Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 24, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 24, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please emailAGFCfishingreport@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 alligator weed 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 5-24-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said it’s been a good week for anglers. The water is stained. No surface temperature was available after cooler temperatures came through Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good and biting minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports were good on worms.
(updated 5-24-2017) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reported thebream bite is excellent near the shoreline and in the lily pads, on crickets and wax worms. Bass are biting fairly well on spinnerbaits and jigs. Crappie fairly slow out in the main lake around live cypress trees. Catfishing is good.
Little Red River
(updated 5-24-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red River continues to see 12 hours of daily generation. The generation begins early morning, which provides some wadable water downstream for a few hours each day and excellent drift fishing from a boat.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, we recommend San Juan worms, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers.Pink and red-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 (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 5-24-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clearing after the weekend rains. It seems we are in a pattern of rain every 3 to 4 days. The Corp and Southwest Power informed me that the generation pattern will probably remain the same for the next 2 to 3 weeks. This pattern is 2 generators running from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Drift fishing is good by staying ahead of the new water. As the water clears, small midge pupas or size 16 nymphs are good fly choices. Rainfall is again predicted for the Memorial Day weekend. We can hope it doesn’t amount to enough to muddy the river or aggravate the high water condition of the reservoir. Please check the generation schedules before planning your outing on the river and take care if boating or kayaking during the generation periods. Remember; don’t let your watercraft get pinned against the upstream side of a dock or other obstacle! Happy and Safe Memorial Day!
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 470.87 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 5-24-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.84 feet msl. It’s coming up and going down with generation and is 8.3 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. The catching on the lake is good all over and will continue to be until it gets super-hot. The walleye are in places that are hard to fish, on the inside and outside of the old bush line. Try dragging crawlers close to those on pea gravel flats. As for bream, most are pretty shallow out to 12 feet eating small crankbaits, crawlers and crickets very well. The crappie are hanging around the old bush line as well and in the standing pole timber grouped up and can be caught on beetle spins, jigs and minnows in 12-15 feet of water. The black bass fishing is good on topwater baits, buzzbaits, flukes, crankbaits and spinnerbaits shallow. Most of the fish that went out deep have moved back shallow until the water gets warmer. The hybrid and white bass are feeding off and on all day, and the generation helps as well as wind. Use spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits and Alabama rigs. Stay around the shad in 25-45 feet of water for the best results.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-10-2017) 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 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are good in deep water on Shiny Hiney, Gimmer 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 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 alligator weed 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 5-24-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said bass are still doing well around grass and structure on plastic worms and crankbait. Catfish are doing fair but are picking up. Anglers are catching them on crickets, minnows and perch. Crappie are being caught in deep water and some around the shoreline, just not a lot of them. Bream are starting to pick up. Some have been good size, but again, not a lot of them yet. Visit Johnny at the shop off Arkansas Highway 9.
(updated 5-24-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water surface temperature was ranging 72-74 degrees. The clarity is fair and the water level is high. Bream fishing has been good to excellent. Bream are around the brush piles and reacting to both worms and crickets. Crappie are good to excellent as well. The crappie are 10-20 feet deep and biting minnows and jigs. Bass also was reported to be good to excellent. The bass are in about 10-20 feet depth and are hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports were good. Use worms or chicken livers. No reports on white bass.
(updated 5-17-2017) Local angler Nicholas Karras said bream are still all over the lake. Use crickets or worms. The bass bite is good with natural-colored worms fished on Shaky Heads. Some are being caught on topwater and spinnerbaits.
(updated 5-24-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said water temperature Monday was 72 degrees. The black bass are good to excellent. Black bass are biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Blacks are deeper (about 10-15 feet) off the weeds by about 10 feet. It seems that day fishing is better than night fishing. Bill Dennis and Rick Easter caught 12.46 pounds win the Tuesday night black bass tournament. Todd Brown and Matt Green reeled in the Big Bass of 5.06 pounds. Roger Nesuda added that Kentucky bass fishing is good. They are being caught on jigs and are found mixed in with the black bass in shallow water. White bass remain good on Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. They have moved toward the east end of the lake. Crappie are fair. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (use the chartreuse and white with a very light line). Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie have been caught lately. Bram are excellent. They have moved off the bed and are 10-14 feet deep. Continued reports of big redear being caught. Use crickets or live worms. Catfish are excellent. They are still in about 15-25 feet of water but some are moving into shallower areas. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 5-17-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are biting on topwater lures early in the morning. Bream are sitting on the beds and doing well on crickets.
(updated 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting well in deep water on Bobby Garland Baby Shad and 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 5-24-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair on minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and worms. Bass are biting minnows, Texas rigged plastic worms and lizards and Kalin’s grubs. Crappie fishing has been slow but a few report catching some on No. 6 minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-24-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been biting minnows and plastic worms or lizards. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting for customers using nightcrawlers, chicken livers and bait shrimp. Crappie have been biting No. 6 and pink minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-24-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said fishing has been up and down with the recent changes in the water level. Bass have been biting fair on minnows; small, dark-colored plastics; and small, crawdad-colored crankbaits. Crappie have been biting well in some backwaters and coves on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs. Catfish are biting minnows, goldfish and black salties. Bream are biting crickets and worms.
(updated 5-24-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is getting good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair on plastic worms and lizards and Baby Brush Hogs. Catfish have been caught recently on minnows, goldfish and nightcrawlers. Crappie fishing has been slow.
Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 5-24-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are still biting well for some customers using No. 6 and No. 12 minnows. Bass have been biting minnows, Texas and Carolina rigged plastics and PB&J-colored jigs. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting crickets and worms.
(updated 5-24-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 5-24-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-24-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water clarity would rate stained, “but not bad.” Level is low. Bream appear to be bedding still and anglers reported good results. Use worms or crickets. Crappie reports were poor. There was some action in deeper water; use minnows. Bass are good. They are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on worms, blood bait, chicken liver and hot dogs. No reports on white bass.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 5-24-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that fishing has been kind of slow this week. Snagging has brought in some good reports. Bream have been good on worms and crickets. Crappie were only fair, with no other details. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good; use skipjack.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-17-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is still running at about 150,000 cfs and he says it’s still too dangerous for small craft. Vince recommends anglers on small craft just stay off the river for now.
(updated 5-24-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is not so clear, and in fact is muddy. The water level is still high. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on worms. Crappie are biting again with good reports on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair using spinnerbaits or crankbaits. No reports on catfish. Those were the same reports for the area around Terry Lock and Dam, with the exception of bream also biting crickets.
(updated 5-24-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) has heard good reports from snagging. Bream also has been good on crickets near the Terry Dam, and worms and crickets in other parts of the pool. Crappie are fair; use minnows or jigs. Bass reports were fair on plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crank baits on the south end of the pool, and good on spinners and cranks in other areas. Catfishing is good; use skipjack. Overall, though, reports have been somewhat slow.
(updated 5-24-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is a little dingy, and the lake is full. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie bite is still fair on both minnows and jigs. Bass are fair with spinnerbaits working best. Catfishing is good. Try using hot dogs or worms.
(updated 5-24-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and there have been eight generators running 24 hours a day. The trout are excellent. In fact, they said it was “incredible fishing” now. Bring your PowerBaits or pick worms for rainbows. Brown trout are hitting jigs and stick baits.
(updated 5-24-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the White River flowing from Bull Shoals Lake, north-central Arkansas Ozarks country, is running very high and fast. The trout are loving it, and so are the guides – the best trout growing water you’ll find. You can hook your share of rainbows with a pink worm, sometimes tipped with white egg pattern (PowerBait). Chartreuse and orange worms were a good bet, too. The shrimp combo is still working but not as effectively. Tie on something with lots of gold flash if using stick baits, spinner with gold blades; you can use your heavier Rooster Tails, 3/8-ounce or greater. It won’t hurt to keep a cup or two of worms handy because that’s the most prevalent food for the trout as all this water comes downstream. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and stay safe, keep your life jackets near at all times and don’t take chances if you’re on the river or lake boating.
(updated 5-24-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said at the end of last week that they had a rain event (about an inch here in Cotter), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.8 feet to rest at 30 feet above seasonal power pool of 660.57 feet. This is 3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Army Corps of Engineers has opened 10 flood gates 1 foot to release 10,800 cfs to augment generation and lower the lake. Upstream, Table Rock fell 3 feet to rest at 10.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.1 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.4 to rest at 7.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with high generation.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below 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 has cleared up some. 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). Caddis season is on the wane. This was our best hatch of the year and it’s going fast. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects, use a soft hackle like John’s Green Butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.
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.
After months of low wadable water, we have returned to a high water that looks like it is going to be around for quite a while. Up to the last few days the Army Corps of Engineers has been running a lot of water on the Norfork both through the generators and the flood gates. At the same time the Corps was holding back water on the White with very little generation, while waiting for the flooding downstream to clear. Late last week the Corps closed the flood gates on the Norfork and conditions returned to near normal. At the same time generation on the White was picked up to about four full generators or about 12,000 cfs. It has since opened the flood gates on the White and is currently adding an additional 12,000 cfs to the generation.
John says, “I had a couple of guide trips last week. I chose to fish on the White River on the first one. It had rained the night before and the water was stained. I started at Rim Shoals but did poorly. I rigged the rods with a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper with lots of weight. The going was pretty slow and at lunch we put my boat on the trailer and drove to the Bull Shoals Dam access. We found the water to be crystal clear here. Conventional wisdom is always to move upstream after a rain to find clear water. We did much better here and caught several nice fish. The next day I guided a father and son. My wife, Lori, had guided the son on Dry Run Creek the previous day and had done exceptionally well. I definitely had my work cut out for me to get anywhere close to the success that she had on Dry Run Creek.
“It was a four-boat trip, and three of the guides including myself decided to fish the Norfork River. The prediction was for the Corps to run two full generators (around 5,500 cfs) for the entire day. In reality, the actual generation when we started was more like one generator. We decided to launch our boats at the ramp at Quarry Park below the dam because there had been significant gravel recruitment below Mill Pond. That would limit our access to the catch-and-release section from the access at the confluence, on the lower flow.
“We began fishing, with a cerise San Juan worm and a Sunday special dropper. We set the depth at 6 feet, with a big strike indicator and an AAA split shot (0.8 grams). We picked up some fish immediately. About 10:30 a.m., the water started coming up. I had to adjust my tackle to account for the increase in flow. I finally had to increase the depth of my rig (from the strike indicator to the bottom fly) to 10 feet or better. I also had to add an additional AB split shot (0.6 grams) to the rig to get it down to the bottom of the water column. This made a difference and we began picking up fish. The rest of the day went well. We had originally planned to eat lunch on the picnic tables at Quarry Park but noted that they were gone. I assume that they had been washed away during the recent flooding on the Norfork. We finished the day and caught some nice trout but were unable to match Lori’s previous day on Dry Run Creek.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 692.88 feetmsl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-24-2017) K Dock Marina said it was closed from flooding until further notice.
(updated 5-17-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said late last week that the lake is almost full. Right now they have 33 extra feet of water and it’s relatively clear unless you get in the backs of some of the creeks. Most of the debris is pushed up on the shores. You get a calm day, it will float out a little bit. Expectations were for the lake to crest last weekend. As it continues to fill up, the fishing is still good, but a little bit tougher on the bluebird days. As the lake starts to stabilize, the bass are post-spawn, some are starting to school up, and Del says he’s been catching more and more fish in the bushes. The Kentucky bass, the smallmouths, as the lake starts to crest and the Corps starts to generate more water; that will concentrate the Kentucky smallmouth bite out toward the points. Usually when there is generation, on the long points or secondary points coming out the fish will school up there pretty good. They can ambush the bait as the water starts pushing the bait fish over those points.
On the bluebird days with no wind, it’s tough, but you’re still going to catch a few. Del says the best bet for those days is to go fish the old shoreline. Drag a tube around, keep the boat in that 40 feet of water. Cast up into the old bushes; the points are holding fish, the pockets have some fish, the sides of the pockets. You can use a Carolina rig, you can throw a jig in there. Del said he was using a half-ounce green pumpkin orange. Use something you can get down there and just drag it through those bushes: a C-rig with a Brush Hog, or a lizard, green pumpkin, green pumpkin orange, green pumpkin red, something like that. The water is somewhat stained up top, but once you get down on that old shoreline it’s clears up. Del said he’s usually using an 8-pound fluorocarbon on either the drop-shot or the tub rod for the finesse bite.
The largemouth bass seem to have moved up pretty good, he said. He’s caught some pretty shallow. They seem to be on those channel swing banks or the bluffy banks where you can get in close to the shoreline. You’ll have to do some running around, but if you can find those channel swing banks or the those long points that go out toward the main channel or close to a channel swing, those are going to hold some fish on them right now. Also, the backs of the creeks can be pretty good. If there is some flow in there and bait fish – bait fish is what Del has been keying on when here’s going into the backs of creeks – you’ll be covering an extra mile and sometimes 2 miles in the back of the creeks. Del suggests staying on the old creek bed (that’s indicated on maps or GPS), as the fish will relate to the old creek channel, using it as a highway. In the creeks, throw a square bill to cover some water. If you see surfacing fish, throw a buzzbait around. You’ll have to cover some water to find where the baitfish are, as they won’t be popping. You almost have to run your bait into them. If there is wind, though, that will help push them to one side. If there are vegetation mats, this offers the rare opportunity to flip. Anglers can punch through it with a beaver-style bait (such as a D Bomb). A lot of fish are going to be using the mats for shade.
Del said he’s also seeing the perch come up. He likes to use a Keitech bait for giving a finesse spinnerbait type presentation. If there is a little wind and clear water and you can’t quite throw a regular spinnerbait, this will help you cover some water. You can also throw a stick bait or fluke around, or a Senko-style bait. Look for the last piece of vegetation, the last tree sticking out, and fish seem to be stuck in it. And, lastly, Del says he’s had the most fun fishing lately with blades. When it’s windy and cloudy, go find a windy shoreline and throw a blade.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 577.53 feetmsl (normal conservation pool: September-April, 553.75 feetmsl; April-September, 552.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the rain has stopped, Norfork Lake has stabilized and the fishing has improved. The threadfin shad spawned this past week and the stripers and bass were in the brush chasing the bait fish. They saw lots of fish being caught early in the week, but the water has warmed up and some the stripers are moving back to deeper water. Tom said he has not seen the topwater action he expected. Usually when the shad get in the brush the topwater action heats up, but not this year yet. The lake is starting clear up. The back of Bennett’s Bayou is now clear and the main channel from Robinson Point to the dam has cleared significantly. It should be several more weeks before they see blue water on the lower end of the lake. The Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled May 20 as Lake Norfork cleanup. They are asking for your help in moving debris to the boat ramps for pickup and also are providing garbage bags in designated areas for drop-off, so if you have some free time come out and help make Norfork Lake beautiful again.
Tom says that as for fishing, don’t let the high water turn you off. Now is the time to come fish Norfork. He said he received a request from Robert about taking his daughter Amy fishing on Mother’s Day. It seems that Robert’s wife’s request for her Mother’s Day present was being home staying in bed. Tom said, “Sure,” but their wires got crossed and they got a late start. Tom had pre-fished the day before on a main lake points and caught stripers as fast as he could get a line in the water. Toms said he was expecting the same the next morning, but a late start and heavy fog changed the conditions. Miss Amy did catch her first two stripers, but the action slowed and they only had a few more bites but no more stripers. However it was a fun father/daughter morning and seeing the expression on Miss Amy’s face said it all.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said it has been a real roller coaster on Norfork Lake for the past two weeks. On April 29 the lake started to rise until it reached the top of the flood pool. Missouri had devastating floods, and much of that water eventually ended up in Norfork Lake. The lake became muddy from north to south, but the muddy water is finally starting to fall out and the lake is stable. The high water will be with them for quite a while, but high water is not a bad thing. Most species had completed their spawn prior to the high water, so the newly born fry will have plenty of places to hide, making future fishing even better. Fishing will continue to improve daily over the whole lake as the mud settles out and the water turns to a great stained color for fishing.
Lou says he has traveled most of the lake over the last week and have found good fishing water starting in the mid-lake area down to the dam. It appears that the brown water is falling out from the backs of the creeks and working its way out to the main lake. The farther south you travel on the main lake the clearer the water gets. Overall, the fish are on the shoreline inside of the newly sunken brush and trees. Live bait has been working exceptionally well. Threadfin shad and large shiners are both working. Lou has been using a No. 6 kahle hook with no weight and pitching the bait into openings between the trees. Lou has also been moving slowly right outside the trees in about 15-20 feet of water and dragging the baits behind the boat, again with no weight.
Earlier this week he was fishing on a point down in the dam area and hooked into a big fish. The fish started to run for deep water and he knew he had a big striper. This fish came very close to spooling him. After about a 20 minute battle, Lou landed a 40-inch 30-pound striped bass. Lou was only using a 7-foot medium light action rod with a spinning reel filled with 8-pound monofilament line. Light tackle makes the battle a lot of fun. Friday Lou fished the mid-lake major creeks. He was about halfway back in a creek where the water became clear to stained. He fished channel swing points pitching live bait up in the brush. Lou was fishing with several of his guests and they landed almost every species in the lake. Lou has also been using some artificial baits. Tuesday he landed a nice striper on a 5-inch swimbait with a 3/8-ounce jighead. He tries to cast the bait into an opening and try to get it as close to the new shore as possible and then reel back to the boat. Jerkbaits, either soft plastics or hard baits, will also be working well up in the brush. The best bite, Lou says, is early morning. He’s been told that the afternoon bite seems to be slow. As the Norfork Lake water warms, look for the stripers to move away from the shoreline and go to a little deeper water. Monday morning a couple of our guests found some really good topwater action for striped bass. They got to their fishing spot and could see the fish exploding as they approached. Once the topwater stopped, they put away their Zara Spooks and proceeded to pitch live bait into the shore and continued to catch fish.
He adds, the Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also improving at Norfork Lake. These species are located in the same areas as the striped bass; you will find them inside of the sunken brush and trees. Lou has had the best luck catching fish by finding sunken buckbrush in about 10-15 feet depths, letting his bait sink down to the tops of the brush and then working it back to the boat. He has caught many fish on the fall of the bait. Creature baits worked along the brush will pick up some nice fish. Again, find the stained to clear water and start fishing. Lou says he has not heard anything about crappie, but he is sure they are inside of the brush feeding on shad. You may need to pull out your 12-foot long cane pole to be able to get to the crappie inside of the brush along the banks.
The Norfork Lake level is holding steady at 577.03 feet msl. The Corps of Engineers is running all generators for the major part of the day to keep up with the inflow and hold the lake stable. The water surface temperature is in the low 70s. The lake is muddy (but clearing slowly) from the Robinson area to the Cranfield area and upriver, as well as from the bridges up to the Bennett area. The lake is stained a little south of the Robinson area and continues to become clearer the farther south you go. There is still floating debris in the lake, mainly concentrated around the Mallard Point area through Cranfield and upriver as well as back in the Fout Marina area. They are expecting a strong south wind in the coming days, so a lot of this debris will be pushed to the shore until a north wind or no wind happens. As always, be careful when on the lake.
(updated 5-24-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake fell last week 0.6 feet to rest at 20.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.32 feet and 3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation. On the Norfork, we had some wadable water at night. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond. 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 5-24-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River is navigable but high. 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 river. There are no dams, there is large drainage and it is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 5-24-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek is navigable but high. 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 or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have 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 1,129.40 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-24-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is muddy, but fish still want to eat. Water is high. Bream have been fair on crickets. Crappie are fair to good and can be found in 8-10 feet of water. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair and are biting early in the day. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures and jigs. Catfishing has been good on prepared bait.
(updated 5-24-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said striper activity forecast for the week good, andBeaver Lake Striper are back on the main lake. 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 Rocky Branch area. The best action will be along the edge of this mudline and in clearer water. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing free lines and lightly weighted downlines will definitely get you some fish. 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 where the shad are spawning. There has been some topwater activity from stripers and white bass. Water surface temperatures are in the high 60s-low 70s.On the mid and lower sections of the lake, these are the hot spots: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6 (check main lake structures and secondary points in the area for stripes as they are making their way back to the main lake; keep your eyes out for surfacing fish), Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks and Larue. White bass are surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers as well at around 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 depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala tail dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Also use a Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoon in white or white/chartreuse combo, while a variety of jigs are also producing.
(updated 5-24-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that well, once again the flood gates were opened this week during a fishing trip nonetheless. A day before, fishing actually started to pick up in the tailwaters with the trout. Austin says he hates to say it but if we keep getting rain and the flood gates continue to be opened, fishing in the tailwaters is going to be a little difficult. He said that when he was catching fish, he was using light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. Pulling a Rapala also produced a few fish. Water temperatures are in the mid-50s and staying there due to the releases. Fish are scattered all throughout the tailwaters, so pinpointing them to a certain area will be difficult. Most bank fishing locations are under water, so if you have access to a boat, use it. In the meantime, good luck and stay safe.
(updated 5-24-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported Saturday thatthe flood gates were open at Beaver Dam.The campgrounds below Beaver Dam are open. Break out the snagging poles, the spoonbills are here. 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 through June 15th ONLY. It also looks like Table Rock Dam and Bull Shoals are releasing water as well. Good lures in this area are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, and Flicker Shad in Pro Series No. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black and olive; hare’s ear; tungsten copper John’s, WD40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms.
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 5-24-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water is murky and surface temperature was 73 degrees. The level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair but are showing some response to Bobby Garland Itty Bit jigs and minnows. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good and are biting on everything.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water is a little murky. Surface temperature is 71 degrees. The level is normal. The bream are biting and beginning to come up around the shoreline. They’re biting worms and crickets. Crappie reports were fair. Minnows and jigs are your best bet. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfish are biting well on shad and chicken livers.
(updated 5-24-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said that although the AGFC will be starting the drain of Lake Poinsett in July, fishing here is continuing as usual. The bream are bedding and crickets have become the shop’s best seller, although Ome is still selling lots of minnows. Also, reports are that the bass fishing has been really good. For more information about the future draining of the lake, contact the AGFC.
Bald Knob Lake
(updated 5-17-2017) Angler Nicholas Karris said the bream bite is best right now. Bass are good early and late.
(updated 5-24-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is dingy and at a normal level. The water surface temperature is at about 70 degrees. Bream remain good and are biting mostly crickets. Crappie moved deeper but the bite is still good on minnows. Bass fishing has been excellent, with plastic worms getting lots of reaction. Catfishing is fair. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 5-24-2017) Lake Frierson State Park had no report.
(updated 5-24-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 490 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been clearing to a green tint. The river has been looking great this week and the trout have been on the bite. Olive and brown Woollies have been hot. Hot pink Trout Magnets have been working great with spin fishers.
(updated 5-24-2017) 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. 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 5-24-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported that the river remains really muddy. Crappie reports were poor. Bass reports also were poor. The catfishing was OK on trotlines and live bait.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
(updated 5-24-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-17-2017) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing is finally picking up. The weather in the earlier part of the week was too windy, and the recent water levels have been too high. Within the last few days, sunshine and calmer weather conditions seem to have caused the lake to stabilize. Bass have started biting hard all over the lake. Reports have come in that they are hitting spinnerbaits and topwater baits extremely well, while frogs and soft baits are doing intermediately well. Bream are finally bedding and the bream bite is on. Large bream are being recorded from all over the lake, even bank and dock fishing are starting to become more successful. Worms have done better than crickets, according to most reports, but many fishermen say that they are seeing more success with crickets close to the shoreline. Catfish are the only fish that seem to be declining in activity, likely due to the fact that they are spawning. That does not mean they will not bite. Many fishermen fishing for food actually prefer this time of year for catfish due to the fact that smaller catfish do not seem to stay on spawn as long, and therefore begin to bite before larger catfish. Crappie are still hit or miss. People looking for crappie have spotted them in dense, brushy areas, but no reports of large crappie hauls have come in. Barring any massive downpours from the system of rain moving in late in the week, the fishing in Cane Creek Lake should stay stable for a good while.
(updated 5-10-2017) 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 5-17-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) reported the water has been very high so most of the reports they’ve heard have come from pond fishing. Lots of reports of the bream really being turned on now. Bream are biting redworms and crickets. Fishing is good on the lake in the backwater areas.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.23 feetmsl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 feetmsl).
(updated 5-24-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday was approximately 12 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. Recent rains raised the lake elevation over the end of last week and the weekend, and it’s now beginning to fall back to normal with increased current at the dam. There was current Monday in Little River with the gates releasing around 3,000 cfs. Largemouth Bass continue roaming toward summer haunts but are feeding early and late in the flats. White bass remain scattered in large schools along Little River. Crappie have scattered with the rise and drop of lake elevation, and muddy water increased current over the past couple weeks. Gar remain shallow, making great opportunities for bow fishermen. Surface temps Monday ranged 67 degrees early to 75 degrees. As of Monday the tailwater level was 229 feet msl. Be advised, the no wake zone between the north end to the south end of the park is being strictly enforced. Clarity and visibility remain heavy stained and muddy depending on location, more so the further up Little River. The oxbows have fair to good clarity and improved visibility as of today over last week. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranges 3-8 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 12-20 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.
Water temperatures have been consistent over the past week, and largemouth Bass remain post-spawn, and continue to move to deeper water, but early morning topwater activity continues to improve. Largemouth bass from around 2-3 pounds are fair to good most days; they are feeding near flats adjacent to creek channels. Buzz baits, Chug Bugs, Spit’n Images and soft body plastic frogs are working around standing lily pad stands and pond weed vegetation. As the sun rises, switch to big bulky Magnum lizards, Brush Hogs and 10-inch worms for a good bite in the same areas near drop-offs in the creeks. Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are working on windy flats early in the morning hours before the sun gets high, and are catching 2-3 pound bass near ditches and stumps adjacent to deep drops in the oxbows and deeper creek channels. The clearest water you can find away from muddy current in Little River continues to produce the best bite for bass. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions over the past couple of weeks are black, lime or Firetiger colors. Bass Assassin Shads in Gold Pepper Shiner and Mississippi Hippie colors in the off-colored, stained water clarity are working around lily pads and alligator mats. Big, bulky, Magnum Lizards, or Berkley 10-inch Power Worms are working, with the best colors over the past week with the stained to muddy water being chartreuse pepper, black grape, blue fleck or blackberry. The chatterbaits working best continue to be the spring bream, lime or Firetiger colors. Magnum 3-4-inch big bulky tubes and gizzits in black neon, pumkinseed/chartreuse or black/blue colors are drawing good reaction bites about 3-5 feet away from trees in 8-10 feet of depth in the oxbows. 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. The white bass disappeared with all the muddy water and current over the past week. There is nothing to consistently pattern or report with crappie. The cats continue biting well with the current in Little River. Trotlines are best using cut bait or buffalo as well as homemade cheese bait in 10-15 feet depths of the river.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.39 feetmsl (Full pool: 548.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the muddy water is clearing up. Crappie can be caught 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Hybrids are bring caught 20-40 feet deep near the submerged timber in the cleaner water.
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 407.46 feetmsl (full pool: 408.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-24-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-70s and the lake is clear up to Point 14 and a moderate stain farther up. Bass fishing is good, but the fish are running small. Best bet has been either topwater or shallow running crankbaits fished across long shallow points with some cover. The creeks and big coves are the best producers. Try Big Hill, Brushy or Yancey. A few decent-sized fish were reported coming on spinnerbaits fished in the same areas. Lots of small Kentuckies along the bluff banks at points 14, 15 and 28. Use a Texas rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin/red glitter. Crappie fishing has slowed with the warming water. A few fish reported early in the morning coming from attractors at 18-20 feet deep. Try a 2-inch curly tail grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead and worked at the top of the brush at 12-15 feet. Best bet is at mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Hybrid fishing is picking up due to the abundance of spawning shad. Look for fish between Caddo Bend and Arlie Moore. If no “breaking fish” are located, try trolling the small 5-arm umbrella loaded with 4-inch swimbaits. Use the sonar to locate the schools, which will be suspended 12-15 feet down. Also quite a few white bass mixed in with the hybrids. Early morning is the best time.
Bream fishing is fair with fish now starting to bed in the coves at mid-lake. Use redworms or crickets.
(updated 5-24-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said the lake is finally get back to normal level, at least for a while. The lake level Tuesday was at 407.45 feet msl. The water temperature was from 73 around Iron Mountain to 77 degrees at Cox Creek. Bass fishing is good. The reports are topwaters early and buzzbaits around the points and weed beds. Black spinnerbaits also are making a show. After the sun comes up, wacky worms and Texas rigged worms are high producers. Use small worms that are tomato or watermelon color. Good fish are being caught. Stay shallow. Hybrids have been caught around State Park Marina. Just watch for the boats. Jigging or live baits are producing some good fish. This cold weather has dropped them down to 40-60 feet. Use your electronics to locate them. Crappie have moved back to the brush piles. Fish 6-8 feet over brush piles in 13-15 feet of water. Lennox Marcus and Arlie Mooreare showing good results. No report on catfish or bream. The holiday weekend is coming up, so sharpen your safety eyes and boating safety. Be on the lookout for the other guy.
(updated 5-24-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that like he’s seen at Lake Hamilton, the crappie are still on the brush piles. Fish 8-12 feet deep in 15-24 feet of water. Both jigs and minnows are getting the job done. Every trip has yielded at least two 16- to 17-inch fat girls.
(updated 5-24-2017)Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the water has been about 7 feet high since the heavy rains and there have only been a few reports of bass being caught, but overall it’s been slow. There will be a bream tournament held there over the Memorial Day weekend.
(updated 5-24-2017)Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) is hearing some good reports of bass being caught in good size and numbers.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report this week.
White Oak Lake
White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 5-24-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that fishing has been really slow this week. No reports.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 5-10-2017) 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 5-24-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports heavy generation and muddy water has been the norm below Carpenter Dam for the last several weeks. The tailrace has been very dangerous to navigate and little productive fishing has been done since the flooding conditions were present. However, Lake Ouachita has fallen below flood pool allowing Entergy and the Corps of Engineers to greatly reduce flow at all area dams as lake conditions return to more stable levels. Slower flows and clearing water will allow fisherman to boat and wade to areas that hold fish of different species that are migrating into the tailrace to spawn or feed. Rainbow trout fishing has resumed as fish that were forced downstream due to the very heavy flows have now migrated back to areas below the dam. Bank fisherman are catching rainbows on redworms and nightcrawlers fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Wax or meal worms are also working well used in the same manner. Corn is an excellent bait since rainbow trout are natural born egg eaters and corn closely resembles a fish egg that is easily digested by these hearty game fish. Spin fisherman are not as fortunate as thousands of threadfin shad are moving into the tailrace to spawn. Abundant baitfish has made artificial lures much less effective than earlier in the year. Fly fisherman should use caution when wading now that the lake is at normal summertime level. Concentrating on egg patterns in yellow or white, these anglers have accounted for good limits of fish that were located in calmer water out of the main flow. Trout fishing will remain solid until the end of June. Live bait presentations are key to success. May begins the white bass spawn in Lake Catherine. These fish are present below the dam in good numbers and are preparing for a spawn that should last until the end of June. Jerkbaits in a silver/black pattern will draw vicious strikes over sand bars and exposed rock structure. Trolling shallow running crankbaits is also productive from the bridge to the dam. Alabama rigs perfectly imitate a school of shad and is an excellent lure to catch whites in current flow or slack water. Hybrid bass are also mixed in with the white bass migration and are being caught with the same lures and locations. The majority of fish are in the 1- to 2-pound range. With the warming water temperature, big stripers will move toward the dam looking for cool water and baitfish. C-10 Redfins and Super Spooks are the baits of choice when targeting schooling stripers. Soft plastics casted weightless imitate an injured baitfish and is often a trigger for feeding bass. Strong lines and heavy action rods are recommended for these powerful fish that often weigh over 20 pounds with some tipping the scale at over 50 pounds. Catfish will begin to spawn in early June and provide fisherman a nice change of pace from the trout/bass fishing that dominates the majority of fishing below the dam. Normal conditions are right around the corner and good fishing will return to our area lakes.
(updated 5-24-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945)said the river is still high and muddy with a few clear bays and creeks. Water temperatures have been in the mid-70s. Bass fishing has been good to fair in the grass with jigs and Bamboozies, black hollow-body frogs, white scam shad weightless. Crankbaits have been working well in spawning bays and creeks bumping stumps around fry. Crappie has been fair in offshore brush piles and crappie shelters. Use minnows or brown jigs, pink jigs, and orange and chartreuse jigs. White bass and stripers are still in the creeks. Use Rat-L-Traps, spoons and spinnerbaits. Bream have been excellent on spawning beds and are biting worms and crickets. Catfish have been excellent on redworms and cut bait.
(updated 5-24-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are still on the brush piles. Fish 8-12 feet deep in 15-24 feet of water. Both jigs and minnows are getting the job done. Every trip has yielded at least two 16- to 17-inch fat girls.
(updated 5-24-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said onUS97 radio thatthere have been a lot of good reports getting some of bream catches going. That’s something that had been a little off in the last couple of weeks because of the yo-yoing water levels but now that it’s kind of stabilized, people are finding good groups of bream. They may not be as shallow as we want them to be, up in the nests. They are a little deeper but they are catching them in the guts of pockets, 5-6-7 feet deep. Some guys were catching them 8 feet deep. Focus on the guys of pockets because that’s where the better ones are. Use crickets, nightcrawlers. Berkley makes that Power Worm that works well if you don’t want to monkey with a live bait. Kind of looks like a little maggot and it works well, too.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 357.39 feetmsl (full pool: 342.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie are doing well on Shiney Hiney, Gimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting 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 5-24-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that fishing has been slow due to high water. The lake has been 14 feet above normal. Clarity is good, however. Bream reports were poor. Crappie were fair on minnows. Bass were mostly poor, but some were biting white spinnerbaits. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
(updated 5-24-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the lake is just too high for much fishing at all. No reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.02 feetmsl (full pool: 578.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-24-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said water temperature is ranging 76-80 degrees. The clarity is clear. Black bass are still good and being caught with frog-style baits, Texas rigged plastics and black spinnerbaits fished late evening and night. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are good and being caught on small crankbaits, spoons and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are still good on Alabama rigs and live bait. The central part of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are excellent in water 10-15 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are very good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 10-20 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 5-24-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said onUS97 radiothat the lake is back full pool, and he got a great report on Monday. The lake was absolutely perfect setup fortopwater season when they got those heavy rain three weeks ago that shot the lake up 5 feet and messed that all up. Now, it’s back down to full pool, it’s been there for over a week, and it seems like the lake has stabilized in the last 4-5 days. Kastner says he talked with a guy who was back on the main lake, and this is kinda going back to what it should have been two weeks ago. If you put your boat out in 40-50 feet of water and you’re throwing as hard as you can up on those big main lake points, and the bait is landing in 5-10-12 feet of water, a bigger weighted swimbait, slow-rolling it and let it pendulum down to 10-15-20 feet, there are a lot of good fish being caught on Ouachita doing that. Yes, you’re going to catch stripers and walleye as well, but there are a lot of good blacks being caught that way also, and that just started in the last 4-5 days. That big 8-inch long Megabass swimbait works. That Keitech big full-body swimbaits work. Early in the morning if they’re breaking you can catch them on topwater, but the majority of these better fish are being caught using swimbaits. Now, you can go up into a pocket and there is a ton of fry scattering on the surface. You can throw asquarebill crankbait and catch some up on there, a female guarding those fry. Or you can swing a bluegill-colored jig or a blue-colored crankbait in those pockets. But what is working best is out there on those points.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 391.02 feetmsl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 5-24-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake is still having a fairly decent amount of bream activity, mostly when fishing with crickets on or near beds from the shoreline. There has also been an uptick in crappie activity in moderate depths, with both live minnows and assorted jigs.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-24-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said the lake still has no substantial activity to report. Fishermen are definitely out in the water, but so far there is only minimal bream activity and little reports on anything else.
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