Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 3, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 10, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
The AGFC is treating alligatorweed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 5-10-17) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bass fishing is excellent around the shoreline on white spinnerbaits and wacky worms. Catfishing is excellent on limblines, trotlines and using rod and reel. Any bait will get a reaction. Crappie are slow. Bream are excellent around the shoreline on crickets and redworms. Water level is down to normal and the clarity is regular Lake Conway color (re: stained).
(updated 4-26-17) 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 5-10-17) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said anglers should expect one unit of generation on the Little Red for the foreseeable future unless significant rainfall is received. When fishing higher water, use long leaders and add weight to get your fly or Trout Magnet down for a good presentation. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends San Juan worm, pheasant tail, sowbug 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 Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Army Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 5-10-17) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the Army Corps of Engineers has informed him that the generation on the Little Red River was to increase to one generator for 20 hours per day starting Wednesday, May 10, 2017. This will gradually increase as the White River level at Georgetown recedes. The second generator will be back online after annual inspection Saturday, March 13, so two units of generation are possible after this date. It could be that the hours of generation will be reduced with more flow during these hours. Because the Little Red empties into the White River, this all depends on the White River being able to accommodate this inflow. As the White River goes down, the generation on the Little Red will increase to lower the level of the lake which is about 8 feet over normal. Fishing will be limited to drift fishing. Large weighted nymphs and streamers will be the best fly selection. Please take care while drifting to avoid being caught on the upstream side of obstacles such as docks or submerged logs. Kayakers and boaters should be aware not to approach docks or submerged trees from the upstream side. The current will pin the craft against these and pull them under. Be safe on the high water and enjoy your day.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 499.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.03 feet and has just about leveled off it is more than 8 feet above normal pool, and we will remain over pool for a while. The bass fishing is good all over the lake with lots of small fish seeming to be the norm at present. But the bigger fish are in kind of a post-spawn funk. The bigger fish bite should pick back up over the next few days as they get acclimated to the rise and move back shallow to feed. Try buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, soft plastics, jigs and swimbaits, or a gizit now in the old shore line, or use a Carolina rig out in front. A lot of fish are being picked up around the shad spawn as well. The bream are bedding; use crickets, crawlers and small crankbaits. The crappie are holding in the old bush line and around any wood, and they’re eating minnows and jigs. Catfishing is very good overall all over the lake on jugs, trotlines and with rod and reel, on a variety of baits. Walleye are a little slow as they are getting acclimated as well after the rise, and when it clears, the bite will be good on crawlers drug around in bald spots on pea gravel points and humps. The hybrid and white bass bite is good around the shad spawn and in guts of creeks, points and humps in the lake. Look for clear water and shad, try in-line spinners, spoons, swimbaits and topwater lures.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-10-17) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the fishing activity has just been terrible of late because of the weather. But now that the weather is clearing, they are expecting better turnout. The anglers who have been out report good results with bream. Worms are the choice of bait. No reports on crappie, bass or catfish.
(updated 5-10-17) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are good in deep water 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 great on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Bass are biting great on buzzbaits and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hogs, Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting great on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper.
The AGFC is treating alligatorweed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 5-10-17) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is still high but going down about 6 inches a day. Clarity is murky but is clearing up slowly. Temperature is around 74 degrees. Bream are doing well on crickets and worms around the shoreline and grass. Bass and catfish are doing great on limblines, yoyo’s and poles. They’re hitting minnows, crickets and worms. Crappie are slow, but anglers are still catching them in deeper water on jigs and minnows.
(updated 5-10-17) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water “looks great.” It’s at a normal level as well. Bream are good. Crappie are good, and the fish are 10-20 feet deep and biting minnows best. Bass reports were good. Catfishing is good.
(updated 4-26-17) 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.
(updated 5-10-17) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said water temperature is about 70-74 degrees, lake level is FULL (a lot of people are calling about flooding, but Lake Maumelle has never been where you could not launch or have problems with high water). Black bass fishing is good. Black bass are biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks are out of the shallow water and are moving deeper (about 10-15 feet) off the weeds by about 10 feet. It seems that day fishing is better than night fishing. However, at the most recent Tuesday night Black Bass tournament, Josh Jeffers and Jonah Baker reeled in 13.48 pounds, including a Big Bass of 6.28 pounds, to win the event. The next three places all caught more than 8 pounds of bass, with Sam and Fred Lowery getting second at 8.76 pounds, edging the 8.74 pounds caught by Sam and Tripp Vogel. Also, the Friday Night Black Bass Tournament is averaging 8-10 boats per tournament. Call the marina for more information.
Meanwhile, Kentucky bass are good; use jigs. You’ll find them mixed in with the black bass in the shallow areas. White bass reports also are good. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. The whites are in the mid-lake area. Look for the loons. Crappie are fair and are being caught on crappie minnows and chartreuse/white jigs with a very light line.
Bream are excellent, as they have moved off the bed and are 10-14 feet deep. Lots of reports of big redear being caught. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is good. They’re in 25 feet of water but are moving into shallower areas. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 4-26-17) 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.
(updated 5-10-17) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said jigs are doing well with crappie. Bream are really going after the redworms and crickets now and should really pick up with the next full moon this weekend.
(updated 5-10-17) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting well in deep water on Bobby Garland Baby Shad, Slab Slanger and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting well on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bass biting well on worms, lizards, Brush Hog and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 5-10-17) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the bream have been biting well for customers using crickets and redworms. Catfish are still biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and stink baits. Bass have been hitting minnows and small plastic worms and lizards. Crappie have been biting fair on pink and No. 6 minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-10-17) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bream are biting redworms and crickets. Bass have been hitting minnows and red and purple plastic worms. Crappie have been biting fair on No. 6 and pink minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-10-17) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been good with minnows, crawfish and small plastics. Catfish are biting crawfish, minnows, nightcrawlers and black salties. Crappie have been biting fair in some back waters on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs. No recent reports of walleye being caught in the river. Bream will almost always bite a cricket or worm on light line and a small hook. Wherever you fish and whatever you use for bait, if you catch a fish or not, enjoy your time outdoors and be safe.
(updated 5-10-17) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair on minnows and Texas rigged plastic worm and lizards. Catfish are biting well at night on minnows, goldfish and chicken livers. No recent reports of crappie being caught.
Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 4-26-17) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfishing is excellent in the shallower areas. Use small bream for bait.
(updated 5-10-17) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting well for customers using black salties and live crawfish. Bass are biting minnows, Baby Brush Hogs and 6-inch lizards in green pumpkin and watermelon red colors. Bream are biting well on crickets and redworms. Crappie fishing has been fair with size 6 and size 12 minnows.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 4-26-17) 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 5-3-17) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that the river is high with very fast flows. He advises to stay off the river until the flows get below 70,000 cfs. Keep an eye on the Army Corps of Engineers app to determine when it is at a safe level again.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-3-17) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said everything in its immediate area was so muddy that no anglers had been out. No reports.
(updated 4-26-17) 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 4-26-17) 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 5-3-17) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported there was no getting on the river earlier this week, therefore no reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-10-17) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is rolling at 160,000 cfs as of Tuesday. It’s still a little too high and fast for anglers to venture out.
(updated 5-3-17) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water was too high and muddy and no anglers were getting out. There won’t be any fishing until the water drops and the wind dies down, they say. Everyone is urged to stay off the river for the time being.
(updated 4-26-17) 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 5-10-17) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that the water is dingy and the level near the Terry Lock and Dam was low. There is much current in the water. Bream are good. Jigs and Rock Hoppers are working best. Bluegill and redear doing well. No reports on crappie. No reports on bass. Catfish were excellent below the dam. White bass reports were fair. Stripers are good on white flukes.
(updated 5-10-17) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is dingy and is a little high, but not much above normal. Bream are good. Crappie also are good. Both bream and crappie are picking up noticeably. Bass results were just OK the past week. Catfishing is excellent.
(updated 5-10-17) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says “Celebrate: The sun is shining, no rain for several days and we’re beginning to dry out.” Water levels on the tailwaters of Bull Shoals Dam have remained normal and fishing is good. Water clarity is great after the days of dinginess from creek runoff, continuing to improve downriver from Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River. Panther Martins, yellow with red spots and a gold blade, are working well. The brown bite has switched back and forth between sculpins and minnows – keep both on hand if possible. Those zig jigs have made a comeback: just determine which color is working for the water depth and sky conditions, and you’ll catch any kind of fish in the river; black/olive 1/8-ounce was a hit this past week, tri-olive does the trick most often. Expect heavy generation from Bull Shoals Dam in the coming days. Deeper water means more drift fishing, no wading opportunities – but the trout love lots of water and they are feisty and healthy when they get it. Stop in on your way to the river.
(updated 5-10-17) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said that last week they experienced several rain events (combined for 5 inches in Cotter, which included a flash flood watch), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 22.2 feet to rest at 26.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 660.57 feet. This is 7.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 12.2 feet to rest at 15.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.6 feet above the top of flood pool. The Army Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 13,800 cfs in an effort to lower the lake. Beaver Lake rose 2.7 feet to rest at 8 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 3,700 cubic feet per second in an effort to lower the lake. On the White, we had no wadable water with some generation. All of the lakes in the White River System are over or near the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future. On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo is high and muddy. There has been some flooding. 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 15 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). John also says, “For the past few months, we have been enjoying one of the longest periods of low, reliable, wadable water that I can remember. It was so low this past February that it all but eliminated our traditional streamer season. You need high water to push the big browns to the bank in order to target them with the big streamers, and we had low flows all winter. The low water has been a boon to the caddis hatch. The low flows have been a perfect delivery system for dry flies this spring. The wadable water has rapidly come to an end, however. “We had a heavy rain that flooded Crooked Creek and the Buffalo. In addition, the lake levels on Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes all rose significantly. Then a couple of days later we had what has been described by the Weather Channel as a hundred year rain. It rained for two days. This time the ground was super saturated and we had significantly more runoff. All of the lakes in the White River system rose even more. Beaver, Table Rock and Norfork are at or near the top of flood pool and all opened their flood gates in an effort to draw them down quickly. Bull Shoals rose 34 feet in a week. As I write this, it is raining again and over 2 inches are expected. “What does this mean for fishing? With all of the lakes at or near the top of flood pool, we will have high water for the rest of spring and well into the summer. I do not expect wadable water until fall. The fish are still there but you will need a boat to fish the White and Norfork. The best way to fish during the high water will be to fish nymphs under an indicator. You will need to fish deep. I generally set my nymph rigs at about 4 feet from the indicator to the bottom fly. I then add a foot of depth for each full generator (roughly 3,000 cfs). This is a rough estimate and I will make adjustments for depth and current at specific spots on the river. If I am hanging the bottom, I reduce the depth and, if I am not getting fish, I increase it. “Weight is also a key factor. I generally use heavy split shot. My favorite for this type of fishing is AAA (0.8 grams). I use a lead-free egg-shaped split shot as it hangs on better. I attach it above my tippet knot to keep it from slipping. I also prefer to use heavily weighted flies particularly bead heads tied on jig hooks. My top flies for this type of fishing include pheasant tails, hare and copper, copper Johns, prince nymphs and ruby midges. I favor double-fly rigs and fluorocarbon leaders and tippets as they sink more quickly than monofilament. Casting these rigs is difficult at best. Open up your loop and be sure and not rush your cast. Do not false cast, as this is an invitation to tangle. “Now is also a good time to fish streamers. Heavy sink-tip fly lines, big streamers and larger fly rods are the norm here. Here again, the casting is tough and a lot of work. This technique does not produce numbers but can attract a trophy. Fishing high water can be very productive. Give it a try!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 691.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) K Dock Marina remains closed until further notice because of flood conditions.
(updated 4-26-17) 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 577.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the rain has stopped and Norfork Lake is slowly going down. The northern part of the lake is full of debris and mud but that will start to disappear in the next several weeks. Blowing wind helps the lake by moving the debris to the shoreline where it gets stuck, and as the lake goes down the debris will remain in place. The mud will disappear has the water up north returns to normal. The lower part of the lake from Diamond Bay south and from Big Creek to the dam is mostly free of trees, limbs and other debris, and water color is clear to stained. It is a good place to start your day. What most people do not realize was the lower end of the lake did not receive the major runoff from the flood. The water rose from the water coming to the dam, therefore the southeast part of the lake is the place to fish. The stripers are continuing to feed heavy on threadfin shad and should keep this up for the next several weeks.
Tom says they had some dear friends Alice, Dennis, and Logan that came down last weekend for two days of striper fishing. They wanted to introduce their grandson Logan to the lake and fishing. Saturday they got a late start but did manage to put five of the seven stripers they hooked. Logan, who is 6, caught his first striper and his limit. Logan keep telling his grandpa that his fish was bigger and he caught more than grandpa. A true fisher person was created that day. Sunday, Tom’s son, Sean, came along to help out. They started earlier and caught seven of the nine they hooked. Alice, who never had caught a fish, caught two, which made her day. Again, Logan caught the most and biggest and made sure everybody knew. The grandparents’ mission was accomplished. They created some lasting memories of their grandson’s first fishing trip on Norfork Lake. Tom says he and the group were using threadfin shad on long lines with just a split shot and leader way back from the boat over deep water 60 plus feet.
(updated 5-3-17) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the last two weeks on Norfork Lake have been very interesting, to say the least. They have gone from great spring weather, to cold fronts, to a major rain event that increased the lake level to the top of the flood pool. Fishing was fantastic up through last Saturday morning, then the severe weather started to impact the lake. Norfork Lake started rising a foot an hour at around 5 p.m. Saturday and continued to rise until the flood gates on the dam were opened to increase water evacuation. As of Tuesday, the lake was stable and was slowly falling and at 578.65 feet msl. There is still some floating debris, but a lot of it is starting to blow into the shoreline, and as the lake drops it will get hung up in the flooded trees. The lake is navigable, but when out on the lake be very cautious and observant of floating debris. The water north of the Highways 101 and 62 bridges is still dirty and the clearer and stained water starts just south of the 101 and 62 bridge. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort is in great shape and open for business. The dock is easily accessible with electric and the fish cleaning station still in operation.
As for fishing conditions on Norfork Lake, Lou says the flooding of normally dry land has forced nightcrawlers to come to the surface and the fish are starting to have a feast. If you fish for catfish the combination of dirty water and a large supply of worms is ideal to catch many cats. Lou says he has had guests fishing from the shoreline off of a flooded roadway below the resort and landing some nice catfish. Limblines and trotlines will also be a great method to catch big numbers of cats. On Tuesday, a couple of guests ventured out on the lake after sunrise and found some clearer water. They were fishing with shiners and caught a nice smallmouth and largemouth bass. If you can find a flooded field or cow pasture that had been grassy you will clean up on bass feeding on nightcrawlers and crawdads. Each stable day will help increase the bite and get the fish very active.
Lou says he has not heard a lot about striper fishing since last weekend’s rain, but from prior high-water experience you will need to find the clearer water. Shad will be in the trees and the stripers will be on the edges of the flooded trees feeding on the shad. It may take several days for the fish to get used to their new surroundings, but if it is similar to past high-water years the fishing will become really good. Lou says he has not been able to get out on the lake with all the new resort work this rain created, but he hopes to get back at it toward the end of the week, and he’ll have updates as soon as he can. The water temperature Tuesday morning was in the mid-60s. A lot of the lake is dirty, but you will find some nice stained and clear water back in some of the major creeks and in the southern part of the main lake.
(updated 5-10-17) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake rose 9 feet to rest at 6.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.32 feet and 0.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Army Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 6,600 cfs in an effort to lower the lake. On the Norfork, we had no wadable water. There has been flooding on the Norfork and the river level is quite high due to the flood gates being open in an effort to drop the lake level. The ramps have been closed due to flooding and debris on them. Navigate this stream with extreme caution. 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). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has been affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks. 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 5-10-17) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River is at flood level and not navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams and the Buffalo has large drainages that are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 5-10-17) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek is at flood level and not navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.66 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said they haven’t seen many anglers out, but the ones that have report that bream are good on crickets. Crappie have been fair on minnows. Bass are in the shallow water and results have been fair with spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on trotlines and jugs. The water is up, still very high, but is beginning to recede. Clarity is muddy.
(updated 5-10-17) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said striper activity forecast for the week is good, with stripers back in the main lake. They are still getting topwater action. They are on the feed even with the stained water and most striper using 10-100-plus feet of water. The mudline has made it to the Larue area near Rocky Branch. The best action will be along the edge of this mudline and clearer water. Shad are spawning in the buckbrush, on tree lines near deep water and on floating debris. Night fishing under the full moon has also been productive in these areas. Some striper are keyed on the spawning shad and patrolling areas that the shad are spawning in. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid or combination, Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Beaver lake striper fishing will be GOOD with striper taken on live bait fished on free lines and downlines from the surface down to about 25 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, and plugs like Rapala’s 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. Topwater lures like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks, and Pencil Poppers need to be tied on and ready. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on my website.
Mike says that these are the hot areas on the mid- and lower sections. Water surface temps in the high 60s: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks and Larue. White bass are surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers at Horseshoe Bend. 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 from 10-30 feet deep. 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. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in a white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 5-10-17) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the water in the tailwaters is still pretty high. You can launch a boat this week at Houseman; however, you will not be able to use the horseshoe drive. As far as fishing goes, Austin says he personally has not been out since the last rain. It has been his experience that the waters need to calm down a little after a flood like that to get things going again. He has not heard of any action from other guides as well. He says he would suspect that the trout should be biting soon, that’s if they don’t get a bunch more rain. Austin says he will be getting out this coming up weekend and should have a better report by then.
(updated 5-10-17) Beaver Dam Store reported “Wow….what a change from last week!” The flood gates are now closed at Beaver Dam. You can now get down to Parkers Bottoms and to the turnaround below the Pines campgrounds. Fishing has been very limited due to the high water except for some anglers on the river in boats. Break out the snagging poles – the spoonbills are here! A 50-pounder was harvested yesterday, and expect reports of more being taken below Beaver Dam in the next coming days. There is still one generator running and one can expect the spoonbills to be here as long as the water is running. Game fish may be snagged from the bank below Beaver Dam, from the Army Corps of Engineers’ “No fishing beyond this point” sign, downstream to the first Corps of Engineers boat ramp on the left descending bank from April 15-June 15 ONLY. Looks like Table Rock Dam is releasing water and Bull Shoals as well.
(updated 5-10-17) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) reports that as of Sunday, May 1, he has closed the shop and has retired.
(updated 5-10-17) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that water is murky and the water surface temperature was 65 degrees. Bream reports are really good, with fly jigs working well, along with redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on crankbaits, plastic worms, and a chatterbait crank. Catfishing is good using goldfish and chicken liver.
(updated 5-3-17) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the lake was “super flooded” and earlier in the week was still 2 feet high, with no one venturing out to fish.
(updated 5-10-17) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said crappie are biting around 14-18 foot down in 18-20 feet of water on minnows and rosy red minnows. Bass are biting well on beetle spins and shad look-a-like baits before 10 a.m., but after 10 it varies between Rogues, Spooks, and crankbaits. Catfish are doing very well on rice slicks. Bream are biting very well on crickets.
(updated 5-10-17) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is dingy but is just about to a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No report on crappie. Bass are excellent. Anglers are buying lots of trick worms and flukes but they also won’t part with any of their secrets at the shop. Catfishing is good on chicken liver and goldfish.
Lake Frierson State Park had no reports.
(updated 5-10-17) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels have been running at 530 cfs, 350 average at the spring, and water clarity has been poor. The river is still up and moving good. The catching has been good with crayfish patterns and Y2Ks. Really have to get the fly down deep and then the trout will tear it up. Hot pink Trout Magnets and gold spinners are working well, too.
(updated 5-10-17) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and off color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers (however, water was extremely high and dangerous after the rainy weekend). Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 5-3-17) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported it has been a complete washout everywhere. Nothing to report.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
(updated 5-10-17) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-10-17) Jennifer Albertson, the park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the fishing is picking up at Cane Creek Lake! Catfish are good, and biting on liver. However, the catfish here are in their pre-spawn period, which means they should be biting on a variety of baits right now. Bream are good, and biting on crickets and redworms. Both crickets and worms are available at the park bait shop, which is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Bass are fair, and biting on buzzbaits and chatterbaits. Crappie are a little slow right now, but a few have been caught this week.
(updated 5-10-17) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said that at Lake Chicot and on the river, catfish are biting on everything. This week, we’ve seen several anglers cleaning monster catfish in the park. People have also reported luck fishing for crappie and bream while fishing on the lake. Most reports have been that crappie are biting on minnows and the bream are hitting on red wigglers.
(updated 5-10-17) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level was about 7 inches above normal conservation pool and rising on Monday. There was current in Little River with the gates releasing around 7,000 cfs. Water temps dropped this week from recent cold fronts, and were ranging 64-70 degrees on Monday. The tailwater level on Monday was 236 feet msl. Clarity and visibility is heavy stained and muddy this week, while oxbows were in fair shape for visibility. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 3-5 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 2-3 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Largemouth Bass for the most part, are post-spawn, and moving horizontally out to deeper water. Largemouth Bass from around 2 to 4 pounds each are fair to good most days, running in and out of flats adjacent to deeper drops into creek channels, with a few 4-5 pound post-spawn bass near ridges, ditches, and flats adjacent to deeper creek channels. The clearest water you can find away from muddy current in Little River has been producing the best bass. Buzzbaits are drawing reaction strikes in bream, black or Firetiger colors. Bass Assassin Shads in Gold Pepper Shiner in the off-colored, stained water clarity, Magnum Lizards in June bug, and chartreuse pumpkin; Brush Hogs in California 420, and blackberry colors are working. Also throw chatterbaits in spring bream, lime or Firetiger colors. War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working on windy secondary points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse, or coleslaw colors continue to work well for 2-4 pound sized bass in oxbows, upriver. Along with the Bass Assassin Gold Pepper Shiner, continue working the Shads in Panhandle Moon, Hammertime, or Limetreuse Ghost colors in the heavy stained water clarity. 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. Along with the California 420, bulky lizards in cotton candy, blackberry or chartreuse pumpkin colors are working on cypress trees in clear water. Squarebill shallow to medium running crankbaits are beginning to work sporadically with a stop-and-go retrieve in the oxbows upriver and creek channels where you can find stained to fairly clear water. Medium diving Bomber Tennessee Shad- and Citrus Shad-colored Fat Free Shads, and Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Squarebills in Oxbow, Chartreuse Flash, and Pinch’n Peach colors are all randomly catching bass working erratically in creek channels up river.
Siefert added that white bass were roaming in large schools but all but disappeared with the muddy water this week coming down Little River from the Cossatot River inflow at U.S. Highway 71 bridge, all the way to Yarborough Landing. The crappie are also post-spawn and remain scattered with all the recent muddy current along Little River. A few were caught over the past week near base of cypress trees in the clearest water you could locate away from Little River current. Channel cats continue biting well on trotlines using cut bait, Charlie, chicken livers and gizzards along current of the Little River.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 550.93 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors Sports said on US97 radio that like the other lakes in the area, the water is noticeable dropping now, and he said it was weird for the lake to be dropping as much as it’s dropping and still be doing as well as it’s doing for anglers. One report was of a big mess Kentucky bass and black bass mixed together, with topwater lures bringing them in.
(updated 5-3-17) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported lots of water in Greeson. No report this week. Before the heavy rain of the past week, crappie were nearing the end of the spawn and staging on fish shelters in 10-15 feet of water. Crappie bite was good on 2-inch grubs and tube jigs. Bass were in various stages of the spawn and the topwater bite was really picking up. Zoom Horny Toads, Pop-Rs, Spooks and buzzbaits were working well for the shallow bite. Texas-rigged worms, lizards and large tubes were working well for the deeper bite. Catfish continued to be good on trotlines and noodles along the main channel.
Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
Cossatot River State Park had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 411.49 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is around 70 degrees and the lake is clear in the lower end up to the State Park, stained up to Edgewood and muddy up to Shouse Ford. The boat ramps are slowly opening with the water receding. Ramps that are open include, Iron Mountain, State Park marina, Spillway and Caddo Bend. Just about all the ramps in the upper end remain closed. Bass fishing is fair in the flooded timber and brush in the back of coves. Try an 8-inch floating worm worked around the cover. Also square bill crankbaits have been producing along with spinnerbaits. Be sure the lure includes some chartreuse in the muddy water. The fish are really scattered, so be prepared to cover a lot of water. Crappie fishing is fair in the attractors at mid-lake between Caddo Bend and Edgewood. Look for brush in the big coves and in 20 to 25 feet of water. Drop a Kalin’s 2-inch grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead to the top of the brush and move slowly around the attractor. Tennessee Shad seems to be the best color even though the water has a heavy stain. Hybrid fishing is slow with the high muddy water scattering the fish. Before the high water, some fish were reported in the Caddo Drive/Arlie Moore areas. When the water clears and stabilizes, the fish should still be in these areas.
(updated 5-10-17) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Rain, rain, GO AWAY. Its spring in Arkansas and that means more rain.” DeGray is still up above normal 411.96. The Corp is pulling out water and the lake is dropping but is still high. Water temperature is in the high 60s to 70 degrees mid-lake. This is showing an increase from last week. Fishing reports are spotty and slow. Catfishing seems to be the best right now with all the vegetation under water and the fish are feeding in the shallows. Live bait is always the best for catfish. Shiners and goldfish fished in the shallows mid-lake are producing. Also, short trotlines or yo-yo’s producing well. The water from Caddo Drive upriver is still muddy and has debris floating around in many places. Hybrids have been reported from Caddo Drive to near DeRoche Point. Some good catches reported in the mid-lake area where the water is clearer. Spoons and topwaters are your best bet (shad-colored). Crappie fishing is slow. The muddy water and cooler temperatures are affecting the catch. Brush piles from Arlie Moore and Brushy are the best-bet places to look. They are deeper than usual, so look for the shallower ones first. Tennessee Shad color is always a good bet. Minnows will begin producing better with the water warming and the spawn over. The moon is in the waxing gibbous phase headed to a full moon. This means the bream will be bedding. Some fair reports are coming from the Arlie Moore area. Fish the brush just off the bottom. If you have good electronics capable of doing so, look for the beds that look like the circles or waffle appearance. Rain is coming again. Again, your best bet is Arlie Moore to DeRoche camping area. Good fishing.
(updated 5-10-17) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that as the water falls out, with no moss line, a Carolina rig is probably going to be a pretty deadly weapon in the coming days, as well as a topwater bait. Those fish are going to be backed off of the guts of pockets, they’re going to be on secondary and primary points, and shaking a topwater lure on those primary points will be a very good way to fish it. Also, swimbaits, he said they were selling a lot of those, an individual, 4-inch swimbait on a quarter-ounce or bigger jighead and slow-rolling it down the sides of those saddle points. Bluegill should be spawning with the full moon.
(updated 5-3-17) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the water is high and muddy water, making it tough fishing. However, find the clean water and you’ll definitely find crappie on the brush piles.
(updated 5-10-17) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
(updated 5-10-17) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) had no report.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
(updated 5-10-17) Local angler Jaret Rushing had no report.
(updated 5-10-17) 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 5-10-17) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 5-10-17) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported surface temperature at 63 degrees and the water was a foot high. Bream are good. One was caught among a bunch Saturday and it had eggs, so maybe they are starting to spawn. The bream appear to be moving up. Crappie were fair at best, but really not too good the past week. Bass seem to be getting a little more active, especially on topwater lures. Results were fair to good. Catfishing was fair.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 5-10-17) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are biting well on minnows and worms. Bream are biting great on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are doing well on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 5-10-17) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that recent area flooding has caused Entergy to open flood gates and schedule heavy generation below Carpenter Dam in an effort to bring area lakes down to normal levels. Lake Ouachita has risen into the flood pool which has created a continuous flow from all area dams that will continue until the big lake falls below flood levels. This process will take several weeks. Boaters and anglers are cautioned to remain off the Carpenter Dam tailrace during the heavy flow for safety reasons. Very fast water has made the area dangerous to navigate and impossible to fish. Muddy waters have further complicated the danger as large debris is hidden in the heavy flow. Much safer conditions will return to the area in next several weeks.
(updated 5-10-17) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said the river is extremely high and muddy with swift current. Creeks are dirty, with some creeks starting to clear, and there are a few clear bays. Water temperature is 71 degrees. Bass fishing has been fair considering the high water. Use black and blue jigs in the grass, while try frogs on the slop. Use crankbaits in the eddies, and try spinnerbaits and sinkholes around the rocks and points. Crappie fishing has been fair if you can find some clear water. The fish will be 6-8 foot deep. Use minnows and jigs. White jigs have been working well, along with chartreuse and black/chartreuse. White bass and stripers are still in the creek. Go with crankbaits, spoons or jerkbaits. Bream are spawning in the shallow water, so use worms and crickets. Catfish have been excellent with redworms, stink bait and cut bait. Try just inside the pockets.
(updated 5-10-17) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 that he’d had some good and some not so good reports from anglers on Hamilton. The good news was that it took around 20 pounds for a team to win the bass tournament a few nights ago. “That’s incredible for Hamilton for this time of year, it really is.” But the fishing also fell off quickly after that, and it may have been one of those deals where one group of guys just got a good spot. He says Hamilton still has a lot of debris and trash floating in it, but the water is clearing up. Wednesday was the first day Kastner says he could look at it and could say this didn’t look like his cup of morning coffee. He says a lot of water is really being pushed through and that is helping clear the water clarity out. There is still a lot of trash, still a lot of logs floating around out there. So, if you go out there, pay attention and be careful. There had been a lot of guys night-fishing that were catching a lot of fish, though, he reported.
(updated 5-3-17) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the high muddy water is making it tough, but find the clean water and the crappie will definitely be on the brush piles.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 360.50 feet msl (flood pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie are doing well on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone, Pennyback Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting well on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting well on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 5-10-17) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the bream are biting really well. Crickets are working best. Crappie reports were not too good, but they are catching up to expectations. Bass reports coming in as pretty good below the dam. Also, they reported some bow fishing of far this past weekend and successful results.
(updated 5-3-17) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said earlier this there was too much wind and water on the lake and too dangerous for anglers to be out. No reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.68 feet msl (flood pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-17) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said water temperature is ranging 72-76 degrees. The water is clearing and the lake is at 580.07 as of Tuesday. Black bass are still very good and being caught with frog-style baits, Super Fluke Jr.’s and topwater baits. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are still very good and being caught on small crankbaits, spoons and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are good on Alabama rigs and live bait. The central part of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are very good in water 15-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-12 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are very good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 15-20 feet. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 5-10-17) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors Sports said on US97 that he heard a good report of topwater bite. He said he knows they’re dropping the bottom out of these lakes high with water, but that just means it’s going to pull those fish further out to the points, and topwaters and swimbaits were working. These fish were caught within sight of the mouth of Crystal Springs, in the middle of the lake across from the mouth of Crystal, around the camper islands and around the side of Buckville. A lot of fish have moved out of the guts of pockets, they’re moving out more toward the lake because the water is dropping. Kastner said he also had a report of a bunch of stripers caught on the lake as well, and those fish came up breaking.
Kastner adds, “Thank goodness the majority of spawn is over for bass. I don’t see the water falling out as much of an issue because the black bass spawn is over.” He expects this to end up being a good spawn. The fry have plenty of places to hide, plenty of water up in the buckbrush, and on Ouachita there is still a great stand of moss in 5-6 feet of water, giving the fry plenty of places to hide and survive the big predators.
The bluegill spawn is starting to swing. The full moon of May is typically the big month for the bream to move to the bank and make beds. Kastner said he was really worried about the high, muddy water messing that up. If you’re still looking for bream beds, you need to be in the middle to the lower part of the lake. He believes the upper part of the lake is messed up because of all the color, the mud, in the water. If you’re going to go bream bed fishing this weekend, you need to be on the lower half of the lake, look in the guts of pockets where the water is fairly clear, you ought to be able to see them. From Brady down is where he plans to focus. Also, a lot of times when the bream move up on the banks, the catfish are going to chase them up there too because they are a food source. The bass are going to be biting on them as well because the bass are guarding fry and the bream are a natural predator, so a bream-colored crankbait, a bream-colored jig, anything like that will play into fishing for bass, too.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 389.86 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 5-10-17) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said bream are biting hard on crickets at Bear Creek. Crappie activity is also beginning to pick up on live bait. Hoping for some more good reports this week, as the weather is supposed to cooperate through Friday. Remember, Mississippi River State Park’s Visitor Center sells bait including minnows, crickets, various worms, and artificial bait. Natalie also says that if anybody is fishing on Bear Creek or Storm Creek and would like to submit their own fishing report, please call the State Park number listed above or call the Ranger at (870) 821-2005.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-10-17) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said not as much activity on Storm Creek as there is at Bear Creek Lake. Minimal activity for bank fishermen, and some bass activity for boat fishermen but not anything spectacular. If anybody is fishing on Storm Creek and would like to submit their own fishing report, please call the State Park number listed above or call the Ranger at (870) 821-2005.
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