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Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 04-05-2017


April 5, 2017

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 5, 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 4-5-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie are biting in the green cypress timber in about 4-6 feet on minnows and white and chartreuse jigs. Bass are doing real well for anglers. They are on the beds and spawning, and they are biting on white spinnerbaits and soft plastic lizards. Catfish are doing well on trotlines and limblines baited with bream and trotline minnows. Bream are excellent around the shorelines on crickets and redworms. They are about 2-4 feet just off the shore. Last week the surface water temperature was in the low 60s. Water is stained after the recent rains. Water is at a normal level.


(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 4-5-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red has received heavy generation over the past week. Depending on any significant rain event, expectation is for generation to be reduced and then to settle into a scheduled water release pattern. For fly-fishing, we recommend gold-ribbed hare’s ear, sowbugs and streamers. Pink- and white-colored bodies on chartreuse heads are recommended for Trout Magnet 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 4-5-2017) Greg Seaton of (501-690-9166) said April Fool’s Day came with a bang. They started generating around the clock. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested Southwest Power to run one unit 24/7 since the lake was rising and they did not want the lake level to get above the normal pool because they are doing some work on the flood gates on the dam. The power commission also wanted to regulate the grid with the dam because Greers Ferry had the largest pool percentage of reservoirs in the area. With the increased flow, the fish did not cooperate very well over the weekend. The flow has remained the same this week and the power commission has informed Greg that it will continue at least through Thursday. There is a good possibility that they will cut it back to a more normal level by the weekend. It would be wise to check this forecast on Friday. Check Greg’s website. The river is clear and when they cut back on the flow, the bite should be good. Caddis flies are still active so caddis nymphs and pupas should be good choices.

(updated 4-5-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. had no report.


Greers Ferry Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).


(updated 4-5-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is about a foot below normal pool. Work continues on the dam gates. The bass fishing is good with a lot of fish being caught all over the water cilium and all depths, with fish in the bushes out to 30 feet. Use spinnerbaits, traps, jigs, C-rigs Texas rigs, wacky rigs, small crankbaits and flukes. The bream are moving up as well and can be caught on small crankbaits, crawlers and crickets. Catfish are being caught all over the lake as the blue bite is best with them being caught on cut bait. The crappie have improved a lot and have moved up with the water level, and fisherman can target the fish better around the bushes in the rivers and main lake on minnows, small crankbaits and jigs. The river walleye are finishing up and headed out on their journey back to the lake. The lake fish will be more active from now until June as they will try and spawn in the lake. Use jigs tipped with minnows, grubs and the like on drop-shots, and use crankbaits as well. The hybrid and white bass fishing is good all over the lake as a bunch of whites have spawned and some hybrids are trying to eat their young up the rivers and dump their eggs. The rest are in the lake trying to dump their eggs around the shoreline bushes, while a lot of the lake whites have moved into the smaller creeks and the rest of the fish are on structure. Use grubs, flies, in-line spinners and topwater baits for the river and creek fish; use spoons, in-line spinners and swimbaits for the others.



Harris Brake Lake


(updated 4-5-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said things must be really good these days because the anglers are hush-hush about what they’re using when asked. It appears they’re catching a lot of bass, though.


(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, bone/chartreuse, Penny Back 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 and 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.


Lake Overcup


(updated 4-5-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is up about 2 feet. Clarity is muddy in the shallow water and clearing toward the deeper water. Temperature is around 64 degrees. Bream are starting to pick up around the shore and in 3 feet of water on crickets and worms. Bass are doing well on plastic worms and crankbaits around brush and shallow water. Crappie are slow but anglers are still catching some good ones, just not as many as they have in the past. Catfish are good on yo-yo’s with bass minnows and on poles with shrimp bait and chicken livers. Johnny says, “Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Highway 9.”


Brewer Lake


(updated 4-5-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water is murky and is at low level. Surface temperature was 58-60 degrees. Crappie are good. The fish are in 7-8 feet depth and biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good in 7-10 feet off the rocky points and in cover. Bream reports were fair. Nothing on catfish or white bass.


Lake Cargile


No report.


Lake Barnett


No report.


Lake Maumelle


(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 3-29-2017) 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.


Palarm Creek


No report.


Sunset Lake


(updated 4-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream are hitting crickets. Bass have been biting minnows and small plastic worms and lizards. Crappie are biting fair on No. 6 and pink minnows.



Bishop Park Ponds


(updated 4-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are biting crickets and redworms. Catfish are biting chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bass have been biting minnows and red shad-colored plastic worms. Crappie are hitting No. 6 minnows.


Saline River Access in Benton


(updated 4-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting minnows, black salties, goldfish and nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has been good with minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie have been biting No. 6 minnows and blue and silver jigs. Walleye fishing has slowed but a few have been caught recently on large minnows and crankbaits. Bream will bite crickets and redworms.


Lake Norrell

(updated 4-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are starting to bite well on crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair on minnows, Texas and Carolina rigged plastics and small topwater baits. Catfish have been hitting minnows, black salties and nightcrawlers. Crappie are biting for some using No. 6 and pink minnows.


Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne


No report.


Lake Winona


(updated 4-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair on No. 6 and No. 12 minnows. Bass are biting minnows and Carolina rigged lizards. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting well on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows.


Lake Valencia


(updated 4-5-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfishing is excellent. They prefer chicken hearts or nightcrawlers now.


Lake Willastein


No report.


Arkansas River at Morrilton


(updated 4-5-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said water has been up and down due to last week’s rains. The clarity is muddy. Bass fishing is good. Bass are on the back side of jetties and in the coves. Use Firetiger-colored crankbaits. Catfishing is good, with catfish also on the backside of jetties. Use skipjack and worm combinations. Crappie are in the creeks like Galla Creek, Petit Jean River, Flagg Lake Cut-Off, Coppers Gap and Point Remove Creek when the flows are down. In the backwater when the river is high u se minnows, chartreuse and red jigs and chartreuse heads with red bodies. Crappie reports have been fair. Bream are fair on crickets on the backside of jetties. White bass are still hanging in muddy water where it hits clear. Use Bobby Garland Baby Shad and, when they’re on top, use chatterbaits. Reports have been fair.



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.


Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)


(updated 4-5-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no reported


(updated 4-5-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.



Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)


(updated 4-5-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is muddy and high. Bream are biting redworms. Bass are good in the backwaters. Catfish reports were good; use stink bait.


(updated 4-5-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are good in the Clear Lake area as well as near the Terry Dam. They’re favoring jigs of every color as well as minnows. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. No bass reports. Catfishing is fair on cut bait and nightcrawlers. They reported that anglers were saying similar things


(updated 4-5-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported crappie are excellent. Black and chartreuse jigs are the best to throw. Bass are excellent throughout the pool on pearl and chartreuse grubs, as well as crankbaits. Catfishing is good using shad and skipjack. Reports on bream were fair.


Peckerwood Lake


(updated 4-5-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water is clear and the level is at normal to high. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures like Zara Spooks. Catfish are good on worms or shad.





White River

(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 4-5-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says everybody’s catching trout. This week has proven successful for anglers casting from the bank with flies, spoons, spinners and bait, for fishers trying their luck from private jon boats, and of course for those spending the day with a professional river guide. Silver and blue spoons caught good-sized rainbows, spinners with gold blades worked their magic, too. The tri-olive Zig Jig is making a comeback on the days with some water releases; you need a couple of extra feet of water for success in playing the jigs. More cutthroats are being caught between Wildcat Shoals and Red Bud Hole than in the last 14 years and are being released to continue to maturity. Low water levels on most mornings have made it easy to catch a sculpin or two to tie on your hook and lure the larger browns. There have been numerous days with catches of 10 browns or more. Remember, the low water means a narrow channel that everybody needs to traverse. Be thoughtful of your fellow anglers so we can all continue to enjoy Arkansas’s natural beauty of the resources. Fish on.


(updated 4-5-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said, “On Sunday, the day after the Sowbug Roundup ended; I had a guide trip with Al and Bob. I have guided them for several years. They always show up at Sowbug and the Federation of Fly Fishers Fly Fishing Fair in October. They are from Nebraska and at 73 and 78 years of age, respectively, are a bit past wade fishing. We always fish from my White River Jon Boat.
“On that day, the generation was at minimum flow, for over 24 hours. Both rivers, the White and Norfork, were lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Since I have a propeller-driven outboard and not a jet drive, I am limited to where I can drift fish under these conditions. I chose to fish at Rim Shoals, which has deep enough water to allow me to fish there when there is little or no generation. The weather was pretty nice. It was to be partly cloudy all day with a high temperature of around 73 degrees. There was a cool start, a bit over 40 degrees but it got warmer as the day went. By midafternoon it was quite a bit warmer, and I finally took off my down sweater.

“I had begun the day fishing a red fox squirrel and copper nymph (a new favorite) with a ruby midge dropper on one rod and a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper (it had rained the night before and I always fish a San Juan worm after a rain). Early on, it was evident that the red fox squirrel/copper nymph was outperforming the cerise San Juan worm. I took a few minutes to ensure that both of my anglers were fishing the same thing and that it was what was working the best.

“In the morning, the going was a bit slow. They both caught trout but not as many as I am used to catching. We broke for lunch at around noon. It was good to relax for a few minutes. The rest recharged us and we were able to return to the river with a bit of confidence. The fishing picked up and we were catching more trout than we had in the morning. Around 3 o’clock, Bob hit a really good fish. I got a pretty good look at it and quickly figured out that it was a good-sized brown. I quickly pulled my drag chain into the boat so that the brown would not tangle itself in it, which could cause us to lose the fish. Though it tried to swim into a big blowdown, we were finally able to land and release a fine 20-inch brown trout.

“The next drift generated a nice 14-inch rainbow for Bob. Then on the third drift our luck was significantly better. He hooked an even larger brown than we had previously landed. Once again, I pulled in the drag chain and we took our time landing our fish. Surprisingly it actually came in quicker than the smaller brown. At 22 inches with a large girth, it was a spectacular catch. In three drifts, Bob had landed two nice browns and a decent rainbow. Life is good!”


Bull Shoals Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 654.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).


(updated 4-5-2017) K Dock Marina reported the lake has jumped about 3 feet with the recent rains. Limited debris, but a lot of color to the water, a dark green to rust color. Good for bass fishing! Not going to be very detailed on this report, but wanted to focus on the crappie bite. Water temperature is actually climbing to the 60-degree mark, which should trigger a good bite with all species. Crappie are good, but not great. Live minnows and swimming minnows are really working in and around the brush piles in the coves. A 60-65 degree surface temperature should have them right on the banks of the coves. Any morning sunshine should result in some great afternoon crappie fishing. If you’re after bass, throw a small jig or small plastics on the points and high bluffs. Walleye should start hitting small to medium crankbaits trolling both shallow and near the bluffs.


(updated 4-5-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said water has come up quite a bit. They’ve gotten a little bit of rain; Del wishes they had it in the bushes little bit better, but it is what it is, he said. Water temperature is about 60 degrees in back of creeks, 58 in the main lake. They went from pre-spawn to spawn this week. Del was on a bowfishing trip and what he saw, the smallmouth are definitely on the beds everywhere. The males are on the beds. Kentuckies are out a little bit with the smallmouths and the largemouth are right behind them. Largemouths are going to spawn in shallower water than the smallmouths. For the smallmouths, he said, they’re in 12-117 feet of water, so you want to keep your boat in 25-26 feet and cast out. With largemouths you can get in a little bit shallower water. With the spawn going on, what you want to look for – you can catch them a lot of different ways, he said, it’s a matter of getting it in right places. Anglers are catching them on creepy crawlers, purple orange pink lizards, Carolina rigs, worms, flukes, Shaky Head, it doesn’t matter. Natural colors work better in clear water, but he said you don’t have to always go with that rule of thumb. It’s all about locations while they’re spawning; look for the gravel points, pockets, anywhere where the gravel is at, the flats where the beds are, that’s what you want to focus on. That approach is going to be good for the next couple of weeks. These are the days you’re going to catch 10-20-30-40 fish a day depending on the day, Del said. If you’re going to catch some bass and let them go, take the picture where they’re at and let them go immediately. They have a job to do, that’s spawning, and let them do it, Del said. If you’re going to chase walleye, the bite is still going pretty strong. It usually starts tapering off about now, but anglers are still catching them on jerkbaits early or late. On a cloud day or raining day you can still catch them using a jerkbait. It’s the same with the white bass; they’re still being caught in backs of creeks. That is going to taper off, but for the next couple of weeks fishing is good, he said.


Norfork Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 549.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).

(updated 4-5-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says April is the Jekyll and Hyde of fishing months on Norfork Lake. Jekyll is when spring is early and the fish move up the creeks and the first couple of weeks you’re thinking this is going to be the best spring ever. Then a freak snowstorm comes along with cold wind and everything is gone and you have to wait for the warm weather and fish movement back to the creeks. Hyde is the opposite. You think we will never see warm weather, no south winds or warm nights to bring the fish up to the shore or creeks. Then about the time when you have given up, everything explodes and you’re catching fish every time out. The normal pattern for April is warm gusty south winds that warm the northern banks and push the bait up into the creeks. The fish will follow the bait, and once the water temperature hits the 60-degree mark the stripers will start their spawning cycle. The crappie will also be beginning their spawn. The white bass will be finished but their post-spawn feeding cycle will be in full swing. The bass will be busting the surface chasing shad and the males will be getting ready making the beds and waiting for the big females.
Tom adds that once they get the consistent April weather, these patterns will work for stripers, bass and crappie. The stripers will be staging up the creeks feeding on spawning shad. You can find them in very shallow water early and late afternoon and into evening. If the water is stained or off-color and the wind is blowing into the bank, you can catch stripers all day long. The night bite for stripers will be at its peak all over the lake. The best bite starts at dusk and is usually over by midnight. The best baits are 5- to 6-inch rouges thrown parallel to the bank and either twitched or slow-reeled back. Sometimes the bite will be right at the boat. A bonus fish when night fishing is walleye. A lot of good-size walleye are caught when anglers are fishing for stripers. Tom says his fishing technique in April and May for stripers revolves around shad. He likes to use 4- to 6-inch gizzard shad and 4- to 5-inch threadfin shad. I use floats with no weight or a small split set far behind the boat. He then sets out two planer boards that parallel the shore. The closest board to the shore will have a 6-inch gizzard shad, the next one will have a bigger shad on it, that one is his attraction shad. Stripers will come up to look at that bait, then hit the smaller bait. Tom then sets out free lines with small split shot; these lines have just a small split shot and bait. Again he lets them out far behind the boat. He then puts out a giant bait right behind the engine that he calls a transom bait. A big striper will swipe at that bait and sometimes take it. The bait size will average 10 inches or bigger. Finally he will add two more free lines but they will be set out shorter than the others. The best places to fish in April and May are shorelines that contain old road beds, foundations and brush piles. Stripers will hold in the brush piles waiting on bait. These techniques are tried and true and will work on any body of water. If you cannot get shad, try big shiners known as brooders or No. 30s. They will also work but will not produce the numbers that shad does.
Tom says that crappie should have moved into shallow water spawning on small brush or shallow brush piles. As long as the weather stays warm and mild, the spawn will continue until a heavy rain or sudden cold snap will push them off the banks into a little deeper water. Just move off the bank and fish the same method you were using but in deeper water. Once it warms back up, you will find them on the bank. Minnows and small jigs are the best baits on the lake. Jig colors vary by the day, but day-in and day-out minnows are your best bait. Once the spawn is over, spider-rigging the deeper water will produce limits of crappie. The best creeks for crappie are Big Creek, Brushy Creek, Pigeon Creek and Bennett’s Bayou on the main lake. The upper lake areas are Red Bank, Calamity and Bryant Creek. Bass fishing is very good in April. The bass will have moved up on shore and will be chasing shad. Throwing spinnerbaits on windward shore will catch you lots of active bass. If that bite slows, try a jig-n-pig or worm on sloping points in the creeks. Early morning and late afternoon will see lots of topwater action. Look in the bays heading into the creeks like the entrance to Bennett’s Bayou. It has a very large bay that holds whites and bass in the spring. This time of year you can catch bass on any bank on this lake. Some of Tom’s favorite spots are Big and Brushy creeks. They get stained early and the water is usually warmer, but don’t be afraid to pick a bank and start fishing. There is not a bad place on Norfork Lake that time of year. No matter when you fish in April you can expect very warm temperatures to very cold temperatures in the same day or week you’re there. You just have to be prepared for the weather and you will catch fish and have a great time doing it.

(updated 4-5-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has entered into the spring phase and is getting exciting. With that being said, early spring can bring many drastic changes in the weather. As a few weeks ago they went from temperatures in the 80s to a 3-inch snowfall and cold for several days, followed by a return to summer like temperatures. This type of weather affects the water temperature, which in turn affects the bite. These weather changes seem to be the norm for March. Temperatures typically stabilize in April. The lake water temperature has warmed back to the low 60s, which is a perfect temperature for all species. Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing is improving each day he goes out, Lou said.

One day earlier this week was no different. The clear skies made for a slow bite early, but by 10 a.m. Lou said he found the stripers and landed three striped bass, one hybrid and three whites. He first started out on a large flat upriver where the water had turned off-color (slightly greenish brown). Lou and his guests had been finding large schools of stripers, hybrids and whites at all different times of day, but this day could not locate them early. Lou also checked out several deep brush piles because he had found that the striped bass were relating to the brush holding baitfish, but again no takers. He moved to a deep-water point at a mouth of a cove about a half-mile away from the flat and he found baitfish and lots of suspended feeding fish. He was in 55 feet of water and the stripers were anywhere from the surface to 25 feet down. He was vertical jigging and had one pole out with live bait and a very small split shot. This rod got buried and he finally landed a nice 14-pound striper. So he set out two live bait poles and continued to move around the point. He was also jigging a spoon at about 25 feet and hooked up to two white bass. After releasing the second white, he looked back and one of rods was doubled over. As he was fighting this fish, the second rod took off – fun and games, a double. He ended up landing both of the stripers without any mishaps, he said laughing.
Lou says he also has been fishing back in a major creek, again where the water turns off color. He has found stripers on the deep-water bluff line side just inside of the creek channel as well as on points that have deep water nearby. Some of the creeks have big flat areas where the stripers will be roaming in the shallower water early and late in the day. The stripers that he has marked and caught have been mainly from the surface to 25 feet deep in all his fishing spots. Vertical jigging with a spoon, live bait and trolling with Alabama rigs, swimbaits and long stickbaits will work.
He says crappie fishing is also improving. He and his guests have been finding crappie on deep brush piles in 30-40 feet of water. Several of us have been jigging with a ¼-ounce spoon and some others have been using 1/16- and 1/8-ounce Road Runners in white and white/chartreuse. The crappie are moving up to the shallow water to spawn. Many of the larger crappie are coming off the shoreline hitting Road Runners and small grubs. Most of the walleye have finished their spawn and are moving onto the shallower flats, as well as to brush piles. He’s caught walleye on flats dragging a large minnow on the bottom and by vertical jigging with a spoon. Deep-diving crank baits will also pick up some nice walleye on these flats. He has also picked up a few along the shoreline before daybreak throwing a white/chartreuse Zoom Fluke. This bite will continue to improve during the morning and on through the day and after dark. The largemouth bass bite finally starting to improve after the cold snap. Lou says he was getting into some nice topwater action before the snow, but since that time he has noticed very few bass coming up. The water temperature has finally got back to the low 60s, so topwater action will take off very soon. There are some fish moving into the shallow water, but he’s still marking lots of bass staging off of deep water points in about 20-25 feet of water, either on the bottom or suspended.
The Norfork Lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning started out at 60 degrees at 6 a.m. and ended up at 62 degrees at 11 a.m. (main lake temps). The creeks and coves are stained and off-color, the main lake is somewhat stained. The current level of the lake has risen to 549.07 which is a 5-foot increase over the last couple of weeks. This lake level is still about 5 feet below the current seasonal pool.

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 4-5-2017) 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 4-5-2017) 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 1,116.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).


(updated 4-5-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water is murky, and the level has ranged from normal to high with all the rain. They report it’s a good time to fish. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are spawning now and results have been good, with the fish just off the shore. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are in pre-spawn now and results have been good. Try crankbaits or plastic worms. Reports on catfish were fair.


(updated 4-5-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water surface temps in the low 60s, and stripers are in the creek arms and on the feed with most striper using 20-60 feet or water. Some stripers are 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. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid or combination, Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good using live shad fished on free and downlines from the surface down to about 20 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks 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. Jerk baits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Have your topwater lures like 7-inch Redfins, spooks, pencil poppers tied 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 the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike Bailey’s website (linked above). Check out these hot spots in the mid- and lower sections: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, points 5 and 6 (check in 10-60 feet of water for stripers), and Rambo Creek Arm (check 10-60 feet of water). In the upper section, check these hot spots, as the striper are making their way up the creek arms: Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek (20-50 feet of water), Coose Hollow (20-50 feet depth), Blackburn Creek (20-60 feet depth), Beaver Shores (20-50 feet depth), Monte Ne (20-60 feet of water), Hickory Creek (40-60 feet depth), War Eagle (20-60 feet depth), point 12 at the War Eagle/White River junction (check 20-60 feet of water).

Beaver Tailwater


(updated 4-5-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the river is filling with water, SLOWLY. Nevertheless, Austin says, they are getting water. Most river boats can get up to the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. Trout are biting a light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. Spoons and blue foxes are doing well, too. White bass and walleye are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Try jigging with live minnows, or a crawler harness-rigged with a nightcrawler. Rapalas being trolled and tossed are producing nice numbers as well. Smallmouths are being caught on drop-shots around structure and soft plastic thrown toward structure. After this next system, it will be a great time to go fishing. 


(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.



Lake Elmdale


(updated 4-5-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) said the lake is up over a foot above normal, the water clarity is a little better than 4 feet on a sunny day, and the surface temperature can range 58-68 degrees depending on the sunshine on any given day. The best place so far this week for crappie, to my knowledge, is the mouth of Keeper Cove. You would think the west side would have been better but, Lucky says, he thinks the wind played a part in that. You might fish the wash (backup) overflow near the boat ramp, too. Don’t forget that around Goose Island, on the sunny side, will hold crappie; be sure you have enough minnows. Fish 5-7 feet deep. They are searching for any small or large brush to spawn in, and where the water is the warmest. No large amounts were reported, just small groups of five or six in a spot.

As for bluegill, has been a good place to fish for these big beauties. Sunday, Lucky says, he watched three men jerk ’em in like it was going to go out of style, using crickets, fishing 4 feet deep at the bait shop dock. In about 2 hours, their fish basket weighed 20 pounds on some old manual scales that Lucky keeps on the fish cleaning table. It made almost a gallon of fillets. They only kept the bigger ones. Most of them were males, feeding up for the spawn.

There was a surprising uptick in the catfish bite, and Lucky can only report what happened at the bait shop dock. No one else had any information. But on Saturday a couple from Dallas had one of their poles drug in off the dock after already catching a few on nightcrawlers. To their surprise, while reeling in another one, they realized they were caught in the line of the pole that had been jerked off the jock, and continued to retrieve the lost pole, and the catfish that had pulled it in. However, it only weighed about a pound or so. The biggest catfish was caught by 11-year-old Katelyn Sizemore of Gentry. She fought it for a while and with grandpa Rick, running the dip net, landed a 4.26-pound blue catfish. They were using nightcrawlers and liver, on the bottom, in around 16 feet of water.

No one has said they’d done any good bass fishing. Lucky’s guess is that these continued storm fronts are keeping them in deeper water. He has seen evidence that they are looking at some old spawning places, but not consistently. Throw a 3-inch Zoom lizard in the watermelon pepper color, in water 6-8 foot deep. Check out the silt line and around Goose Island. Remember that bait shop hours have changed this year : Lucky is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday.


Kings River


No reports.


Lake Fayetteville


(updated 4-5-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water is murky, at a normal level, and the surface temperature is 62 degrees. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports were good, a 10-pounder was caught Tuesday morning. Bream are good on worms and crickets.


Lake Sequoyah


(updated 4-5-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported black bass are grabbing about anything anglers throw, even topwater baits this early. Surface temperature was up to 66 degrees by Tuesday. Water is murky, and the level was 4 inches high on Tuesday. Crappie reports were good using minnows or jigs. Catfishing is good on chicken livers. No reports on bream.




Lake Poinsett


(updated 4-5-2017) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett recorded a good weekend of fishing. Saturday was a little rough early on with the wind and the cold weather, but several anglers brought in some nice crappie! They were sold out of rosy red minnows, goldfish and rice slicks Tuesday morning (they were back in stock Tuesday afternoon), and they were within 5 pounds of being out of regular minnows. Bass have been biting on watermelon redworms in the back of the coves around the lake. The catfish are really starting to come around as well. Soon the bream will start biting well.


Crown Lake


(updated 4-5-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is stained and the surface temperature is about 61 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream reports were fair. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass reports were good, with jigs working best.


Lake Frierson


(updated 4-5-2017) Lake Frierson State Park had no reports.


Spring River


(updated 4-5-2017) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 400 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been partly cloudy. The river has come up some with recent rains. Extra care should be taken wading. It is a great time to be out catching trout on the Spring. Stocking has been ramped up preparing for the spring season. Olive Woollies and big nymphs have been working well, and of course Y2Ks. Hot pink Trout Magnets are a great alternative for spin fishers. It has no flavor for a great catch-and-release tool. And it just so happens the trout and smallmouth love them.


(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 4-5-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported water is extremely high due to the rain and is very muddy, no fishing.




Arkansas River at Pine Bluff


No report.


Cane Creek Lake


(updated 4-5-2017) Jennifer Albertson, the park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the wind is blowing at Cane Creek Lake! Catfish are fair, but not much else is biting. Catfish have been biting on redworms, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers. The rain has been pouring, so the water level is high. The wind and rain combined have caused fishing out here to decline. Give then a try when the wind and rain move along, Jennifer says.


Lake Chicot


(updated 4-5-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said the lake is high, and they’ve had lots of days with high wind in the last couple of weeks. Catfish are biting, especially on stink bait and overnight lines. Crappie have slowed quite a bit.


Lake Monticello


 (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.




Millwood Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).


(updated 4-5-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level is approximately 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 7,500 cfs as of Monday. Water temps rose over the past week, and Monday they were ranging 69-77 degrees. There were good numbers of fishermen 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. As of Monday the tailwater level was 234.0 feet msl. Clarity and visibility stained to muddy this week depending on location; oxbows are in good shape for visibility as of Monday, while on main lake structure away from current the clarity and visibility ranged 3-5 inches. 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. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Siefert said the water temperatures are slowly rising and largemouth Bass are in all stages of spawn activity. Some bass have completed their spawning rituals already. They continue to catching male and female largemouths from 2 to around 7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas with the males guarding beds. Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched. Big, 7-inch bulky lizards, Brush Hogs, 10-inch worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving squarebill 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. The key continues to be finding water temps that are 3-5 degree warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions. Bass are on beds in flats and spawning grounds in and behind cypress tree stands for windbreaks. Bass Assassin Shads, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs and chatterbaits continue working. The further from Little River current and heavy stain water, and in deeper sections of creeks, will produce the best largemouths. 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 Lake State Park. Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches. War Eagle spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover and white/chartreuse continue taking nice keeper-size largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows upriver.
He said that 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 whites 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. 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, a flat-tail grub in smoke with chartreuse tip, and minnows. Blues and channel cats continue biting well on trotlines and in oxbows on yo-yo’s. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers and Alpo dog food chunks.


Lake Greeson

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.17 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 4-5-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. With the recent rains the lake level has risen almost 2 feet. Water remains really clear from Point 10 south and muddy on the upper end of the lake. The best bite for crappie continues to be 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 are really getting geared up for the spawn. Bass are hitting suspending jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, flukes, Senko-style baits, trick (floating) worms and Carolina rigged lizards and Brush Hogs. Whites are in the river near Star of the West Recreation Area. Catfish are good on noodles and trotlines.


(updated 3-29-2017) Phillip Kastner 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 for a daily updated on fishing conditions.


Cossatot River

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 408.75 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).


(updated 4-5-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water is in the high sixties and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good with lots of nice catches reported. Looks like the shad are schooling preparing to spawn and the bass are right with them. Best pattern has been shallow running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, fished across points in the spawning coves. Also try a 4-inch swimbait along with spinnerbaits. Best color for swimbaits is white, chartreuse and white for the spinnerbaits, and natural shad on the crankbaits. Look for fish between Edgewood and Cox Creek and in the major creeks – just about anywhere the shad are schooling. Crappie fishing is fair, with most fish now spawning and scattered all along the shoreline cover, especially in the major coves. Throw a 2-inch Kalin’s grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead into the buckbrush and any other shoreline cover. Tennessee shad is one of the better colors. Since the fish are scattered, keep moving and cover a lot of water. Look for fish between Arlie Moore and Point Cedar.

The hybrids are starting to migrate back from upriver with some fish showing up in Woodall Cove and Shouse Ford. Look for “breaking” fish in the shad schools at daylight and dusk. Most any small topwater lure will work, with Zara Spooks and especially the Zara Puppy being a good choice.


(updated 4-5-2017) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina said spring is here. Water level is at 408.87 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 from 62 degrees to 68 degrees around Point Cedar. Water temperatures are plenty warm for the spawn. Male crappie are in the shallows but spotty. Many of them are unreachable. Fish 3-5 feet deep around brush in 6-8 feet of water with minnows. Jigging is the preferred method for the spawn. Good reports coming from using popsicle with orange head. Bass, like the crappie, can get so much further back now. You fish over cover with spinnerbaits, stickbait and shallow baits like Rapala. Finished the crappie condo project, giving cover for fish after the spawn. No report on white or hybrids.


(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 4-5-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on spinnerbait and soft plastics. Crappie are slow. Bream starting to bite in the river lakes.


Lake Columbia


(updated 4-5-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said bass are biting on stick worms and flukes. No report on crappie or bream.


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 4-5-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no reports.





Lake Atkins

(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.



Lake Catherine

For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit


(updated 4-5-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. 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 3-29-2017) 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.


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 4-5-2017) 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 346.04 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, Penny Back 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 4-5-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that water is clear and the surface temperature is 64 degrees. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are good and are in 3-5 feet of water. Crappie are biting minnows and are hitting a Bobby Garland Midsouth jig. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and white buzzbaits. Catfish reports were good; use minnows.


Lake Ouachita

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 574.47 feet msl (flood pool – 578.00 msl).


(updated 4-5-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still 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 very good and being caught on small crankbaits and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are excellent on Bama rigs and top water 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 still excellent. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-12 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are still good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 15-20 feet. Surface water temperature ranged 62-66 degrees on Wednesday and the water 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 387.68 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).


No reports.




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


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.



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