Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 31, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 31, 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.
Fishing Highlight of the Week:
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 5-31-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is clear and high. No surface temperature was available Wednesday. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie fishing has been poor to fair. Best bet is to use a jig around cypress trees. Bass fishing has been good using spinnerbaits and plastic worms, frogs or flukes. Catfishing is good with shad, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
(updated 5-24-2017) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reported that the bream 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 5-31-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said currently they are seeing 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. The Greers Ferry Lake level is above normal pool. To lower the lake level, Lowellanticipates longer periods of heavy generation to begin soon. 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 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 5-31-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that after two days of one generator around the clock, it looks like they’ll be back to the 12-hour, two-generator schedule. This will be two generators operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A problem with one of the other generating stations in the region caused them to switch over to the around-the-clock schedule. This can happen after they have posted the schedule for the next day so anglers should call the dam before starting their trip. Drift fishing was fair to good on the one-unit water using large weighted nymphs and San Juan worms. The river is clear and fishing has been good on the 12-hour schedule by staying ahead of the rising water. Size 16 nymphs and size 20 midge pupas have been good on the lower water.
(updated 5-31-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said this fishing has been great with consistent flows from the dam each day. The current water release has been great for drift-fishing the low water from boats. The hot flies have been egg patterns, sowbugs and pheasant tail nymphs.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 470.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 5-31-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the lake level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.21 feet it is 7.67 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and falling with generation. The overall catching is good and will continue to be so for a while to come. The crappie are holding on the old brush line and in any pole timber suited for their needs. Try using minnows or jigs in 15-20 feet of water anywhere on the lake in these locations. The walleye are eating on points and humps, with drop-shots and crawlers rigged on jigheads. Some are coming in on bass lures as well. Around or behind the old brush line or just on the edge in 12-15 feet of water. The bream are shallow and eating small crankbaits, crawlers and crickets all over the lake around spawning pockets and banks from 1 foot out to 15 feet. The black bass are eating a variety of baits up shallow and on corners of the old brush line and in the middle of the old brush line. You just have to peck around till you find some and more will be close at hand. The hybrid and white bass are feeding like crazy on various structure in 33-35 feet of water. One hundred fish days are the norm right now! Use spoons, in-line spinners and swimbaits or grubs for the best bite.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-31-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) had no report.
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 5-31-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the black bass bite is good to excellent. They’re biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits. Black bass are about 10-15 feet deep and about 10 feet off the weeds. Keaton Blaylock and Kyle Wise caught a 4.66-pounder Tuesday night during the weekly Black Bass Tournament, and Blaylock reeled in 13.6 pounds of fish on Friday night in a tourney. Kentucky bass are excellent and being caught on jigs. They can be found mixed in with the black bass in shallow water. White bass are good and are schooling at the east end. They prefer Rooster Tails, CC Spoons or deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Crappie reports have been good. Use crappie minnows and jigs with chartreuse and white and a very light line. Bream are excellent. They are off the bed now and are 10-14 feet deep. Continued good reports on large redear being caught. Use crickets and live worms. Catfishing has been excellent. They are being caught in 15-25 feet of water, but some have been in shallow water. 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 5-24-2017) 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.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 5-31-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said river flow is still strong at 140,000 cfs and Charley has been told that it will be high for almost all of June. Please keep off the river. This a time when kayaks are a good option to use in the backwaters. Fish the flooded areas and ditches that have been flooded. Fish a mudbug or a similar bait in crawfish color in the ditches.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-31-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water clarity would is stained and the level Wednesday was low. Bream appear to still be bedding up in shallow water, and anglers report good reports of catches. They’re using worms or crickets. Crappieare slow with just fair reports; they seem to be about 6 feet deep. Minnows or jigs will work best. Bass, though, are excellent. Anglers are throwingspinnerbaits,crankbaits andtopwaters and gettinggreat response. No reports on catfish. No reports on white bass.
(updated 5-31-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 5-31-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said the quest for flatheads in the Murray Lock and Dam has been excellent through snagging and slicks.
(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 5-31-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is still high but he’s been getting some fish reports of late, most of them good. Bream are good and responding to both worms and crickets. Bass are good on crankbaits and jigs. Catfishing has been good onstink bait and nightcrawlers. No report on crappie.
(updated 5-31-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake remained murky this week, and the current water level is high. No temperature was available. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappieare good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good onspinnerbaits,crankbaits and plastic worms. No reports on catfish. The water was reported muddy near Terry Lock and Dam, and there were no reportsfrom any species.
(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 5-31-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is “tremendously high,” and there have been 10 generators running. Fishing is difficult at best, and anglers are advised to be extra careful.
(updated 5-31-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the White River is flowing very fast and deep through the Arkansas Ozarks, so be prepared to add weight to your line, go deep and get ready for a fight because the trout have never been healthier and stronger. Some say the browns are getting lazy, though; they don’t have to search for food since it’s coming right at them all the time from banks saturated with the high water. So, put your bait right in front of them and flash it around. If you’re using stick baits, lures or spinners, make sure they are bright and carry some weight. They’ve hooked more browns on plastic worms and live worms than they can count, even nabbed some with white PowerBait. Leave the shrimp at home for now. One of the dock’s favorite fly guys mentioned that they’re blessed with good dry-fly action most any time on this river when the sun is shining and warming the topwater.
Remember that the trout will stay near the banks in this swift current so cast that direction. Remember, too, to always pay attention to how quickly your boat is moving downstream; stay alert, stay safe and enjoy the beauty of the Arkansas Ozarks.
(updated 5-31-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said just before Memorial Day weekend that they had a rain event (about an inch in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.6 feet to rest at 30.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 2.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened 17 flood gates to release 13,300 cfs to augment generation and lower the lake. Upstream, Table Rock rose 1 foot to rest at 11.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.1 feet above the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened flood gates to release 9,800 cfs to augment generation and lower the lake. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 feet to rest at 7.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with high generation. On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo has cleared up. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (size 14) with a ruby midge (size 18) suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 692.63 feetmsl (normal conservation pool: 659.00msl).
(updated 5-31-2017) K Dock Marina said it was closed from flooding until further notice.
(updated 5-31-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said late last week that the lake was at 691 feet msl.
The water temperature was 72-78 degrees depending on where you’re at. By end of day it’s getting a little warmer more. In the back of the creeks Del found 80-degree water, so the water ius warming up pretty quick. Army Corps of Engineers has opened up the flood gates for Bull Shoals and they’ve got water running, the lake has crested and it’s started to come down a foot to foot and a half. It’s moved the fish around some but not a whole lot. A lot of the fish are concentrating on the points. Some of the main lake points have some nice fish on them. You can catch them on the old trail line. A drop-shot is working, and some of those fish are starting to move out to the humps. It’s a little bit early but you can drop-shot or spoon those. The points with wind are going to do a little bit better. If you can find color, wind and bait, that’s kind of the key you’re looking for. A lot of the big smallmouth are down 40-45 feet. Most of the fish you’re going to catch are in that old shore line range, 35 feet, that’s where the numbers are going to be. The black bass in some of these creeks, if there is shad in there and some color, that’s my favorite way to catch them. You can catch them flipping a jig. Look for the big logjams with shade, cover, bait, wind. There is so much cover in the lake for these fish, though, it’s not like you’re going to the back of the creek and catch a million fish, but you’ll catch some quality fish. Been catching a lot of fish on a swimbait. Throwing a little Keitech, my little finesse spinnerbait, that seems to be doing well also. Long-casting it out on the points, slow-rolling it and bringing it back to the boat. A lot of those fish are suspended in the 20-foot range, so when you get out on those points, make the long cast and just slow-roll it back to the boat. If they’re positioned a little deeper you can use the Road Runner-style head with a shad-style bait. Count it down to 10 and just tickle the tops of the old brush line. That’s where the fish are at right now. If you do want to go back into creeks, there is a lot of cover. A lot of guys have been asking where are all the largemouth bass. They’re in there, and they’re not very deep, there is just so much cover. The thing you want to remember is, they still want to be close to deep water. So if you get back in a channel swing of the back of a creek, if you’ve got deep water nearby, find the point or a pocket or wedge that those fish are going to hold to so they can get out. By far, still the best bait if you have the right wind and right conditions is a spinnerbait. Spinners are working on the cloudy days. If you’re going in the backs of creeks, Del says he’s still throwing a squarebill covering water. And a lot of guys are getting excited that, yes, you can start catching fish on topwater pretty regularly if you can get out in the evening. There’s a good little morning bite that doesn’t last long. Del says he doesn’t know if he’d do it all day, but you can go out for the evening topwater bite. Those fish will move out on those points, so cast across the points, that last big bush or tree that’s there. Or cast the side of the point where the wind’s smacking it; that’s where those fish are going to be.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 577.08 feetmsl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75msl, April-September – 552.00msl).
(updated 5-31-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the rain continues but not every day as it was. The Norfork Lake level is being maintained at 3 feet under the top of the flood pool. Tom said the hope is, once they get into their hotter period, the lake can be lowered. Striper fishing is outstanding right now in the mid-lake and down to the dam and east to Big Creek. Almost every point is holding fish. The shad continue to stay in the brush on the points and the stripers are staying right with them. In the last week they have seen a lot of topwater action around Point 1 and out in the main lake. The only problem is its not consistent and you never know when the stripers will come up. If you can get out before sunrise you should be able to catch stripers throwing swimbaits into the brush on any point in the southern part of the lake. You should also try a topwater lure off the points even if you see no surface action. The stripers are there, just not chasing surface baits. If you want to try live bait and cannot get shad, use shiners. They are working. Try long-lining them behind your boat, pitching them into the brush, and downlines set 28 feet.
Tom added, “Frank from Lakeview schedule a trip for his family who had never striper fished on Norfork Lake. It was rather cold and overcast with a slight miss in the air. I started in Diamond Bay and had no bites the first hour so moved to another spot and started to have some success. We caught a couple and loss a couple, then the fish got active and we could not keep up with the action. I had eight lines out and at different times we had three and four bites and fish on the line. We ended up catching 11 and keeping nine. It was very hectic, but for their first time striper fishing, it was quite an experience they will not soon forget.”
Lou added, “I am getting back out on the lake after the holiday weekend and this week I am concentrating my fishing areas to the mid-lake area. Yesterday morning I fished the major creeks in the mid lake area and caught stripers and largemouth bass, but all were on the short side. Today I stayed out on the main lake and fished points that have a lot of sunken trees out in the lake. At around 6:30 a.m. I found a point where the shad was flipping all over the place. I was fishing with live shad (large shiners will also work) and started flipping the shad between the trees. For the next two hours it was pretty much nonstop action. All the bass species were feeding in 2-20 feet of water. I ended up landing six stripers, three hybrids, numerous whites, a couple nice largemouth bass and a 5-pound channel cat. The biggest challenge I have in fishing inside of the brush is that the brush tends to keep a lot of my fish after I get them hooked up. I went through 20-plus hooks this morning, but it sure was fun. The stripers up in my area are starting to feed again and fatten up. I caught no skinny fish this morning all fat and healthy looking.”
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 5-31-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake rose 0.5 feet to rest at 20.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 2.5 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, they had some wadable water at night and early morning. On the Norfork there was flooding but the river is back in its banks and the flood gates have been closed. 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 and the dock hole. 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. My 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).
John also said, “As you know, we have had some recent flooding, on the Norfork tailwater. The double whammy of the big flows on the White (caused by flooding on the Buffalo and Crooked Creek), which backed up into the Norfork and the Army Corps of Engineers opening several flood gates at Norfork Dam, caused some major damage, on the Norfork. Once the flood gates were closed and the ramps were cleaned up, fishing returned to the Norfork.
“I began fishing it as soon as I could. As I floated it in my river boat, I noted many changes. I saw wrecked or missing docks, trash hung up in trees, erosion and downed trees. I also noted several major changes in the channels. Many were filled in with gravel that severely restricted traffic. There were also spots that had been scoured out and were much deeper now. I figured that once I began wading the river I would note more profound changes.
“I finally got my chance to wade part of it a week ago Tuesday. The day before it was off until noon but this information was not included on the Southwestern Power Administration prediction, so I missed it. I was doing a two-day guide trip and I always like to wade one day and float the other, if possible. I had fished some novice fly-fishers Monday on the White in my boat, with limited success. I wanted to do something different. That afternoon I checked the prediction and saw a brief window of opportunity on the Norfork. I was to fish a half-day and that worked out well.
“My clients were game for an early start and a different approach. I figured that Quarry Park would be a bit crowded and opted to fish Ackerman Access. It has always been a favorite of mine. When we arrived, we noted that the river was up but that there was no current. The White was so high, the Norfork was backed up all the way to the island in front of Charlie’s. The water looked deep but I figured that I could hug the bank and make it to the island. The going was challenging and there were a couple of spots where the channel had been scoured out around a blowdown. The water almost hit the top of my waders, but we made it.
“When we arrived at the island, I was surprised. The pool in front of Charlie’s house (the kiddie hole) was graveled in. The lower island had been washed away. About a third of the upper island was also gone, leaving a string of large boulders that had been placed there to prevent this from happening. Most of the water was now moving through the right channel (facing upstream).
“It was like fishing a new river. It was like a place that I had never fished before. I looked around and noted some new spots that I thought would hold fish. We began fishing with a cerise San Juan worm with a root beer midge dropper below it. There was one false start that produced no fish, but after moving to a new spot both anglers were soon into good fish. We caught several rainbows over 20 inches or better and enjoyed ourselves a lot. Unfortunately, the water began to rise and we had to leave immediately before the deep water we had crossed getting in got any deeper. Somehow we made it safely out. It had been a challenging wade in and out. I would not recommend it to any angler. You would be much safer kayaking down from Quarry Park.”
Buffalo National River
(updated 5-31-2017) 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. Berry’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.
(updated 5-31-2017) 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. Berry’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 1,128.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-31-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water has cleared. It’s also at a normal level. Bass are good and are in shallow depth. Anglers are having good success around brush withspinnerbaits,crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair. The bream bite has been poor to fair. The fish are spawning or are deep. Try using worms. No report on crappie.
(updated 5-31-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water temperature is in the low 70s and stripers are back on the main lake. Stripers are on the feed even with the stained water, and most stripers are using 10-100 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 Beaver Lake Striper 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 stripers 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. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure……check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website (linked above). Live bait as always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. On the mid and lower sections check out these areas: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue and Coppermine. At Horseshoe Bend, white bass are surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers as well. 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. 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, Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also throw slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(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 that the 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.
Just Fishing Guides filed no report this week. (PLACE IS CLOSED APPARENTLY)
(updated 5-31-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water is muddy and the level is normal. No temperature was recorded. Bream are excellent and are biting worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent on worms, blood bait and stink bait.
(updated 5-31-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water is murky. Surface temperature is 73 degrees. The level is normal. The bream bite remains good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports were good on both minnows and jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on shad and chicken livers.
(updated 5-31-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the crappie are biting at the bottom of stumps. Bream are still good, but slowing down. Catfish and bass are biting really well. We are still selling lots of live bait as well as other fishing supplies. The limit has been removed on your catch here at Lake Poinsett.
Bald Knob Lake
Angler Nicholas Karris said
(updated 5-17-2017) Angler Nicholas Karris said the bream bite is best right now. Bass are good early and late.
(updated 5-31-2017) Boxhound Marina(870-670-4496) said the water is clear and the leve is normal. Water temperature on Wednesday was 80 degrees. Bass have moved into deeper water and the bite is good. Anglers are using plastic worms, including trick worms, and topwater lures with the warmer water. Catfishing is good on shrimp. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie reports have been fair to good lately. Use minnows.
(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 5-31-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is on and there many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 5-31-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported the water level is still high, but there has been some decent fishing. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie reports have been fair on both minnows and jigs. Bass anglers are using spinnerbaits and crankbaits and getting fair results. No reports on catfish and no reports on walleye.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
(updated 5-31-2017) 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 5-31-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said the catfish are biting on everything, especially nightcrawlers and stink bait. The best catfish catching is fishing on the bottom. Bream are biting on waxworms and crickets. Anglers are recommended to try Ditch Bayou for the best chances at bream. People are also starting have luck fishing with topwater baits for bass.
(updated 5-31-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the lake has good clarity and is at a normal level. Bass are fair. The fish are in 10-15 feet depth and are hitting plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms and soft plastics. White bass are schooling in the morning and in the evening. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-31-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Servicesaid the lake level on Memorial day was 6 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There was reduced current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2,000 cfs. Recent thunderstorms and high winds muddied up the main lake east of Yarborough point down to Millwood State Park. Largemouth bass continue feeding early and late in the flats, moving deeper into creek channels and ditches as the sun rises. White Bass remain elusive along Little River. Crappie have scattered with the rise and drop of lake elevation, with muddy water over the past couple weeks. Surface temps as of Monday ranged 68 early to 77 degrees. Tailwater level was near 230 feet msl. Remember the new no-wake zone from the north end to the south end of the park, about 1 mile; it is being strictly enforced by the AGFC.
Mike added that clarity and visibility remain heavy stained and muddy depending on location, with main lake stirred up by the high winds and thunderstorms over the past few days. Further up Little River it is beginning to settle out and clear up much better than main lake, with the reduced inflow and current. That could change midweek with increased inflow from the weekend’s thunderstorms in western Oklahoma and eastern Arkansas, as that rainfall had not arrived at Millwood as of Monday. The oxbow’s clarity has improved to good. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 2-3 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 15-25 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.
Mike says largemouth Bass are feeding well early. Dawn and early morning top water activity is excellent. The bass are feeding very good at daylight from around 6-10 a.m., between 2-5 pounds each, feeding across flats, with stumps, vegetation and pads adjacent to creek channels. Chug Bugs, Spit’n Images, buzzbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, and soft-body plastic frogs continue working around standing lily pad stands and pond weed and vegetation from 1-5 feet of depth. As the sun rises, switching over to big bulky 10-inch worms will entice a good bite in the same areas near drop offs in the creeks. Chatterbaits continue working on windy flats early in the morning hours before the sun gets high, and are catching 2-3 pound bass around stumps adjacent to deep drops in the oxbows and deeper creek channels. Buzzbaits in black/blue, firecracker, or bream colors have been working well over the past week. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt and Pepper Phantom, Crystal Shad and Grey Ghost colors have been working around lily pads and vegetation over the past week. Big, bulky Magnum Lizards, or Berkley 10-inch Power Worms continue working with the best colors being Junebug, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or Blue Fleck. The chatterbaits best colors over the past week are the Spring Bream, black/blue or Firetiger. The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce the most aggressive bite for largemouths. Best colors of the soft-body plastic frogs for morning topwater action have been the Junebug, Pumpkinseed/pearl or Black, and are drawing good bites in 1-5 feet depth on flats with stumps and cypress trees upriver in the oxbows. Medium-diving Bomber Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad-colored Fat Free Shads and Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Squarebills in Gizzard Shad, Ghost Minnow and Silverado colors are getting good reactions in the better water clarity upriver this week.
White bass have been consistently inconsistent over the past few days. No report of a consistent pattern over the past couple weeks, and large schools Mike feels are holding in deep washouts and hollows in the bottom of Little River. Try a jigging spoon to entice a bite once you locate a large school on your electronics. No report on crappie. The catfish continue biting well, and even with the reduced current in Little River. Trotlines are best using buffalo, chicken hearts and gizzards, and homemade dough bait in 15-18 feet deep water of Little River.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.45 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.
(updated 5-31-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had no report.
(updated 5-31-2017) Phillip Kastner ofTrader Bill’s Outdoor Sportsin Hot Springs had no report.
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 407.45 feetmsl (full pool: 408.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-31-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-70s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is pretty good with quite a few smaller fish reported but the big ones are hard to come by. Best pattern has been throwing crankbaits to long main lake points early in the morning. When the sun is bright, try a Texas rigged 6-inch worm in green pumpkin/red flake fished on the same points. Also spinnerbaits are producing a few bigger fish. Most anywhere in the lake is good for bass, but the mid-lake area is probably the best. Crappie fishing is good with quite a few big fish reported. With the water warming the fish are moving out of the coves to the main lake attractors at 18-20 feet. Fish a 2-inch Kalin’s grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead vertically to the top of the brush at about 15 feet down. Best color has been Tennessee shad. Be sure to cover the entire attractor because the fish will be only in one spot. Hybrid fishing is spotty with only a few fish reported. The fish are really scattered with very little schooling activity. Best bet is trolling with the small umbrella loaded with 4-inch white swimbaits. Look for fish at mid-lake between Edgewood and Arlie Moore. Bream fishing is good with some nice reports of shell cracker catches. Tight-line a redworm or cricket near the bottom on secondary points in big coves. Look for fish in 15-20 feet of water.
(updated 5-31-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said lake levels are stabilizing somewhat; Tuesday’s level was 407.45 feet msl. That level shows it is getting back to normal. Water temperature is mid-70s throughout. Water is clear with little trash. No report of black bass this week. Bream are still doing good. Fish the beds in 6-7 feet of water. Use electronics to locate beds at these depths and back off and throw drop-shot, or fish near the bottom with bobbers for fish. Arlie Moore and Lennox Marcus producing well. Crappie are in the brush piles in water 10-15 feet deep. Minnows are producing better than jigs now that spring is over. Hybrids are hitting live bait better than artificial. Find them around State Park Marina. They have moved deeper due to the weather and water activity.
(updated 5-31-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are still stacked up on the brush piles. Fish minnows or jigs 8-10 feet deep in 15-24 feet of water. Hybrid striper are good early in the morning fishing live bait 40-60 feet deep.
(updated 5-31-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248)bream are still slow, few bass being caught on spinnerbaits and crankbaits, catfish are slow, river is still high.
(updated 5-31-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said bream being caught, bass biting on soft plastics, no report on catfish.
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 5-31-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that fishing has been really slow this week. No reports.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 5-31-2017) 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 has allowed 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 gamefish. 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 have returned to Lake Catherine and good fishing opportunities are available to anglers seeking to enjoy beautiful scenery and quality angling.
(updated 5-31-2017) 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 that there have been a lot of good reports getting some ofbream catches going. That’s something that had been a little off in the last couple of weeks because of theyo-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 354.56 feetmsl (full pool: 342.00 feetmsl).
(updated 5-31-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the water is clear with a surface temperature of 80 degrees.Level has returned to normal. Bream fishing is excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie action has ranged from fair to good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good on topwater lures. Catfishing is good usingbloodbait on the trotlines.
(updated 5-31-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the lake is very high at its location and reports have been slow. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is good using worms and stink bait. No reports on bass. No reports on bream.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 576.84 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 onUS97radiothat 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 387.48 feetmsl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 5-31-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said bream and crappie both provided good reports this weekend on Bear Creek. Fishermen were mainly using live bait (crickets and minnows, respectively). There has also been an uptick in catfish activity, using stink bait and small baitfish.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-31-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said activity at Storm Creek is still minimal at best. Few reports of any substantial activity. Bream are biting some with crickets, but no major reports. Average is three or four caught during any given outing.
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