake Chicot


(updated 3-22-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said anglers are having the best luck for crappie at the pumping plant on Lake Chicot. Bream are biting fair on wax worms, but you have to fish deeper for them. The catfish are biting on everything. Several people reported success with yoyo’s.


Lake Monticello


No report.




Millwood Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).


(updated 3-22-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level was 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling Monday. There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2,200 cfs as of Monday. Water temps rose over the past week, and on Monday the surface temperature ranged 67-74 degrees. There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week. Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days while water temps continue a slow rise. Largemouth bass are on beds in multiple locations lake-wide. White bass are still stacked up Little River. Crappie starting to build beds, and gar are extremely shallow in large groups, making for great opportunities for bow fishermen. As of Monday the tailwater level was 227 feet msl. Be advised that there are new no-wake river buoys at White Cliffs boat ramp and the no-wake zone extends from the north end of the park to the south end in Little River.
Siefert added that clarity and visibility stained but beginning to clear this week. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 3-5 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 5-8 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 15-24 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Largemouth bass are bed building, and some on beds are being seen in spawning areas. Some bass have completed their spawning rituals already. They continue catching male and female largemouth bass from 2 to around 7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas. Big, 7-inch 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. Bass Assassin Shads are working on bass moving into and out of bedding areas and on beds. Find water temps that are 5-8 degrees warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions. Several females in the 4-7 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past week. The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females over the past several weeks.
War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover and white/chartreuse continue taking nice keeper-size largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows upriver. Squarebill crankbaits in crawfish patterns, 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 Spring Bream, Toledo Gold and Red Chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current. Beset colors of Bass Assassin Shads for the past couple weeks include Houdini, Salt & Pepper, Grey Ghost and Gold Pepper Shiner colors. Use them 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.
White bass are still holding upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a spawning condition. Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the white bass and hybrids. Great numbers of whites and hybrids were being caught all along Little River over the past couple weeks on shad-colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits and chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps. Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps and Blakemore Road Runners were all catching these whites over the past week, but Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake. The crappie continue spawning near cypress trees with the largemouths. Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat-tail grub in smoke with chartreuse tip. Minnows have begun to get a good bite over the past week. Blues and channel cats continue biting well with the current in Little River on trot lines and in oxbows on yo-yo’s. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, Alpo dog food chunks and Punch baits.

Lake Greeson

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.46 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).


(updated 3-22-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said female crappie are staging and the males are in the banks. The spawn is back on with this warmer water.


(updated 3-22-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the lower to mid-60s. Water is clear from Point 10 south and stained on the upper end of the lake. Crappie are shallow and hitting 2-inch grubs and tube jigs. Bass are moving shallow, some are on beds. Bass are hitting hard baits such as suspending jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Bass are also good on soft plastics like Texas rigged worms, Brush Hogs, Carolina rigged lizards and swimbaits. Several walleye have been caught the last couple of weeks. Look for gentle sloping gravel points. Walleye are hitting suspending jerkbaits, medium diving crankbaits and soft plastic swimbaits.


Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)

Visit for a daily updated on fishing conditions.


Cossatot River

(updated 3-22-2017) Cossatot River State Park had no report this week.


DeGray Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.04 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).


(updated 3-22-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 60s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good with the warming water. Look for fish on secondary points in the major spawning coves. Best bet is a crankbait, both lipped and lipless, worked slowly across the points. Try natural shad with some chartreuse. Another good pattern is a double spinnerbait slow-rolled along the windy banks near the flooded brush. Once again, make sure the spinnerbait includes some chartreuse. Look for fish in the upper part of the lake between Point 15 and Cox Creek. Crappie fishing is good, with lots of nice catches reported. The fish are starting to spawn, so look in the back of major coves near any wood or brush cover. Try a 2-inch curly tail grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Best colors are Tennessee Shad in clear water and black chartreuse in dis-colored water. There is still a good deep-water bite on the deep bush piles at 25-30 feet. Fish a 2-inch tube in black/chartreuse on a 1/16-ounce jighead vertically to the top of the brush. Don’t forget the crappie nibble. Best areas are between Point 14 and Point Cedar. Hybrid fishing is slow with most of the fish now up the river on their false spawning run. The fish will be even above Amity. Be careful running up the river because those big rocks love to eat lower units.

Bream fishing is fair with the fish mixed in with the crappies at the attractors. Try redworms and crickets.


(updated 3-22-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said female crappie are staging and the males are in the banks. The spawn is back on with this warmer water.


(updated 3-15-2017) Trader Bills said brush is being put out by the AGFC and the Corps of Engineers. Barges up in Brushy Creek, the chain saws are going, they’re getting out at 8 a.m. to put brush out there and up around Iron Mountain. Now is your chance to see where they are putting out a lot of the brush. They are making structure right in front of the spawn, and the fish right after the hatch will have to have somewhere to go. That will be good habitat for them.







No report.


Lake Columbia


No report.

Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake


No report.


Moro Bay

Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report this week.



White Oak Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.





Lake Atkins

(updated 3-22-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that water was clear and surface temperature was 60 degrees. Water level was normal. Crappie success ranged from fair to good. Minnows or jigs were working. Bream tended to be slow, but there were fair reports using worms and crickets. Bass reports leaned on the poor side with the action being slow. Catfishing was good using chicken livers. No reports on white bass.


Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)


No report.


Lake Catherine

For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit


(updated 3-22-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The five foot winter drawdown has ended with Lake Catherine brought back to normal summertime pool as of Monday, March 13th. Rainbow trout are 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. Numerous cold fronts and open flood gates have slowed the bite considerably the last 10 days, but warmer weather and stable conditions will improve fishing. Fly-fishermen are handicapped somewhat with the lake at normal levels but still 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 bait fish 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 which 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 are present and being caught in the tailrace from the bridge to the dam. Live minnows and small jigs are key when targeting these finicky eaters. Rock structure and sand bars 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.


Lake Dardanelle


(updated 3-22-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 58 degrees in the river warming to 62 degrees, while some of the backwater is 68 degrees. Clarity in the river is dingy, with a mix of dingy to clear creeks. Crappie fishing has been excellent, both shallow and deep, on minnows, and jigs in white, chartreuse/black or pink. Bass fishing has been good with some excellent days when the fronts move through, Rayburn red crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps, June Bug or Red Shad worms in the heavy-pressured areas. Scam shed is working very well in the shallows of the spawning area. Jigs and Bamboozie are working very well in the lily pads stems and in the creeks. Spinnerbaits and plastics are working well in lay-down and brush piles. White bass have been good on crankbaits and swimbaits. Stripers are starting to make their move out of the deep water; use spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish has been excellent on cut bait, worms and artificial blood bait.


Lake Hamilton


(updated 3-22-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 that the yellow pollen falling all over now doesn’t help things for anglers, but you can throw a floating worm in the backs of creeks on the pollen and it will sink through and you can see the swirl of water and still feel the bite. The problem isn’t the yellow pollen now; the problem is when the red oak noodles start dropping. They are clustering in the tree limbs now, and they will mess up a cast in the blink of an eye, Kastner said. The one trick, he said, is throwing a heavier worm, a heavier lure. And the one he suggests throwing is the Yum Dinger, which he also calls a “red oak noodle buster.” It’s a heavier floating worm and anglers can hide the hook. They can be rigged Texas style or wacky style and both styles work really well. They come in 3-, 4- and 5-inches, but the 5-incher is hard to beat. Rigged Texas style a 5-incher can be skipped up under the buckbrush. Hide the hook in the built-in slit or skin hook it. Kastner says he likes to wacky rig it and hook it in the middle and feel his line go “thump” during this messing time of the year on the water from the spring pollen.



Lake Hinkle

(updated 3-22-2017) Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-7419) had no report this week.


Lake Nimrod

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.49 feet msl (flood pool – 342.00 msl).


(updated 3-22-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported water being clear and at a normal level. Surface temperature earlier in the week was 62 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing was good with worms, chicken livers and goldfish.


Lake Ouachita

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 571.91 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 3-22-2017) 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 jerkbaits fished 6-10 feet deep or watermelon-colored soft plastics on secondary points and pockets. Walleye are good and being caught on small crankbaits and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are excellent on Bama rigs and topwater C-10 Redfins. The west end of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are fair in water 15-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are very good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-12 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are picking up on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 15-20 feet. Surface water temperature is ranging 58-65 degrees. The water is clear. For more information or to book a trip, call one of the Mountain Harbor guides: Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104).


(updated 3-22-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio said a lot of people have been catching fish in jerkbaits in the guts of the pockets for the past two to three weeks. Had good reports on Tuesday, one in South Fork and another on the north side. They were finding the biggest rocky bank you could find, throwing the jerkbait and just going parallel to the bank, and catching a bunch of fish. You can also still catch them in the guts of pockets. The fish are in full strike mode. The temperature of the water on the surface is in the low 60s; it’s time to go float a worm and catch some fish.



Blue Mountain Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.76 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).


No reports.




Bear Creek Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said bream activity has picked up slightly for folks fishing with worms. Most of the action is off the fishing piers. Crappie activity is still low. No major reports on bass – although there are fishermen in the water fishing for them so hopefully there will be more to report with the warmer weather sticking around.


Maddox Bay


Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.


Storm Creek Lake


(updated 3-22-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said bream activity has picked up a little for anglers using worms. Like at Bear Creek, the main activity is around the fishing piers. Crappie are slow. Anglers are out looking for bass but there have been no major reports. Expect that to pick up though with the spring weather.


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