Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 21, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 21, 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 6-21-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is stained and the water level is normal. The surface temperature was deemed “hot!” Fishing was strong in all species. Catfishing is excellent using limblines and yo-yo’s. Large goldfish and minnows were the best bait. Bream remained good this past week. They are in about 2-3 feet depth of water along the shoreline and in the lily pads. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair. They’re mostly found in their usual spot around the Highway 89 bridge in 6-8 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Bass fishing has been good, particularly along the shoreline. Plastic worms and frogs have been the best baits. On the 1-5 scale for the week, Bates called the week “excellent, a 5.”
(updated 6-14-2017) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reported bream are doing well. Bass are fair. Fishing overall is kind of spotty, especially since the heavy rains.
Little Red River
(updated 6-21-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue to receive 12 hours of daily generation on the Little Red River. This generation schedule is providing excellent wading conditions on the upper sections of the river early in the day and on the middle and lower sections later in the day. With the water release of two full units of generation, the river will rise quickly. So, if wading, be observant of changing water levels and be aware of your surroundings for your safety. This generation schedule also is providing excellent drift-fishing.For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends sowbugs, midges, gold-ribbed hare’s ear and streamers. Red and bison-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 Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 6-21-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear with the generation beginning in the morning at 10 a.m. and ending about 10 p.m. This is allowing wade fishing at the dam in the early morning and at Winkley Shoal from about 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. Always check the daily schedule for the generation during your trip. Water generation can be checked by calling 501-362-5150 and enter 3 # for Greers Ferry Dam or check the USACE Little Rock app. Drift-fishing is good by starting ahead of the new water and fishing the falling water from the past day’s generation. Midges and blue-winged olive mayflies have been the main hatch with some caddis. Small midge pupas and small mayfly nymphs have been the best flies for Greg’s fly-fishers. Please continue to be careful in canoes and kayaks, especially during the generation period. Keep a watchful eye for docks and obstructions and do not let your craft hit these from the upstream side. The current will capsize your boat and possibly take you and the craft under. Enjoy your day on the river by paying attention to your surroundings and being alert. Be safe, and good fishing!
(updated 6-14-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing on the Little Red has been excellent. The water release from the dam has been a consistent 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Fishing has been best while fishing the falling water. The hot flies have been pink San Juan worms and copper johns. Trout Magnets have been catching fish as well.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.28 feetmsl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feetmsl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feetmsl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feetmsl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 6-21-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 468.30 feet msl and falling from generation and evaporation. At this time they are generating 12 hours a day. It is 5.76 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and they will continue to generate until it’s at normal pool and/or for needs. For the most part all species are in or getting in the summer habitat and will stay that way until the water starts to cool back off in the fall. The crappie have fallen back out deeper now with the falling water and are around brush piles more and suspended in the pole timber 15-25 feet deep. Some will go as deep as 40 feet. Try using minnows and jigs fished vertically. The catfish are eating well all over the lake on various baits day and night on various methods from rod and reel to trotlines and everything in between. The bream are guarding young fry and eating just about anything that gets in front of them. Try crickets, crawlers and small crankbaits and in-line spinners. The walleye are getting on out away from the old brush line and can be reached now without hanging up so much. Try dragging crawlers in 15-35 feet of water. The bass fishing is still good and will be in the old brush line and right on the edges of it for a lot of roamers, and the rest are up out deep in 25-45 feet of water. Try topwater offerings shallow and C-rigs and Texas rigs out deep. The hybrid and white bass bite continues to be good and will be good as they are good and healthy. It should be the best summer-and-into-fall bite the lake has had in a while. Use spoons, in-line spinners, and swimbaits for the best results in 25-45 feet of water, and there is a lot of schooling of both species going on the south end of the lake.
(updated 6-7-2017) Cody S. Smith of FishGreersFerry.com (501-691-5701) said, “Hey folks, summertime patterns are finally showing up here on Greers Ferry.” Surface water temps are ranging in the mid- to upper 70s. The new threadfin shad population is wrapping up the spawn and fish are feeding and healthy. While they still have an excess of water in the reservoir, most of the game fish are starting to really relate to offshore cover and the outside edge of the old shoreline. Cody says he has found that 12-25 feet of water is holding the majority of game fish, while in the early morning and late evenings they will push shallower, feeding on shad and sunfish fry. The walleye bite is going strong in both live bait and artificial offerings on mixed rock on hard bottom areas. Some of the biggest bluegills Cody says he’s seen this year are colored up and spawning in that 10-18-foot range. Pretty consistent schooling with whites and hybrids can be found in good numbers on the northern part of the lake like Sugarloaf, Choctaw and Lynn Creek.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-21-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water is at a normal level and is clear. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair and biting plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers.
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are in deep water and the bite is good on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone/chartreuse, Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bass are biting 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 well on crickets, 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 6-21-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said bass are still doing well around brush and are chasing shad like crazy. Bream are starting to pick up around the shoreline and grass, but still are not being able to find them on beds yet. Catfish are doing fair on jugs and trotlines, mostly blues and channels. Johnny had a 34-pound blue and several eight- to 12-pound channels last week. Crappie are doing fair, some in deeper water and some in 5 feet of water. Nothing over nine keepers 11 to 15 inches long, but a lot 9.5 inches to 9.75 inches long.
(updated 6-21-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water is normal and clear. Bream continue to have a good bite. Anglers are using worms and crickets. Crappie are good and biting minnows. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on blood bait and chicken livers. No report on white bass. On the 1-5 rating scale for the week, Larry said it was a 3 to 4, fair to good.
(updated 6-21-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said bream fishing is excellent. Bream have moved off the bed and are 10-14 feet deep. Lots of reports of big redear being caught. Use crickets or live worms. Catfishing is excellent. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water but some are moving into shallower water. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. Black bass are very good. The black bass are biting on crankbaits, wacky rigged worms, flukes and spinnerbaits. The fish are in 10-15 feet off the weeds in about 10 feet of water. Anglers are having better success in the day compared with night fishing. Heard that the black bass were still in the weeds. On Tuesday night, Matt Hedrick and Brandon Crain pulled in 12.8 pounds of bass, including a big bass of 3.56 pounds, to win the weekly tournament. Keeton Blaylock and Kyle Wise caught 10.62 total pounds. Keeton and Stetson Blaylock caught a 3.34 pound big bass on Friday night. Kentucky bass fishing is excellent. Kentuckies are being caught on jigs and minnows. They’re mixed in with the black bass in the shallow water. White bass are good. They have been seen schooling on the east end. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Whites are staying up longer. Crappie reports have been good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (use a chartreuse and white jig with very light line). Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught in 22-25 feet of water.
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting in deep water on Baby Shad and Slab Slanger, as well as minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting well on chicken livers, worms, minnows and bait shrimp. Bream are biting well on crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows and Carolina rigged plastics. Crappie have been slow to bite and most bites are coming right around sunrise on No. 6 minnows and blue and white jigs.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-21-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been hitting crickets and worms in both ponds. Catfish are biting fair on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass have been biting fair on minnows and small wacky rigged plastic worms. Crappie have been some for customers using No. 6 and pink minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-21-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been hitting minnows, green pumpkin lizards and worms, crawdad-colored crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and black salties at night. Crappie are slowing down but some are still being caught in some deeper water with some current on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs. Bream fishing is good with crickets or redworms.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is good with crickets and redworms fished deep on tight lines. Catfish have been biting well at night on minnows, goldfish and black salties. Bass fishing is good at night with black plastic worms or lizards or dark topwater baits. Crappie fishing is slow.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are still biting well for some customers using No. 6 and No. 12 minnows as well as blue and white or Tennessee shad-colored Kalin’s grubs. Bass have been hitting minnows and plastic worms or lizards about any way you can rig them. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Catfish are biting well late in the day and a little while after dark on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows.
Tommy Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 6-21-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass are biting and the response is good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish reports were fair, with the fish hitting worms or shad. No report on bream. No report on crappie.
(updated 6-21-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfish are excellent on chicken hearts, minnows and nightcrawlers. No reports on bass, bream or crappie.
(updated 6-21-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bream were fair in deep water. They were biting redworms. Bass are fair around the grass mats. Use jigs or hollow body frogs. No reports on catfish. No reports on crappie.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 6-21-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the AGFC brought in 28,000 largemouth bass this week. Also, the least tern study group from Arkansas Tech said birds are hatching; please stay off the sandbars where the birds are. A few people have started to back to river fishing now that the flows have dropped. Black bass are good are on the grass lines and on brush. Best baits are jigs. Catfish are moving in to shallower water behind the jetties and creek mouths. Use worms, shad or a Senko-style bait. The bite is good. Bream are around jetties with grass and around the riprap. Use crickets or black Mepps and Rooster Tails. The bream bite is good. White bass are good and are chasing shad early on jetty tips. Use Zara Puppies or Tiny Torpedoes. No report on stripers. No report on crappie. And yes, Charley says, his shop is open.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
(updated 6-7-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282),) had no report. River is flowing very fast and remains high. Cody suggests staying off the main river for the time being.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-21-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water has a slight stain and the level is normal. No surface temperature was available. Bream are bedding and the bite is good. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair. You’ll find them in 4-5 feet depth. Use minnows. Bass fishing has been excellent the past week. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are both working. Catfish are good. They are favoring chicken livers and the best success has been on trotlines. White bass reports were good. On a 1-5 scale for the week, Ray at River Valley rated the week a 3.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 6-21-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) saidthat bass are excellent, especially in the backwaters of the pool. Various approaches are working. Try crankbaits, watermelon red creature bait, or black and blue jigs. Catfishing is excellent as well. No reports on bream, crappie or white bass. At the Murray Lock and Dam, lots of success reported snagging for catfish. Results were excellent. Also stripers were great all week on twister tails and spoons.
(updated 6-21-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported bream remain good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair using minnows and jigs. There were good reports of bass up in Maumelle Creek on plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent on skipjack. No reports on white bass.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-21-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the clarity is stained and the water surface temperature Tuesday ranged 80-82 degrees. Water level remains high. Bream are fair. Crappie are good around the jetties using jigs. Bass fishing has been good. The bass are in around the jetties and in about 5 feet depth, and anglers have been having success flipping crankbaits. They’ve also had success using black and blue jigs, flipping tubes, buzzbaits and frogs. Catfish are good on stink bait and snagging. On a 1-5 scale for the week, Vince called the fishing fair, a 3.
(updated 6-21-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water was at normal level in Clear Lake and throughout the pool toward Terry Lock and Dam. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Bass were good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish were good on nightcrawlers. No report on crappie. On a scale of 1-5, McSwain rated the week a 4.
(updated 6-21-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the river was muddy. No report on surface temperature. Bream are excellent. You’ll find the best bite in the back waters in a depth of 3-4 feet. Waxworms and crickets were the bait of choice. Crappie are fair using minnows and jigs. Bass were good and responding well to plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent below the Murray Dam on skipjack.
(updated 6-21-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said snagging continues to produce for catfish near the Terry Lock and Dam. Reports on catfish were fair. Alex heard nothing else on other species in the pool.
(updated 6-21-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water is clear and is at a normal level. Fishing has been slow the past week. However, the anglers who have gotten out and have fair to good success with the bream. Bream are biting worms and crickets. Crappie are fair if you’re trolling. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing was good on worms and blood bait.
(updated 6-21-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says this past week has seen heavier generation schedules in the late afternoon and evening, decreasing water levels through the morning hours. It will take some patience to get the trout to pay attention to your bait in the a.m. Quarter-ounce Rooster Tails and Panther Martins with gold blades and yellow bodies have been successful in this scenario. In the afternoon, the bite is good with Red Wigglers and nightcrawlers floating at mid-depth. Drifting a scented pink worm works well in rising, high water. Sculpins have been scarce, so the bite has slowed down some; they’re trying salted minnows today; expect some feedback on that next week. The GULP 3-inch smelt minnow would be an acceptable replacement if live minnows aren’t available. Celebrate summer on the river – no better place to stay cool!
(updated 6-21-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water clarity is clear. The trout bite was excellent for the past week, both with rainbows and browns.
(updated 6-21-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said last Friday that last week ended with just a trace of rainfall in Cotter, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals remained steady at 27.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 5.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.4 feet to rest at 7.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.8 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 7.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with more moderate generation. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates on all of the lakes in the White River system. Expect a lot of generation, with some wadable water, in the near future. On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead size 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). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
John also said, “We have had a tough spring this year on our trout streams. We have had some of the heaviest spring rains that I can remember. At the beginning of the year, all of the lakes in the White River system were well below the top of power pool. We were enjoying wadable water on both the White and Norfork rivers. Now, after the heavy rains we received, which resulted in flooding on the Norfork and White rivers, the lake levels are at or near the top of flood pool.
“During the flooding, water was held back in the lakes. Once the flooding downstream had receded, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the flood gates on all of the dams on the White River System in order to lower the lakes a bit to prevent them from failing. During the flooding, the conditions were not safe. There was a lot of debris floating downstream and most, if not all, of the launch ramps were closed. When the floodgates were open, some of the ramps were open and the rivers were not as perilous but the water level was so high that it was difficult to fish.
“I did not fish during the flooding, but I fished the White and Norfork during the heavy water levels brought on by the floodgates. It was tough and I am glad it is over. Long leaders and heavy weight were the rule of the day. We caught trout but there were no easy days.
“In the past week, conditions have improved on both rivers. The floodgates have been closed on all of the dams, and the water levels on our rivers are lower. The ramps are all open, the rivers are all navigable and fishing has improved. To top it off, there is even a little wadable water. I guided both rivers [last] week and did well.
“On Monday, I fished the White at Rim Shoals. I was pleased to see the river at a very productive level. The water was running at about 8,800 cfs. This is the rough equivalent of just under three full generators. There was enough water for me to easily navigate the water with my conventional outboard powered by a propeller. At this water level, the fishing was much easier. We could use leaders that were shorter. Even more important, we could use less lead. This made the casting much easier. We caught plenty of trout and enjoyed the day.
“The next day we fished the Norfork. My clients were staying at a cabin on the river. I checked the prediction and noted that we would have a brief window of wadable water early in the morning. We were on the river at 7:30 a.m. It was on the bottom and still stained from the flooding earlier in the year. We found the river to be greatly changed. Places that used to be bedrock were graveled in. Spots that were previously gravel-bottomed were now bedrock. I must say that my wading staff was indispensable as I navigated through this new environment.
“The fishing was pretty good. We managed to land a 16-inch brook trout. This is the largest brook that one of my clients has ever landed. I caught a 19-incher on my own, but that was 20 years ago. Since then my best has been a 14. The water came up and we launched my boat. We floated the Norfork. The going was slow, but we still managed to land a fat 24-inch brown. The cutthroat eluded us so we did not get the grand slam. All in all, it was a good day, with two trophies landed.
“If you have not been out, you should try it. Things are back to normal.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 689.38 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last week that the water has come down but was still 30 extra free above full pool. Surface temperature had been ranging 76 to 80 and upwards to even 85 degrees in the back of creeks. The post-spawn fish that were deep have moved back up a little bit. It kind of killed the drop-shot bite. However, early in the morning if you get in back of some of the creeks, there’s a topwater bite going both early and late. The fish are keying on the shad. If you watch your graph, there are a ton of fish suspending about 20 feet. You can be over 100 foot or 10 foot. Watch your graph, have a topwater handy at all times. The bigger creeks, if they have some color in them, those are worthy of fishing if you’ve got some water coming in from the back. Start out there early; Del’s been catching a lot of fish early on the topwater bite and that’s a lot of fun, he said. Buzzbaits working on the flats. If you’re fish in those pockets a buzzbait works well when there is a lot of submerged cover. If you got a big weather front moving in, or you want to try and get a big one, the Whopper Plopper is working. If you’ve got isolated cover, a popper is working well. If you’re covering water, spinnerbaits are still picking up fish. Del uses a ½-ounce War Eagle, and you can change the color depending on where you’re at or the conditions. Also he’s catching a few on the ol’ jighead Keitech bait. Del prefers the one with the blade if you’ve got clouds and the wind; it’s kind of like the Finesse spinnerbait. Also, Del expects a lot of these fish are going to stay up in these bushes. They’ve got everything they need up there – they’ve got cover, they’ve got food, everything is right there. The crayfish jig bite has been really good, he added – try a ½-ounce football jig with a Netbait Paca-craw in peanut butter, or use an Arkansas craw, a green pumpkin, and maybe something with a little orange in there. You can fish the lake, you can fish the river, and you can do some bowfishing. If the water lays flat and calm ideally, fish it and get out early, get the topwater bite and move out to the points and go from point to point to point. Don’t sit anywhere for too long. If you get around the fish, they’re schooling up pretty good so hang out in that area, fish it thoroughly and you can come back to it if you need to. But the big thing is the topwater bite – get out early and go halfway back in the creeks. The first channel swing towards the middle of the creek has been about where they’ve been in about all the creeks.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 573.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says Norfork Lake is on fire right now. The striper bite is awesome on the lower, southern area of the lake. Starting early, look for stripers as shallow as 22 feet and just follow them out as the sun comes up. The best bite the last week has been around 7:30 a.m. in 40-50 feet of water. The striper are hugging the bottom, so right now Tom and crew are putting are baits on the bottom, then make three turns on the reels to keep the weight off the bottom. They are also using a short leader to keep the bait close to the bottom; this has been very effective. The threadfin shad they’re using are less than 2 inches long. We are using No. 2 and No. 4 hooks with a 12-pound leader. The best points are Koso and Thumb. Tom says he took the Gerrish family out; Scott and Amy with their three boys, Caleb, Connor and Dillon. The boys were 6 to 12 years old and jumped right in on how to hook and catch the fish. Tom has the boys reel very fast when they see the rod tip go down to the water. This sets the circle hook and then they take it out of the rod holder and fight the fish. Tom said they started early leaving the dock at 5 a.m. and did not have a bite for the first hour. The weather was not good but they were close to a marina so he wasn’t worried. In less than 2 minutes they went from no waves to 3-foot rollers. They raced to the marina and were very wet when they got there. They waited for over an hour until the stormed passed. When they went out again they had no bites but then went where Tom’s son, Sean, was fishing and started again. The fish started to bite and in less than 2 hours they caught 15 stripers and lost a few more. Everybody was very happy and had an experience they will not soon forget.
(updated 6-14-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. All species are biting, but the typical pattern for this time of year is different. The higher-than-normal water level is keeping the baitfish inside the sunken trees and brush, and the fish are loving it. Plenty of places to hide and feed. The predators are, as you would guess, up inside of the brush with the baitfish. Striper fishing has been excellent from the southern portion of the mid-lake area down to the dam and east of the dam partway back into Big Creek. Main lake points, as well as secondary points back into the creeks and coves, have been the best areas to find the striped bass. Early in the morning you can find stripers and hybrids up tight to the sunken trees and brush feeding on shad. If you can find an area with the shad flipping back in the brush, all species of fish will be in the area feeding. As the sun rises over the tree line, the stripers tend to move out into deeper, cooler water. They will still be off the points, but will move out to find water temperatures in the low 60s, which at this time is about 40-45 feet deep. Surface water temperature is close to 80 degrees. Live bait is working the best for him, Lou said. He’s been using live threadfin shad, gizzard shad or larger shiners. Artificial baits that have worked have been swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Lou says he attempts to get the bait down to the tops of the sunken buck brush, and try to retrieve along the tops of the brush anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet of water. Once the stripers go deeper, vertical jigging with a spoon will start working. So far though, Lou says, he can’t seem to beg a bite on a spoon, but they will work before long.
Lou adds that both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing have been good. Early and late in the day they are up tight on the sunken brush. Lou says he has had luck over the last week casting a Zara Spook into the brush and slowing walking the dog back to the boat. Lou says he’s called up many fish by this method. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also working very well. Try to get a deep-diving crankbait so it will get down to the tops of the brush in 10 to 25 feet of water. The fish are inside of the brush feeding on shad.
Walleye fishing has increasingly gotten better and better. Troll crankbaits on the old shoreline just off of the sunken brush in 20-25 feet of water. Lou had a group of guys down last week and they were using this method of fishing. They landed well over 20 walleye, many keepers. Firetiger was their most productive crankbait color pattern. The walleye are also moving onto the flats in the 15-30 feet water range. Using a Lindy rig with nightcrawlers has been working. You can also drop-shot a large shiner, keeping it just above the bottom in the same water depth of 15-25 feet.
Crappie and bluegills are up in the sunken brush. There has been some nice fish caught on crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits. Live bait will be the best, but the fish are very hard to reach. They have moved very deep into the brush, but working the edges of the sunken brush and especially under sunken Willow trees are holding some nice fish.
Catfishing has been excellent. Limblines, jugs and trotlines are all producing some really nice fish. Norfork Lake’s current water level is falling slowly and is at 574.95 as of earlier this week. The current surface water temperature is in the high 70s. Parts of the lake are clear (far north upriver and far south east of the dam). The remainder of the lake is slightly stained with a greenish blue color. Parts of the mid-lake area around the two bridges are still showing a slightly brown tint of stain. Overall the lake is in great condition and is getting back to normal. I am noticing very little floating debris, but caution is still advised as always.
(updated 6-21-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake fell 0.7 feet to rest at 17.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.72 feet and 5.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had limited wadable water and the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. 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. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek has been affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks and is fishing well. 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 6-21-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are 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.
(updated 6-21-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are 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 1,128.55 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water clarity is clear and is at a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie were fair with the anglers who were trolling. Bass reports were good, with a good bite early in the morning and late in the day. Small plastic worms and topwaters were working best. Catfish appear to be spawning, and the bite was fair.
(updated 6-21-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water temperatures are in the high 70s to low 80s, and striper activity forecast for the week is good. They are on the feed with most stripers using 20-100 feet of water. The mud line is clearing nicely. 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 get you some fish. Night fishing has also been productive in these areas. Some stripers are keyed on the spawning shad and patrolling areas that the shad are spawning in. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad fished on free lines and downlines from the surface down to about 50 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, as well as plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerk baits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks and Pencil Poppers need to be tied on and ready. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow; current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website linked above.
On the mid and lower sections check out these hot spots: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks and Larue.
Horseshoe bend has white bass surfacing, while walleye being caught in numbers as well. Walleye continue 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. Also give slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse a try. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 6-14-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Encouraging news! The water in the tailwaters is starting to go down and the bite is picking up.” Austin reported water temperatures between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge ranging from mid-60s down to the upper 50s. Water clarity is still less than optimal. You can find pockets of trout between the 62 bridge and Spider Creek. Unfortunately, you will still need a boat to access these areas. Trout are biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Trout are also hitting Rapalas and spoons being trolled between Houseman and the 62 bridge. Smallmouths are hitting on various crankbaits and soft plastics thrown at structure and in coves between Houseman and Beaver town.
(updated 6-14-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported fish were stocked yesterday and the fish are eager to eat whatever you throw at them. With the water in its current condition, fish the boat ramp just below the dam and at Bertrand. Bank fishing is limited due to the high water however, there is still room to fish, just got to get out there and find it. Only one week left in the snagging season. Game fish may be snagged from the bank below Beaver Dam, from the Corps of Engineers “No fishing beyond this point” sign, downstream to the first Corps of Engineers boat ramp on the left descending bank from until June 15. Good lures for anglers at Beaver Dam Store are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black or olive; hare’s ear, tungsten copper johns, WD40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan Worms.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 6-21-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are hitting watermelon-colored soft plastics, crawdad-colored crankbaits, spoons and spinnerbaits. Pools above, during and after rapids are good fishing places, from the AGFC’s Clifty Access to War Eagle Mills. Remember, the length limit on smallmouth is 14 inches. There has been very good fishing for largemouth bass on the last stretches of War Eagle. Anglers are fishing with whatever is hot on Beaver Lake. A reminder that the black bass combined limit is 2. Goggle Eye are biting Rooster Tails, small jigs and live worms. When you catch one, there are more likely many more fish in that same area. Catfishing is best with liver, stink bait and live bait. There has been good fishing at each bluff hole and the War Eagle stretch going into Beaver Lake.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) reports he has closed the shop and has retired.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the water is high and the clarity is stained as of Monday. Dave, who reports from here, said that overall it was still a good week for anglers. He also said “You can’t catch ’em if you don’t come on out.” He said the bream were still responding nicely, with anglers reporting good success. Crickets were working best for bream. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were good using crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent. You could throw about anything and get a response from the cats, Dave said.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water is dingy and is at a normal level. Surface temperature on Monday was 74 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing has been good, with spinnerbaits working best. Catfishing is good on shad or chicken livers.
(updated 6-21-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the fishermen are going after the bream at Lake Poinsett. The crickets are the most sought after bait. Although we are still selling plenty of minnows. For the catfish, anglers are going for the goldfish as their choice of bait. We do sell rice slicks, nightcrawlers and redworms as well as frozen bait. The weather is perfect.
(updated 6-21-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is very clear, and the water surface temperature Tuesday was ranging 83-84 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream fishing is excellent. Anglers were having the best success with crickets for bait. Bass are good both early in the day and late in the evening. Try a topwater for the best response. Catfishing is good using crawlers and chicken livers. No report on crappie. The week rated a 3-4 for anglers on a 1-5 scale.
(updated 6-21-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 455 cfs and water clarity is partly clear. Water coming out of the spring has still been cloudy. The river is coming down to a wadable level. Extra care should be used wading and always use a wading staff. The bite has been really good lately on olive, brown and black bead-head Woollies. This week a snail pattern has been working great. For spin fishing a hot pink or red Trout Magnet is hard to beat. Silver and gold spinners work well, also. The river is cold and refreshing during this hot time, so get out and enjoy.
(updated 6-21-2017) 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. 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 6-14-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported that water is clear and the level is closer to normal, about 9-9 ½ feet. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are in the creeks and around brush piles. Reports were fair, using minnows. No reports on bass. No reports on catfish. No reports on walleye.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff
(updated 6-7-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team reported that water temperatures are in the mid- to low 80s and visibility is less than 1 foot in most places; some protected back waters have around 1 foot of visibility. The river continues to flow at dangerously high rates. Additionally, the higher water level has barely submerged many of the wing dams in the northern part of the Pine Bluff pool, making boating outside of the marked navigation channel extremely dangerous. It is our advice to stay within Lake Langhofer until the river slows and returns to normal level. Black bass are biting fairly well within Lake Langhofer and in protected backwaters off of the river. Fishing pressure in the protected areas has made these fish difficult to catch, but they can still be caught using dark-colored soft-plastic creature baits and jigs either swam or worked through flooded vegetation and woody cover. Multiple casts to likely spots may be needed to get them to bite, so be diligent in your approach.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-21-2017) Jennifer Albertson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing is going strong. Bream are all over the lake right now, so bream fishing is great; they are biting mostly on crickets, and sometimes on redworms. Bass are fair, and they are hitting topwater baits. Crappie are slow and sporadic, biting on minnows when they bite. Come on out to try for anything, but especially if you want a good bream supper.
(updated 6-21-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said due to the higher temperatures, the best fishing at Lake Chicot has been at night and early in the morning. Catfish are the main thing biting. People are having better luck overnight with yo-yo’s and stink bait. The best daytime catch was a group of guys that were “hogging” or “noodling,” meaning catching the fish by feeling around for them and pulling them out of the water by hand.
(updated 6-21-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said that the water is clear and at a normal level. Water surface temperature is in the 80s. Bass are good, both early in the morning and late in the day. The bass are in about 10-15 feet of water. Soft plastic worms and topwater lures are working best. White bass are school and the bite is good. Use a crankbait for the whites. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level is near normal conservation pool and steady. On Monday there was reduced current in Little River with the gates releasing around 400 cfs. Largemouth bass are excellent on topwaters early, moving deeper later in the day. Crappie have improved upriver, out of any remaining current. Surface temps Monday ranged 77 degrees early to 86 late. As of Monday the tailwater level was near 226 feet msl with reduced gate current. Clarity and visibility continue improving this week. The main lake has also improved visibility over the past few days. Further up Little River, clarity is much better than a week ago, with the reduced inflow and current. The oxbow’s clarity also continues improving. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 8-10 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is 25-35 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.
The largemouth bass bite has been improving early on topwaters over the last two weeks with the improved lake level and clarity conditions. The best bass bite varies from early to midmorning, and is pretty much done by 10 a.m. in this sweltering humidity and heat. Largemouth bass are on normal summer feeding patterns. Larger bass have pulled out to slightly deeper water and are beginning to bite with more regularity, moving to shallows early and late. The larger largemouths are fair to good; from around 3-4 pounds each, and best baits continue being worms, jigs, Bass Assassin Shads, Frogs, buzz baits, War Eagle Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Soft plastic frogs, Johnson spoons and Bass Assassin Shads are getting good reactions in the pads. Black buzzbaits in firecracker color and Heddon Spit’n Images are working at daylight. Best color of War Eagle spinnerbaits is Firetiger for any remaining heavy stain water areas and Spot Remover in clearer oxbows water. Rat-L-Traps in Spring Bream, Millwood Magic or red shad colors seem to draw the best reactions in the clearest water locations. Ten-inch Yum worms in peanut butter ‘n jelly, plum or black also are randomly taking fair quality largemouths upriver and on the main lake. Rat-L-Trap Echo 1.75 squarebills are working in creek channels. Gizzard Shad, Ghost and Millwood Magic remain best reaction colors for good bites. Real Deal Custom Tackle Jigs in Peanut Butter ‘n Jelly, Texas Craw or June Bug colors will work most anywhere on the lake. Work the jigs in slightly deeper areas and ditches, creek channels around stumps and lay-downs for heavier bass typically in the 7-9 foot zone. These deeper ditches and secondary drops in creek channels of Millwood are holding the best quality, and heavier, bass. Use Bass Assassin trick worms in watermelon red or Red Bug colors, Shad Assassins in gold shiner or black shad or salt and pepper silver phantom colors for better clarity water, and Salty Rat Tails in green pumpkin or watermelon red catching keeper bass on a light wire hook and a dead-sticking method in the clearest water.
Mike added that lily pads continue blooming over the past couple weeks, and the frog bite is slowly improving. The clearest water holding these new pad growths are the best spots to work your topwater frogs. Begin shallow in early morning daylight throwing deep into the pads and working outward. Any pad stand with creek channels swinging near and/or into the pads are high target areas. Around the perimeter of the new pad fields, search for bass with Bass Assassins, Salty Rat Tails, spinnerbaits, worms and Rat-L-Traps. Deeper cranks like the Bomber Fat Free Shads are catching bass in slightly deeper water adjacent to and off the edges of pads and vegetation of grass-like pond weed, coontail and hydrilla. Arbogast jitterbugs are also taking good bass and blow up reactions from daylight to around 8am.
White bass were found stacked up in 25-30 feet deep holes of Little River last week on slabs and jigging spoons. Crappie are biting very good around cypress trees in areas along creek channels from 2-7 feet deep, and continue to bite well on jigging tiny hair jigs in the clearest water you can locate. The crappie are also stacking vertically over planted brush piles along Little River. Best bite is during the early morning hours before 10 a.m. Additionally, Southern Pro Crappie tubes and hair jigs in white, chartreuse or hot pink or small Rocket Shads and Blakemore Road Runners were working over the past two weeks. Channel cats and blues continue to bite very good over the past couple weeks in Little River’s current, and nice size 3-4 pound blues were brought in over the past week on trotlines, yo-yo’s, tight lines, and jug fishing along Little River. Blues and channel cats were biting well on redworms, Charlie and chicken livers in 14-18 feet of Little River on outer break lines in current or with the yo-yo’s tied underneath cypress trees with live shiners in 8-9 feet depths.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.75 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 6-14-2017) Phillip Kastner ofTrader Bill’s Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 that all he’d heard lately from here is that the bream bite had really gotten good. He heard from some guys who spent this past weekend on the lake and they reported it was a little better than the normal June as far as the bluegill. The guess was, it was due to all the May rain. That large amount of water may have made some of those fish put off their spawn. Kastner said that Greeson was more “vertically challenged” than any lake around there because of all the rainfall, but the result is that the bream spawn last week was likely as good as there was anywhere.
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 406.79 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good early in the morning when there is some surface activity. Look for shad and schooling fish on main lake points near the shoreline grass line. Try surface plugs such as Zara Spooks, Pop R’s and Spit’n Image. Also soft plastic lures will work such as Flukes, Bass Assassins and 4-inch swimbaits. For color, keep it natural shad or white in the clear water. Also try medium-running crankbaits fished across the points. Some nice fish are showing in the big coves with standing timber. Work a buzzbait or spinnerbait next to the tree trunks. Best areas have been between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Also try the big creeks such as Brushy, Big Hill and Yancey. Crappie fishing is good on the main lake brush attractors at 18-20 feet of water. There are several ways to fish the attractors. Vertical fish a 2-inch Kalin’s Tennessee Shad grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead to several feet below the top of the brush. Move around the cover slowly while slowly jigging the lure. Also throw the lure across the attractor, count it down to about 10 or 12 feet and just slowly retrieve it. Try both methods, because you don’t know which one will work best until it’s tried. Best areas are between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Morning is the best time. Hybrid fishing is picking up nicely in the lower end between Point 4 and the dam. Look for fish near the old river channel at 30-50 feet down in 100-plus feet of water. Use the sonar to locate the fish and drop a heavy jigging spoon or grub on a ¼-ounce jighead. Pearl white, chartreuse or smoke glitter are the best colors. Early morning is the best time. Bream fishing is good on the shallow humps and big coves with some cover in 5-10 feet of water. Try crickets and redworms fished near the bottom. Look for fish between Edgewood and Shouse Ford.
(updated 6-21-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said that on Tuesday, DeGray had a406.79 feet msl lake level with water temperatures in the mid-80s. Water is clear and clean. Catfish are doing fair on trotlines. Trotlines are always best with live bait. Fish around 10 feet deep across cove mouths, stump fields and near big brush piles. The later we get in the year the more the catfish are located at brush piles. Black bass are pretty well in the summer mode. Weed beds with topwaters and buzzbaits early. If you haven’t tried the Whopper Plopper, you need to check it out for early, late and basically any topwater action. Then move to crankbaits or worms. Worms usually Texas rigged. The bream bite is still fair. The bream are just finishing bedding. Hybrids are surfacing throughout from Arlie Moore to Iron Mountain. They are from Shouse Ford to Brushy. Topwaters, spoons, shad-colored crankbaits, swimbaits – you pick. When the hybrids are up, they hit most baits resembling a shad. Crappie fishing is good all over. Fishing minnows in brush piles 15-20 feet deep. Fish 15 feet and more. The big ones are in the river. This rain coming, if we get the amount they are predicting, it will be another slug of fresh water. Good fishing, and watch the weather this weekend.
(updated 6-21-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the big crappie have moved a little deeper. Jigs or minnows fished 12-15 feet deep on brush piles in 18-24 feet of water will get the job done if you start at first light. The bite is over by midmorning.
(updated 6-21-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are still biting good, They are selling a lot of crickets. Bass are hitting topwater baits and spinnerbaits. Got a good report on crappie being caught on the lower river. No report on catfish. Heard they were going to lower Felsenthal by 1 foot, down to 64 feet starting July 5.
(updated 6-21-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few bream being caught. Bass are slow. No report on crappie or catfish.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
(updated 6-21-2017) Local angler Jaret Rushing had no report.
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report this week.
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-21-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water was clear and a little above normal level. Bream fishing is good, as anglers in boats are finding them off the shoreline and in open water. They are using worms and crickets. Crappie have slowed down a bit, rating just fair. Use minnows or jigs. Bass fishing is good, and anglers are mainly using plastic worms. Catfish are good on yo-yo’s. No report on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 6-21-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam has risen to 64 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy opening flood gates for 3-hour periods each day to help maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is at its highest peak. Fast currents created by open floodgates are dangerous and keeping the proper distance from the area is vital for safety. Life jackets should be worn at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is winding down which is the norm for this time of year. Numbers of fish are caught are much lower than earlier in the season, but size is the main attraction at present. Four- and five-pound rainbows have been caught and released in the last several days by area guides. The bite is very slow and patience is key regardless of the techniques used. Live bait presentations are best presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms or mealworms are an excellent choice along with live minnows and crickets. Artificial lures are nonproductive as hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the area to spawn. June trout fishing requires stealth and patience as the fish are extremely wary and the bite lasts for only a few hours. White bass are in the tailrace and are being caught on live minnows tight-lined over deep water below the bridge. In periods of current flow, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern has worked well over rock structure and sand bars. These fish are spawning and should be present from the bridge to the dam until late July. Stripers have migrated into the tailrace to feed on the shad migration that occurs every May and June. Fish in the 20-pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the flood gates are open. Feeding on small shad, anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now than earlier in the spring. Casting weightless soft plastics perfectly match the injured shad drawn through the open gate flow. Strong lines and rods are highly recommended as many of these large predator fish are in excess of 20 pounds and are ferocious fighters when hooked. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules and always follow all park and lake regulations.
(updated 6-21-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945)said the river is in the mid-80s. Clarity is still poor in the river, but improving, with some clear creeks and some dingy creeks, and some clear bays. River flow is down to 25,000 cfs. Bass fishing has been excellent on jigs and Bamboozies, spinnerbaits, plastic flipping baits, crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. Frog fishing in the grass and around lily pads has been excellent. White bass and stripers are still in the creeks spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, topwater baits, crankbait and swimbaits. Bream have been excellent on worms, crickets and mayflies. Catfish have been good on cut shad, cut skipjack. Flatheads have been good on bream. Crappie have been fair about 10-foot deep on minnows.
(updated 6-21-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said onUS97 thata lot of people are still doing a lot of night fishing, which is fun right now, but the best report he heard was from daytime topwater fishing, something we don’t hear a lot in the heat of summer there. But last Sunday morning, on the front of that big storm coming, at White Oak Basin, this group was fishing topwater lures around boat docks. Kastner says, pay attention to the fronts coming through. On the front side of those fronts, that’s when you want to be out there. Also, these were not schooling fish they were catching. Rather, they were calling them up around boat docks. He suggests any topwater method would work, but he likes to parallel up to the edge of a boat dock and throw a frog or his preference, a chugger. He prefers less a walking-the-dog type topwater to a chugger-type bait, which he finds more versatile.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 346.87 feet msl (flood pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported water is clear and at a normal level. Water surface temperature was 82 degrees on Monday. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. The crappie are about 8 feet deep. Bass fishing has been excellent for the past week. Plastic worms are the best bait to use. Catfish are biting well on yo-yo’s.
(updated 6-21-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 576.34 feet msl (flood pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 6-21-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said the water surface temperature is 78-82 degrees and the clarity is clear. Black bass are fair to good and being caught with Texas rigged plastics and crankbaits fished late evening and night. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are very good and being caught on small crankbaits and spoons on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are good on Alabama rigs and live bait. The central and eastern parts of the lake are the best areas 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 6-14-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said onUS97 radiothat he’d heard a lot of good topwater reports earlier this week. The cloud cover Monday seemed to help; it gave anglers the ability to fish topwater almost all day long. He said, however, that regardless of whether you’re throwing a topwater bait, or a frog, even the little squarebill seems to be working pretty well on the inside edge of the moss line. There are still quite a few people catching shallow bass. He also reported that the moss on the lake is “in excellent shape.” If you haven’t had the chance to fish Lake Ouachita, you need to right now, he said, because moss goes in cycles and at this point it’s in the shape you want it. He also said a jighead worm bait is tough to beat on moss. Also, anglers should be able to take advantage of the back end of the full moon, which started last Friday. There will still be a big, bright moon overnight, giving you the best chance to catch the most prominent, quality fish. Also, anglers should have some success very early after sunrise and after sunset with a topwater lure. Fish are going to be feeding, moving and being active all night long and when it gets to daylight hours they take a break.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.28 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 6-21-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said they had good this week reports on Bear Creek. Bream activity is still high on the beds at moderate depths, using live bait (mainly crickets). Crappie activity was good over the weekend – anglers were using mainly minnows and fishing at moderate to deep levels. Some activity with jigs as well. No reports on bass and catfish. Don’t forget to swing by and purchase your bait at the Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-7-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said activity at Storm Creek is still low. Bream seem to be picking up from the bank, but no more than a half-dozen bites in any given sitting. Fewer anglers have been out on Storm Creek, so less to report compared with Bear Creek.
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