Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 16, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 16, 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 through 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 alligator weed, 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 5-16-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water is stained and at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 72 degrees. Bream are good at a depth of only about a half-foot. Fish around the shoreline with worms or crickets. Crappie reports have been poor this week. The bites are coming at about 6 feet around the cypress trees. Use minnows or jigs. Bass reports are good. The bass are active around lily pads in a depth of 4-6 feet. Use spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent. Lots of bites on the yo-yos around the creek area. Use minnows or goldfish.
(updated 5-16-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said bream are excellent. Anglers were fishing the piers and looking for the bite in 4-8 feet depth with redworms and crickets. Bass were fair. They’re active in the grass beds at a depth of 3-4 feet. Use a crankbait.
(updated 5-16-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear with afternoon generation. The bite has been good with caddis hatches still going on in the upper and mid-river. The caddis activity has slowed on the lower river with mayflies starting to appear. The best choice of flies depends on the area and the hatch. Where caddis are active, caddis pupa, red-ass flies or other caddis emergers are producing. Where the mayflies and midges are the most active, midge pupas, pheasant tails and mayfly nymphs would be a good choice. “A 20-inch brown was the last fish of the day on Saturday making my client’s day even better. As a guide, you can’t ask for a better ending to a good day. A big fish doesn’t have to be caught to have a good day on the river, but it never hurts. Congratulations, John!”
(updated 5-9-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Greers Ferry Lake is close to seasonal pool level, which should allow for favorable water release over the next week. They continue to see good caddis and March Brown hatches occurring on the river. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends soft hackles, hare’s ear, caddis pupa, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on gold 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 Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.68 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 5-16-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.68 feet msl and falling. It is 0.64 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet and should stay around the same level for a while. The black bass are still scattered out across the field as there are fish in all phases of spring from the bank out to 40 feet. Most likely anything you like to fish with will work right now; just cover water and for the fish offshore just stay with the shad. Bream are trying to bed; use crickets and crawlers, small crankbaits and inline spinners. Crappie are scattered as well from the bank out to about 18 feet eating jigs and minnows. Walleye are getting set back up in the lake and the lake fish are trying to spawn; drag crawlers around on rocky flats in 6-18 feet of water. Catfish are eating anything you will put in front of them all over the lake. The hybrid and white bass are eating well. Tommy says he had over 100 whites Tuesday on spoons. The big hybrids are eating the same bait as well; the whites are a little shallower, about 22-30 feet, and the big hybrids are eating in 39 feet. Just stay around the shad and be patient, just use your electronics. While on the water during the upcoming boating season, wear your life jackets and be courteous whether fishing or just boating.
(updated 5-9-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear and the level is normal. Surface water temperature is 65 degrees. B are good around the shoreline in 3 feet of water and are biting crickets. Crappie are fair. They’re also up around the shoreline and can be found in 3 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good and are shallow. Fish for them at about 3-4 feet deep with lizards near the shoreline. Nothing to report on catfish.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup will be in effect through 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 alligator weed, 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 5-16-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said crappie are doing well in 6-8 feet and 10-16 feet of water on jigs and minnows. Bass are in post-spawn now and are feeding like crazy. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline and pole with minnows and crickets. Bream are doing well “all over the old beds we fish, and we are seeing some nice size to them,” Johnny says. “Come out and enjoy the weather and fishing with us at Overcup Lake off Highway 9.”
(updated 5-16-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is clear and the surface temperature is 74 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are shallow and are biting at 2 feet depth on worms and crickets. Fish for them around the brush piles. The bite has been good. Crappie are good around brush piles at a depth of 15-18 feet. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good. Some of them are in creeks and others are biting crankbaits or plastic worms in 4-10 feet depth. Look around the rocky points. No reports on catfish or white bass.
(updated 5-16-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said that with water temperatures in the 70s, the black bass are moving out of spawning areas and are mostly done. The bite is excellent. Some are in the grass or just outside of it. Try using Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 4-8 feet and 10-15 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on Pop-R’s, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. The black bass were biting more during dusk and around dawn. Tuesday night anglers had a great tournament, Roger Nesuda said, with the top four teams catching more than 9.3 pounds of bass, including 12.16 pounds for winners Rusty and Rhonda Gosvener. John Merck and Lee Brizzolara landed a 4.14-pound Big Bass. Sixteen of 26 boats each weighed in over 6 pounds. Kentucky bass are biting well; they are in the grass and also about 8-12 feet deep. Rocky shoreline and points are best with a crankbait or a jig. White bass are good. Fewer reports of white bass this past week. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie are good. More reports have come in of crappie found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 6-8 feet deep. Some say they’re striking with the bait rather than hitting. Try using shallow rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are good. They’re coming into shallow water off the rocky points and around brush piles. Use rickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfish are very good. More reports this week of the channels starting to move out and the blues coming in. Try stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and 20 feet deep. A 44-pound catfish was caught recently.
(updated 5-16-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said crappie are reported biting fair. They’re in 5-10 feet depth and around brush piles. Minnows are working best.
(updated 5-16-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said the crappie bite is fair around brush piles and rocky points. Fish minnows in about 5-10 feet depth for best results. Water level and current are normal.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish were stocked in there on May 8; you’re allowed 3 per person, folks. Let those kids have a chance at them. There’s nothing more exciting than to see a kid pull in a catfish. Chicken livers and nightcrawlers are favorites of the catfish. Usually after being stocked they will bite near about anything. Bass have been doing well on live crawdads and white spinnerbaits. Crappie are fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Bream have been great on crickets and redworms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the bream are doing well on crickets. Bass are good on No. 12 bass minnows and brooder minnows. Also on red shad plastic worms. Crappie have been hitting pink minnows. Catfish been doing fair on nightcrawlers and Sonny’s Dip Bait.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been doing well on goldfish on trotlines. Bass have been hitting brooder minnows and live crawdads. Crappie have been doing fair on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bream are excellent on crickets.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the bream are starting to be on the bed. Crickets have been doing well on the great big bluegill as well as the huge redear lately. The catfish have been doing well on nightcrawlers and also on crawdads. Bass also have been hitting the crawdads and brooder minnows, and near about any watermelon red in plastics. Crappie are fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s 2-inch Tennessee Shad grubs.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Lake Sylvia is a hot spot right now for catfish, her customers tell her. The catfish are biting great using chicken livers.
(updated 5-16-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing are excellent. Use nightcrawlers, chicken livers and chicken hearts. Water level is normal, no other conditions were reported.
(updated 5-16-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says bream are excellent. Fish around the piers in 4-8 feet depth for the best bite, using worms or crickets. Bass are fair and are cruising in 3-4 feet of water on the north side of the lake in grass beds. Anglers report using buzzbaits, a shallow crankbait and Texas rigs.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the bass have been excellent on No. 12 bass minnows and Tennessee Shad-colored crankbaits. Crappie are good on No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been doing well on live crawdads and chicken livers. Bream are good on crickets.
(updated 5-16-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the warmer weather has started up fishing, but few people are out yet. Black bass are good. When water is up, fish the grassy areas where you have some flow and use green pumpkin worms or black-and-blue jigs. Bream are good on crickets around sandbars about 2-5 feet. White bass are moving upriver and in creeks. Use sassy shads. Results have been good. Catfish are moving into shallower water. Use whole shad as bait. Reports are good.
(updated 5-16-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said crappie are good in 3-4 feet depth and at the edge of the channel. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are shallow and the bite is good in about 3-4 feet depth on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are biting well on chicken livers and cut bait. No reports on bream or white bass. No conditions were reported.
(updated 5-9-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said the water level and current are normal. Crappie are fair in 5-10 feet depth around brush piles and rocky points. Use minnows.
(updated 5-9-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said reports were that the water is muddy and the surface temperature earlier this week was 60 degrees. Water level is high. Bream are good in the backwaters in 5-6 feet depth. They were biting brown Trout Magnets. Crappie are good in 6-8 feet depth and rocky points. Use jigs. Black bass are good and in the shallow backwater, hitting spinnerbaits in 2-3 feet depth. Catfishing is good below the damp with skipjack. White bass were fair.
(updated 5-16-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent around Murray Dam using skipjack and by snagging. Crappie are good next to the wall of the hydroelectric plant at the dam. Fish in 6-8 feet depth with minnows or jigs. Water conditions are muddy with a normal level and current.
(updated 5-16-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained and clearing. Surface water temperature is up to 75 degrees and the level and current are normal. Bream are shallow and the bite is good. Use redworms or nightcrawlers. Crappie are good in a depth of 6-7 feet. Fish close to or over brush piles with jigs. Bass are good. They are biting in a depth of 3-7 feet around jetties. Use black-and-blue jigs, but also bring out the topwaters (Zara Spook) for some shallow action. Catfish reports are good with stink bait being used.
(updated 5-9-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is muddy and the surface temperature earlier this week was 60 degrees. Water level is high. Bream are good in the backwaters in 5-6 feet depth. They were biting brown Trout Magnets. Crappie are good in 6-8 feet depth and rocky points. Use white and chartreuse jigs. Black bass are good and in the shallow backwater where they’re spawning. They’ll hit spinnerbaits in 2-3 feet depth. Catfishing is good below the damp with skipjack. White bass were fair. Near the Terry Dam, stripers are biting white crappie jigs and Rooster Tails.
(updated 5-9-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is murky and the level is high was fast current. Bream are good in 2 feet depth. Crappie appear to be spawning all over and are biting at 3 feet depth. Reports have been good. Bass are good. Fish the banks in about 4-5 feet depth with a crankbait or plastic worm. Catfishing are good and biting shad.
(updated 5-9-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that catfishing reports near the Terry Dam were fair by snagging or using skipjack. Water level is normal. At the other end of the pool, at Murray Dam, catfishing is excellent using skipjack. White bass are excellent. Use white twister tails and spoons.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-9-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is murky and the level is high with fast current. Bream are good in 2 feet depth in the backwater and around the shoreline. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good in 3 feet depth and can be found in various spots. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good around the shoreline. Use crankbaits or plastic worms and look for bass to bite in 4-5 feet depth. Catfishing is good on shad.
(updated 5-16-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the lake is stained and the level and current are normal. Bream are excellent. They’re shallow now and biting at a depth of a half-foot to a foot. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair. They’re in deeper water (the bite is about 8-10 feet) and best results are by trolling minnows or jigs. Bass are good and reasonably shallow. Look for them at the edge of the lake in a depth of 3-5 feet. They’re hitting spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is excellent on minnows.
(updated 5-16-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “The heat is on. We just put away our long johns and have jumped right into hot weather togs and flip-flops with daily temperatures in the high 80s. Keep the sunscreen applied to your skin, but away from your trout bait and fishing gear; near as we can tell, trout are as repelled by sunscreen as are the UV rays.” To attract the trout, tie on a tri-olive Zig Jig – 1/8 ounce is best – and jiggle it just above the bottom, which is easy to see with minimum flow levels being offered throughout most of each day. Scented baits (garlic “flavored” PowerBait works fine) will increase your skill at reeling in those healthy, growing rainbows they’ve been blessed with. They’ve been seeing spectacular action between the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and just below Wildcat Shoals. Bull Shoals Dam has been releasing water late in the afternoon and, in the Cotter area, they’ve been seeing the rise just at day’s end, which is always a great time to fish from the shore. Tie on a red wiggler and catch a limit of pan-sized rainbows for supper.
(updated 5-16-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river level is up and down. No generators were running as last check. However, the past week, the overall trout bite was poor. Anglers were using PowerBait and corn. Very good reports, though, came on rainbows using drift rigs, PowerBait and shrimp.
(updated 5-9-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Saturday that during the past week, they have had a rain event that produced about 2¼ inches, warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 2.1 feet to rest at 7.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 660.6 feet msl. This is 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.3 feet to rest at 1.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 13.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 2.1 feet to rest at 8.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had less generation and more 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 our recent heavy rains we can expect more generation in the near future.
The White has fished better. The hot spot has been the State Park. There are 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 14 prince nymph suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down. 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.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 672.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-9-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Friday (May 4) the lake’s coming up; it’s at 668 feet msl. They got a bunch of rain Thursday. The water temp is coming up to about 60 degrees, 70 degrees in some of the back of the creeks if they get a little sun throughout the day. “And this week is the week the next week they’re gonna say you should have been here last week,” Del said. “Catching a lot of fish guys and the fish are out, they’re spawning.” Depending on what you want to do. Smallmouth, if you go from the main lake halfway back in the creeks you can still drag a Ned Rig on the outside of the bushes. Look for the gravelly points and pockets. Or you can drag a worm around. The smallmouth seem to like that clear water, so if you’re going to chase smallmouth around, stay toward the main lake. If you want to go chase largemouth about, he’s not saying that are not on the main Lake, but a majority of them are in those spawning pockets and the flats and the backs of the creeks. With the rain, they did get some color in the water, which definitely helped. You can throw a swimbait, like a little KeiTech Flashy. “The biggest thing, guys, is the fish the conditions,” Del said. “If it’s laying flat and there’s bluebirds, you’re gonna have to downsize, grab the spinning rod, and do what you need to do. That’s not what everyone wants to hear but that’s just sometimes what you need to do.” Largemouth and smallmouth are spawning. The carp are spawning and, all at the same time, everything just kind of came to life this past week. Now you can throw a Senko in the bushes. Del says, “What I am looking for is, I’m looking for the flat gravel banks, and there seems to be fish into bushes or off the neck off the point leading into the spawning pocket. So points and pockets as your run in the lake is kind of what you want to key in on. Now if you’ve got wind you can throw a spinnerbait. Or if you’ve got wind and clouds you can throw a topwater, topwaters are like crack, guys, I’m addicted to topwater as you can tell.” Del likes a Lucky Craft Gunfish, and he’s starting to pick up a few on buzzbaits. He also threw the Whopper Plopper around a little bit. He says that style is still coming, but you can catch some quality fish on it, though you won’t catch a lot of them now. If you’re going in the bushes or around the bushes, you can flip a Beaver, a Frightened Frog, whatever you’re comfortable with. If you guys want to drag a tube, that’s working. You can pretty much throw anything in the bushes, it doesn’t matter what it is right now. You just have to get it in there and get it out. Del also is throwing a jig on the last bit of deep water heading into the spawning pockets, a little heavy cover jig, natural colors are kind of what you want to stick with. And he’s also skipping around the docks, the front of the docks and underneath the catwalks, underneath the docks. Some of those fish are spawning around there, too. “So get out there, spend a little time on the water, and you’re gonna catch some fish. It’s that time of year where everything’s going.”
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 565.38 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-16-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the bite for all species on Norfork Lake has been outstanding for the last week. The lake has finally stabilized, the weather has stabilized, the threadfin shad are spawning and the surface water temperature has reached the 70s. Perfect fishing conditions. Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing has been very good over the last seven days. The best bite has been from the start of dawn until the sun gets above the tree line. The same holds true for the evening bite, which is just before sunset until it becomes dark. With the shad spawn ongoing, using live bait has been excellent. Lou says he’s mainly been using free swimming shad. He either pitches the bait up close to the shore and lets it swim or he has been slowly moving with a free swimming bait behind the boat while still staying in 20 feet or less of water. Main lake points that have a lot of sunken brush seem to be holding the most fish. There has been good topwater action for these species throughout the week. It may not be consistent in a certain location, but the stripers are coming up somewhere on the lake in the early morning and late in the day. Artificial baits that are working with Lou’s old standby method of walking the dog, are topwater baits, paddle tail swimbaits, flukes and blade-type baits.
Lou says the largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass bite has also been excellent. The shad spawn, as well as their own spawn, has been ongoing. The largemouth and spotted bass are inside of the sunken shoreline brush or just on the outside edge of the brush in the same locations as the striped and hybrid bass. Live bait is working excellent. Artificial baits that are producing some nice fish are a topwater bait worked on top of the brush, but one of the best bites is with a fluke-type bait. Cast your fluke inside of the brush and just give it little twitches and watch the bass come up and hammer the bait. Plastics, such as a lizard with no weight or very little weight, are also producing. A good color at this time is a dark green with some flakes in it. Crappie fishing has also been good. Most of this species have spawned, but there are still a few that are full of eggs. A great place to catch crappie in the middle of the day is under a covered dock that has some sort of underwater cover. Live minnows are working the best, but small plastic jigs are also producing some nice fish. The crappie are also moving back to the brush. Look for brush in 20-25 feet of water and there will be fish. Norfork Lake has finally stabilized and is actually falling slightly with two generators being run for approximately half of the day. The current level is 565.53 feet msl. The surface water temperature has risen to the mid-70s and if the high daytime temperature continues, the water temperature will continue to rise. Currently our air temperatures have been in the upper 80s to maybe the low 90s during the day and the mid-to-upper 60s at night. The water is clear for most of the lake with a slight stain in some of the creeks and coves.
(updated 5-16-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Norfork Lake weather is starting to feel like summer and the striper fishing is really turning on. The shad have not spawned yet but they are very close, though it may still be a few days. The topwater bite is very sporadic right now. As the shad move to the shore the topwater bite will turn on. Tom says they have caught limits the last five days and he expects it just get better and better. They are fishing within 50 yards of the shore using long lines and planer boards. They caught a 20-pound striper earlier this week on planer board using 5-inch gizzard shad. The striper was released for another person to catch another day. The striper bite is now all over the lake. Find a point before light and use a swimbait until light, then try a topwater lure. If you have no hits within 15 minutes move to the next point. Once the sun comes up, the bite is over unless you’re using live bait, then you can catch fish up to 9 o’clock. Tom says he’s been fishing mostly long lines with a small split shot. As it gets lighter and the sun comes up he will let out over 100 feet of line on the two back poles and 75 feet on my side poles. This had been very effective catching stripers once the early morning bite stops. “If you’re interested in catching a striper, both Sean and I have open dates the later part of this week. We both expect some great action as the lake warms up,” he says. The last rain raised the lake 3 inches but the main lake is crystal clear and should stay that way. There is a mud line way up the creeks but it is clearing up as it moves to the main lake. May should be a great month this year for lots of action and limits of stripers.
(updated 5-9-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 5.6 feet to rest at 11.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.3 feet msl and 13.5 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation and more wadable water. The water is has cleared substantially and has fished much better. There have been some nice caddis hatches that have fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during last year’s 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 red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has cleared but it is fishing better. 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).
(updated 5-9-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are stained. As the water warms, the smallmouths will be more active. My 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 Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 5-16-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is stained to dirty and the surface temperature is in the 70s. Water level still remains high on Beaver, some 7 feet above pool. Bream are good in the flats and on top of brush. Fish worms or crickets in 4-8 feet depth. Crappie are good and many are shallow and near the shoreline. You’ll find them from 1-20 feet in depth and biting minnows, jigs and soft plastics. Bass are good. They’re around their spawning beds and are active in 2-8 feet of water. Anglers were catching them on spinnerbaits, topwater lures, flukes and Senkos. Catfishing is good on chicken livers or shad. Stripers and hybrids are being caught as well. Also a few walleye were caught on jigs and live shad.
(updated 5-9-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says stripers continue on the move and are feeding intermittently throughout the day. Covering lots of water will be the key to success. The white bass run is finishing up and they are making their way to the main lake. Some quality stripers are still being caught in the upper reaches of the rivers, but a good portion are making their way north and are scattered throughout the lake. They 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 deep 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, and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. 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 as well. 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 website linked above. Live bait is always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers.
Mike Bailey says the water surface temps are in the mid- to upper 60s. Check out these hot spots in the mid- and upper sections of Beaver Lake: Rocky Branch (check the back of Larue near the boat ramp), Ford and Cedar creeks (check backs of these and pay attention to where tree line intersects channel), Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, War Eagle/White River junction, White River and War Eagle River.
The walleye spawn has ended and a large portion of the walleye are making their way back to the main lake and a good portion of them can be found suspended 10 feet down over 20-plus feet of water near structure. The post-spawn negative feeding mood is wearing off and they are beginning to get back on the feed. 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.
(updated 5-16-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has been very good this week. Most trout are being caught between Spider Creek and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. Trout are biting on various quarter-ounce spoons and various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. The water temperatures in the area mentioned above hav been between 55-60 degrees. A few walleye are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island pulling various Rapalas, jigging minnows and Berkley soft plastic baits in 6-10 feet of water. The weather has been warm this past week and the much-needed rain has seemed to perk the fish up a bit more. The Corps of Engineers is generating more in the evening, so get out early and catch some fish.
(updated 5-10-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the flood gates are now closed. There is one unit running, so the bills should be in there thick! The dam crossing is now closed and expect it to remain closed for three weeks. Get your snagging rods ready, the bills are on the way. 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 and midges are working well along with white or olive PJ jigs. 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 5-16-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said water level is normal and the surface water temperature is 68 degrees. The water is stained. Bream are good and are biting around the brush piles. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good in laydown areas on minnows or jigs. Bass are biting all over the lake on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are biting just about everything thrown their way and reports are good.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports the water as dingy and at a normal level, with a surface water temperature of 74 degrees. Bream are good in the shallows. Fish worms or crickets at 1-4 feet. Crappie are good. They’re scattered but enough numbers are also near the shoreline. Use minnows and jigs in 1-6 feet depth. Bass are all over the lake and are active on topwater lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on chicken livers.
(updated 5-16-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said these fishermen are braving the heat. Why? Because they love to fish, and nothing tastes better than a fresh pan of bream, crappie and/or catfish. Lake Poinsett State Park intend to keep them happy by keeping their favorite bait on hand, even if the lake is currently in repairs. Ome says they have been selling a lot of crickets as well as other live bait. “We get many questions about when Lake Poinsett will be back. They miss it and so do we. We are looking forward to when it will be back and better than ever.”
(updated 5-16-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the surface water temperature is in the lower 70s and the water is clear and at a normal level. Fish are responding nicely to the conditions. Bream are good. Look for them close to the shoreline and under docks in a depth of 5-10 feet. Use crickets. Crappie are good. Fish the brush piles in a depth of 10-15 feet with minnows. Bass are good with action around the shoreline. Use plastic worms or topwater baits. Catfishing is good. Use shad sides and chicken livers. Saturday, Crown Lake and the marina will be hosting a kids’ fishing derby.
(updated 5-16-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 420 cfs and water clarity has been mostly clear. Woollies and big nymphs have been working well. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets are great on spinning equipment. Use extra care wading with the strong flow of the river. A wading staff can be a life saver.
(updated 5-9-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is muddy and they had no fishing report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 5-13-2018) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0186) in DeWitt said catfishing on the Arkansas River has been very good below Dam No. 2 near Dumas. Fish are being caught on catalpa worms, shad and stick baits. Flathead catfish are running and being caught on the river on live bait. We are selling a lot of minnows, crappie are biting in the Arkansas River on small oxbow areas out of the main river channel. Reservoir fishing is excellent right now, for bass, crappie, bream and catfish.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 5-16-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
(updated 5-16-2018) Park Interpreter Houston Wynn at Cane Creek State Park said this is prime time to fish Cane Creek Lake. Multiple fish are beginning their spawn while others are still aggressive on their spawning grounds. It’s the time of year when the bream fishing has gone in to full swing. These fish are up along the shore line sitting in their beds. They’re hungry and will attack any bait they can fit in their mouths. Catfish are also very aggressive because they are in their spawn. They’re up and feeding in shallow waters in the evenings, eating live and stink baits. These fish are averaging between 6 and 12 pounds. Bass fishing is fair, more so in the evening time. They are still hitting topwaters and large bass minnows. Crappie are not as aggressive as they were recently, but are still out there if you have the patience to look for them. Contrary to popular belief, these fish are still shallow and sitting on their spawning beds and have not yet moved out to the deep waters.
(updated 5-9-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said the fish are biting at Lake Chicot! Crappie have been mainly been hungry for minnows. The catfish are going for waxworms. Bream have been biting on waxworms and redworms. Bass are biting shallow, with a report of shad crankbait being the best bet.
(updated 5-16-2018) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello says bass fishing is fair, but you need to be fishing in the early morning. Bass are being caught in a depth of about 20 feet, with most activity near the creek channel. Use a crankbait or fish with shad or XD-22s. There was also some topwater action, Chris reports. Crappie reports were poor, and no other reports came in.
As of Monday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.58 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 5-16-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level continues falling, near normal, and on Monday was about 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling at 259.6 feet msl; the discharge was near 1,700 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater as of Monday was about 228 feet msl. Water temps continued improving over the past week, and Monday’s surface temps ranged near 69 degrees early to 77 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Clarity and visibility are improved over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially 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 ranged 10-15 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranged 15-20 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike says largemouth bass continue recovering from post-spawn blues. Most largemouths have finished their spawn, though a few stragglers can be found near Millwood State Park and Beard’s Bluff and Saratoga sections of the lake. Largemouth bass have been excellent over the past few weeks from around 3 pounds each up to around 11 pounds each. Many bass tournaments over the past few weeks on Millwood Lake have given up numerous largemouths at weigh-ins from 7 pounds to over 11 pounds each. Best baits continue to be spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, soft plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Best colors of frogs have been black, pumpkinseed pearl, watermelon and June Bug worked in new lily pads. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse or Firetiger colors continue working randomly, fished around flooded brush and new emerging vegetation, for 2- to 4-pound bass. Mike noted the better-quality largemouths have pulled out to slightly deeper depths on points and creek mouths, from 7-11 feet, recovering from the spawn. Males can still be caught relatively shallow around new vegetation and lily pads. StutterSteps, Spit ‘n Images, Ken Pops, Pop-R’s and buzzbaits are beginning to draw good reactions from post-spawn largemouths; work them around vegetation and new pads. Shallow-running squarebills, 2.0 S-cranks and Echo 1.75s fished by deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 5-9 feet deep have been taking some random, post-spawn bass around 14- to 17-inches in length. War Eagle Spinnerbaits, Zoom Trick Worms and chatterbaits have been working near cypress trees for the last couple weeks as well as near stumps, new lily pad stands and vegetation, all in 6-10 feet depth. In the clearer water of the oxbows, better reactions were being had on Spot Remover, Mouse or Hot Mouse colors for spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. In the more stained areas, the white/chartreuse and Firetiger were drawing best reactions. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the 2.0 S-cranks and Echo 1.75 squarebills, have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghost. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic and White Smoke continue to get random reactions from 15- to 18-inch bass over the past couple weeks in creek channels leading in and out of spawning flats, and worked slower and deeper in the creeks. Soft plastic lizards, Brush Hogs and Beaver Bugs have worked well near bedding flats, but now are better moving deeper into the creek channels. Best lizard colors for the past couple weeks have been South African Special, PB&J, Watermelon Candy, black/blue and June Bug. Heavy, big, bulky 10- to 12-inch worms are beginning to pick up reactions from largemouth bass in creek channels, creek mouths dumping into Little River, and points along Little River. Berkley Power Worms and Zoom Ole Monster 10- to-12-inch worms in black, black grape, blue fleck, plum, June Bug Red, Watermelon Candy, blackberry and Red Shad colors have been drawing good reactions from lethargic, post-spawn largemouths.
Mike had no reports on white bass from the past week. Being the nomads they are, no telling where the whites will turn up next, or when, he said. Crappie are on the move in the oxbows up Little River away from current, away from cypress trees, to standing timber and planted brush piles. Crappie were very aggressively hitting on both jigs and minnows over the past few weeks near the base of cypress trees from 1-3 feet deep. They are now mostly post-spawn and on the move to deeper drops and timber. They have been located by vertically jigging minnows and using Arkie Jigs in standing timber at 10-15 feet. No report on catfish for this week.
(updated 5-16-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are a little slow. A few crappie are being caught on the stickups. Heard some good reports on bream.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.02 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-16-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) saidt lake level is about a foot below full pool of 548 feet msl and holding steady. Water temps have made it to the mid and upper 70s. Most of the bass have spawned but some can still be caught shallow due to the higher water and the bream and shad spawns. Right now, a lot of these bass are on secondary points leading into and out of spawning pockets in search of bream. They can be caught using Booyah Buzzbaits, Super Spook Jr’s, and the new Booyah Toadrunner. Windy days are good for Booyah spinnerbaits or Smithwick Rogues in windy pockets and points. Super Spook Jr’s are starting to see some action on main lake points. Shaky head worms are working well on main lake points as well. Night fishing has been decent lately using Booyah spinnerbaits Yum Ribbontail worms. Crappie are great and can be caught in 15-25 foot brush with Kalin’s Grubs (Tennessee Shad or Rainbow Trout) or minnows.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.28 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-16-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water is in the low 70s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing has really improved with the warmer water and stable lake. Bass fishing is good with the spawn over, and the fish are feeding heavily. Look for fish in the spawning coves and throw medium-running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless. Use natural shad patterns in clear water and something with chartreuse when the water is stained. Also try slow-rolling a double spinnerbait in white/chartreuse. During the bright part of the day, try a Texas-rigged worm in green pumpkin or red shad. Look for fish between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Crappie fishing is good with the fish returning to the attractors with the spawn about over. Look for attractors in the major coves at 16-20 feet and slowly work a 2-inch Kalin’s Grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead across the brush at 10-15 feet. Make the cast and count the lure down to the desired depth and just slow-reel it back. In the clear water Tennessee Shad is hard to beat. Look for fish at mid-lake between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford. Hybrid fishing is picking up, with quite a few fish now schooling in the abundant shad schools. Look for feeding fish around the mouth of Yancey Creek, Lenox Marcus and Woodall Cove at Shouse Ford. Most any small topwater lure will work. If the “breaking” fish ignore the topwater lures, try a spoon or lipless crankbait. Early morning and evening are the best times.
(updated 5-16-2018) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Man, oh, may, things are happening at DeGray. Fishing reports keep rolling in with good news. Water temperature has jumped from 68 degrees nine days ago to the 80s now. This is Arkansas, you know.” John says water levels are settling out at 407.28 feet msl. Water is clear with some vegetation floating around. Black bass have been on fire in the shallows. Buzzbaits, walking baits and frogs are good in the shallows early and late. Texas rigs and Carolina rigs are both producing good catches fished on points. These big boys are in the shallows early and on the points as the sun comes up. Bass of all types are beginning to school. White bass are surfacing across from State Park Marina and some hybrids are beginning to break the surface in the same area. Crappie fishing is going, also. Crappie are being caught in brush from 8 feet up to 20 feet deep over the brush piles. “I have found I like the jigs in cooler winter/spring months and before the spawn. After the spawn, as the crappie return to the deep, I prefer minnows. Regardless, now is the time to hit the brush piles. I am getting good reports from mid-lake to Point Cedar. They are ready for the picking; get your basket ready and fill it,” John says.
(updated 5-9-2018) Greeson Marine, dealer of the Arkansas born and bred, all-aluminum, all-welded Xpress fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports that Lake DeGray is on fire! Water temps are in the high 70s and 80 degrees in parts. Water clarity in the 3-4 foot range. Bass have moved off of the spawn and on to the post-spawn! Fish are hungry and actively taking almost anything you can throw at them! Swimbaits, jerkbaits, soft plastic worms, lizards and craws are producing well in the natural colors of summer. Green watermelon and black are the way to go. Main lake points humps and colder creek channels are holding most fish. Go get ’em!
(updated 5-9-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are off the beds and stacking up on the brush piles. Fish 5-8 feet deep with jigs or minnows. Darryl’s been catching some white bass and hybrids trolling crankbaits or Alabama rigs.
De Queen Lake
As of Monday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.40 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Monday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 530.67 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-16-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 5-16-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass should be starting anytime. Bream and crappie a little slow. Water still 6 feet high.
Hot Springs Village Area Lakes
(updated 5-9-2018) Greeson Marine of Hot Springs, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bread all-aluminum, all-welded Xpress fishing boats, reports that village lake bass fishing, like many other areas, is getting great results as the post-spawn fires up! Fish are hungry and actively attacking soft plastic worms, Senkos and lizards with the occasional frog bite in lakes with grass. Water temps are in the low 80s and visibility from 2-6 feet in most areas. Most fish are on main lake points and changes in elevation on the main lake. Some fish can still be found hiding out under docks in the shade.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is murky and the level is normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Anglers report poor results with bass. The bites they’re getting are coming near the shallow end or around cypress on topwater lures. The AGFC fertilized the lake May 1. Fishing is very slow right how, Sharon reports, but they expect for things to pick up by Memorial Day weekend.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 5-16-2018) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 5-16-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that rainbow trout fishing is excellent as thousands of quality trout are thriving in the tailrace. Bank fishermen are catching 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 silver or white are recording 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 over but numbers of fish remain in the tailrace feeding on shad. The majority of fish are being caught by trolling shallow-running stick baits that imitate small minnows or crawfish. Carolina rigs tipped with nightcrawlers have taken the largest fish at night. White bass are making a run toward the dam, with numbers being taken from the bank by anglers casting flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie are finishing their spawning run and are still being caught on small jigs and live minnows around rock structure and sandbars close to the main river channel. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of the generation schedules and must always follow all boating and park regulations.
(updated 5-16-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperatures are in the upper 70s/lower 80s. The river is dirty with some clear backwater. The upper end of the creeks are clearing, with stained water on the lower end. Bass have been good in the grass on white jigs and Bamboozie. Black and blue jigs and Bamboozie have been working well around rock. Chiselers have been working well off of the drops and in the mouth of the creeks. Scam shad has been working well around coontail thrown weightless, and with a weight in the peppergrass. Crappie have been good around stumps; chartreuse and black and straight chartreuse will catch some good crappie. Stripers are working their way out of the creeks; stick to the deeper holes with swimbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater poppers. White bass have been good in the main river on the current brakes on the upper end of eddies. Bucktail Jigs and grubs white in color were working best. Catfish have been good on the mudflats using cut bait shad or skipjack; liver has been good, too. Bream have been really good shallow on crickets and worms.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton said the big bream have been doing well on crickets.
(updated 5-11-2018) Lane Dodd of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that he had gotten a good report from an angler catching crappie. He said the angler was around the southern end of the lake, down around the Hulsey Hatchery and White Oak Basin. He was fishing the deepest concrete boat docks he could find. The crappie angler was using regular, No. 6 live minnows and said he probably caught 20 on Thursday.
(updated 5-2-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are finally moving in to spawn in greater numbers than before. Water temp is 65. Catch the staging females 8-10 feet deep on brush piles. Males are on the beds making and protecting the future catch. Spotted bass are roaming the coves and shoreline chasing threadfin shad like MS13 gang members. Casting jigs and inline spinners work great.
As of Monday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.43 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-9-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is clear and at a normal level, with a surface water temperature ranging 68-72 degrees. Bass are good around brush and rocky points in 5-7 feet depth. Use spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Crappie are good around the shoreline in about 3-5 feet depth. Chartreuse jigs are the way to go. Bream are biting around rocky points in 3-5 feet depth. Try redworms or crickets. Catfishing has been excellent on crickets.
(updated 5-9-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is muddy but clearing. The level is normal. Bream are biting well on jigs. Crappie are good on jigs. Bass also are good and hitting jigs. Catfish reports are good and they say they are biting jigs. The Boys would not reveal specific area where the fish were being caught or the depth.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.69 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-16-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Creature baits and worms are still working well and the topwater bite is good. Try a Super Spook Jr. on main lake and secondary points. Walleye are fair. Try trolling a flicker shad or similar small crankbait for these fish. Stripers are fair on live bait. Major creek and river channels on the western and central part of the lake are still the best for these fish. Bream are still excellent and being caught on crickets and worms in 15-25 feet water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught on minnows or jigs in 15-18 feet of water near structure. Catfish are good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 68-74 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level on Tuesday was 577.72 feet msl. 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 5-16-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said Lake Ouachita is a hot spot for big bream right now. The bite is very good and they are being caught on crickets. Also, slab crappie being caught on No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s 2-inch Tennessee Shad grubs.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.32 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-9-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake has seen an increase in activity over the past few days, especially early morning and mid to late afternoon. The bass have been appearing in coves over tree tops and biting on artificial jigs of bright colors. Crappie are biting at mid-range water levels on live bait, and catfish are hitting yo-yos using stink bait and other homemade baits. The boat ramp is still closed, but don’t forget that the State Park rents boats and motors for those who want to get out on the water. The State Park also sells a variety of bait including worms, crickets, shad and artificial baits.
(updated 5-9-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake hasn’t seen a lot of activity. The bass seem to be biting more now than before, also on bright-colored artificial baits. However, all other species have low activity reported.
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