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Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 04-12-2017


April 12, 2017

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 12, 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 4-12-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water was stained and the surface temperature Tuesday was 66 degrees. Water is at a normal level. Bream are excellent near the shoreline. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair in about 6 feet of water around cypress trees. Use minnows and jigs. Bass are excellent, especially around lily pads, on white spinnerbaits and plastic lizards.

Catfish are excellent around the creek channels; use minnows or goldfish.


Little Red River


(updated 4-12-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red has received at least one unit of generation, 24 hours a day, over the past week. This generation pattern has eliminated safe wade fishing conditions. If drift fishing, you will want to use long leaders and weighted San Juan worms, micro jigs or sowbugs. Pounding the banks with streamers is also an effective method during high water conditions. For Trout Magnet fishing use long leaders and heavy weight using cotton candy- and pink-colored bodies on silver and chartreuse jigheads. Concentrate on pools along the banks. Key for both fly-fishing and Trout Magnet fishing during heavy generation is the ability to get and maintain a good presentation of the fly or Trout Magnet. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 4-12-2017) Greg Seaton of (501-690-9166) said the river remained high and clear with one generator running 24/7 and increasing to two partial units during the peak demand periods, but Greg got the word Wednesday morning that by midnight the generation would return to normal periods. So, he said, we should expect low water through the weekend and good fishing conditions. It’s been very tough with the high water earlier in the week, he said. Water should be right for fishing unless we get an unexpected rainfall; forecast, though, was good through the weekend. As of midweek, drift fishing was fair to good by using large weighted nymphs, San Juan worms and weighted caddis pupa. Streamer fishing using sinking line is also producing fish. Greg adds, “Wishing all a blessed and happy Easter.”

Greers Ferry Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).


(updated 4-12-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.99 and falling. With 24/7 generation through midweek it is a foot and a half below normal pool and will continue to fall until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can get it to a workable level for the gate repair. The catching is good over all for all species. Some days are a little off because of conditions. The bass fishing is good for the shallow water fisherman, especially with a lot shallow and more coming up every day. Wacky worms, floating worms, flukes and Texas rigged plastics are doing the trick shallow now. The deeper fish can be caught with C-rigs and jigs for the most part. The crappie are eating all over the lake with a lot shallow and more coming up every day. Use minnows and jigs around any wood in the water. The catfishing is good as well over the lake on cut, prepared and live bait on the edge of deep holes in creeks and main lake. Walleye seem to be a little slow. The river fish are coming off spawn and working back to the main lake, with the lake fish being more active, and those should get better in the next couple of weeks. Try trolled crankbaits, drop-shot grubs and jigheads with minnows for the best results. Bream are moving up by the droves; use small crankbaits and crickets for the best catching. The hybrid and white bass bite is good in the creeks and rivers as well as the main lake. A lot of whites are spawning; some have spawned, while some have still not got up to spawn. Not many hybrids are being caught in rivers and creeks, but some are shallow on the main lake and can be caught casting grubs in shallow water. The rest are on structure. The spawning whites can be caught on Road Runners, grubs, flies and even some topwaters baits. For the deeper hybrids, use spoons, in-line spinners and swimbaits or a slider grub.


Harris Brake Lake


(updated 4-12-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said bass are biting nicely, but anglers aren’t sharing a lot of information on just how many or what they’re biting. There were no other reports outside of the bass.


(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, worms and minnows. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting on crickets, 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 4-12-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is clear and the surface temperature on Tuesday was ranging 61-62 degrees. The level after the rain is about 6 inches high or so, Larry said. Bream are beginning to pick up, he’s heard a few reports of some activity. Crappie are in about 4-5 feet of water. Bass reports are excellent with the bass in the shallow water up in the grass. Reports are you can catch a bass nearly every cast.


Lake Cargile


No reports.


Lake Barnett


No reports.


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 Baby Shad, Slab Slanger, 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 4-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting minnows, small topwater baits and plastic worms and lizards. Crappie are biting pink and No. 6 minnows.


Bishop Park Ponds


(updated 4-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting No. 6 minnows. Bass have been biting minnows and redworms or purple plastic worms and lizards. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers.


Saline River Access in Benton


(updated 4-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been good with Texas rigged lizards, crawdad-colored crankbaits and large minnows. Crappie have been biting No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs. Catfish are biting minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream will bite crickets or redworms.


Lake Norrell

(updated 4-12-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are biting crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been fair with plastic worms and lizards, minnows and small crankbaits. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and bait shrimp. Crappie have been biting fair on No. 6 minnows.


Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne


No report.


Lake Winona


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


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 4-12-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that fishing is great on the river right now. Water temps and river flows should both continue to rise as spring progresses. For bass, many of the river fish have completed their annual spawning ritual. Although the post-spawn fish will be skinnier than a pre-spawn or spawning fish, they will usually be pretty willing participants and be feeding up to recover from the spawn. Look for the post-spawn fish more out toward the main river. You will begin to find these fish more around current breaks and wing dams. Good lures to try are squarebill crankbaits, spinnerbaits and, of course, Crock-O-Gator Head Knocker buzzbaits. If you are looking for spawning fish, you want to be in the protected backwaters. Try fishing BioSpawn ExoSticks and lizards around any type of shallow wood in the backwaters. There have been no reports on crappie (the bass fishing has been too good!). The catfish are terribly far from wanting to spawn right now. That means it is a great time to go chasing them. Still be checking those deep water holes at the end of wing dams. As the water warms, start checking the scour holes behind the blow holes that are halfway back into the pockets. Remember: Catfish are cavity spawners. So they will be heading to an area with lots of logs, stumps, undercut banks, etc. Find a spot where you can intercept them heading that direction.


Little Maumelle River


(updated 4-12-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the crappie bite is good and they are spawning as well. Minnows and jigs are working, and the crappie are around the riverbank. Bass are good. The bass are spawning as well and you can find them in good number around the bank. They are biting on most anything thrown.


Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)


(updated 4-12-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.


(updated 4-12-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.



Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)


(updated 4-12-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said bream are good on redworms. Crappie are good using chartreuse and pink jigs. You’ll have better success with bass using deeper crankbaits and black and blue jigs in the backwater mostly. Catfish are good below the dam using stink bait. Also, 5-ounce weights are needed to hold it down.


(updated 4-12-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said fishing has been good throughout the pool for crappie, bass and bream, but catfish is hit or miss depending where you area. In the Clear Lake area, catfish reports were poor. However, in the Terry Dam area, catfish are good. Try nightcrawlers or cut bait. Throughout the pool, bream are good and biting worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are taking a liking to spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms, and the reports are good. In the Terry Dam area, you’re best bet will be to fish the backwater for the best results on bream or crappie.         


(updated 4-12-2017) 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 4-12-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water is clear. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits. Catfish reports were good, but nobody reported the best bait to use. Last week, shad and worms were both attracting the cats.





White River

(updated 4-12-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said they’ve had a LOT of wind in the past several days. River level has been low. The trout bite has ranged from fair to good. The reports on rainbows have been low. However, the browns seem numerous and are biting well.


(updated 4-12-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says water levels have been a little inconsistent this past week; some fairly swift releases for several hours, then dialing back to minimum flow. That will test an angler’s skills. When the river is full of sculpins, you can be sure the browns will hit on them, and this has proven to be the case this week. Most of the browns that were brought near to or into the boats were caught with a sculpin, but don’t leave the minnows at home. Some larger rainbows were hooked with them, a cutthroat or two and a few of the browns. Shiny gold spinners and spoons attracted the rainbows, as well as the always favorite shrimp/egg pattern/power bait combo. Springtime fishing is terrific, but be prepared for the weather. Mornings can be very cool, and then there’s the April showers….


(updated 4-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they have had several rain events (combined for about an inch here in Cotter), warmer temperature and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories on several days). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.8 feet to rest at 3.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 39.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool and 19 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.6 feet to rest at 4 feet below seasonal power pool and 13.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had wadable water with more generation. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section at Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (size 14) with a ruby midge (size 18) suspended below it).

Berry says the caddis season is upon them, it’s their best hatch of the year and it is still here. Berry said he fished the caddis hatch on the Norfork with great success. With the lower lake levels he says they should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects, use a soft hackle like Berry’s Green Butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

Berry also says, “Anyone that has looked out the window the past few days has realized that we have had a bit of rain. I have spent quite some time out, in it. Guiding is a rain or shine event. When someone flies in from San Antonio they are not looking for excuses for not fishing like it is raining. They only want to know, when you are going to pick them up at the lodge and do you have lunch with you. I really don’t mind fishing, in the rain. I have the world’s largest collection of rain jackets and I am of the opinion that the fish are already wet and just don’t care.
“I had a two-day corporate trip for River Ridge Inn this week. On Monday, I picked Mike and Jackson up at 7:30 a.m. and headed for Rim Shoals. The water was on the bottom at minimum flow but there was to be major generation later in the day. The temperature was cool but the weather forecast promised warmer temperatures, rain and heavy winds to include lake wind advisories.


“We began with a casting lesson for Jackson. Mike had been out with me a few times in the past and was a competent caster. The going was a little slow and there were a few tangles in the beginning. We kept at it and caught some nice trout.

“After a while, it began to rain and the wind picked up. At times, the rain came in hard and heavy. It was being blown in sideways. For a while, it felt like I was back in Vietnam during the monsoon. Mike’s rain jacket began to fail. It was leaking like a sieve. I motored back to the ramp and got a spare jacket out of my Suburban. I always carry spares when I am guiding and the forecast calls for rain. He was way more comfortable. The rain would ebb and flow sometimes torrential and sometimes it would quit altogether for a while.
“The fishing improved during all of this. About this time, Mike hooked a good fish. It was acting like a big brown, hugging the bottom and pulling out line. It took a jump and we all got a good look at it. It was a 24-inch fat male brown trout. Mike took his time and eventually got it in. We took several photos and carefully released it. Meanwhile Jackson had been catching trout. He had cast out and had somehow tangled his line into another line that had a huge strike indicator on it. I was up front in the boat trying to untangle the other line, when I realized that there was a fish on it. I went to the back of the boat and grabbed my boat net. It took a minute but I managed to net the fish. It was a huge 8- or 9-pound sucker that had been hooked in the tail. It had obviously broken free of another angler with a significant amount of tackle trailing behind it. Many anglers consider suckers to be trash fish. I always appreciate a good fight. It took me a while to untangle the two lines. We did pause for a photo of the sucker and then released it.
“The water came up and the wind got crazy heavy. The trout shut down and we decided to head in. It had been a productive day despite the weather.”



Bull Shoals Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 655.41 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 550.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).

(updated 4-12-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the Norfork Lake weather continues to wreak havoc on the fishing. You get on a pattern and think that the long awaited spring bite is starting, then the weather turns ugly and the fish go back into hiding. One day, Tom says, he’ll catch a good bunch of stripers and his son only catches one or two. The next day it’s the opposite: He catches a bunch and Tom doesn’t catch anything. Then they will both have great days and if the weather just stays consistent they will be bringing in limits every day. The threadfin shad are in the early stages of spawning and the spawn will trigger all the fish to go on a feeding binge. Tom says he has fished both Bennett’s Bayou with little success and fished Big and Brushy creeks with better success. They were catching lots of fish in both creeks until the weather turned bad last Thursday, and by Sunday they had very little success. Because the shad are moving shallow, Tom decided to start fishing the main lake points and channel swings. Tom caught fish right away and has been since. The crappie are also wanting to spawn but the water temperature will not stay consistent for that to happen. One day they catch them on the banks when they are catching shad, and the next day they are gone. Having watching the crappie fishermen all week tells Tom they are still fishing the deeper brush piles. Tom said he has not seen one crappie caught off a shallow log. That again will change when the water warms.
Tom continues, “One more bucket list item was checked off for Mike this past week. He booked a trip with us when we had a booth in Chicago and wanted to catch some stripers and hopefully a big one. Sean took him out and they caught a couple early then the bite died. Sean ask if he would like to try for a big fish and received a positive “yes.” Both Sean and I pre-fished the day before on the main lake and Sean had a big fish explode on bait late in the morning but missed the bait. Sean has perfected a technique to get the stripers’ attention. He set out a 12-inch gizzard shad, then a smaller (7-inch) gizzard shad about 10 inches away from the big bait. Sure enough the big fish came up and looked at the big bait and took the smaller bait. The fight was on, and in the end Mike had his big fish, a 35-pounder. Quick pictures were taken and it was released for somebody else to catch.”
Tom says that for out-of-area folks, they might want to get their calendars out and start making plans now. The stripers are in their spring migration and the bite is on. A good tool with which to make plans is on the web at for everything Norfork Lake. For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It’s a blast, Tom says.

(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 4-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake rose 1.9 feet to rest at 3.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 30 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water. There has been more wadable water on the Norfork 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 No. 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.

Berry also notes they are having their best caddis hatch of the year and it is still going on. Berry fished the caddis hatch on the Norfork recently with great success. With the lower lake levels the flows should be perfect flows to target this hatch, Berry said. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects, use a soft hackle like Berry’s Green Butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color. Dry Run Creek was very crowded due to spring break last month but weekdays now should be less anglers. 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).


Buffalo National River

(updated 4-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo is high. 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 river. There are no dams and it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.


Crooked Creek


(updated 4-12-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek is high. With warm weather the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly for here is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams on the stream and there are large drainages that are 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 1,116.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).


(updated 4-12-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said a lot of rain over the past few days have let the water muddy. Striper activity has been very good, and very good reports have come from hybrid fishing. No report on bream. Crappie are good on a variety of Bobby Garland baits as well as jigs and live minnows. Best activity is right off the shoreline. Bass are good and are beginning to spawn. Plastic worms have been working best for black bass. Reports were poor for catfish. Walleye have been fair on minnows.

(updated 4-12-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water surface temps in the low 60s, and Beaver Lake striper are making their way back toward the main lake. Check out these hot spots in the mid- and lower sections, checking for fish in 20-50 feet of water (and look out for surfacing fish): Indian Creek Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine and Shaddox Hollow. In the upper section, check these hot spots in 20-50 feet of water, as the striper are making their way back toward the main lake (and keep eyes out for surfacing fish: Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores and check Monte Ne in 20-60 feet of water. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid or combination, while 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. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Have your topwater lures like 7-inch Redfins, spooks, pencil poppers tied and ready. Try the night bite with the full moon. Fish are prowling the shallows and will take jerkbaits, swimbaits and jigs. 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).

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 4-12-2017) Beaver Dam Store said the walleye are here along with the white bass below Beaver Dam. Fly-fisherman and bait fisherman alike are catching numbers of fish. Try fishing the Bertrand Boat Ramp area between the ramp and Spider Creek Landing and directly below the dam off the gravel bar. The area under the U.S. Highway 62 bridge has been loaded with spawning fish; however, getting there can be challenging due to the absence of water for boats to run the river. Beware of low water conditions as the bottom is constantly changing as new gravel bars are everywhere. Fish hares ear’s nymphs, sow bugs and midges in olive, blue dun, black and gold. Periods of generation have begun again after no running water since March 3. Fishing should be on fire after the flow slows. Always be aware of water conditions as water levels rise abruptly when generation starts.


Lake Elmdale


(updated 4-12-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) said the lake is still above normal, water temperature 65 degrees, and visibility is clear to 5 feet. A storm front every other day or two has kept the crappie and bass at bay. The bluegill, on the other hand, have been feeding pretty well, mostly on crickets and redworms at 4 feet under a bobber in water up to 18 feet deep. Large panfish are being taken at various times during the day, as they are feeding up and looking for the best areas to fan out their beds. Many parts of the lake offer such spawning areas. Gravel bottoms and shallow water is the key, along with sunlight.

Lucky says that often when fronts pass through the area, largemouth bass will seek deeper water and hold tight to structure or near drop-offs. That’s been the case here. The winds have also caused bass fishermen many problems. Try going to the mouth of Brush Creek, then fish the High Bank Houses, as you work your way back to Willow Point. Go up in the cove behind Goose Island, as it offers many areas to fan out beds and is often a spring hot spot for spawning bass. Another place is around the curve past the power lines. Large areas of spawning bass have been spotted in that area in the past.

Lucky says that for crappie, it’s the same as last year: not enough warm nights. Search the mouth of Keeper Cove, Rock Island and even areas up at the head of the lake in Brush Creek. Areas on the west side of the lake are the warmest, so look in shallow areas on that side of the lake. They have spawned on the right-hand side of Keeper Cove before. Use small minnows or jigs, and good luck. No catfish have been caught this week, but previously nightcrawlers and liver proved to be good. Last week, several were caught up to 4 1/4 pounds.


Kings River


No reports.


Lake Fayetteville


(updated 4-12-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water is clear and the surface temperature is about 63 degrees. Water level has risen about 3 feet since last week. Crappie reports were good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are biting well on worms and chicken livers. No reports on bream.


Lake Sequoyah


(updated 4-12-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water is dingy and the surface temperature had creeped up to 68 degrees earlier this week. Water level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good, and they’re beginning to hit topwater lures as well as spinnerbaits. Catfish are good on shad or chicken livers.




Lake Poinsett


(updated 4-12-2017) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is ripe for crappie and bass fishing. Bass have moved to the beds and there are some whoppers. Crappie are doing well on minnows and rosy red minnows. Catfish have really turned it on for rice slicks. Bream are still biting OK.


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


Lake Frierson State Park had no reports.


Spring River


(updated 4-12-2017) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 400 cfs and water clarity has been partly clear. The river has been up a little and pea soup green. Catching has been great with high numbers on olive Woollies and big nymphs. Hot pink Trout Magnets have been great on spinning tackle.


(updated 4-12-2017) 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. 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 4-12-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported water is clear and at a normal level. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. No reports on catfish. Bass are fair on crankbaits and plastic worms. There were no reports on bream. No reports on walleye.




Arkansas River at Pine Bluff


No reports.


Cane Creek Lake


(updated 4-12-2017) Jennifer Albertson, the park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the fishing has picked up a little bit at Cane Creek Lake since the storms have passed. Crappie are fair and biting on minnows. Bream are fair and biting on crickets. The wind is still blowing strong out here. Fishing should pick up a little more once the wind dies down.



Lake Chicot


(updated 4-12-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said a few people have had luck with catfish, especially overnight anglers. For the most part, fishing has slowed way down at Lake Chicot. Lake Chicot State Park had its annual fishing derby last Saturday. Many of the youth who participated had good luck, but later in the week, most anglers have been striking out.


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 261.14 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).


(updated 4-12-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level on Monday was about 6 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 3,700 cfs as of Monday. Water temps rose over the past week, and surface temperature Monday ranged 67-77 degrees. Tailwater level on Monday was 231.1 feet msl. Clarity and visibility was stained to muddy depending on location. On main lake structure away from current, the clarity and visibility ranged 3-5 inches. Oxbows were in good shape for visibility Monday, ranging 15-24 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Siefert said that water temperatures slowly rising, and the largemouth bass are wrapping up annual spawn activity and moving horizontally out to deeper water. Most bass have completed their spawning rituals already. He and other anglers continue catching male and female largemouth bass in the 2-5 pound range, running in and out of bedding areas. Baby bass fry have been noted 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 clearest water you can find away from muddy river current has been the best location for best bass. Bass are beginning to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows. Bass Assassin Shads, Magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs and chatterbaits continue working over the past few weeks. The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best largemouths. Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 3-5 pound largemouths. 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. Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber are still holding a few largemouths. These bass are hammering plastic lizards, chatterbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, lizards and Brush Hogs in black/blue, black/purple or plum. Dead-sticking Senkos and Bass Assassin twitch worms are working very well for the post-spawners.
Siefert says white bass continue scattering in large schools upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals. Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of 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. The crappie are also wrapping up spawning activities. Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat-tail grub in smoke with chartreuse tip, and minnows. Over the past week, they are seeing these fish on the move to deeper drops in creeks and ditches. Blues and channel cats continue biting well with the current in Little River on trotlines, and in oxbows on yo-yo’s. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, hearts and gizzards.
To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or 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 volunteer, call the Corps of Engineers’ toll-free Millwood Project information line (888-697-9830) or the Corps main number (877-444-6777) to verify another Corps project is open.

Lake Greeson

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.76 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).


(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 407.84 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).


(updated 4-12-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the high 60s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good, with lots of nice catches reported. With the water receding, the fish are now on the outside of the shoreline cover. Look for fish in the major spawning coves and key on the points. Some of the better patterns have been crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, thrown across the points. Also try slow-rolling a double spinnerbait. If the fish are schooling, the A-rig is hard to beat. For colors, try natural shad with some chartreuse for the cranks, white with chartreuse on the spinnerbaits, and white swimbaits with the A-rigs. The upper portion of the lake has been producing well along with the major creeks such as Big Hill, Yancey and Brushy. Crappie fishing is good, with lots of fish reported. The spawn is pretty much over in the upper end with the fish retreating to the deeper brush attractors. At mid-lake the spawn is still in progress, so the fish will be up shallow and in the buckbrush. Take your pick as to how you want to fish. Either way, look for fish in the spawning coves. For lures, the 2-inch Kalin’s grub is hard to beat, and make sure it is Tennessee Shad. A few hybrids were reported coming from the Shouse Ford and Woodall Cove areas. Look for breaking fish in the morning and late evening. Most any small topwater lure will work as long as you get it close to the “break.” This fishing should pick up in the next few weeks as the fish return from upriver.


(updated 4-12-2017) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina said that, well, it’s spring and this is Arkansas. If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day and it will change. Lake levels at DeGray are still high from normal. The water temperature is in the high 60s. Lake is clear mid-and lower lake and some tint from Alpine upriver. The crappie have moved back in some. Some crappie being caught on brush piles in 15 feet of water fishing 8 feet deep. They are a mixture of males and females. Some crappie were being caught in the shallows on beds, but they are fragmented in locations. Minnows fished with bobbers over brush piles are still good rigs to use. Jigging a 1/8-ounce jig for bedding fish produces fastest results for shallow fishing. Bobby Garland Baby Bass and Tennessee Shad, are good colors, or popsicle color if you can find it. You can find crappie from Arlie Moore to Point Cedar and Brushy areas. Hybrids have been schooling upriver near Shouse Ford and areas of deeper water. Spoons seem to be producing the best. Use your electronics to locate them. No report on bream even though it was a full moon. Reports of some good bass being caught on Senko Wacky Worms. Fish these in same areas of lake as crappie around, in and over brush in shallow 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 reports.


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 4-12-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.





Lake Atkins

(updated 4-12-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water is clear and the surface temperature earlier this week was 62 degrees. Bream reports were fair. Crappie also were fair, with minnows and jigs both working some. Bass reports were good. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are the best baits. Catfish should bite well if you bait the hook with a redworm.


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 4-12-2017) 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 several 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 4-12-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 69.9 degrees. The water clarity is poor, but some creeks are starting to clear. The spawn is in full swing, with a great topwater bite for the bass. Jig and the Hoax Fish Bamboozie, Hoax Fish Scam Shad, crankbaits, spinnerbaits on the windy days, and about any plastic that you want to throw. For the topwater use buzzbaits, River2Sea Larry Dahlberg Whopper Poppers, Frogs and Storm Chug Bugs are all working great. Crappie have been excellent on minnows and jigs along the grass and cattails. White jigs, chartreuse jigs, black chartreuse, pink and red are all working great. White bass and stripers are in the creeks. Topwaters are working great, while hair jigs, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and swimbaits also are all working great. Bream have been excellent on worms and crickets around logjams and stumps in the creeks. Catfish has been excellent are worms, stink bait and cut bait off of main river points and flats.


Lake Hamilton


No reports.


Lake Hinkle


(updated 4-12-2017) Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-7419) had no report this week.


Lake Nimrod

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.39 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 4-12-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that though they’ve had rain, the water is not very muddy. Surface temperature Tuesday was 63-64 degrees. Crappie are in about 11-13 feet of water and are biting minnows and black and chartreuse jigs. No reports on bass, catfish or bream.


Lake Ouachita

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.07 feet msl (flood pool – 578.00 msl).


(updated 4-12-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said water temperature has ranged 64-68 degrees in the first part of the week. The water is stained. Black bass are still excellent and being caught with floating worms, Super Fluke Jr.’s and topwater baits. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are good and being caught on small crankbaits and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are excellent on Bama rigs and topwater C-10 Redfins. The west end of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are still fair 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. 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 4-12-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that he didn’t think Ouachita got a lot of runoff from the rain earlier I the week. He said he went over a lot of creeks late on his way home Monday and there wasn’t a lot of water flowing in these creeks around Brady and Mountain Harbor. He says the ground pretty much sucked up whatever fell from the sky, and the gauge reflected as much at Ouachita with just 0.2 inches rise after the rain. “I just don’t think we got near enough rain to make any significant influence on the lake. The good side is it’s not going down. I want it to creep up very slowly, or at least hold, but just not fall down. The reason is, these fish have beds in 3-4 feet of water. Very few beds on Ouachita are deeper than 5 feet deep, the majority are very shallow. If the water is falling, I’ve seen many times when the lake falling during a spawn, the beds literally are too shallow because water was falling out while they were trying to nest. We’re not having that issue this year. I pray the Corps of Engineers is doing this on purpose because they are doing a spectacular job in keeping water on these beds and keeping a little slow increase in the lake levels. The slow increase of the lake levels because this is really helping our spawn this year.”

Kastner heard a couple of good reports and says the topwater bite seems to be slowing coming along. “That is going to be the conversation around the water cooler for the next couple of days. When the post-spawn starts to happen, which we’re at the beginning of the post-spawn bite, that’s when topwater baits really start to kick off.” Kastner says any of the walking-type baits that Heddon makes are diamonds when it gets to be this time of year and the bass go into post-spawn. Another trick that continues to work as good as ever at this time of year is using a bream-colored bait. The big females are guarding nests and they hate bluegill or bream. Try a 1.5 crankbait, a squarebill or a spinnerbait, anything bream colored is going to be a good lure at this time of year. Also, a Carolina rig with a lizard is a staple, as well as a C-rig Brush Hog, anything that creeps along the bottom. Lizards are egg eaters and the bass don’t like those in their nests.

The Trader Bill’s Customer Appreciation Tournament is Saturday, April 22, starting out of the old ramp at Brady Mountain. All of the entry fee goes back to the anglers, and the tournament will feature lots of giveaways, including a Ranger boat. A BBQ dinner will be served on Friday, April 21, at Trader Bill’s. Visit the store to enter the tournament.


Blue Mountain Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.70 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).


No reports.




Bear Creek Lake


(updated 4-12-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said high winds over the past few days have slowed fishing activity. If you can find a calm spot on the lake, crappie are pretty active. Bass are biting with jigs. Don’t forget, Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center carries all of your fishing supplies. Live bait including minnows, nightcrawlers and redworms, and crickets as well as an assortment of artificial bait.

Maddox Bay


(updated 4-12-2017) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.


Storm Creek Lake


(updated 4-12-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said high winds over the past few days have slowed fishing activity. Bream are biting near the fishing pier, and crappie are becoming more active. New fish habitat has been established, so get out there and see what you can catch!


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