Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 30, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 30, 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 5-30-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water is stained and at a normal level and current. Bream are good. You’ll find the bream biting at a depth of 5-7 feet on worms or crickets. Crappie are poor. Some will bite minnows and there is some activity around the cypress. Bass are good; work a spinnerbait or crankbait around the brass beds. Also, Flukes and minnows are getting bites. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers and crickets.
(updated 5-30-2018) 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 5-30-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red River is receiving early afternoon and evening generation. This schedule pattern provides great wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends soft hackles, hare’s ear, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jig 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.
(updated 5-24-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that due to local heavy rain below the dam, the river is muddy today (May 24) from mid-river to lower river. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has requested an increase in the generation due to a slight rise in the lake. This generation starting today (Thursday) should help clear the river for Friday and through the weekend. Hopefully the area will miss any heavy rain. The generation will be 2 units in the afternoon hours. This will be for about 6 hours each afternoon. Morning canoeing and kayaking should be the best time, and all boaters and fisherman should check the schedule and be prepared for this rise each day. Please take care when this generation reaches your area of the river. Never approach the upstream end of the docks because of the undertow created by the current. The current in the river increases drastically when the generated water reaches your area. All types of boating should take extra care in the generated water. Greg says, “We wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Be safe and courteous and enjoy the river.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.76 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 5-30-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.77 feet as of Tuesday night at 7:29 p.m. It is 0.27 feet below normal pool of 463.04 feet msl and should stay about the same. The catching is hot on the lake right now for several species as we are having a threadfin shad spawn and it’s just that time of year they will eat a bunch for the next couple of months after coming off the spawn and being hungry. Greers Ferry Lake is real healthy at present with a lot of shad and healthy fish. The hybrid and white bass are really chewing well right now as last Monday Tommy cleaned 76 out of a 150 White bass this group caught in a half-day of fishing, he said, and the big Hybrids are eating well, too. The best bite is around the shad, of course; use spoons, inline spinners and swimbaits, and live bait is working also, in 22-45 feet of water. Just stay with the shad and the fish are feeding heavy five or six times a day. The walleye are ganged up on rocky flats eating crawlers, dragged along the bottom or suspended in water from 16-30 feet. Periods of low light are the best times to catch, and this bite will continue until mid-August. The crappie are eating jigs and minnows in 12-25 feet of water all over the lake and this will last until its gets real hot, and then early morning or late evening or at night will be the best. Bream are bedding on this moon coming up and will be good the rest of year on crawlers, crickets, inline spinners, and small crankbaits. The catfish are eating just about anything you throw in the water right now and the blues and channels are finishing up their spawn and the flatheads are eating well before their spawn in June on jugs, trotline and rod and reels. The black bass are still in all three phases of the spawn: some still on the bank spawning, some recouping and some post-spawners are eating again real well. And do not forget about the bream spawn as the bass will be roaming the banks in packs chasing bream around. Also the rest of fish can be caught with Texas rigged lizards, spinnerbaits, Right Bite Senkos and jigs; the deeper fish can be caught with C-rigs and football heads. A good topwater bite is going on as well.
(updated 5-30-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is clear and the water level is high. Bream are good. Fish around brush piles and look for a bite in 3-4 feet of water on crickets. Crappie are fair around tree stumps. Use jigs. Black bass are good and are biting at 5 feet, especially around trees. Use crickets or a plastic worm. Catfishing has been good and you can throw anything at them for a reaction.
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 5-30-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is about normal, clarity is dark and surface temperature is 83 degrees. Crappie are being caught in deeper water fishing 3-6 feet deep using jigs and minnows. Bass are chasing the new spawn of shad and hitting topwater baits. Catfish are being caught at night with rod and reels using nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are slow but should start picking up. Anglers are catching some good ones, but having to work for them. “Come see us at Overcup Lake off Highway 9.”
(updated 5-30-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water ranges from clear to dingy depending on the location. The water level Tuesday was high, and the surface temperature reading was 74-76 degrees. Bream are good in 2-3 feet of water and best around brush piles. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good. Find the brush piles and fish for crappie in 8-16 feet depth with minnows or a crankbait. Largemouth bass are good and are hitting crankbaits and lizards at 8-10 feet depth. Catfish are good on worms and shad.
(updated 5-23-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said largemouth bass are excellent. With water temps in the 70s, the black bass are moving out of spawn areas but they’re mostly done. 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-Rs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. The best success is closer to dusk and dawn. The top three teams in Tuesday night’s tournament each caught more than 10 pounds stringers of bass, with a Big Bass of 4.44 hauled in by Sam and Fred Lowry. Phillip Cole and Billy Walpole had a winning 12.98-pound stringer. Thirteen of 21 boats weighed in at least 6 pounds. The Kentucky bass bite is good. The spots are in the grass and also about 8-12 feet depth. Rocky banks or points are best with a crankbait or jig. White bass are good, but there have been fewer reports. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie fishing is good. More reports of crappie being found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 12-15 feet deep. Some anglers say they are striking with the bait rather than hitting. Try using shallow rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are very good now. Bream are coming into shallow water off the rocky points and around brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet deep. Catfishing is excellent. More reports of the channel cats starting to move out and the blues coming in. Use stink bait or bream around 8-10 feet and 20-feet-plus depths. A 27-pound catfish was caught last week.
(updated 5-30-2018) 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 5-30-2018) 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 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been doing good on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and Sonny’s Dip Bait. May 8 was its most recent stocking. It is the only family and community fishing pond in Saline County that is stocked. You can look up dates it and others in Arkansas that have been stocked by Googling Stocked Ponds, Arkansas Game and Fish. Bream have been caught on crickets and redworms and brown Rock Hoppers. Bass have been hitting spinnerbaits and buzzbaits and also scum frogs. Crappie are doing fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows, and also on Kalin’s 2-inch Triple Threat Grubs in the color Tennessee Shad.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some anglers have had actually caught yellow bass out of both the front and the back ponds off redworms and bass minnows. “Which doesn’t surprise me for Hurricane Lake is full of them,” Lisa said, “and Hurricane Creek runs along behind both ponds. I was telling a man how the residents of Hurricane Lake just throw the yellow bass away. He told me to ask them next time they tell me that, ‘Would you throw crappie away?’ He says they taste just like crappie!” Catfish have done fair on chicken livers, live crawfish and nightcrawlers. Bream have been doing well on crickets, but lots of small ones have been being caught. A few crappie have been caught on pink crappie minnows. Bass have been fair on No. 12 bass minnows and pink and white spinnerbaits.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) catfish have been doing great on trotlines baited with goldfish, black salties and bream. Over the weekend we had a guy bring in a 30-pound flathead caught on the Saline River. Bass have been doing well on brooder minnows and live crawfish. Crappie are biting on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bream been great on crickets and redworms. A few walleye have been caught on brooder minnows and various stick baits.
Lisa says some of her customers are finding that a couple of hot spots are not far from her store: Lake Nimrod and Lake Ouachita. At Lake Nimrod, she said, she’s heard reports and actually seen some huge crappie from there that were caught on No. 6 crappie minnows. At Lake Ouachita, lots of big crappie are still being caught on both No. 4 and No. 6 crappie minnows as well as Kalin’s Tennessee Shad-colored jigs. She says there have been hundred-count catches reported by her anglers.
(updated 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been doing great fishing deep with crickets. Catfish are being caught on bait shrimp, black salties and nightcrawlers. Bass have been caught off of various styles of plastics in watermelon red, as well as live crawfish and brooder minnows. Crappie are being caught on No. 6 crappie minnows but they are hard to catch, though when you do they are nice ones.
(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 5-30-2018) 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 5-30-2018) 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 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been good on No. 6 crappie minnows and the pink crappie minnows. Catfish are being caught on live crawfish and nightcrawlers. Bream have been good on crickets. Bass can be caught on crankbaits and No. 12 bass minnows.
(updated 5-30-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said there have been few boaters on the river. Black bass are going for topwater baits like buzzbaits, jitterbugs and Zara Spooks. Midday, go to worms (red with rattles), lizards and pull through the grass, then let fall. Also work around the jetties. White bass are biting late or early at the tips of jetties or where you see shad on top. Used shad-colored and pearl crankbaits. Catfish are biting early in 6-10 feet. Bream are nesting on sandbars and also on the grass lines. Use crickets. Crappie are around wood structure in 8-15 feet deep. Use jigs. No report on stripers.
(updated 5-23-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the clarity is clear and the water level and current were normal. A water temp was not recorded. Bream are good on crickets. The bream are shallow and appear to be spawning. Crappie are good. They’re being caught at the edge of trees in about 4 feet depth. Use minnows. Largemouth bass are good, especially around banks or in other shallow areas. Fish with a spinnerbait or plastic worms. No reports on catfish or white bass.
(updated 5-30-2018) 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 5-23-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said surface water temperature is in the 70s and the level and current are normal. Bream are good. Look for them in the beach area in 2-4 feet of water and use worms or crickets. Crappie are good near rocky points in 10-15 feet depth. Use jigs. Bass are good below the dam on jigs. Fish 10-12 feet deep.
(updated 5-30-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent around Murray Dam using skipjack, slicks and by snagging when the water is flowing. Reports on white bass have been fair. They’re biting large white twister tails and spoons. Some redear have been caught by the hydro wall at the dam.
(updated 5-30-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water clarity is ranging from clear to murky. The water level and current near Terry Lock and Dam is normal. Bream are good and have come up to the banks. Fish for them in 4 feet of water with worms or crickets. Crappie are good in the backwaters of the river. They’re biting at 6-7 feet on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good and have moved in near the bank. Expect a nice bite at about 10 feet depth using spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing has been poor. Best results will come with cut bait.
(updated 5-30-2018) 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.
(updated 5-23-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained and the surface water temperature is reaching the high 70s. Bream are fair. Crappie are good in the main channel of the river. Use blue-and-black jigs and fish 6-8 feet deep. Bass are good in the back river on crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures. No reports on catfish.
(updated 5-23-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water level and current are normal and the surface water temperature is in the upper 70s. Bream are being caught near beach areas in 2-4 feet of water on worms and crickets. The bite is good. Crappie are good in 10-15 feet depth around rocky points. Use black and chartreuse jigs. Bass are good below the Terry Lock and Dam on CC Spoons.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-30-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the clarity is clear and the water level and current are normal. Bream are good in 3-4 feet of water around the shoreline using worms or crickets. Crappie are fair in 6-8 feet depth; use minnows or jigs. Bass are good around the shoreline. Anglers are using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms and fishing at 10 feet depth. Reports on catfish have been poor.
(updated 5-23-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the lake is clear and at a normal level and current. Bream fishing continues to be excellent. The bream are 1 foot below the surface and around brush piles. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good in deep water. Fish your minnows or jigs by targeting 10 feet depth. Bass are good and are all over the lake now. Anglers are catching them with spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing remains excellent on minnows and hot dogs.
(updated 5-30-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says Bull Shoals Lake is 10 feet above power pool and Cotter is experiencing some late afternoon spikes in water levels attributable to generation from Bull Shoals Dam. Morning levels have been just at two-thirds of one generator, 2,500 cfs – a little high for most wade fishing, enough to drift in a boat or anchor over a favorite hole. They continue to see success with the blue/silver and the red/gold Thomas Buoyant Spoons. Small Maribou Jigs and the 1/8-ounce White River Zig Jig, mostly tri-olive and olive/ginger, are producing nice catches of trout. The browns are loving sculpins; stick to mid-sized (1½ to 2 inches) sculpins. There have been some hefty hatches giving our fly anglers a run; try the super midge and some sparkling caddis flies. Keep angling. See you at the river.
(updated 5-30-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river is clear in the mornings and mossy by the afternoons. The generation from the dam is low in the mornings and high in the afternoon, hence the clarity variance. Overall the river level is low. The trout bite is fair. Use waxworms with marshmallows or PowerBait.
(updated 5-30-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week they had a few rain events that combined for about three-quarters of an inch here in Cotter, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.4 feet to rest at 10.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 22.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 feet to rest at 0.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.7 feet to rest at 5.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had less generation and more wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. With the rise in the lakes due to our recent heavy rains, we can expect more generation in the near future.
The White has fished much better. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There are caddis coming off. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 14 red fox squirrel nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John also said, “The longer I fly fish the more I enjoy fishing dry flies. There is nothing like the feeling of the tug of the trout when you set the hook on a riser. We get some truly great fishing here but there is precious little topwater action. Tailwaters like ours have constantly changing flows that make fishing dry flies difficult at best. The best time to fish dry flies is when the rivers are on the bottom. The key is to get the right water flows, the right place (the hatch does not occur everywhere on the river at the same time) and the right time.
“We basically have two major hatches, caddis and sulphurs, here on our trout streams. The caddis come first, arriving in March and lasting until May. There are still a few to be seen. I observed a few yesterday at Rim Shoals. I went out several times this spring but I never caught the caddis hatch full on. I have great hopes to catch the sulphurs.
“Last year I had a spectacular day fishing the sulphurs. I was guiding two experienced anglers. We were wade fishing at Rim Shoals and looking for topwater action. In the morning, we fished the upper shoal at the walk in access and did well with one angler fishing dry flies and another swinging partridge and orange soft hackles.
“After lunch we walked the trail along the river down to the third river access. This access features a rock shelf that extends almost all of the way across the river. There is a large pool just upstream of the shelf. There was a prolific hatch with loads of trout rising to them. The surface of the pool was mirror-like with a gentle current. There was not a cloud in the sky and little if any wind. Conditions were perfect to fish dries. We could stand in the ankle deep water on the shelf and get a drag-free drift over the rising trout. We landed several great trout on dries.
“With the sulphurs due to arrive at any time, I am constantly on the water looking for them. They are a yellowish orange mayfly in size 14. I use a sulphur parachute to imitate the adult insect.
“Before the hatch I fish a pheasant tail nymph under a strike indicator to imitate the sulphur nymphs. I prefer a fly with a copper bead tied on a factory barbless jig hook.
“When I notice the cliff swallows working the surface of the river, or I see fish rising but do not see any insects, I switch over to a partridge and orange soft hackle. I tie these on a Tiemco 102Y size 15 hook. Then I actually see rising trout taking adult insects off the surface.
“The secret is a proper presentation. The fly should land gently on the water. There should be a perfect drag free float down to the rising trout. Wait a second before setting the hook to allow the trout to close its mouth. This is the hardest part for me and I frequently lose the first trout because of this.
“They are on the way. Get out there and catch the hatch.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 672.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-31-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday the lake level was at 672 feet msl, and it is still about 13 feet above pool. The fish are still on the bushes for the most part. Water temps are about 82 degrees up to 90 depending on where you’re at or by the end of the day. The topwater bite has been prevalent bite and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been one of the better topwater bites that they’ve had in a while, and he hopes that stays that way. If you got a little bit of wind, you can catch them on a Whopper Popper. The Zara Spook is catching a few fish. As for color, Del will go to Lucky Craft Sammy, or Gunfish if the water’s a little clearer. The first part of the day is the best for the topwater bite. Del has been fishing primarily on the flats, any of those fields that are now under water or holding fish closer to the channel or where they can get to deep water. In isolated cover you can catch some on a popper now. A couple of things are going on: there has been full moon so there’s a shad spawn and they’ve got the perch that are spawning, so that’s kind of what you want to look for. I you find a baitfish you’re going to find a fish. Now if it gets hot and sunny, you’ll still get a wave of fish moving up topwater throughout the day, so after the first couple hours don’t put it away necessarily. But if you do get some wind, which they haven’t had much of, you can throw a spinnerbait around, a square bill on secondary points. Most of the largemouth seem to be in the bushes. Del says he’s catching them all the way in the backs and 2 foot of water all the way out to the main lake points. If you want to fish a little deeper, he’s still pulling some smallmouth on the Keitech fishing the isolated cover on the islands or the humps or the main lake points going out. Also he’s starting to pick up a few fish using the drop-shot. Before you know it, a lot of these fish are going to start moving out, he said. Some of the baitfish already are starting to move out of the creeks after that spawn. If you’re going to target around docks you can also catch some fish; docks are going to be good off the secondary points, that’s kind of where the docks are that Del is fishing, or on the flats. You can also use a jig around the dock; buzzbait or jig, you’ll pick up a few more fish. It’s getting hot so get out for the morning bite. If it’s a hundred degrees out you’re probably not going to fish all day.
(updated 5-25-2018) K Dock Marina said the fish are biting. They have 82-degree water with great lake conditions. All species are hitting right now. The lake level last Friday was 672.2 feet msl (13 feet above normal). Water is clear. Black bass are good on topwater plugs and buzzbaits. Also good on medium crankbaits and jigs. Small plastics in flooded brush in the backs of coves are working. The plastic worm bite is coming soon. Walleye are good to great on small to medium crankbaits. They are really shallow right now, less than 10 feet. They are also hitting spoons and nightcrawlers. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows and swimming minnows. The crappie are scattered post-spawn down the shoreline and in coves around brush.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 564.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-30-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the holiday weekend was a very busy time for Norfork Lake. There were many anglers out on the lake catching plenty of fish. Others were enjoying the great weather by playing in the warm, clean and clear water of Norfork Lake. It appeared that all of their guests had a great time and no one wanted to leave. The striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass bite has been outstanding for the last couple of weeks. There has been plenty of topwater action for all of these species. The best time for topwater action starts at sunrise, lasts for a couple of hours and then happens again at sunset. You may need to move around to find the white water, but they are coming up all over the lake at various locations and depths. If you only see one fish come up and you are close enough, cast a topwater lure because there will be more in the area and they will come up for your bait. Tuesday, Lou said, he fished in a major creek and had a fantastic time, landing eight stripers and hybrids using live threadfin shad. They were exploding on his free swimming baits and were also hitting baits that he had on with a 1/8-ounce split shot. Lou was moving slowly with his trolling motor about 1/2 mile an hour. He started fishing along a shoreline in 30 feet of water and started to catch hybrids. He then moved out to 60 feet of water and started to catch stripers. Swimbaits and Alabama rigs are also working well to catch these fish. Lou is starting to mark big arcs suspended down 20-50 feet, so the stripers are starting to move down to the cooler water. As the water continues to warm, the topwater action for the stripers will stop and then restart in the fall when the water starts to cool. “The fish that I cleaned today were full of crawdads, telling me they are feeding close to shore at some point during the day. The moon is full so I would assume they are feeding heavily at night,” Lou said.
Lou says the largemouth and smallmouth bass bites are still very good. Topwater baits, flukes and jerkbaits are all catching nice fish. In the mornings, work the shallow water that has sunken buckbrush. As the sun gets higher, move out to about 10-20 feet of water and work the bottom with your plastics. Bluff line points are holding some nice smallmouth bass. On occasion you will find the bass out in deep water feeding on the surface, and topwater baits will work great. The walleye bite has also been good. They are being found inside the sunken buckbrush as well as along deep bluff line where the channel is making a swing. Jerkbaits, swimbaits and casting spoons are all working. The crappie bite has been fantastic under docks in the middle of the day and also after dark. Small jigs and spoons are catching fish as well as small minnows. The fish appear to be from 15 feet down up to the surface. The Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with constant power generation. The current lake level is 564.59 feet msl. The surface water temperature is on the rise and was in the low 80s Tuesday morning. The main lake is clear with some of the coves slightly stained.
(updated 5-30-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the fishing on Norfork Lake is on fire for the first two hours each morning. The stripers have moved off the banks and are roaming the deep channels in water depths ranging 50-150 feet. Tom says they are seeing each day the stripers now feeding on crawdads early and moving off the bottom and starting to chase shad once light appears. After the first two hours the fishing slows down and by the third hour it’s over. In normal years you then would move to the flats and catch them feeding on the bottom, but that has not started. The lake is warming to now around 82 degrees and a thermocline has started. Each day they are seeing less topwater striper action. By the end of the week, Tom says, he does not expect to see any stripers feeding shallow. Right now they are catching them on weighted floats set a 30 and 38 feet, long lines with split shots set back 100 feet from the boat, and planer boards with the bait 20 feet behind the board. They have caught limits each day for the last 10 days, so now is a very good time to get on the lake. The stripers are moving down the lake as the water warms up. You should now find them at Robinson Point in the 40-50 feet of water near the bottom and in the deeper areas of Big Creek. The stripers will be feeding on crawdads. Start very shallow, then continue to move out till you find them. This pattern will occur all over the lake as the water continues to warm.
(updated 5-30-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.2 feet to rest at 8.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.7 feet msl and 14.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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 flooding in the past year. 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 and 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). 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 5-30-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are 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 1,126.75 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 5-30-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is muddy. Water level is high and the surface water temperature is 81 degrees. Crappie are biting well. They are biting in 8-20 feet of water on minnows and jigs. You’ll also have good success using a crankbait. Black bass are all over the lake, though the bite the past week was just fair. There is a bite at 2-3 feet. Look for the best bite around the shoreline as well as around brush. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwater lures are your best bet. Catfish are biting well. Any bait seems to be working. Stripers are active on the big end of the lake. Use Rat-L-Traps.
(updated 5-30-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says it is topwater time. Get those topwater baits out and get those binoculars ready because stripers are on the move, and covering lots of water will be the key to success. Beaver Lake stripers are making their way north and are scattered throughout the lake. They are still using mouths 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, or 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 for surfacing fish, and they are taking topwater plugs like C-10 Redfins as well. Water surface temps in the upper 70s. On the mid and upper sections check out these hot spots: Lost Bridge South (topwater hot spot), Point 4 (topwater hot spot), Big Clifty (topwater hot spot), points 5 and 6 (topwater hot spots), Rambo Creek Arm (topwater hot spot), Rocky Branch (check the back of Larue near boat ramp), Ford and Cedar creeks (topwater hot spot; pay attention to where tree line intersects channel), Larue (check the main channel bends and cuts), Coppermine (check back of cove and main lake structures), Ventris (check back of this arm), Shaddox Hollow (check in back), Highway 12 Bridge (check main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects around Bear Island), Prairie Creek (check in back of this and Avoca), Coose Hollow (check back of this arm and the mouth near Deer Island) and Blackburn Creek (check back of this arm as well as the mouth).
Mike says 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 5-30-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has very good this week. Most trout are being caught between Spider Creek, Parker Bottoms and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. Trout are biting on various quarter-ounce spoons and various Power Baits fished with light terminal tackle. The water temperatures in the area mentioned above have been between 55-65 degrees. A few walleye are being caught between Parker Bottoms and Spider Creek pulling various Rapalas and Berkley hard baits. Jigging will also produce walleye. The weather has been cool during the mornings but very warm in the afternoons. A few of the hot spots have been between Spider Creek and Highway 62 bridge. So get out there and catch some fish.
(updated 5-25-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the dam crossing is open to one-lane traffic during Memorial Day weekend and then will close again after that for an additional approximately 10 days. 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 White or Olive PJ Jigs. Fly-fisherman are report numbers of fish being caught.
(updated 5-30-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water remains murky and is at a normal level. The surface water temperature is 80 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good and are hitting watermelon-colored plastic worms, jigs and live bait. Catfishing is fair, but slow.
(updated 5-30-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water is muddy to dirty and is at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 83 degrees. Crappie are fair in about 10 feet depth in the channel. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good and are being caught at all depths throughout the lake. Spinnerbaits and topwater lures are getting the most hits. Catfishing is excellent. Shad and chicken livers are working best. Bluegill are good. Anglers are using worms and crickets. The bluegill are looking for beds.
(updated 5-30-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “It seems that the bream is the favorite right now and the bait of choice is ‘crickets.’ The gold fish are selling really good. I have been getting reports of plenty of nice catfish being caught. Whatever your choice of fish to catch today we have plenty of both live and artificial bait on hand. We also have a large variety of fishing supplies available in our gift shop.” Lake Poinsett is closed to fishing until 2020 for various repairs throughout the lake, but there are other fishing opportunities throughout northeast Arkansas. Ome will be happy to help suggest one.
(updated 5-30-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the lake remains clear and at a normal level, with a surface water temperature of 80 degrees. It’s been a good week for anglers. Bream are good in 10-15 feet of water by drop-offs. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good and are biting in 10-15 feet depth. Look around the ledges and use minnows or jigs. Bass are good. They’re active in 10-15 feet depth and coming up for topwaters. When that bite subsides, fish a plastic worm. Catfishing is good using chicken livers or shrimp.
(updated 5-23-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 400 cfs and water has been clear. The river is lower than it has been all this spring. Lately the heavy rains have been missing the area. Olive Woollies on most days work great, but on the sunny days with a good hatch early in the morning nymphs and M Mark’s El Diablo are working great. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets are working great with spinning gear. Silver spinners are working well some days.
(updated 5-30-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is here and there are many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 5-30-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no 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 5-30-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the low 80s. Visibility is about 1 foot in Lake Langhofer down to about half a foot on the main channel with light flow. Black bass are biting fairly well, though the larger fish are harder to come by lately. Shad-colored square-billed crankbaits are producing on the current-side of main channel jetties and rock banks. Some fish are starting to set up on brush piles in Lake Langhofer, biting on shad-colored crankbaits and shaky head finesse worms.
(updated 5-30-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said that with a week of weird weather at Cane Creek, the fish have become a little unpredictable. While many anglers say that the fish aren’t biting at all, there are just as many who come in with live wells full. Crappie are pretty far out of season for the lake, but are surprisingly still biting around 4 foot deep, but only over deep holes of 12 feet or more. Fish shiners at varying depths over deeper water to pull the bait in front of as many fish as possible. When you receive a bite, stay at that depth. Bass are schooling in mid-depth water of 4-8 feet chasing schooling shad. Fish lipless cranks or spinners running slower and deeper in about 4 feet of water to imitate a confused or hurt baitfish. Topwaters and darker buzzbaits may be quite successful later in the day. The noisier and more erratic the movement, the better. Soft plastics fished near the bottom around structure, especially near the shoreline, will work skittish bass into biting during early morning fishing. The bream bite is definitely on and fish are sitting on beds. Look to the shallows near the shoreline to find bream beds to fish over. Crickets are still the bait of choice for feeding fish, but pulling a worm or spinning beetle across a bed will cause aggressive fish to attack. Be sure to set the hook quickly. Catfish are Cane Creek’s constant, and only change in what bait they are biting. Night is still the best time to fish for the big ones that are coming up in the shallows to feed. Use minnows or small bream fry to attract big flatheads. Blues and channel cats are still biting well on liver soaked in garlic.
(updated 5-23-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said anglers are reporting excellent luck, especially with crappie and catfish. The best spots seem to be along the shoreline. A wide range of bait has been successful, from minnows to canned corn. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits. The fish were biting better during the cooler parts of the day and overnight. Trotlines were also successful during the morning hours.
(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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.44 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 5-30-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level on Millwood has reached near normal, and on Monday remained 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling at 259.5 feet msl; the discharge was near 1,800 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater as of Monday was about 227 feet msl. Water temps continued improving over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday, ranged near 80 degrees early to 88 degrees under full sun, depending on location. Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week but remain stained in places, especially upriver. The main lake and lower sections of Little River continue to improve and are not quite as stained or muddy as the upper regions of Little River and Saline River. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on Mike’s website (linked above) or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber. No-wake zones are in effect at White Cliffs Campground on Little River and marked buoys.
Largemouth bass continue to rebound from the post-spawn conditions over the past week. Largemouth bass have been good over the past few weeks early at dawn and at dusk, and activity levels are diminished during the heat of the day with the increase of surface temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s range over the past week. 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 drawing reactions over the past week or so have been square-bill crankbaits, chatterbaits, soft plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Best color of frogs worked in the lily pads have been black and June bug. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse or Firetiger colors continue working randomly around flooded brush and new emerging vegetation for 2- to 4-pound bass. Mike and other anglers noted the better-quality largemouths have pulled out to slightly deeper depths over the past couple weeks; they are 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. Bill Lewis StutterSteps, Heddon Spit’n Images, Ken Pops, Pop-Rs and buzzbaits are beginning to draw random reactions from post-spawn largemouths around vegetation and new pads. Shallow-running square-bill 2.0 and 3.0 S-cranks and Echo 1.75s, deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 3-7 feet deep, continue taking some random, post-spawn bass around 14-17-inch in length. Chatterbaits have been working near cypress trees and vegetation, all from 8-10 feet deep. In the clearer water of the oxbows, better spinnerbait or chatterbait colors are Spot Remover, Mouse or Hot Mouse. 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 square bills, for the past week or so 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 worked slower and deeper in the creeks. Square-bill S-cranks and shallow-running crankbaits in shad or bluegill and bream patterns have been working near creek mouths and points extending into Little River for the past week or so, since the post spawn Largemouths have pulled out to deeper sections of creek channels and points dumping into the river. Working the cranks in a stop-and-go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves. Brush Hogs, Beaver Bugs and Magnum 4-inch Gitzit Tubes continue working well deeper into the creek channels. Best colors have been South African Special, PB&J, Watermelon Candy, black/blue and black neon. Heavy, big, bulky 10-12-inch worms are beginning to pick up reactions from largemouths in creek channels, creek mouths dumping into Little River and points along Little River. Berkley Power Worms, and Zoom Ole Monster 10-12-inch worms in black grape, plum, red shad, June bug red, blackberry and green pumpkin colors have been drawing random reactions from lethargic, post-spawn largemouths.
Mike says a large school of white bass were connected in the mouth of Hurricane Creek last week. Nomadic whites are on the move along Little River. Crappie were biting jigs and minnows near standing timber and planted brush piles 12-15 feet deep. Crappie were very aggressively hitting on jigs and minnows over the past week to deeper drops 14-15 feet of depth, near standing timber. They have been located by vertically jigging minnows, Arkie Jigs and minnows in standing timber in 10-15 feet of depth. Mud cats and channel catfish were fair up to 6 pounds on trot lines set 10-12 feet deep in Little River using chicken livers, gizzards and hearts while using chum bloodbaits near set trotlines.
(updated 5-23-2018) 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.83 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-30-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is about a foot below full pool of 548 feet msl and holding steady. Water temps have made it to the mid-80s. The bass are moving to their summertime patterns. 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 or Yum Ribbontail worms. Crappie are great and can be caught in 15-25 foot brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.96 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-30-2018) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “I think we just skipped spring completely. Wow, man oh man.” Water temperatures are as high as 86.5 degrees on the surface. This time last year it was in the 70s, John said. “I think this has an effect on fishing. LOL.” The water level is 407 feet msl and holding fairly steady. Catfishing is doing well. Trotlines are spread out over the lake in water in high teens to low 20s in feet. Live bait is the key. Some good catches are being reported. Bream are bedding with the full moon. Use your electronics and side imaging to locate the beds. They can be found in the back of many coves from Caddo Bend to Point Cedar. Stay off the beds and cast drop-shot to the beds. Look for the beds in water 6-8 feet. Fishing with bobbers will work also, but drop-shot gets you on the bottom. John said he had no solid reports on black bass, but with the weather and water temperature he feels safe in saying, “We are in the summertime mode of Texas rigging and fishing the points.” Some topwater action is still going on very early over the grass and buckbrush. Hybrids are surfacing early in several areas. But be quick; they don’t stay up long. Whopper Plopper works when they are surfacing. You can find them in the mid-lake area around Caddo Bend and markers 2-4. Jigging the spoons vertically is the best on these suspended fish. Crappie are a different story. You can catch some nice-size crappie from Point Cedar to Caddo Bend in the brush piles. But they are thin in numbers and you have to be patient. Fish a couple of feet above the brush piles with minnows and bobbers. They are in water from 14 feet to 25 feet. Jigs can be cast over and beside brush piles but count them down and fish slowly. The hybrids should begin surfacing in a more consistent manner soon. We just need a break in the weather. Water is warm, storms are around and it’s breezy. This has been a tough year to have to deal with Mother Nature. Best of luck, and go early.
(updated 5-23-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Fishing is pretty good overall with the reason being the water level has finally stabilized. Bass fishing is good with lots of fish reported, however, most are on the small side. Look for fish in major coves and creeks between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Best patterns have been medium-running crankbaits. both lipped and lipless. In the early morning. Later in the day try a Texas-rigged 4-inch finesse worm in green pumpkin or red shad. A few decent-size fish reported coming on double spinnerbaits slow-rolled across secondary points. Lots of Kentuckies showing along the bluff banks at points 28, 14 and 15. Work a Texas-rigged 4-inch worm down the bank to about 20 feet. Crappie fishing is good early in the morning on attractors in the big coves in 18-20 feet of water. Back off the brush and throw a Kalin’s 2-inch Grub in Tennessee shad across the brush. Count the lure down to about 10 feet and just slow-roll it back. Bites will be very light so pay close attention to your rod tip. Best areas have been between Edgewood and Yancey Creek. Hybrids have been hit and miss with the schools moving following the shad. Look for surface-feeding fish early in the morning between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Throw small surface plugs, Flukes and 4-inch swimbaits. The fish just aren’t as plentiful as they usually are for May. Some are blaming the absence of fish on the greatly reduced stockings the past few years. Some nice bream showing on the crappie attractors and this fishing will really pick up the next full moon with the spawn in progress. Try redworms and crickets.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.63 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.19 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-30-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) reports that White Oak Lake is just above normal pool this week. White Oak Lake State Park has been selling out of worms, minnows and crickets for the last couple of days. Bream are biting worms and crickets at depths of 3-6 feet deep around stumps and trees. Catfish are staying in deeper parts of the lake near the levee systems and channel markers where water depths go to 15-20 feet. Bass are hitting on topwater baits such as buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, frogs and jerkbaits. Crappie have slowed down a bit, moving to deeper water and heading to brush piles with anglers use minnows and jigs to lure them out.
(updated 5-23-2018) 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.
(updated 5-30-2018) 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 5-30-2018) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
(updated 5-30-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress aluminum all-weld fishing boat, had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 5-30-2018) 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 have finished 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 5-23-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 84. Water clarity in the river is dirty with some clear creeks and some stained. Largemouth bass have been good. Resident fish have been good on frogs and chiselers; river fish have been good in the grass with scam shad, jigs and Bamboozie. Fish on drops have been good with crankbaits and spinnerbaits; brush pile fish have been good with jigs and crankbaits. Crappie have been good in the creeks around stumps with chartreuse jigs and chartreuse/black. White bass have been good on main river points around the current break; use white jigs, small swimbaits, crankbaits and spoons. Stripers are still in the creeks working the way out to the river. They are holding in the deeper holes and hitting Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, and scam shad used as a trailer on a chatterbait. Bream have been good in the creeks and the river around brush and stumps on the mudflats; use worms, crickets and small jigs. Catfish have been good in the creeks on worms and grasshoppers and small perch; the river fish are still hanging around mudflats, and cut bait, shad, skipjack and perch have been good bait.
(updated 5-25-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that what anglers need to pay attention to as the Memorial Day weekend arrives is, “I looked at that moon (Monday night), and the bream spawn has got to be ready to roar.” He said he saw a bunch of bream cruising the banks on Monday, and this is one of the best times of the year to throw a square-bill 1.5 or 2.5 crankbait in a bream color, and coming up this weekend with the moon will be basically when those bream start cruising the banks. “All that fry is out there and big mama bass are going to try to keep them off their babies, and you’ve got a bream spawn to boot. So, it’s a great time of the year to throw a bream-colored lure.”
On Thursday, Kastner and Tom Duke of US97 discussed the upcoming full moon, May 29. Both note that 3-4 days either side of the full moon in May, the fishing is usually fantastic. Tom is hearing already that the bream fishing is A-OK. Kastner says there is plenty of clear water to find the beds. “We haven’t had enough rain to discolor the water at all. I suggest looking for deep, deep pockets. Look on the sides as you’re going in and the back middle. As long as the water is clear you should be able to see them. Hamilton is very clear. Ouachita has really cleared up well in the last week. Look in 5-6 foot depth for the bite. Bream are like a pack of wolves. You can make all the jokes about chumming but it works. Get a cheap bag of dog food. Day-old bread. Go to an area, drop anchor on your boat, chum that area, give it a few minutes. Just chum one spot and they’ll come to it.”
Kastner says that crickets are his personal favorite for bream. Or you can use worms. He points to the Berkley Honey Worm. “It looks like a maggot, it’s about an inch long, they make three difference colors but I’m not sure color matters a lot. Off-white color is what I use. Put it on the hook wacky style, sideways, and drop it in. It puts off a really strong scent and attracts them like you wouldn’t believe.” As for line, Kastner prefers a 6-pound line, but 8-pound is fine, and use a No. 8 Aberdeen cricket hook. It’s a long shank light-wire hook, so if you’re using 6- or 8-pound line, if you get hung up, you can pull on the line and the hook will straighten out so you won’t break off. A pair of needle-nose pliers is all you need to bend that hook back. “I don’t think the diameter of the line is all that important in bream fishing. Crappie, you might win that argument. But like I said, bream are like a pack of wolves. They’re not real picky.” The bream bite is going on right now, he concludes, and anglers can look down at the bottom of the area lakes that are quite clear and see the bedding craters already. Anglers want to fish their bait on the bottom. Don’t use a bobber with your bream line or you’ll just have the bait picked off the hook, he said.
And it’s the perfect time to use a bream-colored lure to fish for bass around the bass fry, he said.
(updated 5-16-2018) Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton said the big bream have been doing well on crickets.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.67 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-30-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the largemouth bass continue to bite well. They’re shallow now and active around the rocky points. Anglers are using plastic worms or buzzbaits with good results. Bream are excellent. Look for bream in 3-6 feet depth and around those rocky points. Worms or crickets both will get a response. Crappie are good, a little deeper than the bream, at about 8 feet depth. Use black and chartreuse jigs. Catfishing is fair below the dam. Fish for them in 5-8 feet depth. White bass reports were poor.
(updated 5-30-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water level is normal and the water is clear. Crappie are good in the main channels on minnows and jigs. Catfish reports were good; use chicken liver. Nothing reported on bass or bream.
(updated 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton says she has heard of and actually seen fish lately from Lake Nimrod, and anglers are catching some huge crappie on No. 6 crappie minnows.
NOTICE: The AGFC will hold two public meetings in June to discuss a new Lake Ouachita fisheries management plan. Both meetings will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The Fisheries Division is asking all anglers who like to fish Lake Ouachita to attend the meetings for the purpose of drafting a new fisheries plan, which will serve as a guideline for the Lake Ouachita fishery for the next five years. The first meeting, on June 7, will be an open house will displays about the lake’s largemouth bass sampling, Florida bass genetics work, the lake’s creel survey, the completed statewide angler survey by the AGFC and the Lake Ouachita striped bass and crappie sampling results. The public will be able to interact with AGFC biologists at different stations about their ideas. The second meeting, on June 26, will be presentation of the new plan.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.24 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-25-2018) Tom Duke of US97 said on the Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports report that the bream spawn has started. The full moon is at its peak May 29 and 3-4 days on either side of the full moon, the fishing is traditionally fantastic in Ouachita and the other area lakes. He also said that the topwater fishing on Lake Ouachita is outstanding now. Last weekend, Tom says, he and his group fished topwater always. Not all of the bass were bit, but all day long they were catching fish on the topwater lures.
(updated 5-30-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still very good. Creature baits, worms, black spinners at night and Zara Spooks during the day are all still working well. Walleye are good. Try trolling a Flicker Shad or using a CC Spoon near brush for these fish. Stripers are very good on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the central part of the lake are the best for these fish. Bream are still excellent and being caught on crickets and worms in 8-15 feet water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught on minnows or jigs in 15-18 feet of water near structure. Catfish are very good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 76-80 degrees and the clarity is clear. The level is slightly below full pool. 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 5-30-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said that based on reports her customers are telling her, lots of big crappie are being caught on both No. 4 and No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee Shad-color jigs – lots of hundred counts have been going out of here.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.62 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-25-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation and Education Center (870-241-3373) said black bass should be hitting any soft plastics around the bases of the cypress trees. Texas-rigged worms or soft plastic swimbaits should get the best results. Crappie should be along the channel or on the edges of the deeper cypress trees. Try white/chartreuse or black/chartreuse jigs. Bluegill are spawning and can be caught on crickets or night crawlers in the shallow flats or at the base of cypress trees.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5 mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing on Saturday, June 2, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be open the first and third Saturdays of every month through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
(updated 5-23-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake is still having positive bream and bass activity. If you can get your boat out, the bream are biting in medium depth water and the bass are hiding out in treetops around the shoreline. Anglers can also access the park’s fishing pier, where they have been bringing in the crappie. Live bait and artificial bait alike seem to be working – crankbaits are being reported on bass. The days are heating up, so we’re seeing most of our activity in the morning and evening hours.
(updated 5-23-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake water is finally starting to clear up. No major reports on activity; however, it looks like the chances for scoring a bite are higher now than they have been. Keep on trying! Natalie adds, “Remember, Mississippi River State Park has all of your bait needs. We sell artificial and live bait including worms, crickets, and shad. Also, the park has flat bottom boats available for rental on Bear Creek Lake. Feel free to call the park for more details at the number listed above.
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