Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
March 29, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for March 29, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:
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 3-29-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water conditions remain the same as they’ve been, stained to murky. Surface temperature is in the high 60s. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bream reports have been good as well. Bass have been good using white spinners and plastic lizards. Catfishing is ranged from good to excellent. Try cut shad or minnows for the cats.
(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 3-29-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving heavy generation since the past weekend rains. When the water conditions are right and the weather is warm, they are seeing lots of caddis coming off on all sections of the river. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends your favorite caddis fly, gold ribbed hare’s ear, pheasant tails, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Pink 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 (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 3-22-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said spring in Arkansas is sometimes a wild ride. One week ago, Greg said, he was guiding in rain, sleet and snow in 30 degrees and last weekend it was sunshine and 75 degrees. Short-term plans seem to be the best bet. Fishing has been good with a caddis and March brown hatch occurring daily. The caddis seem to be coming off at night but the fish are feeding on caddis pupa and emergers during the day. Size 16 mayfly nymphs are also good since there is activity with the March browns. The larger browns are showing an interest in the larger insects with several nice fish caught in the last couple of weeks. The weather outlook for this week and weekend is for decent weather through Thursday with a front and storms on Friday into Saturday morning; sunny on Sunday and warm. Check the generation for each day before planning your trip because the schedule has varied the last three days. The lake remains about 5 feet low, so generation will depend on demand for electricity only. This should make for good spring fishing with lower water flow than the last few years.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.84 feet and rising, and Tommy says it looks like it may make normal pool before it is over in a few days, especially with more rain coming. The Heber Springs Expo is this weekend at the event center; there will be lots of tackle for sale at bargains and lots of fishing seminars to learn more about fishing Greers Ferry Lake and just fishing in general, so come out this weekend and enjoy the show. The river walleye are just about done spawning and a lot are already headed back to the lake. Now it will be the lake walleyes’ turn to try and spawn, and the time to start catching some numbers of fish. Try using a crankbait, drop-shots and jigheads tipped with a minnow or a grub or small Senko for best results. No report on bream. The bass fishing is good with a lot of fish being caught all over the water column on a variety of baits. Use spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, jigs, wacky rigs and jighead worms. The Rat-L-Trap bite is going strong as well. The catfishing is good for the bigger fish, as a recent tournament for the best five fish weighed 210 pounds. For cats, use bream or cut bait for the best results all over the lake. Crappie are spawning at various places and on the move as well. Use minnows and jigs in about 8 feet of water on do-nothing banks or around anything sticking up in the water. The hybrid and white bass fishing is good in the lake and rivers; use Rooster Tails, grubs, topwater baits, spoons or Road Runners for the best results from real shallow out to 35 feet of water.
(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 3-29-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is greenish. No report on level or surface temps. Crappie reports have been poor, while there have been no reports on bream. Bass, however, have come in good after little recent action. Anglers are having success throwing crankbaits and plastic worms, as well as minnows. Just about any lure or bait has been getting a response. Catfishing has been good using cut-up bait or chum.
(updated 3-29-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are great on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal or bone/chartreuse, Pennyback Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are biting on buzzbaits, worms and minnows. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper.
(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.
(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.
(updated 3-29-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said water temperature is 60 to 64 degrees (63 degrees on Monday), and lake level is FULL. The black bass bite is excellent. They’re biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Most blacks have moved into shallow water. This last weekend a local bass tournament had only six boats but the winning weight was 19 pounds. Black bass fishing is great right now! Kentucky bass are also excellent. They’re being caught on jigs. They can be found mixed with the black bass. Movement is to the shallow water. White bass reports have been excellent. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons or deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. White bass are scattered west on the edges; watch the loons and the whites will be there in large quantity. Crappie are good and are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with very light line). Crappie are bedding up in 4-6 feet of water and about 8 feet off the weeds. Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught. Bream remain slow. No recent reports. Catfish are good. They’re being caught in 25 feet of water using stink bait, small bream and 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.
(updated 3-29-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad and Slab Slanger and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow.
(updated 3-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and Sonny’s dip bait. Bream have been biting fair on crickets and redworms. Crappie have been biting fair on No. 6 and pink minnows. Bass fishing has been fair with live minnows and plastic worm and lizards.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 3-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been hitting worms and crickets. Catfish have been biting minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bass have been biting minnows. Crappie have been slow but a couple have been caught lately on pink minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 3-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said water levels have been up and down, but when it isn’t muddy the fishing has been good. Minnows have been working well for bass, crappie, catfish and walleye. No. 6 minnows for crappie and larger for the others. The gar are starting to feed well and will bite about any minnow they see. You can have some fun with them if you can keep them on the hook. Bream will bite a cricket or redworm on a small hook and light line and will provide tons of fun for the kids. Get them outdoors and show them how to enjoy this Natural State we live in.
(updated 3-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good and bad. Some reports of big ones being caught on crickets and redworms and some reports of “can’t catch a big one on anything.” Bass have been biting better late in the day on minnows, Texas and Carolina rigged plastics and small topwater baits. Catfish are biting fair on nightcrawlers, chicken livers, minnows and bait shrimp. Crappie fishing has been slow to fair for a few customers using No. 6 minnows.
Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 3-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has slowed and customers report catching only a few nice ones on No. 6 minnows. Bass have been biting minnows and Carolina rigged plastics. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting crickets and redworms.
(updated 3-15-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfishing is excellent. They prefer chicken hearts or nightcrawlers now.
(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 3-29-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said flows going into the river have put a mud line at the mouth of creeks. White bass are in the mouth of creeks, Petit Jean River, Point Remove, Coppers Gap. Fish the mud line, use a pearl or shad-colored crankbait. Results have been fair. Kentucky bass are fair on the second drop-off where you have shad. Use spinners. Catfish are working the jetties and the bite is fair. Go to the backside of the jetties using skipjack or shad. As for bass, the water is high, so where you find grass use a chatterbait. Reports on bass have been fair. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie.
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 3-29-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is clear and the level and current are normal. Crappie appear to be spawning and reports were good on catches. Minnows and jigs were both working. Bass are good using plastic worms as well as stink bait. Catfish reports were fair on yo-yo’s. Bream are biting worms, but biting poorly. No reports on white bass.
(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 3-29-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie are fair. Use red or black jigs.
(updated 3-29-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that white bass were good. Use yellow 3-inch grubs. No other reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-29-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is stained. The level and current are normal, and the water temperature earlier this week ranged 58-60 degrees. Crappie reports were good. Use black and chartreuse jigs for best results. Bass are good in the backwater. Try a black and green crankbait. Bream were fair on worms and crickets. No reports on catfish.
(updated 3-29-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water level and current are normal in the Clear Lake area, low closer to Terry Lock and Dam, and the water in the pool was clear as of Tuesday. Bream are fair to good on worms near the dam, while worms and crickets worked fair for bream in Clear Lake. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs in Clear Lake, and were fair near the dam. Bass reports were good with anglers having best success with spinnerbaits and plastic worms in Clear Lake, while spinnerbaits and crankbaits were working best near the dam. No reports on catfish in Clear Lake, but catfishing was fair near the dam.
(updated 3-29-2017) 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 3-29-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that crappie are excellent. The fish are 5-15 feet deep. Catfishing is excellent using cut shad. White bass reports were good, while stripers were reported good below the Terry Dam using white grubs. Bream are beginning to move up and results were good; use crickets. No reports on bass.
(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.
(updated 3-29-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said water level was low, but both rainbows and browns had a good bite going still. PowerBait was working best for anglers.
(updated 3-29-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says it’s brown trout season: The guides have been showing their fishers more browns than rainbows this past week. No secret to what been tempting the browns: sculpins and minnows. Trap a few redfin minnows and you’ll have a good chance to come face-to-face with a strong, fighting brown. Handle gently, don’t keep it out of the water too long, return it to the river after a quick picture, and look for another one to play. No pattern to the water releases yet, so the rainbows have been a little skittish. Keep an arsenal of bait handy to stir up their interest and curiosity. If one color doesn’t work, try another (i.e. if not having luck with fluorescent yellow power bait, change to a gold spinner or blue and silver spoon.) The dogwoods will be blooming to perfection in the next couple of days; come see a beautiful Ozark spring to green, then go catch a rainbow.
(updated 3-29-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said, “As many of you know, my wife, Lori, and I have been teaching a fly-fishing class at Arkansas State University Mountain Home for several years. We teach a class each spring and fall. Over the years, we have taught hundreds of people to fly fish. It will be held on Thursday nights – March 30, April 6, 13 and 20 – on the ASU-Mountain Home campus from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
“We always begin with an hour of fly-casting instruction. This is basic instruction for someone who has never held a fly rod or someone with limited experience. Lori always leads this. Over the years, she has really worked at it and has become an accomplished casting instructor. I also assist. Together we have over 40 years of fly-casting instruction experience. We like to keep our class size limited so that all of the students get a lot of personal attention at each class. We show you where your mistakes are and how to easily correct them. The rest of the instruction is in the classroom. This is where I draw on my 25 years’ experience as a fly-fishing guide. Of course, Lori, with over a dozen years of experience as a guide, ably assists. We talk about equipment, [what to buy and what not to buy]. We also cover knots, rigging, fly selection, entomology, reading water and water safety. This is a great class for couples.
“To register for the class, visit http://asumh.edu/services/community-education.html. If you do not have access to a computer, call Sarah Sykes at (870) 508.6105 to register. There is a nominal fee. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please sign up. I hope to see you there.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) K Dock Marina reported the water level is down about 7 feet below normal this spring, around 651.7 feet. (Normal pool is 659 feet above sea level for the spring.) Bull Shoals has great water conditions right now, with water clear to stained. All species are good to fair after the cold snap week before last. Surface temperature around K Dock dropped about 5 degrees to around 50-53 degrees. Last weekend’s temperature should bring the fish up chasing shad in the shallows. White bass are really starting to surface around the K Dock area. Crappie should start to hit soon. No big numbers yet, but that will change. Have seen a lot of 12- to 14-inch crappie being caught in nearby coves. Boat ramp is accessible and courtesy dock is available, free of charge. Here is a breakdown by species:
Black Bass (Largemouth, Spotted Bass and Smallmouth) – Good to fair on a wide variety of lures. The A-Rig is still a favorite with the water temps in the low 50s. Many catching bass on small crankbaits such as Wiggle Warts, Rock Crawlers and Bombers. Spinnerbaits with small willow blades when windy. Small to medium jigs ½-ounce or smaller on the steep rock bluffs and points. And any type of finesse plastics off the points and bluffs.
Crappie – Good to fair on swimming minnows on the sand flats and brush piles. Small plastics in pink and chartreuse have really been working around brush piles in the nearby coves. But, live minnows and a bobber are perfect this time of year.
Walleye – Fair to slow. Not a lot of reports coming in on walleye trolling. Horrible weather conditions week before last. Look for the shallow bite to start with the water temps coming up. Troll with small crankbaits such as Hot n’ Tots or Flicker Shads around the 5 to 7 size. This time of year, you may troll to find large walleye along the steep rock bluffs feeding on Crawdads after the spawn. Great time to hit a monster crappie while trolling with a small crankbait. Better reports of walleye coming in from Beaver Creek toward Powersite Dam area.
White Bass – Very good. We finally have some shallow water to fish around K Dock. Tie on a lipless crankbait and hit the flats. The whites will be everywhere when they jump a few degrees in surface temp. Your choice of soft or hard bait is up to you when they start busting the surface.
If you have been on this lake in the past 10 years, you know that it’s been rare to see these lake conditions in the spring. If you are new to the K Dock area, stop in the store on the weekend. Scott will give you some tips on where to fish, whatever game fish you’re after.
(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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 574.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says their weather patterns continue to swing from cold rainy to hot and windy. One day, striper fishing is good, then it slows down and on some days quits, then picks back up. Tom says if his clients happen to pick the good days, fishing is a lot of fun, but those other days when you are scrambling to get a bait make for a long day. The stripers are moving up and down the creeks depending on the weather. They are still fishing near Fout Marina. Tom says he has mainly fished near 6B and then down toward the flats. Others are starting in front of the marina and work the bluffs and points. All this is short term as the weather will improve and striper fishing will pick up all over the lake. Tom’s son did catch a 30-pound striper pre-fishing. He took a picture and released it to fight another day. The crappie are hitting very well in the deeper brush piles. They are biting on minnows and jigs all over the lake. Find some off-color water with temperatures in the mid-50s and you should catch some nice slabs.
Tom says he took Bobby and Pat, who flew in from California, to catch their first stripers. This was their first guided fishing trip, also. The bite starting off quickly with Pat getting the first hit. He missed it but was very excited to see the fish chase the bait out of the water. Pat’s next strike was on the mark and the fight was on. Pat put that one in the boat and he took pictures to send back to his co-workers. Bobby was next and he caught a good one. We put four in the boat and missed a few more that would have given them their limit. They both enjoyed the day and Pat had the best birthday present a brother-in-law could give.
(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.
(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.
(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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,115.31 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the main lake is clear while the backwaters have stain. Water level is normal. Crappie fishing is good. Crappie can be found in 6-8 feet depth around brush piles. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good on crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs. No reports on bream. 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.
(updated 3-29-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that last week’s fishing in the tailwaters was excellent. Walleye were biting on jigs tipped with minnows and crankbaits. The walleye bite has been between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Water temperature reached near 60 degrees turning on the white bass as well. Whites were being caught on various Rapalas and A-rigs. Although the river water levels are still extremely low, most fish can be caught from Houseman Access to Holiday Island. Trout are also being caught in the deeper water using light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. This week they have gotten much needed rain; however, that comes with a price and that price is the lack of bites. You can expect the bite to be off for at least a week after the rain ends. Once the water clears, fishing should pick up in great numbers.
(updated 3-29-2017) Beaver Dam Store said fly-fisherman and bait fisherman alike are catching numbers of fish! There hasn’t been any generation for about 14 days (as of March 24) and the trout in the river are stacked. Try fishing the Bertrand Boat Ramp area between the ramp and Spider Creek Landing and directly below the dam off the gravel bar. Fish Hare’s Ears nymphs, sowbugs and midges in olive, blue dun, black and gold. With spring break over, the store will only be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until they go to full-time hours of operation.
(updated 3-29-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) said things there last week were getting quiet dismal. Mid-week, nothing much was happening and getting a bite was pretty tough. Even the liars didn’t catch anything. Then the storms came in, they came in hard, and packing a trenching down poor. Suddenly the lake began to rise, and so did the chances of catching fish. Lucky says he just dug in at Duck Camp. By daylight, Lake Elmdale had risen a foot, with still more rain coming. By early Saturday, most of the rain had stopped, and the lake had peaked out a foot and a half above the normal pool. Since then, it’s dropped 6-8 inches, and they are still full, he said. Surprisingly, the water has cleared up quickly, with just a little wash in still on the surface. Most of it is gathering up around the docks, and smaller coves. The surface temperature Tuesday morning was 58 degrees, after being 61 Sunday.
Local fishermen from Springdale were ready to launch their boats as soon as the rain stopped Friday, and before the wind changed in the afternoon, to start coming from the north. It’s that wraparound you see on the water vapor maps. It proved a bonanza for one set of fishermen. Using minnows, fishing 5 feet under their bobbers, in 8 feet or deeper water, they managed to catch 43 crappie ranging from 12 to 14 inches long. They were fishing drop-offs on the west side of the lake. Timing is everything.
Lucky says on the Bluegill: One woman and her father used up a tub-and-a-half of crickets to fill their ice chest with big bluegill Sunday while sitting on the walkway at the bait shop dock. As they left the camp smiling, she paused a moment, stuffing one fish back in that had fallen out of the ice chest (they were fish to fish, no water in it), and said, “good fish … Lucky.” They were fishing 4-5 feet deep over an 18-foot deep area at Lucky’s dock. Lucky says he hasn’t heard anything from the bass fishermen and guesses they’re still chunking and cranking. Usually after a sudden rise and storm front goes over, you have to go deep to get a bass.
Lucky says, “Thanks to all you that fished Lake Elmdale and all of you that came to the bait shop. And especially to all you many fishermen that read this report each week. Come by the bait shop at Duck Camp, open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Now go knock ’em dead. Good luck.”
(updated 3-29-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water clarity as muddy and the level high on Tuesday. No temperature was recorded. Bream fishing has picked up, with results this week being good. Try redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass were good and hitting crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing remained poor, with the best results coming on worms or stink bait.
(updated 3-29-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water level as high, with the clarity cloudy and muddy. Surface temperature was 60-62 degrees. Nice-size crappie are being landed on minnows and jigs, with good reports the past week. The bass bite is good, though the fish are on the small side. Catfishing ranged from poor to fair, with worms working best. Bream reports were poor; what success was had was using worms or crickets.
(updated 3-29-2017) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett was alive with anglers this past weekend. No reports on how the fishing was, but we did sell a lot of minnows and rosy reds. We also started selling quite a few rice slicks this past weekend. Seth said that having gone fishing himself, he didn’t have as much luck in a new spot as he did in the previous weekend, but he still caught a few crappie around 4-5 feet down on minnows. He said he tried grey jigs, but alas, did not have any luck. Black bass are starting to move into the pockets, caught a few on watermelon-colored plastic worms. Catfish and bream are slowly starting to come around.
Seth adds that for those of you who have yet to hear, Lake Poinsett State Park is hosting the 5th annual Fishing the Ridge Crappie & Bream Tournament on Saturday (April 1). The cost is $25 per team and you weigh your best 10 crappie and best 20 bream. First place is guaranteed $200, second place is $100, and third place receives $50. To register, you can get a form to fill out from the park or register upon check-in on the day of the tournament. Check-in is at 6 a.m. at Lake Poinsett State Park.
(updated 3-29-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water clarity is dingy. The level is normal and the surface temperature on Tuesday was 53 degrees. Crappie are good with best results coming out from points. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good on topwater lures. Also, good reports using a jig-n-pig in 20 feet of water out from the points. Catfishing has been fair. No reports on bream.
(updated 3-29-2017) Lake Frierson State Park had no report.
(updated 3-22-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (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.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said
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 3-29-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported water level as high and clarity being muddy. Those type of conditions worked best for crappie, with fair results on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were fair, with crankbaits and plastic worms being anglers’ best choices. No reports on bream, catfish or walleye.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 3-29-2017) Jennifer Albertson, the park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the spring is really getting started at Cane Creek and they had a good week for fishing. Both live and artificial baits are doing well at the lake. Catfish are excellent, with some big ones biting on chicken livers and flukes. The biggest catfish caught this week was 48.5 pounds. Some folks have been catching small bream and using them as bait for catfish. Bream are fair, and biting on redworms and minnows. Bass are fair and biting on artificial baits, including lizards and spinnerbaits. Crappie are nowhere in sight, but crappie should pick up soon; the dogwoods are blooming at the state park.
(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.
(updated 3-29-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said bass are on the move. The fish are coming up to the bank and also around the dock. Anglers reported good results. Crappie fishing has been poor. Also, not many people catfishing.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.58 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level on Monday was about 17 inches above normal conservation pool and rising. There was current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2,300 CFS as of Monday. Water temps rose over the past week, and surface temps Monday ranged 69-77 degrees. Good numbers of fishermen were on the lake over the past week. Largemouth bass are on beds in multiple locations lake-wide. White bass are starting to scatter in large schools in Little River. Crappie are spawning on beds, and gar are extremely shallow in large groups, making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow. As of Monday the tailwater level was 231.0 feet msl. Be advised the new no-wake zone extending from the north end of the park to the south end in Little River is being enforced by the AGFC. Clarity and visibility was stained to muddy, depending on location. Oxbows were in good shape for visibility as of Monday. Clarity and visibility ranges 3-5 inches on main lake structure away from current. Little River’s visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 15-24 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 says that with water temperatures slowly rising, largemouth Bass are in all stages of spawn activity; some on beds are being seen in spawning areas. Some bass have completed their spawning rituals already. They continue to catching male and female largemouths, ranging 2-7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks and the males are guarding beds. Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week. Big, 7-inch bulky lizards, Brush Hogs, 10-inch worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow-moving square bill crankbaits and chatter baits 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 3-5 degrees warmer than surrounding areas, along with 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 couple weeks. For the past couple of weeks the best largemouths are being caught the further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks. Cordell Redfins and Smithwick Rouges are catching nice-size Bass from 3 to 4 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood 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 Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows upriver. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads the past couple of weeks include Houdini, Salt & Pepper, Grey Ghost and Gold Pepper Shiner for nice and fat pre-spawn largemouths found 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. Bulky lizards in cotton-candy color are working on cypress trees in clear water.
Siefert adds that the white bass have begun to scatter in large schools upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals over the past week or so. Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the white Bass and hybrids. Shad-colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps and Blakemore Road Runners were all catching whites over the past week, but the 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 or a flat-tail grub in smoke with chartreuse tip. Minnows are beginning to get bit well, too. Blues and channel cats continue biting well with the current in Little River on trotlines, as well as in oxbows on yo-yo’s. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers and Alpo dog food chunks.
To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or for ramp and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office. To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or to volunteer, call the Corps of Engineers’ toll-free Millwood Project information line (888-697-9830) or the main number (877-444-6777) to verify another Corps project is open.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 542.57 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 3-29-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. Water is really clear from Point 10 south and stained on the upper end of the lake. Most of the crappie remain shallow with a few beginning to show back up on fish shelters in 10-15 feet of water. Crappie bite is good on 2-inch grubs and tube jigs. Bass continue to move shallow, some are on beds. Bass are hitting suspending jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, flukes, Senko-style worms, trick worms and Carolina rigged lizards and Brush Hogs. Walleye bite is slowing down, but a few are still being taken on gentle sloping gravel points. Walleye are hitting suspending jerkbaits, medium diving crankbaits and soft plastic swimbaits. Catfish are good on noodles and trotlines.
(updated 3-29-2017) Phillip Kaster of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said that similar to what he saw himself and heard from other anglers at Lake Ouachita (see report under West-Central), Greeson was having similar successful reports on largemouth bass. He heard reports of lots of fish being caught, not necessarily a lot of big ones, but a lot of fish nonetheless. Floating worms were having the best success. You can throw a Shad Rap in 5-6 feet of water. Surface temperatures are in the high 60s.
Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily updated 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 408.07 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 3-29-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said spring is here. Water level is at 408.19 feet. Lake is up with recent rains. Water is being pulled out for generation and slowly lowering the water. However, the recent water level increase has moved some of the fish further back in the cover. Water temperatures run for 62 degrees to 68 degrees around Point Cedar. Water temperatures are plenty warm for the spawn. Water clarity clear midday to dingy around Point Cedar. Bass are reported on the beds. Alabama rigs, stick baits and spinnerbaits are producing well. Soft baits (worms and lizards) sight fished are giving large numbers and size. Crappie are in the shallows in the Shouse Ford area. Water is a little dirtier here and allow the fisherman to get in closure to bedding fish. Crappie can be caught from 2 feet to 5 feet in the back of coves. Minnows will produce but jigs are always good in the spring. Popsicle seems to be the new color for both bass and crappie. Tennessee Shad is always a good color for crappie. White bass run is slow. Many anglers trolling for hybrids and walleyes in the Piney Creek area. Live bait and crankbaits are being pulled. Deep-diving crankbaits that can get down to 15 feet and shad colored. Shad Raps are always good for trolling. No bream report at this time. No walleye report at this time. This next rain will probable make a considerable rise and effect bedding. Fish early and late.
(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.
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
(updated 3-29-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 3-29-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water is clear in the deeper end, muddy in the shallow end. The level is normal and the surface temperature is 62 degrees. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream were poor to fair; anglers were using worms. Bass were fair, but there were some 5-pounders reported. Catfishing is good on trotlines and limblines. No reports on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 3-29-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream is biting on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass is hit and miss.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 3-29-2017) 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. Lake Catherine’s level has been brought back to normal summertime pool. 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.
(updated 3-29-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature has cooled from the last rain. Most recent check at the start of the week was 59 degrees warming to 64. The lower end of the river is dirty, mid-river is dingy, upper end of the river is clear with some dirty-to-muddy creeks. Bass fishing has been excellent with a slow and moderate push a fish going shallow. Use plastics, frogs, buzzbaits, jigs and Bamboozies, crankbaits and spinnerbaits on windy days around spawning pockets and staging areas. Crappie has been excellent shallow and some are still deep. Minnows and jigs lots of various colors have been catching them – try white, chartreuse, black Chargers, pink and red and black colors in the jigs. White bass are in the creeks. Crankbaits and small spinners have been working great. Striped bass have been caught in the mouth of the creeks on spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Bream have been excellent on redworms and jigs (black and brown) around brush out in front of the flats. Catfish have been very good in the creek channels and off the main river points using cut bait and stink bait.
(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.
(updated 3-29-2017) 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 347.30 feet msl (flood pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie are hit and miss on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Pennyback Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and shad. Bream are biting on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper.
(updated 3-29-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported water surface temperature ranging 65-70 degrees. Crappie are excellent. The fish are about 11 feet deep around coves. Minnows and jigs are the best bait. No reports on bass, bream or catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 573.08 feet msl (flood pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 3-29-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are excellent and being caught with floating worms, Carolina rigged lizards and jerkbaits. Secondary points and pockets fished 5-10 feet deep have been the most productive. Walleye are still good and being caught on small crankbaits and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are still 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 to good in water 15-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are excellent. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-12 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 15-20 feet. Lake level was at 573 feet on Tuesday. Water surface temperature ranged 60-65 degrees, and the clarity is stained. For more information, call one of the Mountain Harbor guides: Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104).
(updated 3-29-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that he got a lot of good reports over last weekend and had great personal success Sunday as well. “Really amazing,” he said. The rain late last week put a foot of water into the lake and if you go down the shoreline, you can see into 8-10 inches of water a moss line. The inside edge of the moss is the old lake level. Then you have a foot of water – in distance-wise it’s about 4-5 feet – before you hit the edge of the water where there is nothing, just rocks, slick bottom. You can parallel that moss line and that’s where the fish are. There are nests, it’s just incredible, he says, like looking into a looking glass of the fishes’ world. You can throw anything in there – a floating worm, a jerkbait and squarebill. Kastner said he was using a floating worm 4-5 feet out from the moss line. But then inside the moss line to the shore is where a bunch of beds are. Kastner said he caught four keepers off the beds and turned them right back. Every pocket he went in, he said you were going to catch at least a couple. The soft plastic bite is on at Ouachita.
Water temperature is ranging 67-68 degrees; it dropped down Saturday after the Friday rain but was right back up in the high 60s on Sunday even into the pockets, he said. “I’m not sure the bait matters, just throw something that will get in their way,” Kastner said. He expects this week to be as good. He also said he expects the spawn to continue.
Kastner added, “You’ve got to really focus on the moss line. That’s a gift to have that. There isn’t any structure above it. The lake is so low, buckbrush is 10 feet up the bank, there is not going to be a spawn in the buckbrush on Ouachita. Now, we may get a flood in two weeks but by then the spawn will be over. What these fish are keying on the inside edge of the moss line for their structure for making their beds this year and it’s like taking candy from a baby. I don’t guess I’ve ever seen a spawn quite like this where they don’t have any structure to build those nests around other than an occasional log, or a piece of timber, and that moss line. You build a nest in it, it’s a giveaway, here’s your sign it literally staked in the ground; it sticks out like sore thumb. You see that blackish-green-colored moss and in the big middle of it is this white fanned-out nest. You just can’t miss it.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 388.36 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 3-29-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said bass activity has greatly increased over the past week. Fishing with jigs seems to be the most productive. Bream and crappie activity has picked up mildly in the morning hours when fishing with live bait. Remember, the Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center is fully stocked with live and artificial bait. They offer minnows, nightcrawlers and redworms, and are now restocked with crickets.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 3-29-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said the lake has not been as productive as Bear Creek, but activity is picking up. Bass biting live bait from pier and shoreline. Bream are moving, but so far only small catches from the bank. No positive reports on crappie. Remember, the Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center is fully stocked with live and artificial bait. They offer minnows, nightcrawlers and redworms, and are now restocked with crickets.
AGFC Commissioner Meeting Notice
Dec. 4, 2023
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
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