Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
April 11, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 11, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Conway will be in effect starting April 23, 2018, and ending March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligatorweed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Conway for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 4-11-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported the lake is stained and at a normal level, with surface water temperature at 54 degrees. Bream are good on crickets. The crappie bite ranged from poor to fair the past week and they are spawning. Use a jig. The bass bite appears to be picking up. Anglers reported good results, but no baits revealed. Catfishing is good on cutbait and goldfish.
(updated 4-4-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said crappie reports have been excellent. Best results are coming off crappie minnows and pink or orange jigs.
(updated 4-11-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “Sometimes a fishing report can be like shouting hallelujah. (Tuesday) my fishing trip was such a day. The weather was good, the water was clear and low and the fish were biting. It felt like spring had finally arrived and the good ol’ days of fishing the Little Red had returned. The fish seemed like they had awakened after a long winter’s nap.” Greg said his fisherman caught many nice rainbows in the 14- to 15-inch class and one 19-inch fat rainbow. If the Little Red can miss the possibility of storms on Friday, maybe this will continue through the weekend, he said.The lake is back to normal and generation is for power demand only. With the milder temperatures, generation should be at a minimum. You should still check the proposed generation for the best hours to fish because the peak demand can change daily. Tuesday’s fish were taking size 14 Fox Squirrel Nymphs, size 20 midge pupa and a size 10 Olive Greg’s Folly. With the better weather and water conditions, this would be a good time to start planning that fishing trip.
(updated 4-11-2018) Lowell Myers says that Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Greers Ferry Lake has returned to seasonal pool and we are seeing favorable water release for wade and drift-fishing. The weather has finally gotten warmer, trees are blooming along the river and the fish are cooperating. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends gold-ribbed hare’s ear, caddis pupa, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and orange bodies on chartreuse heads are recommended for Trout Magnet 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 4-11-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 462.00 feet msl as of Tuesday. It is .04 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet at the moment. The catching is getting better and better with the more steady weather and longer days. The crappie are on some inside bushes and outside edges and some in and around brush piles out deeper. Try using jigs and jigs tipped with minnows dabbed around different places until you get bit and then concentrate around every piece of cover. Some fish are still hanging around the pole timber and can be caught reeling a beetle spin real slow. The river walleye are on the move and the lake walleye are eating better every day; try dragging minnows on a jighead or drop-shot on flats 10-20 feet deep on chunk rock flats. No report on catfish. The hybrid and white bass bite is good throughout the day, and now some night catching is happening in the rivers and creeks. In the main lake, concentrate around the shad for the best catching. Try spoons, inline spinners, grubs and live bait. The bass fishing is good overall, with some days better than others. Of course, they are scattered everywhere, from on beds out to 40 feet of water, and can be caught with a variety of baits. No report on bream.
(updated 4-11-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water is dingy and at a normal level. The weekend weather appears to have turned the fishing very slow the past several days. There were fair reports on bass, with anglers using crankbaits. Nothing else was reported.
(updated 4-4-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says her customers have been talking about Harris Brake on the big slab crappie on No. 4 crappie minnows. “One of my customers that has a place up there has been doing good between midnight and 4 a.m.,” she said.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup will be in effect starting April 23, 2018, and ending March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligatorweed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Overcup for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 4-4-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said bass are doing well around brushtops and structure around the shoreline. They’re biting on plastic worms, spinnerbaits and minnows. Catfish are being caught on night crawlers around the banks. Bream are slow but should start picking up. Still catching some bream on crickets and redworms. Crappie are doing good on minnows and pink /white/chrtreuse jigs around brush and grass around the shore. Water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Thankfully we didn’t get any rain Tuesday.
(updated 4-11-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. The water feels cool, Larry said. Black bass are the best bet, with anglers reporting good results. The bass have been found shallow, as little as 6 inches below the surface. Use pumpkin seed soft bait and fish the brushy areas. Crappie are fair in 5-6 feet depth. Minnows and jigs are both working. Bream are poor but there are some nibbles on crickets. No reports on catfish or white bass.
(updated 4-11-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the lake is still dropping this week and water temperature from the marina is 60 degrees and about 63 degrees at west end. Black bass fishing has been very good. With water temps in the low 60s and on the water rise, the black bass are moving to spawning areas. Try using crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 4-8 feet depth and 10-15 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. This week, the blacks were biting more during dusk and dawn. The Tuesday night tournament anglers took advantage with Matt Hedrick and Brandon Crain hauling in a Big Bass of 4.34 pounds on their way to a 9.46-pound stringer to win. Two other duos topped 8.3 pounds. Kentucky bass are good. Spots are still a little deeper than the largemouth bass. Look for best results in the main lake, on the rocky shoreline or points with a crankbait or jig. White bass have been good. Fewer reports are coming in on the whites over the past couple of weeks. Some have been saying the whites are staging. Normally the run is over by the first of April. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie have slowed. With the water level falling this past week it is making it tough on the crappie bite. More reports are coming in of them being found scatted in different depths anywhere from 5 to 20 feet. Bream are good. They are coming into shallow water off the rocky points and around brush piles. Try using crickets or jigs anywhere from 3 to 12 feet depth. Catfish are slow.
(updated 4-11-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said crappie continue to be excellent, with anglers reported the crappie in 2-10 feet depth. Red and white jigs are the go-to, along with minnows. Largemouth bass are fair using black-and-blue jigs or black buzzbaits. No reports on any other species.
(updated 4-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are doing fair using chicken livers, nightcrawlers and brooder minnows. Bream have been hitting crickets and redworms, while bass have been hitting spinner baits and scum frogs.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 4-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that the back one (Lake Charles ) does pretty well on crappie off of No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish are being caught with nightcrawlers and No. 12 bass minnows. Bass have been fair on Zoom Red Shad plastic worms. Bream are doing fair on crickets.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 4-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been doing well on brooder minnows and Zoom Trick Worms in red/black core and watermelon red. But as far as the walleye, they aren’t booming like they were a week or so ago. A few bream been hitting crickets. Crappie are being caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish are biting on goldfish and black salties.
(updated 4-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said big redear bream are starting to do well on crickets fishing on bottom. Catfish off of black salties and nightcrawlers. Bass been hitting brooder minnows and Zoom Brush Hogs. Crappie doing fair on No. 6 crappie minnows on nice-sized but very few crappie.
(updated 4-11-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) says crappie are fair on pink minnows. Catfish are excellent; use chicken livers or nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-11-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says the bass are excellent here. Reports are that the bass are in 3-4 feet of water and hitting diving crankbaits and red creature baits. Also, catfishing is fair on shad and minnows. No reports on bream or crappie.
(updated 4-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are fair off of No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s 2-inch Tennessee Shad Grubs. Bass have been doing great on Strike King KVD square bill lure in Tennessee Shad color. Catfish are biting bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets.
(updated 3-28-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said they have had a few fishermen getting out, but they haven’t had real good luck. “We still have four to six weeks for this pool to really start popping,” Charley said. The AGFC has been doing a lot of testing of the river, along with federal fisheries biologists, he said. This includes test sampling for sauger, catfish, gar, black bass. They have sampled for jumping carp and other fish not native to the river. Meanwhile, reports are that white bass are staging on creeks and river mouths. Catfish are trying to move up to jetties. Largemouth bass on warm days are sitting on jetty tops.
(updated 3-28-2018) Professional angler Cody Kelley with Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282) reports that fishing is pretty good across the board right now. Things are finally heating up to the point that you can go out and really have some fun! Bass are great in the backwaters. We are right on the verge of the spawn. Try your favorite plastics and jigs around backwater wood to locate spawning bass. Some good crappie fishing is going on right now. Crappie can be caught by dipping black/chartreuse jigs and minnows around laydowns and backwater spawning areas. For catfish, check the deep holes just outside of flats. Cody says he prefers cut bait, but you can catch them on many different offerings. Anchor up current of the hole and bottom bounce it back into the good stuff. Best of luck and give us a call to book your spring trip.
(updated 4-4-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and the surface temperature is 57 degrees. The level and current are low. Crappie are biting in 2-3 feet of depth and the bite is fair. Bass are good, with the best bite near the banks. Try using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwaters like the Zara Spook. Catfish are fair on worms and blood bait, as well as yo-yos. Not reports on white bass. Nothing to report on bream.
(updated 4-11-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is good around the Murray Lock and Dam using skipjack or shad.
(updated 4-11-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good on red jigs and Slab Buster jigs. Bass are fair in about 15 feet of water and biting crankbaits. Catfish are good on shad. White bass reports ranged from poor to fair. Use grubs.
(updated 4-11-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is ranging from 55 degrees early to 62 degrees with high level and current. The water is stained. The only reports came from bass. Anglers had fair catches, with spinnerbaits working best. Nothing on bream, crappie or catfish.
(updated 4-11-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good on jigs in most of the pool, while good as well below Terry Dam, where they’re in 10-12 feet of water and biting red jigs and Slap Buster jigs around the rocky points. Bass are fair on crankbaits and shaky heads in the upper pool, and good in about 10-15 feet of water near Terry Dam; use shaky heads there. Catfishing has been good using shad in parts of the upper pool, and below the dam the Catfish are biting shad with good reports coming in. White bass are fair for the past week; use grubs below the dam for best results. Bream reports were poor in the northern end of the pool, but were ranging up to fair near the Terry Dam. No water conditions were available.
(updated 4-11-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is high in the area of Terry Lock and Dam. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair with spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-11-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is high, but had no other conditions to report. The fishing is OK. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are taking a fair amount of largemouth bass. Reports on catfish are fair, though no baits were reported.
(updated 4-4-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the fishing has been slow. The water is dingy with a surface temperature of 55 degrees. The level is normal. Crappie have been fair on jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on worms. Nothing to report on bream.
(updated 4-11-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says no fair-weather fishers here: This past weekend brought snow and cold temperatures, and also delivered the heartiest of fishers to the White River. Water and weather conditions combined to create extraordinarily difficult fishing scenarios, but we witnessed some great catches by skilled guides, persistent Arkansans and tough visitors. Use heavy weights/sinkers on your line to float your baits near the bottom in this deep water and cast near the banks where the trout don’t have to fight the current. Sculpins remain the best tempter for the browns, and we’ve seen some rainbow action with redworms and spinners, 1/4-ounce or 3/8-ounce. Try yellow-bodied Rooster Tails with gold blades; green body (looks black). Yellow spotted Panther Martin will attract their attention. Stop in to hash over the new trout regulations for the Bull Shoals tailwaters; stay legal and keep anglin’.
(updated 4-11-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said eight generators are running round-the-clock. The result is high water and no fishing to report this week. The water clarity is cloudy.
(updated 4-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week, they had several rain events that combined for a half-inch in Cotter), warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wins advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 3 feet to rest at 6.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 29.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.1 feet to rest at 2.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 13.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 2.6 feet to rest at 7 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation and no wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now above the top of power pool. With the quick rise in the lakes due to recent heavy rains, anglers can expect heavy generation in the near future. The White has fished better the past week. There are some caddis coming off in the afternoon. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a pink worm with a size 14prince nymph suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John adds, “I first met Duane Hada almost three decades ago. At the time, he was managing a small fly shop near Heber Springs and guiding on the Little Red River. I was a CPA in Memphis and spent all of my free time fly-fishing. Since the Little Red was the closest trout stream to Memphis, I spent a lot of time there. Every time I went I stopped by Duane’s shop to pick his brain. He was very knowledgeable on the Little Red River and fly-fishing in general. I learned a lot. I even bought a small piece of his artwork not knowing that he would eventually become the well-known artist that he is.
“Years later we both ended up in the Twin Lakes Area. I moved to Cotter to become a fulltime fly-fishing guide. Duane moved to Yellville to pursue the same career, though he was devoting a lot of time developing his art. He opened his first gallery in Cotter just four blocks from my house. He moved his shop to a spot near the town square in Mountain Home and then out east of town on Highway 62 near Gassville. I would see him from time to time and we always chatted about fishing or art. I found that I could not go to a fundraiser connected to fishing, the outdoors or ecology without seeing a donation from Duane. He was involved in every worthy cause that came up.
I ran into him last year and he said that he was involved in an organization that was introducing boys to the outdoors through hunting and fishing. He went on to say that he could use some fishing gear and asked if I was interested in donating something. I know Duane to be a man of strong faith and figured that the group he was working with was faith based. I was right. Cross Trail Outfitters (CTI) is a faith-based youth hunting and fishing club. Many kids are unfamiliar with the outdoors. CTI is changing that by providing an opportunity to get them outdoors. There is more to life than television and video games. The organization has outings, a great summer camp, a first hunt program, community service and leadership development.
“I donated a used fly rod that had belonged to my brother, Dan. I went through my old waders and found several pair that would be useful to CTI and gave them to Duane. I also found a cache of ammunition that had belonged to Dan. It was way more than I would ever use and thought Duane would like that, also. I felt good to take a bunch of outdoor gear that I was not using and passed it on to someone that would use it in a positive program that would benefit our youth.
“If you would like to help this organization by donating gear or money – it is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization – or have kids that you would be interested in getting involved, contact Duane Hada at (870) 425-3898 or stop by Rivertown Gallery.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 664.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no new reports.
(updated 4-4-2018) K Dock Marina said they were really excited about the Army Corps of Engineers keeping the lake level around normal for this spring. Anglers have access to the boat ramp as well as the courtesy dock. “Big thanks to our friends at Taney County Road and Bridge for keeping the access road and parking lot cleared of debris!” The lake looks great. Still cold compared to the temps on Table Rock, but they are starting to get the surface temperature up. Crappie are really starting to hit live minnows, not on the shoreline yet, but decent reports down the lake from the dock. Slow presentation and live minnows on brush piles in the coves. Lake level was 658.66 (normal pool is 659 feet msl). Water temperature ranging 49-52 degrees. Water is stained to clear. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows on top of brush piles and structure. Colors of swimming minnows to use are: pink and chartreuse, pearl and Smoke & Glitter. Had a few anglers with some good limits last weekend. Most were finding the crappie in the creek coves from the 36 lake marker down to the Arkansas line. The water is a few degrees warmer down the lake. But, the coves near K Dock are really starting to produce some good numbers of big crappie. Black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) are biting Alabama rigs, jerkbaits and ½-ounce or smaller jigs. Bass will start hitting the threadfin shad and searching for crawfish for protein coming out of the winter months. A Ned Rig is a great plastic to throw in the spring as well. However, great reports of bass being caught on Wiggle Warts and Rock Crawlers in brown/tan and red craw colors. These work great with a little wind. Crank them down in the 5-8 feet range right now. Make contact with the rocks on the high bluff sides and then slow your retrieve. Remember, these fish are still a little slow coming up from 48 degrees water.
Also, walleye are fair on trolling with small to medium crankbaits. They are still deep, but that should change soon. They are hitting spoons off of points. For white bass, head to the Beaver Creek arm of the lake just 6 miles up from the dock. If the high temps arrive, they should be feeding there. Use a white Rooster Tail or a silver Rat-L-Trap.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 559.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the beginning stages of Norfork Lake’s spring fishing season have begun. It is a little behind past years due to the continual unseasonable cool fronts, but it is coming. Forecasts for the next few days are great, but another cool front is possible later in the week. The baitfish are moving toward shallow water to get to warmer water, and the predators are following to feed. Shad will be going through a spawn very shortly. The cool fronts do affect the fish, but if you adjust a little and move out to a little deeper water you will find the feeding fish.
Lou says he has had a very good week of fishing. Tuesday, he says, was outstanding. He caught well over 30 fish in the morning. The majority were the monster 2.5-3.5-pound white bass. He caught one that went over 4 pounds. Mixed in with the whites were the medium-sized hybrids going about 5-6 pounds. Lou ended up landing five hybrids. All of his fish were either released on site or at his dock after the photo op. He said he was finding fish on main lake points in 18-25 feet of water. His method of fishing was vertical jigging a ¾-ounce white-colored spoon. He was fishing northwest of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s cove. The striped bass he has caught by either casting out a 5-inch swimbait with a 3/8-ounce jighead or with live bait. The stripers have been in 15-30 feet of water and suspended at all depths. He has caught fish on downlines set at 15 and 20 feet, as well as with free swimming baits with a small split shot or no split shot. Most of the stripers are 8-12 pounds on the average. He said he’s finding striped bass northeast of his resort.
Lou adds, “I would like to welcome all of the Bass Cat boat owners that are arriving to Mountain Home to fish in the Bass Cat Owners Invitational Tournament. The warm weather forecast for the rest of the week should make for a great bass bite. Some of the larger bass had moved off of the shore, but will be returning very shortly. There are signs that some of the bass are starting to make their beds. Have a great tournament.” Norfork Lake level is falling slowly with one generator running full time and spillways partially open, releasing enough water to equal using a second generator. The current level is 559.74 feet msl. The lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning on the main lake was 53.5 degrees and back in a creek was 55.5 degrees. These temperatures will be increasing throughout the week. Most of the areas he fished Tuesday morning were a greenish stained.
(updated 4-11-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Well we started April with cold, rain, and snow on Norfork Lake. I figured striper fishing would be dead until we started getting warmer weather and south winds. The direct opposite happened. I had a trip on Monday and caught over 12 stripers and hybrids in two different spots using two different techniques.” Tom’s son Sean fished last Wednesday and caught over 18 stripers using just downlines in 25 feet of water. Both Sean and Tom fished Saturday and Sunday and caught over 40 stripers and hybrids, Tom said. “The main difference is how we fish for stripers in the spring and now. Usually we fish using small split shots on long lines and free line planer boards. The stripers by now are very shallow and aggressive; they were that way the week before, but with the rain and cold they went deep. We are now catching them just like we catch them in the summer – 3 ounce weights set 1 feet off the bottom. When you find them they are very aggressive. We have had triples on many times this week.” Tom says to look for stripers halfway up the creek along the channel in 50 feet and keep moving shallow until you find them. Look for them in the Cranfield, Bennett’s and Big Creek areas. Look at the points and sharp turns along bluff walls halfway up the creeks. Tom says that Kevin, a guest of Hand Cove Resort, boated a 35-pound 39-inch striper Saturday night in the cold. That tells Tom a couple of things, he said: First, the night bite is developing. And second, there are some big fish in Norfork Lake’s Big Creek area. Greg at Hand Cove Resort reports the night bite is happening although it has been a little sporadic. It will be very good for a few nights, and then quit for a few. He expects it to be more consistent by the end of the coming week. That means the topwater action is not far behind. Better sharpen those hooks for some reel-ripping action.
Tom says, “This past Saturday I experience a series of first for me. When we left the marina we had a strong north wind, heavy snow and bitter cold. I would have never believed we would catch fish left and right for over two hours. I had lines break because the rod eyes were froze and the line was cut when we hooked a fish. I have never fished in April where I was colder than I was in December, when it was 14 degrees when I started fishing.”
(updated 4-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 2.3 feet to rest at 5.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 20.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had heavy generation and no wadable water. The water is has cleared substantially but has still fished poorly. 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 Y2K with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has cleared but it is not fishing as well as usual. 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). Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 4-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and less stained. As the water warms, the smallmouths will be more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,127.56 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is dingy and the surface temperature is around the mid-50s. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports have been fair; no baits reports. Catfishing has been fair.
(updated 4-11-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said stripers are on the move and feeding intermittently throughout the day. The key to success will be covering lots of water. The white bass run is on with the females now showing upstream. Quantity and quality Beaver Lake stripers are being caught up in the upper reaches of the rivers but some striper are still scattered throughout the lake and are still using mouths of coves, backs of coves and the channel adjacent to shallow gravel bars. For you diehard live baiters, fishing free lines, balloons and downlines between the surface and about 20 feet depth should get you some stripers. For the artificial baits you can try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, or Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. You should also try fishing jerkbaits by letting the bait remain motionless for an extended period time before the next erratic action. Soft plastic swimbaits and jerkbaits like flukes have been very effective as well and are a good choice when your fish are located near a point or other structure that has timber, rock piles or other snags that necessitate the need for a more precise presentation. Keep your eyes on the lookout for surfacing fish as they are taking topwater plugs like redfins now. Know your species and make sure you identify any fish you keep. There is no limit on white bass, there is a three-fish limit on striper/hybrids and a 20-inch minimum length on stripers. 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 Bailey’s website linked above. Live bait is always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. Water surface temperatures are in the low to mid-50s. On the mid- and upper sections check out these hot spots: Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, Prairie Creek, War Eagle/White River junction, White River and War Eagle River (check main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects all the way up to Sidewalk Hole).
Walleye are being caught in various stages of the spawn. Most walleye are being caught in 20 feet of water or less. Use 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 and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. A variety of jigs in combination colors of white, orange and chartruese are also producing walleye. You should try casting to structure or snap-jigging to cover water. Night fishing shallow water with jerk baits like Rapala No. 14 Husky Jerks in Tennessee Shad, black back or blue back will produce some hogs in areas near the War Eagle Mill and Twin Bridges/Richland Creek.
(updated 4-4-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that with last week’s rain and the system pushing through Tuesday, fishing has been a little slow. There is plenty of water in the river and good clarity. Most fish have been caught between Spider Creek and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. The preferred method has been light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. The orange dough bait has produced the best. The walleye bite has been slow to say the least. Austin says he’s quite sure all this rain has caused the spawn to not go as planned. Three walleye were caught jigging grubs, but not after casting for several hours. Trolling with bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses have not produced. A few white bass have been caught between Houseman and Beaver town, but not in significant numbers. No bait balls have been marked in the tailwaters as of yet, but Austin says he’s sure it is around the corner. When the bait arrives, so will the bite.
(updated 4-11-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the Bertrand ramp area has been fishing well. Fish upstream from Parker Bottoms in the Trophy Management Area as well as Campground C, Riverview walk-in areas as well as the turnaround. Always be attentive to rising water conditions. Nymphs, midges are working well along with olive micro jigs. Stocking occurred last week and fly-fisherman are report numbers of fish being caught. The male walleyes are starting to make their move upstream! A couple of 21-inch fish were caught earlier in the week right below the dam off the gravel bar using jerkbaits and 1/8-ounce white P.J. jigs with a pink head. This rain has clouded up the water below the dam somewhat, but areas closer to the dam are fishable. Baitfish are present right below the dam and we suspect that feeding fish are feeding on them as well. Typical good lures here are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms.
(updated 4-11-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is clear. The level has been normal to low the past week. Surface water temperature is in the low 50s. Crappie slowed down considerably from the nice bite of two weeks ago. Anglers said reports were poor, but give the minnows or jigs a try. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair. No reports on bream.
(updated 4-11-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports the clarity as clear with a surface temperature of 52 degrees. Lake level is normal. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good with spinnerbaits working best. Catfishing is fair using chicken livers or shad. No reports on bream.
(updated 4-11-2018) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett, while closed for the next couple of years to fishing because of repairs by the AGFC, is still open for bait sales. He says they will start selling rice slicks next week and into May for those wishing to angle a few flatheads in the nearby lakes and other waterways. Most of the fishing has been on the river and doing well on stink bait for catfish.
(updated 4-11-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said there was a little stain in the water. Surface water temperature was 54 degrees, and the level is normal. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are good and being caught on crankbaits. Nothing to report on catfish or bream.
(updated 4-11-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 440 cfs and water clarity has been partly cloudy. Recent rains have the river above average flows. Extra care should be taken when wading the river. Olive Woollies and Y2Ks have been the hot flies over the last few weeks. The trick lately is to get the fly down to the bottom with extra mends and weighted flies. Hot pink Trout Magnets fished deep below a float will get plenty of action, also. The trout being caught lately have been really nice sizes. Bad weather over the last month has kept pressure off of the river, making for some great fishing.
(updated 4-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable and less stained. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork 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 4-11-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is 12 feet high and has a dirty look. No reports this week.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-11-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said a cold and wet week hasn’t kept the fish at Cane Creek Lake from biting. Bass have reacted somewhat to the water cooling back down by going after live minnows and shad/minnow-colored crankbaits. A crawfish-shaped soft plastic Texas-rigged and drug along the bottom in thicker stands of trees and creek confluences running into the lake will also grab a strike here and there. As the water warms back up along with the temperature, make sure to keep spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps handy to run just beneath the surface of the water. Once temperatures reach the high 70s to 80s throw noisy topwater baits later in the evening. Catfish are reacting to the higher water levels by getting active and aggressive looking for foodstuffs washed into the water by the rain. Cooler temps are also causing them to hunt a little shallower. Fish liver or chicken parts soaked in garlic mixtures toward the end of the day. Fish start biting later in the evening, after dark. Crappie have started to finally slow down some after having the best run in recent memorable history here at Cane Creek. Snag the last few biters by fishing minnows along structure out toward the middle of the lake. Bream are still biting strong and will only improve as the weather warms and the spawning season approaches, causing them to bed. Crickets are still going to get the best reaction for these early biters, but as the weather warms, fish smaller worms like red wigglers. Once the temperatures breach the 80s, start fishing bigger worms like nightcrawlers. The later the season and the warmer the weather becomes, the more aggressive the bream will become. Quantity and quality of catches will only improve from here.
(updated 4-11-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said people are still catching a few crappie, but it’s slowed down. The catfish are biting sporadically. Anglers are reporting poor luck with bream. The lake is still muddy but is beginning to clear up.
(updated 4-11-2018) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday the lake level had dropped slightly, and was about a foot above normal conservation pool and falling at 260.2 feet msl. There was current of about 18,000 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater as of Monday was about 245 feet msl. Water temps continued improving over the past week. Surface temps Monday ranged near 58 degrees early to 65 later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for broken or floating timber. Largemouth bass are in varying degrees of the spawn throughout the lake. Upriver the largemouths are beginning to finish their spawn rituals, and areas along the main lake remain in pre-spawn. Most bass have been very good to excellent over the past few weeks with the continually warming ambient conditions, from 3 pounds each, up to around 9 pounds each. Tournaments over the past few weeks on Millwood Lake have given up numerous largemouths at weigh-ins from 6 to 9.5 pounds each. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, Sweet Beavers, Trick Worms and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook, and Rat-L-Traps all continue working well. Black and June bug soft plastic frogs are working in new lily pad stands. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse or Firetiger colors continue working well over the past couple weeks for bass in the 3- to 7-pound class near flooded bushes, buckbrush and vegetation. Most of these bass continue roaming in and out of bedding areas, cruising in 4-9 feet of depth. Shallow-running squarebill crankbaits and Echo 1.75s, deflecting and banging them into and off stumps from 3-5 feet deep, were taking a few fat bass around 15-19-inches in length. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the Echo squarebills, have been the Rayburn Red Craw, Bold Bluegill and Ghost. Rat-L-Traps in Red Chrome, Red Shad and Toledo Gold all continue to get reactions from 15-18-inch bass. Soft plastic lizards, Brush Hogs and Beaver Bugs are all working very well near bedding flats in close proximity to creek channel depths, around stumps and flooded buck brush, and continue picking up nice largemouths from 3-7 pounds this week. Best lizard colors are South African Special, PB&J, Watermelon Candy, black/blue and June bug colors. Real Deal Kustom Tackle jigs with a heavy craw worm trailer continue working on pre-spawn fish near cypress trees from 4-9 feet deep. Best colors for the current water clarity over the past few weeks are black/purple, Candy Bug or Texas Craw, all with a black or green pumpkin craw trailer.
White bass and hybrid bass were running in the Saline River above Cottonshed Campground for the past few weeks. Chuck’nSpins, Little Georges, Rooster Tails, Rocket Shads and half-ounce Rat-L-Traps in shad patterns were getting really good reactions from the whites, and limits were caught in under an hour in the Saline River. Whites have almost finished their spawning runs now up Little River headwaters, and are wrapping up in the Saline River as well. They slowed in those areas this week. Crappie continue to be caught and are biting well in the oxbows, up Little River away from current, on cypress trees. Crappie were reacting very aggressively to both jigs and minnows over the past week near base of cypress trees from 1-3 feet deep. Catfish remain very good on trotlines using almost any cut bait like shad, buffalo or trash fish in Little River current and in 8-15 feet of depth.
Mike says clarity and visibility are mostly stained heavy in places, especially current rolling, upriver. The main lake and lower sections of Little River are not quite as stained or muddy as the upper regions of Little River and Saline River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 10-18 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 6-9 inches with heavy to moderate stain depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranges 15-20 inches depth of visibility. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for broken or floating timber.
(updated 4-4-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on stick worm and flukes. A few crappie being caught on shiners.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 548.26 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level has risen some and is now just over full pool. Water temps have dropped in the last week and are in the upper 50s with color throughout the lake. Jason says he believes a lot of the fish have spawned but can still be caught shallow due to the high water. Right now, most of the bass are on secondary points leading into spawning pockets. They can be caught using Carolina rigged lizards, YUM Christie Critters or YUM Christie Craws in any of the natural colors like green pumpkin or watermelon magic. Shaky head worms in the same colors are working well, also. Jason and his anglers have caught several lately wacky rigging a YUM Dinger in watermelon candy and green pumpkin in spawning pockets around cover. Windy days are good for Booyah Spinnerbaits or Smithwick Rogues in windy pockets. The crappie are good and are trying to move up also and can be caught in 10-15 feet over brush with Kalin’s Grubs or minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.10 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Well, if you don’t like the weather in Arkansas, stick, around. It will change.” John notes the latest was the wide temperature change from the 70s to the 20s. “What a shock to the fish,” he said. Water temperature this week is running from the high 50s to the lows 60s in shallow northern pockets of DeGray, with water still being pulled out of the lake (the level Tuesday was 408.42 feet msl). You can still pick up some black bass and Kentuckies drop-shotting brush piles in 20 feet of water. Black bass were on the verge of the spawn. This temperature change has affected bass and crappie. It appears they have backed off some and are located a little deeper and around points. Even when you locate them it is hard to caress a bite out of them. Many catfish trotlines are out in the Shouse Ford and Piney Creek areas. It appears they are using floating trotlines with bottles for floats and stretching about 100 yards across the mouth of coves. John says he hasn’t run into any catfishermen to see how it goes so far. Right now, trolling is the best for bass and hybrids. Use your electronics and look for baitfish in the upper parts of the lake. Long-lining for crappie is a good idea while these fish are holding off waiting for the temperature change.
(updated 4-11-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said the white bass had a good run, but then we got all that rain last week and it put some color and debris in the water and he hasn’t heard of them coming back. The next full moon should be the peak of the white bass run. Heard a good report on DeGray way up the river on the Caddo River. He hasn’t had a good report of white bass on Lake Hamilton, however. Kastner said with the forecast of warm rain coming in Thursday night, getting out in front of that front might be good.
(updated 4-4-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 60s and the lake is mostly clear. Bass fishing is good with lots of nice catches reported. The fish are now preparing to spawn, so the best areas are close to the spawning coves. Look for fish on those secondary points. Most fish are still in pre-spawn, so back off somewhat from the shoreline and fish 4-8 feet of water. Best pattern has been a jig with a critter trailer in green pumpkin or crawdad. Also try the windy side of the lake and slow-roll a double blade spinnerbait. White and chartreuse are hard to beat. Look for fish between Arlie Moore and Point Cedar. Crappie fishing is good for some and slow for others. The fish are now in shallow water starting to spawn and it depends how good of a shallow water fisherman you are. The secret is to work the shore line cover hitting every bit of cover and keep moving until the fish are located. This might be a slow process because what looks like a great spot is empty and some subtle bit of cover produces, so just try everything. Best areas are at the upper end between Arlie Moore and Point Cedar. Not much doing on hybrids. Looks like most are up the river doing their false spawn, but no reports.
(updated 4-4-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says she has heard just recently some of her customers being turned on to some big crappie being caught in the coves close to the bank with No. 6 crappie minnows.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 443.82 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.75 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 4-4-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) reports the fish are slowing down. Since the flooding, crappie have slowed, but they’ll bite on minnows and jigs in deeper water ranging 5-7 feet. The bream are starting to bite on crickets and worms now as the weather becomes warmer. As we get into April, the bass are starting to spawn. Worm and lizard lures are working occasionally with spinnerbaits. With the weather producing rain this week, expect to see the catfish moving toward the shoreline to feed.
(updated 4-4-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said water is still 15 feet high. Not much fishing going on. A few spawning bass are being caught.
Hot Springs Village Area Lakes
(updated 4-11-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and about a foot above normal. The surface water temperature is ranging 59-63 degrees. Bream results have been poor, anglers say it’s been slow. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are picking up, however. Go with a spinnerbait or crankbait, as anglers say bass are good. Catfish are fair on trotlines; bait with shad.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 4-4-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress aluminum all-weld fishing boat, reports that Lake Catherine is reaching temperatures in the mid- to low 60s with water clarity in the 2-4-foot range in most areas. Fishing reports have been strong with big bags being caught. The first Thursday night bass tournament win scaled a whopping 19 pounds. Fish are all over the lake but mostly from main lake points back into coves and channels. Jigs, Texas-style worms and swimbaits are producing fish when located. Be mindful of other boaters, especially at night. Use those NAV lights and be safe out there!
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 4-11-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is very close to being out of flood pool, but could rise again with the forecasted rain for Friday of this week. Heavy generation is still the norm in the Carpenter Dam tailrace and this flow is scheduled until lake levels are brought into normal parameters. For over a month – open flood gates and very high flows have kept boaters and anglers alike off the water due to the treacherous conditions. As soon as Ouachita and all area lakes are stabilized, a much safer generation schedule will be implemented below Carpenter Dam. Rainbow trout fishing is what Lake Catherine is known for and thousands of quality trout are present in the tailrace and will be feeding consistently as conditions return to normal. Bank fishermen can catch limits of fish using PowerBaits, waxworms and mealworms, redworms, and corn fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Spin fishermen casting small jigs, Super Dupers, and Little Cleos in sliver or white will record limits of trout during periods of current or slack water. Fly-fishermen can still access areas that hold good numbers of rainbow trout and can be successful presenting trout magnets in white or pink, micro-jigs in black, or San Juan worms in red or hot pink with a strike indicator. The walleye spawn is still underway with the majority of fish caught by trolling shallow running stickbaits that imitate small minnows or crawfish. Carolina rigs tipped with nightcrawlers have taken the largest fish at night. White bass are making a run towards the dam with numbers being taken from the bank by fishermen casting flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie will soon migrate into the tailrace with the smaller males arriving first to prepare the spawning beds. Live minnows and small jigs will give anglers the best chance to catch good numbers of fish in the next several weeks. As conditions improve and safe fishing returns to Carpenter Dam, more reports will be available to the public. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of the generation schedules and must always follow all boating and park regulations.
(updated 4-11-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 55 degrees warming to 58 with some areas of the river being warmer. River clarity is poor with creeks clearing, and some creeks are clear. Largemouth bass fishing has been good on the warmer days and the storm fronts. Jigs with bamboozie crawls and chatterbaits have been working well around trees and rocks, while scam shad and chiselers have been working really well around the coon tail. Brush Hogs and lizards have been working really well in the creeks. White bass and stripers has been fair in the creeks on white Bucktail jigs, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Crappie have been hit-or-miss but definitely improving with the shallow bite on chartreuse jigs. Black, pink and chartreuse have been good colors. Bream have been fair on crickets and minnows around dead grass and rock in the river and around trees and stumps in the creeks; use crickets and worms. Catfish have been good on cut shad around the mouth of the creeks and channel swings. Some of the smaller catfish are moving up on the flats and into the creeks.
(updated 4-11-2018) Reagan Brown on the Trader Bill’s Fishing Report on US97 in Hot Springs says she was not surprised that Lake Dardanelle “came out swinging” for the Arkansas Bass Team Trail event there last weekend. There were 153 teams, and the top five finishing duos caught no less than 20.46 pounds. Adam Wright and Brad Snodgrass topped all teams with 24.93 pounds, and 59 teams caught five-bass limits. Reagan said she talked with Snodgrass Monday “and he gave me a little bit of an overview of what they were doing,” she said. Snodgrass and Wright were going in back of pockets and finding the big grass mats and they just kept punching them all day. Their big fish come off of a bed and “was kind of a fluke deal,” she said Snodgrass told her. “We know Dardanelle is known to be muddy and it was raining so it was extra muddy. They were using a Sea Craw and were flipping some soft plastics under the mats. They said had the best day fishing they’d ever had. Didn’t matter what they threw they were catching fish. Brad said he had a first, catching a bedded fish in the snow. It was snowing up there Saturday during the tournament.”
(updated 3-28-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie remain on the brush piles but are moving shallow to spawn. Water temp is 59 degrees. White bass are sticking to the shallow bays.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 355.64 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the clarity is dingy and the level is normal but rising. Surface water temperature is ranging 58-60 degrees. Bream are fair and can be found in the deeper areas. Use worms. Crappie are fair on minnows or red jigs. Largemouth bass are fair and are shallow. Anglers are finding them in 3-5 feet depth. Use a spinnerbait. Catfishing is fair on the trotlines baited with minnows.
(updated 4-11-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is cold and clear. Nimrod remains high. Fair reports have coming in from the crappie anglers. They’re using minnows and jigs. No one else is reporting any catches.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 578.30 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that crappie really are starting to hit a jerkbait really well right now suspended above the tops of these brush piles. Kastner heard three or four reports in the last few days of guys catching crappie around brush piles throwing a jerkbaits.
(updated 4-4-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still excellent. Pre-spawn and spawning lures are best now. Shallow-running crank baits, spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, Trick Worms and lizards are “on fire” at this time. Secondary points and coves are the best areas for these fish. Walleye are good and moving back out of the river and major creek channels. Bright-colored jigs and crankbaits are working best for these fish. Stripers are excellent on Alabama rigs and live bait. Major creek and river channels on the western part of the lake are still the best for these fish. Bream are still good and being caught on crickets and worms in deeper water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught on minnows in 10-15 feet of water near structure. Catfish are still excellent up the rivers. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 62-68 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The level is almost at full pool, at 577.67 feet msl as of Tuesday. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
(updated 4-4-2018) Greeson Marine in Hot Springs, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boat, reports that Lake Ouachita is clearing nicely and visibility in many areas is in the 10-foot range already. Water temperatures are in the high 50s and low 60s throughout the lake. With the weird (yet normal) weather patterns that Arkansas has been having, the bass are doing all kinds of different things and therefore anglers can pick out just about any type of bait and have success. Big spotted bass are hanging out in up to 35 feet of water on rocky points near a main channel, and drop-shots and crankbaits are working well here. As you work your way back into pockets and coves you can catch largemouth and spots hanging around laydowns and broken shale in 25 feet up to 10 feet. Jigs, tubes and Texas rigged baits are working well here. In the shallow creek channels and ditches feeding these pockets you can find fish on beds. Get a good look at some pictures and turn around and go to deeper water. Suspending jerkbaits and spinners are taking good numbers of fish also in these pockets and lay-downs. Little success has been had on topwater but nearly everything else is working. Good Luck out there and Go Greeson!
(updated 4-4-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said Lake Ouachita anglers have been doing great on the huge crappie. “Lots of my No. 6 crappie minnows have been going that way,” she said.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.80 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-11-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake has seen a sharp increase in crappie activity. Plenty of anglers are reporting good fishing from the pier using live bait, and water-bound fishermen are seeing activity in the coves near Lone Pine Campground. Some folks may notice materials beginning to appear near the boat ramp – the AGFC is moving forward with its contract to repair the boat ramp and Natalie said the state park folks are hoping this will have a positive impact on all who access the lake.
(updated 4-11-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said there was no real news to report at Storm Creek. Water still appears “muddier” than usual for this time of the year, which seems to be impacting fishing. Hopefully with clear weather comes clear waters and the activity will pick up.
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