Skip to main content

Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 04-26-2017


April 26, 2017

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 26, 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 4-26-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained, of course, and the surface temperature is 68 degrees. Bream are now on a serious bite, with excellent reports from anglers. The bream are 10 feet from the bank in 3 feet of water. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair, and you find them around the cypress trees at Adams Lake. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good around the lily pads. Fish with topwater frogs and buzzbaits. Catfishing is excellent on limblines and yo-yos with goldfish or minnows.


(updated 4-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie reports were fair, with the crappie in 12-14 feet of water. Use pink minnows or orange jigs. Catfishing is fair on limblines and trotlines. Bait with slicks.


Little Red River


(updated 4-26-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue to see sporadic water release out of the Greers Ferry Dam for the Little Red River. Recently they have received daily generation on weekdays with very little generation on weekends. This pattern is providing great wading and boat fishing on all sections. With the warmer days and the right water conditions, they are seeing good hatches of BWO and caddis. With the forecasted rain this coming weekend, Lowell says they will try and update their website and social media with changing water conditions. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends gold ribbed hare’s ear, pheasant tails, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Pink and cotton-candy-colored Trout Magnet bodies on chartreuse heads are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 4-26-2017) Greg Seaton of (501-690-9166) said the rain last Friday caused the river from Canoe Creek to Lobo to be dingy, and this moved downriver by Tuesday. The short period of generation Monday night pushed the muddy water downstream and helped begin clearing the upper section. April showers are coming on schedule and Wednesday midweek was another one to watch. With the lake still about a foot low, generation is on a demand-only basis and we are now the lowest pool level in the White River District, so most of the generation should come from Bull Shoals, Norfork and Table Rock. Caddis, blue-winged olives and midges are hatching, with the midges being the early birds and the caddis and BWO’s coming off later in the day. Midge pupas have been a good choice in the mornings along with caddis emergers and mayfly nymphs. Size 20s on the midges and 16s on the caddis and mayfly nymphs have been productive. Caddis emergers (size 16) and blue-winged olive emergers (sizes 18 and 20) are good in the afternoons if the fish are rising. Cross your fingers and hope the heavy rain misses the Little Red with the weather systems coming on Wednesday and over the weekend and the river will stay clear. Check the generation schedules for water levels.

(updated 4-19-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing has been excellent. They have had lower water this week and the bite has been hot. James said they should start to see more consistent windows of low water over the next several weeks as long as heavy spring rains do not occur. Lots of caddis can be seen coming off lately and the fish have been very active. The hot flies have been San Juan worms, sowbugs and caddis emergers.


Greers Ferry Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).


(updated 4-26-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.96 feet and rising when there is no generation. A lot of good easy catching is here until it gets real hot. The crappie are in all three phases of spawn, with some back out deep and some in the middle and some near the shoreline. The deeper ones spawned long enough ago to start eating again on jigs and minnows. The midway fish can be caught trolling a crankbait, and the bank fish can be caught dipping a jig or minnow around any cover you can find in the water. The catfish seem to be on again and off again, but the bite is getting steadier all over the lake on a variety of baits. The walleye catch upriver is pretty much done with a few males still hanging out there and eating. It’s time the lake bite picked up now on flats and humps dragging crawlers around in pea gravel. The bream action has improved as well with a lot of fish up; try small crankbaits as well as crickets and crawlers 5 feet or less. All the black bass are 20 feet or less in all three phases as well and you can pretty much pick your poison, and even a few schoolers. The hybrid and white bass are eating well, with some of them busting in places as well. With the shad spawn, they could be on the bank and out to 30 feet for the best action. Go with topwater baits, spoons, in-line spinners and swimbaits, or any metal bait for that matter.


Harris Brake Lake


(updated 4-19-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said crappie fishing is not too bad right now. Spinnerbaits have been getting the best response. Bass fishing is good as well on spinnerbaits. No reports on bream or catfish.


Lake Overcup


(updated 4-26-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high, clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 74 degrees. Bass are doing really well on black 7.5-inch plastic worms in brush and shallow water. Crappie are slow but still catching some good ones in 6-8 feet of water on jigs and minnows, a bunch of 8-9.5 inches long. Bream are slow but starting to pick up around the shoreline and in 4 feet of water. Catfish are doing well on jugs and trotlines using cut shad, bream and bass minnows. Come see us off Arkansas Highway 9 in Morrilton. 


Brewer Lake


(updated 4-26-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said fishing is great at the lake. The surface water temperature was 74 degrees earlier this week, and the level is about 7 inches low. Crappie are good. Some have spawned and others are still spawning, but it seems most have moved into 10-20 feet of water. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good around the rocky points. Use 6- or 7-inch lizards and crankbaits. Catfish are excellent and are in the buckbrush. Use worms, blood bait or chicken liver. No other reports.



Lake Cargile


No reports.


Lake Barnett


(updated 4-26-2017) Local angler Nicholas Karras said bream are on beds and can be caught all over the lake on worms and crickets. Bass fishing is excellent on FC Bait Co. jigs, as well as spinnerbaits. Natural-colored plastic worms are also producing good numbers.


Lake Maumelle


(updated 4-26-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said water temperature is 65 to 69 degrees, lake level is FULL. Black bass are excellent and biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks have moved into the shallow water. Black bass fishing is great right now, and shown in Tuesday night’s Black Bass tournament at the lake, where Keeton Blaylock and Kyle Wise reeled in 7.9 pounds to win, edging Todd Eskola and Jim Eskola, who had 7.36 pounds and also caught the Big Bass with a 3.1-pounder. Brad LeQuieu and Anthony Wright were right there with 6.94 pounds total. Lake Maumelle also hosted a Special Olympics tournament on April 6, where Dale Walters caught 13.12 pounds to win. Gary Milans was second with 10.10 pounds total, and Charles Bolin caught 8.2 pounds. Kentucky bass have been excellent like the black bass, with Kentuckies mostly caught on jigs. You’ll find them mixed in with the black bass in the shallow water. White bass are good. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Look toward the middle of the lake for the whites, and watch the loons. That’s where the whites are in large number. Crappie are good and are being caught on crappie minnows and chartreuse and white jigs with a very light line. They are still bedded up in 4-6 feet of water about 8 feet off the weeds. Bream have really picked up, with excellent reports. Bream have moved off the bed and are 10-14 feet deep. Lots of reports of big redear being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is good. They are being caught in 25 feet or water but are moving into shallower water. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.


(updated 4-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie being fair to slow. Reports have them in 14 feet of water. Try using minnows or white and purple jigs. Bass reports have been excellent. The bass are in about 18-20 feet of water. Use large spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jigs. Catfishing has been slow. Best baits working were slicks and shad.


Palarm Creek


No report.


Sunset Lake


(updated 4-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Crappie fishing has been slow but a few customers have caught some this week on size 6 minnows. Bream have been biting crickets and redworms. Bass are biting minnows, plastic worms and lizards and topwater baits early in the morning.


Bishop Park Ponds


(updated 4-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting well on crickets and worms. Catfish are biting fair on chicken livers, minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Bass have been biting fair on minnows and plastic worms. Crappie have been small but biting fair on pink minnows early in the morning and right before dark.



Saline River Access in Benton


(updated 4-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass are biting well on minnows, small Texas rigged plastics and crawdad-colored crankbaits. Crappie have been biting fair for some using size 6 minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee Shad grubs. Catfish are biting minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp in the deep, slower water. Bream will almost always bite crickets or worms on small hooks and light line.


Lake Norrell

(updated 4-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said big bream are biting crickets and redworms fished deep on tight lines. Bass are biting fair on minnows, Texas and Carolina rigged plastics, topwater baits and buzzbaits early in the mornings and anything black at night, according to one regular Norrell bass fisherman. Catfish have been fair to slow on chicken liver, nightcrawlers and minnows. Crappie are being caught by a couple that know where to find them on No. 6 and pink minnows.


Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne


(updated 4-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfishing is excellent in the shallower areas. Use small bream for bait.


Lake Winona


(updated 4-26-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets, redworms and nightcrawlers. Crappie have been biting fair on No. 6 and No. 12 minnows and Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Blueback Shad. Bass have been hitting minnows and Texas rigged plastics. Catfish are biting minnows, chicken livers and big wads of nightcrawlers.


Lake Valencia


No report.



Lake Willastein


No report.


Arkansas River at Morrilton


(updated 4-26-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said water is high and is flowing at 135,000 cfs. Charley said he’s kept off the main river. The backwater has a lot of fish, though. This includes such places as Coppers Gap, Point Remove Creek, Flagg Lake Cut-off and the like. Black bass are good in the backwaters on chatterbaits and buzzbaits. Fish the overhangs in the backwater both early and late. Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers in the backwater and in mouths of creeks. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie. No reports on white bass or stripers.


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 4-26-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said bream are really picking up on crickets and worms. Crappie bite is just OK. The crappie appear through with their spawn; they’ve really slowed down a lot. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are kind of slow. Some are being caught on trotlines, though.


(updated 4-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie being slow; try using minnows. Bass reports have been “awesome,” according to Alex. Use buzzbaits in black and blue. Catfishing is excellent with the high water. Catfish are favoring slicks and skipjack.


Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)


(updated 4-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie are fair on crappie minnows, red jigs and beetle spins. Bass reports have been excellent back in the creek channels off the Maumelle River. Use tube jigs, creature baits and crankbaits.


(updated 4-19-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that bream are picking up. You’ll find them in 4-5 feet of water and biting crickets best. Crappie are good in 6-8 or 8-10 feet of water. Use jigs; the crappie now are preferring black and chartreuse colored jigs. Bass reports have been fair. Again, jigs seem to work best, although reports are they’re having some response to a variety of baits thrown. No reports on catfish. Striper activity is picking up with chartreuse grubs.



Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)


(updated 4-26-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said this would be a good time to stay off the river. The flow is running about 140,000 cfs as of midweek.


(updated 4-26-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the bream have turned on in the Clear Lake area, mainly hitting redworms and crickets as well as some jigs around the banks. Crappie appear to have slowed down considerably. There have been few if any reports on bass in the last few days. Catfish seem to be picking up on cut bait, stink bait and, of course, worms. Most of the reports from around Terry Lock and Dam were similar to what was being heard from Clear Lake. Look for the bream now.


(updated 4-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said snagging reports have been excellent from the Murray Lock and Dam area. Crappie fishing was poor, they heard. White bass are fair on twister tails and twin tails. No other reports.


(updated 4-19-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that bream are picking up. You’ll find them in 4-5 feet of water and biting crickets best. Crappie are good in 6-8 or 8-10 feet of water. Use jigs; the crappie now are preferring black and chartreuse colored jigs. Bass reports have been fair. Again, jigs seem to work best, although reports are they’re having some response to a variety of baits thrown. No reports on catfish. Striper activity is picking up with chartreuse grubs.


Peckerwood Lake


(updated 4-19-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said clarity and level is about normal for this time in April. Everything is biting, they say, and the fish are all still up close in the brush. You can throw about anything and get a response. Anglers report even catching crappie while trolling now.




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 4-26-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says those April showers have been visiting this week with more in the forecast; bring ponchos or heavier rain gear. The river was dingy over the weekend from the creeks coming in but cleared by Sunday above Crooked Creek. During the heaviest of the rain last Friday they caught some great browns on a chartreuse Rogue right at the mudline. The last couple of days they’ve been blessed with a steady flow of an extra foot or so of water, so they’ve seen many anglers successfully using Rogues of varying colors (brown with red eyes, the Foxy Shad with gold or white belly, chartreuse), suspending from the surface to 4 feet or to 6 feet. The catch isn’t as quick as with shrimp and PowerBait, but very satisfying. Using spoons? Try the Thomas Buoyant copper Colorado, either ¼- or 1/6-ounce. Another great week on the White River in the most beautiful place in the country: the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas. Come on over and see for yourself.


(updated 4-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they have had several rain events (combined for an inch and a half in Cotter), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.2 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 38.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.5 rest at 2 feet below seasonal power pool and 18 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.9 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had wadable water with some generation. The bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “I have been around the fly-fishing business for a long time and have seen a lot of new gear come and go. I watch the major rod manufacturers come out with new models every year accompanied with a hundred dollar increase. Over four decades of fly-fishing I have seen little real improvement in the ability to cast with these rods. My favorite fly rod is a Sage Light Line 9-foot 4-weight that is well over 30 years old. I have not found a new rod that is its equal. I fished it yesterday on the Norfork.

“Therefore there is a bit of skepticism whenever I note a new piece of gear that is going to rock my world. This happened recently, when Yeti coolers hit the market. I was amazed with how expensive they were. The least expensive one cost $249.95. Of course I already had a half-dozen nice coolers. It is impressive that they are bear proof containers. But do I really need that? All of my fellow guides swear by them.

“Then a couple of years ago I was guiding an angler that brought his own Yeti (a Roadie) with him to carry his soft drinks. At the end of the day he asked me if I wanted it in lieu of a tip. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that it was a great deal. He had won the cooler the previous day at a sporting clays tournament and already owned two. I gratefully accepted it and began using it on my guide trips. While I found it a bit heavy, I was amazed at how cool it would keep food and drinks. The Roadie was the smallest Yeti made and I don’t see how these guys are lugging around the bigger ones. I found out that they don’t move them. They use it as a rowing platform in their boats.

“I thought that it would be a great cooler for my wife, Lori, to use on her guide trips. It was just too heavy for her to lug around. About that time, Yeti came out with a soft side cooler, the hopper. I checked it out but did not like the way the zipper was on the top. It was hard to put things in and take them out. Then recently Yeti came out, with the Hopper Flip 12. It had a three-way zipper that gave easy access to its contents and was quite a bit lighter than my Roadie. The problem was that it cost $279.95. I don’t know if you are aware of the fact that I am a bit cheap. It corroded my soul to pay that much. Luckily I had some Orvis reward points that I cashed in for it. Lori has really enjoyed it and uses it on her guide trips. She also takes it on road trips when she attends dog shows.

“I have since also acquired two 10-ounce tumblers and two 20-ounce tumblers for Lori and me. I have found the 20-ounce tumblers the most useful. They fit in the cup holders of my Suburban (the 10-ounce tumblers don’t) and they keep two mugs of coffee hot all day. I can enjoy the hot coffee I made that morning, when I come off the river after a long day of fishing. I did not want to like Yeti products but I find myself using them every day.”


Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 662.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).


(updated 4-19-2017) K Dock Marina reported the water has cleared up a lot in the past week. Lake level remains steady at about 3.5 feet below normal pool of 659.00 feet. Surface temperature has finally gone above the 60-degree mark, resulting in some great fishing. Temperature has ranged 62-65 degrees. Clarity is clear. Black bass are good on a variety of small to medium plastics in the backs of coves. Also good on Wiggle Warts and Rock Crawlers on points and into coves. Spinnerbaits are working well on breezy days. Crappie are good on live minnows in the coves around bush piles. Swimming minnows also working good. Chartreuse seems to be the color right now. Crappie should be right on the shoreline in a week or two. Walleye are fair on small to medium crankbaits. Should be in the 10-15 feet depths soon with the water temperature rising. Also fair on silver or white spoons. White bass are fair up the lake from K Dock around the Beaver Creek arm.



(updated 4-26-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said lake temperature late last week was 63 degrees on main lake, and he found some 70-plus temps in the back creeks. Lake level came up a foot to a foot and a half last week, but they are still below normal pool. The fishing has been really, really good. Up the lake it seems like the spawn is on the last leg, it’s finishing up. Down the lake there is still a good spawn bite going on. Looks like there is a shad spawn going on up the lake in some of the creeks. That’s a good indicator that those fish are post-spawn up there. Couple of things you want to check out going up the lake. The post-spawners are moving out of the lake, moving out into the backs of pockets, so you want to hit the secondary points headed out, the channel swings. Up there, Del put his boat in 20-25 feet of water. There are a bunch of baits working. Topwater, catching them on Sammy, you can throw a Zara Spoon, a Pop-R and a Redfin is working, too. Also, the Keitech swimbait, using a 3.8, a quarter round jighead, slowing it back. If you get in the shad and they’re not hitting the topwater, you can slow roll that swimbait through there and catch a few more fish. Also anglers are catching a few on a squarebill back in the flats. There’s a little more dirtier water back in there, so that helps with the crankbait going back in and out of there. If you’re going to catch the spawners on the end of the lake down in this area, same patterns have been working for a while: the C rig, Shaky Head, you can throw a jig. There are still a few tree spawners going into those creeks, the spawning pockets. Check the last points going in; seems like a lot of those fish are on the sides of the points leading back into the pockets. Even on the main lake down here, they’re not all quite on the back. It’s everything from smallmouth to Kentuckies to largemouths. You’re just going to have to cover some water, but the fishing has been really, really good for the bass; it was a great week. The walleye are starting to frown a little bit, it’s slowed down. Water temperatures are coming up and they’re starting to move out a little bit. The jerkbait bite is still getting a few, the swimbait still getting a few. But as the temps come up the fish are going to start moving down. Pretty soon those guys will be dragging bottom bouncers and trolling.


Norfork Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 557.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).

(updated 4-26-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says they’ve had significant weather change this past week on Norfork Lake. They started off with warm air temperatures raising the water surface temperatures in the back of some creeks to 74 degrees. By Saturday afternoon with the rain raising the lake level over 5 feet, the water temperature dropped to 64 degrees. The only major effect on fishing has been the change in where the shad is found and that crappie have moved off the shoreline to the 8-10 foot range. The stripers are feeding heavy on threadfin shad, and Tom said they caught stripers all week with the biggest fish being 33 pounds. On Saturday Tom and his son caught 20 stripers in the rain and Sunday they caught 15 stripers and hybrids while a major cold front moved into the area. Once the weather stays warm with south winds, Tom expects to see a major feeding spree this next several weeks. Now is the time to get on Norfork Lake either with your boat or hire a guide to get on some of this great action.
Tom adds, “Both my son, Sean, and I had fishing trips on Friday and Saturday in the rain. Our clients understood that we would be in the rain and still wanted to go. My clients were locals on Friday, and when we left the dock it was raining and lightning with lots of thunder. We had to stay in a boat dock until the major portion had passed. My fishing was slow. We started off great with a 14-pound striper and then missed one. We had more bites, but for some reason kept missing them. My son caught a 33-pound striper and had his limit that day. The next day I had three ladies, Vern, Joyce and Teresa, who had fished for stripers many times and differently knew how to hook and fight the fish. We hooked nine stripers and landed eight in a soft rain. We had a great time and they are looking forward next year.”

(updated 4-19-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake springtime fishing is at its best. Lou says this is one of his favorite times to fish the lake. All species of fish are in shallow water and they get a lot of good topwater action for striped, hybrid and white bass as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass. Artificial baits and live bait work equally well this time of year. Shad are spawning, as is typical for this time of year. The shad spawn really gets the fish excited. Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing all were on fire the last week. Once the lake temperature reached the mid-60s the fish became active. Tuesday was a great example of spring topwater action. Several of Lou’s friends were out on the lake and they all were checking out different areas. One found the fish blowing up back in a cove at about 7 a.m. He gave Lou a call and they all had great fun for the next three hours. Lou said he was throwing a 5-inch pearl swimbait with a 3/8-ounce jighead, and a Zara Spook Jr. It is a blast to watch these fish blow up on topwater baits, Lou says. Best places to look for topwater action is partway back into the creeks and in the secondary coves in the creeks. Right now, Lou says, he has heard of topwater action in all parts of the lake so get out there and have some fun. The late afternoon bite has been great one day, then very hard to find the fish the next, but when you do find them they very well could be busting the surface.
Lou adds that largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also excellent at this time. Look in the same areas that the stripers are in, but mainly look at the shoreline. You will find the water boiling with shad right up on the rocks. The fish are pushing the shad in tight to the shore, then feeding at will. Tuesday they were in the same cove where they found stripers in, from 6 inches of water out to 6 feet. Both Lou’s Zara Spook and swimbait were picking up some very nice fish. The fish also wanted both of his baits worked very fast as they were in the chasing mood. As the day wears on, the largemouth will move out into a little deeper water so a jig-n- pig or some other plastic bait worked along the bottom will pick up some good-size bass. At sunset look at the very shallow water again as they will start to feed heavily on shad. The after-dark bite for large and smallmouth bass should be good. Lou says he personally hasn’t been out the, but typically they will be hanging around docks and shallow points. Dark-colored spinnerbaits and tube jigs are some of his favorites.
Lou adds, “Walleye, I bet you can guess, are in the same areas as the stripers and the largemouth. My swimbait is picking up some nice fish early in the morning and then again at sunset. The walleye are also starting to show up on the big shallow flats in 10-25 feet of water. Move slowly with your trolling motor with a bottom bouncer and crawler harness or a large shiner on a drop-shot rig.” He also says crappie are showing back up on brush in 20-30 feet of water. Most times you will find them suspended over the brush, so you need to keep testing different depths until you find the feeding fish. There will be a few nice fish still on the bank, so casting a small Road Runner will work and will also pick up other species. Hang on with your crappie rod because it is not uncommon the hook into a big striper while crappie fishing this time of year.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 67 degrees. The water level has been fairly stable with a slight rise and currently sits at 551.36. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are a little stained, but are clearing rapidly.


Norfork Tailwater


(updated 4-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake rose 0.6 feet to rest at 2.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 28.5 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water. Caddis season is on the wane. This is our best hatch of the year and it is still here. I fished the caddis hatch on the Norfork, with great success. With the lower lake levels we 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 my 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 adds that there has been more wadable water on the Norfork but it has fished a bit better particularly if you can catch the caddis hatch. 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 16 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper. If you fish Dry Run Creak, 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 4-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River is a bit high and off-color. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams and it has drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.


Crooked Creek


(updated 4-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek is a bit high and off-color. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, 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 1,122.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).


(updated 4-26-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said they’ve experienced a flood up there way with a lot of cold rain and cold temperatures over the past weekend. That will really mess up the fishing on Beaver Lake. The rain has brought the water up and as of earlier this week it was very muddy and cold. Before the rains, the report was that crappie were biting well on any plastics in shallow water, and the bite was also good on jigs. Bass have been good before the cold front. Plastics are working, while anglers were also successful with sight fishing. Nothing much to say on catfish, but they expect it to pick up with the rain. Hoping for better news all around in the next week, though.


(updated 4-26-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said striper activity forecast for the week is good. Stripers are on the move back to the main lake and are on the feed with most striper using 20-100-plus feet of water. The muddy water from heavy rain has pushed striper out of the river and brought the lake up several feet. More rain is expected, so be on the lookout for floating debris as well. 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. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad, but also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse with the stained water. Also use plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and the 5- to 6-inch model of Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerkbaits like flukes and swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks, Pencil Poppers and so forth need to be tied on and ready. Know your species and make sure you identify any fish you keep. There is no limit on white bass, there is a three-fish limit on striper/hybrid and a 20-inch minimum length on striper. You may not keep more than three striper and hybrid in combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four.

Bailey says that 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, so check the daily lake level and flow data link on his website linked above. In the mid- and lower sections, where water temps are in the mid- to high 60s, check these hot spots: Indian creek, Lost Bridge north, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, Highway 12 Bridge (and check Bear Creek), Prairie Creek (and check Deer and Bear islands, keeping an eye out for surfacing fish). Water temperatures in the upper section are from low to mid-70s. Look out for floating debris. The walleye are making their way back to the main lake in numbers in late spring/summer migration mode and can be found scattered throughout the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found in 10-30 feet depth depending on areas you fish. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad and Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse also should be given a try. And Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.


Beaver Tailwater


(updated 4-26-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said this past week provided some rain and decent fishing: First let’s talk about the rain, we got quite a bit and caused the water levels to rise in the tailwaters. With the water brought debris, runoff and muddy conditions. The trout bite slacked up a bit however, fishing between Spider Creek and Parkers Bottom with light terminal tackle and various power baits will produce fish. Between Houseman and U.S. Highway 62 bridge is where the hybrids have been hanging out. They are being caught with Rapalas, spoons and jigs in very decent numbers. Spotted bass are being caught in the Beaver town area throwing hard and soft baits towards the banks and structure. Crappie are starting to bed out, you can find them around structure as well.

Beaver Dam Store said it’s just been “Rain … rain … rain…” The Army Corps of Engineers released water for 7 hours Friday and all that muddy run-off was cleaned out but with no generation Saturday, they river was expected to be like chocolate milk for a while. No generation was scheduled for the past weekend and only 3 hours of generation on Monday morning. Try fishing Twin Rock area adjacent to Parker Bottoms Campground, Cain Break and the turnaround for starters. Upstream from Parkers Bottoms in the Trophy Management Area, fly-fisherman are reporting catching quality fish. Reports are that walleye are being caught using jerkbaits, count-downs and 1/8-ounce jigheads tipped with gulp-scented baits. Beware of low water conditions as the bottom is constantly changing with new gravel bars everywhere. Fish hare’s ears nymphs, sowbugs 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. Other good lures to use around this area are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms. Beaver Dam Store will return to regular hours (7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) starting April 27. Beaver Dam Store also updates its upcoming weekend fishing report on its website on Fridays.


Lake Elmdale


(updated 4-26-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) said Lake Elmdale is back in its banks after the recent substantial rain event. The water is 2½ feet above normal and a little dingy. Lucky has always said, “Fish before the storm.” Last Thursday, Lucky and a friend did just that, using some dead crickets and a few minnows. In about 4 hours, dock fishing at Duck Camp, they caught several fish, but kept eight channel catfish, six blue cats, 10 crappie, 8 fillet-size bluegill and one bass. That’s 33 fish with a total weight of 37 pounds, 10 ounces. “Not too bad. I’d say,” Lucky said. On Sunday, two young men in a canoe just happened to it turn over as they were getting out to get some bait. As they were dragging their canoe and other belongings up on the shore, one said, “Well, Lucky, since were here, we thought we’d just dock fish a while.” Using redworms only, they filled two wire fish baskets to the bursting point. Lucky didn’t get a head count, but they kept only the fillet-size bluegill and had one bass around 3 pounds. With both fellows using fillet knives, it took near 45 minutes to clean their catch. As they left, one remarked, “Lucky, this is the best fishing day we’ve ever had.” Fish Lake Elmdale when you can, and stop by the shop for all your needs.


Kings River


No report.


Lake Fayetteville


Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water is high. Bream are starting to seriously pick up on crickets and worms. Crappie are still good, but what’s been working best for crappie have been redworms and crickets like the bream. Bass are fair, but best success now is going to come with using plastics. Catfishing has been really picking up. Reports were they were biting worms, chicken livers and fresh cut bait.


Lake Sequoyah


(updated 4-26-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water is still up about 4 inches from all the rain they’ve had. The water is still quite muddy and the surface temperature was 66 degrees earlier this week. The only report was on catfish, which seemed to be biting well on chicken livers. Nothing else was reported.




Lake Poinsett


(updated 4-26-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said this past week has been good for the fishermen. The crappie are a nice size this year here at Lake Poinsett. Ome says they have been selling lots of minnows as well as rosy reds. It is time to start catching a lot of bream, so we are keeping plenty of crickets on hand. One couple told Ome they caught seven nice catfish overnight. He’s also heard of a few bass being caught. Nothing tastes better than a dinner of fresh-caught fish.


Crown Lake


(updated 4-26-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is dingy and the level is slight up a bit. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass are just coming off their spawning beds and are biting. Catfish are good on worms and chicken livers. Starting to notice some bluegill moving in up by the dock, though no reports of them being caught.


Lake Frierson


No report.


Spring River


(updated 4-26-2017) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) had no report.


(updated 4-26-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring 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 4-26-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported that anglers are having a tough go of it the past several days because of all the rain. The water is very high and muddy, and no fish are biting.




Arkansas River at Pine Bluff


(updated 4-26-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are in the low to mid 70’s, with visibility very low on the main channel with strong muddy current and elevation a little above normal. Visibility is better near the backs of backwater areas and within Lake Langhofer. Black bass are biting fairly well on black and blue jigs, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. 


Cane Creek Lake


(updated 4-26-2017) Jennifer Albertson, the park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said it has been very windy and stormy at Cane Creek Lake. The temperature is perfect for fishing, but the weather is not. Come out and try the park’s fishing piers when the storms are away, but the lake will not be a good place for fishing boats until after this weekend. The storms and winds will continue through then. Once the storms clear up next week, try Cane Creek for bream fishing. The temperature here is perfect for bream. “Hopefully we will get a few calm days soon. At least long enough to go fishing!” Jennifer says.


Lake Chicot


(updated 4-26-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.


Lake Monticello


(updated 4-26-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) had no report.




Millwood Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).


(updated 4-26-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level as of Monday was about 16 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 5,300 cfs as of Monday. There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week. Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise, with the surface temperatures Monday ranging 67 degrees early to the 77-degree range. Clarity and visibility is stained to muddy depending on location. The oxbows are in fair shape for visibility as of Monday, a 10-15 inch range of clarity; clarity and visibility on main lake structure away from current ranges 3-5 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 2-3 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.
The clearest water you can find away from muddy river current has been producing the best bass over the past several weeks. Bass are continuing to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows. Bass Assassin Shads, Magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs continue working, and black/blue/purple or spring bream/chartreuse chatterbaits are taking nice 3-5 pound largemouths. War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working on windy secondary points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse and Aurora colors are taking nice keeper-size Largemouths in oxbows up-river. Best colors for Bass Assassin Shads the past week were Grey Ghost, Rainbow Trout and Black Shad. Work these in and around new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush. Bang Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter and Red Shad/Green Glitter. Bulky lizards in California 420, blackberry or chartreuse pumpkin colors are working on cypress trees in clear water if you can find any left from the recent muddy rise of around two feet. Baby brush hogs in Blue Flash, sapphire and California 420 are also working sporadically with the stained to muddy water depending on location.

Mike adds that white bass are in large schools and continue roaming, but are stacked behind points and secondary ridges and ditches with all the recent muddy water between McGuire Lake and U.S. Highway 71 the past couple of weeks. Oxbows up and down Little River were holding large schools of whites and hybrids since the recent influx of muddy water in Little River, Cossatot and Rolling Fork inflow. 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 these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow continues to be heavy stain to muddy with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake. The crappie are also wrapping up spawning activities and have scattered with the recent 1-2 feet rise of muddy water and current along Little River. Blues and channel cats continue biting well with the current in Little River on trotlines, as well as in oxbows on yo-yo’s. Cats were biting well on cut bait, homemade dough balls and blood bait in the current of Little River.

Lake Greeson


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 545.12 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).


(updated 4-26-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the mid-to upper 70s. Water remains really clear from Point 10 south and stained on the upper end of the lake. Crappie are nearing the end of the spawn and staging on fish shelters in 10-15 feet of water. Crappie bite is good on 2-inch grubs and tube jigs. Bass are in various stages of the spawn and the topwater bite is really picking up. Zoom Horny Toads, Pop-Rs, Spooks and buzzbaits are working well for the shallow bite. Texas-rigged worms, lizards and large tubes are working well for the deeper bite. Catfish continue to be good on trotlines and noodles along the main channel.


Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)

Visit for a daily update 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 407.85 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).


(updated 4-26-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is about 70 degrees and the lake is clear throughout. George is getting some good reports on bass, but most are small. Best pattern has been crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, worked across secondary points in big coves. With the warmer water, most fish are up shallow in 3-6 feet of water. Go with natural shad in clear water and add some chartreuse when the water is stained. A few bigger fish reported coming on spinnerbaits with white/chartreuse skirts. Try wooded coves with standing timber. Some nice Kentuckies showing along the bluff banks around points 14 and 15. Also try the west side of Goat Island. Green pumpkin 4-inch finesse worms are working best. Most fish are coming from mid-lake to Cox Creek. Crappie fishing is good with some nice catches reported coming from the Shouse Ford/Point Cedar areas. Most fish in the upper lake have finished spawning so the fish are back in the attractors at 15-20 feet. Best pattern has been throwing a 2-inch Kalin’s grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead across the attractor and slowly retrieving it at 10-12 feet down. In the clear water, Tennessee Shad is the best color. Hybrid fishing is slow with very few fish reported. Some “breaking” fish have been reported but they don’t stay up long enough for one to get to them. Look for fish at Shouse Ford and the big cove at Lenox Marcos. Remember, early morning and late evening are the best times. Quite a few small bream are showing in the shallow spawning areas. Looks like the next full moon could create some bedding activity. Also look in the crappie attractors for bigger fish. Redworms and crickets are the best fish-getters.

(updated 4-26-2017) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina said turkey season is over, the spawn is winding down. The lake levels for DeGray are still high from normal. It is at 407.84 on Tuesday. The water temperature ranges from 71 degrees around Cox Creek to mid-70s mid-lake. Crappie are reported back on the brush piles in the Arlie Moore area but spotty. Brush piles around 12-15 feet deep over the top; that’s the best bet. Bass bites are mixed. Fishermen are catching bass on anything from worms, to crankbaits, to spinnerbaits. Fish seem to be just off the edge of the brush. Fish are reported surfacing around Arlie Moore and Point Cedar early and late. Whites are the majority of the fish that are surfacing. Trolling of crankbaits will produce whites and hybrids. Shadraps and other shad-colored baits are good to troll.


(updated 4-26-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie and bass are moving off the shoreline and stacking up on the brush piles. Jigs or minnows fished 8-12 feet deep will get you an easy limit. The white bass and hybrid striper are starting school and surface feed early in the morning. Cast or troll Alabama rigs with white curly tails.






No report.


Lake Columbia


No report.

Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake


No report.


Moro Bay


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



White Oak Lake


(updated 4-26-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.





Lake Atkins

(updated 4-26-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear though there is lots of pollen on top. The level is normal, and Monday’s surface temperature was 61 degrees. Bream are picking up slowly on crickets. Crappie are still slow. Bass are hitting plastic worms, but it appears some bass have spawned out. The catfish bite is still pretty good on worms and liver. No other reports.


Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)


No report.


Lake Catherine

For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit


(updated 4-26-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 62 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Rainbow trout are present in large schools all over the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient-rich water. Numerous cold fronts and open flood gates have slowed the bite considerably the last several weeks. Heavy rain forecasted for later this week will cause Entergy to schedule heavy generation to keep area lakes at normal levels. This process will further complicate fishing below Carpenter Dam making the tailrace swift and difficult to navigate. 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 thru 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 4-26-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said the river is extremely high and muddy, with some dingy creeks and bays. Very few creeks and bays are clear. Bream has been excellent on crickets and worms around stumps. Crappie fishing has been excellent but slowing due to lack of clean water. But some crappie can still be found with minnows and jigs around stumps and treetops. Stripers and white bass can be found in the creeks. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits and shiners have been working well. Largemouth bass have been fair in the grass using frogs and jigs. Around the stumps, crankbaits, jigs and chatterbaits have worked. Catfish have been good on main river points in the eddies. Worms and cut bait have been working great.



Lake Hamilton


(updated 4-26-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie and bass are moving off the shoreline and stacking up on the brush piles. Jigs or minnows fished 8-12 feet deep will get you an easy limit. The white bass and hybrid striper are starting school and surface feed early in the morning. Cast or troll Alabama rigs with white curly tails.


(updated 4-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports on US97 said that the spawn is still going. “I’m gonna say, it’s 70-80 percent gone. There still a full moon coming up. The fish don’t have to have the moon to do it, they can spawn when they want. But you have a good chance to still catch some bedding fish. Especially on Hamilton up the river from the (U.S. Highway) 270 bridge area. The lion’s share have already spawned, though.” Kastner said he and some other anglers were catching some fish over some deeper water, which usually means they are through spawning and have moved out a little bit to gorge. But those fish also were full of eggs, they just had too big of a belly. So, that’s an indicator to him it’s not over. It’s over the hump, but you can find fish on beds. Lot of fish now are being caught on topwater baits. Kastner likes using a Stanley Ribbit Frog.

Tom Duke on the US97 Trader Bill’s Fishing Report said that a big-money catch was made in Lake Hamilton last Thursday, as Matthew Gavin caught a bucket of bluegill and found a purple tag on one, then learned he had won $1,000 from the ongoing Hot Springs Fishing Challenge. He was fishing off the dock at Hideaway Harbor. The Fishing Challenge is awarding cash prizes to tagged fish caught in Hamilton or Lake Catherine over the next several weeks. Catch a largemouth bass, bluegill, channel cat, white bass, crappie or walleye and look for a purple tag. Then call in the tag number to the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotions Commission and find out what the prize amount is. 

Lake Hinkle


(updated 4-26-2017) 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 345.84 feet msl (flood pool – 342.00 msl).


(updated 4-19-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that water clarity is clear and the surface temperature was 65 degrees. Level is normal. Crappie reports are slow, though they also said it shouldn’t be for this time of year. Catfish reports, though, have been very good with minnows working best. Redears are also beginning to bite very well. Now is a great time to come fishing at Lake Nimrod!


(updated 4-26-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said all the fish are biting fairly well for anglers. Catfish are mostly being caught on trotlines and baiting with chicken livers, and the bite has been good. Crappie are good and are biting jigs. Bass are good as well and hitting the jigs. The water is up a little and that’s helping the fishing.


Lake Ouachita

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.86 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 4-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports on US97 radio said that like on Lake Hamilton, the spawn is still going but the lion’s share is over. He’s hearing reports of lots of fish now are being caught on topwater baits, and he’s hoping for some rain because Ouachita is still only a foot from full pool. He says that a significant amount of rain this week would put water up in the buckbrush, and that leads to some of the best topwater fishing all year — the flooded buckbrush of May. “Some rain and I think that will be fun.” Kastner also says a spinnerbait is fine in the buckbrush, but his favorite bait for those conditions lately has been the Stanley Ribbit Frog. “I’d rather throw a frog than anything else. That little trick works.” Kastner said that last weekend’s Trader Bill’s Appreciation Day tournament on Ouachita produced 10 teams that caught more than 14 pounds of bass, with the winning team hauling in nearly 20 pounds.



Blue Mountain Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.80 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).





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


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!


Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails

Don’t miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!