Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 27, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 27, 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 6-27-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water is stained and the level and current are normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on redworms, crickets and waxworms. Crappie reports are poor. Best bet is to throw small minnows or worms around cypress trees. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater plugs and frogs. Catfishing is good using stink bait, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
(updated 6-27-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) had no reports.
(updated 6-27-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red has entered into a summertime generation/water release schedule of a few hours of early afternoon and evening generation. This schedule provides great wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. Lowell expects this schedule to continue until the area receives significant rainfall. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends soft hackles, midges, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Red and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Remember to practice your best boating, canoeing/kayaking and wading etiquette and be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 6-27-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “Well, temperatures in the 80s didn’t last long. Summer has returned with a vengeance. Mid- to high 90s are forecast through the week of the Fourth.” The bite on the upper and mid-river sections has been good and the lower river has been weak the last four days, he said. Insect activity has been better in the upper sections. Blue-wing olive mayflies, midges and even a few caddis are hatching, with the best fly choices being small pheasant tail nymphs and emergers, midge pupa and red-ass soft hackle. Sowbugs are taking fish when there is no insect hatch. Generation should remain the summer pattern of afternoon releases of 4-5 hours on weekdays and shorter periods on the weekend. Fishermen can check the proposed releases on the USACE Little Rock app or www.swpa.gov/generationschedules.aspx. “Happy Fourth of July and remember courtesy is contagious! Have a safe and happy holiday,” Greg says.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.34 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 6-27-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.36 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 1.18 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl for this time of year. Bream fishing is good with the fish being on beds; use crickets, crawlers, small crankbaits, inline spinners or flies for some hot action with this good eating fish in water 6 inches out to 18 feet. The walleye are eating crawlers on jigheads and drop-shot rigs in 12-28 feet of water, according to weather, on flats. Spoons are working well, too. Crappie are holding in their suspended state throughout the lake in 12-28 feet in and around brush piles, pole timber and sometimes just out in the middle of nowhere. Use jigs or jigs tipped with minnows. Catfish are good all around the lake, as it is that time of year – flatheads are spawning, really an untapped resource here; you can use a variety of baits and techniques to catch them. Bass catching is good with the last spawners eating well, as are the rest, from right on the shoreline out to 45 feet. Use spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged plastics, jigs and Carolina rigs tipped with a Right Bite Senko for the best action for all four species of bass. The hybrid and white bass are eating well on spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs at different times throughout the day and night. It’s a timing deal, pretty much. Stay around the shad, for sure, in 25-55 feet of water.
(updated 6-20-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear and the lake is at a normal level. Surface water temperature ranges from 80 degrees early to 88. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater plugs. Catfishing has been good on worms and chicken liver. No reports on bream.
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 6-13-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is about normal and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 87 degrees. Crappie are being caught in deeper water fishing with jigs and minnows 3-6 feet deep. Not catching a lot but are catching some good ones 15-16 inches. Bream are doing well with crickets, worms and Rock Hoppers. They are on the beds. Bass are doing well around brush tops and structure around the shoreline. They are chasing the new spawn of shad. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines with bream and trotline minnows. “Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Highway 9.”
(updated 6-27-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said very little changed from this time a week ago. The water remains a little dingy. Surface water temperature ranges from 82 early to 90 degrees. Lake level is normal. Bream were fair on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing has been good. The crappie are in a depth of 12-18 feet and biting minnows or jigs. Bass are good. Fish for bass in 8-12 feet depth and around the rocky points. Use crankbaits of plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms or chicken liver.
(updated 6-27-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said fishing has been very good the past three weeks. Largemouth bass are excellent. With water temps in the 80s the black bass are moving out of the spawn areas. Some are just outside of the grass. Try using Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 6-8 feet and 10-15 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on Pop-Rs, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits. Largemouth bass are still biting more at dusk and at dawn. Josh Sellers and Josh Baker pulled in a whopping 4.6-pound largemouth on Tuesday night in the weekly tournament on Maumelle, but it wasn’t enough to push them past Matt Hedrick and Brandon Crain’s 11.32-pound winning stringer; Sellers and Baker and Keeton Blaylock and Kyle Wise all caught stringers topping 10 pounds. Meanwhile, Roger says, Kentucky bass are good. The spots can be found off the grass line and also about 8-12 feet deep. Rocky shoreline or points are best with a crankbait or jig. White bass are good. A few reports of the whites schooling but not staying up for long. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie are good. More reports of crappie being found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 12-15 feet deep. Try using spider rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are good and being caught on top of the bream beds at 6-8 feet and brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfish are excellent. 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.
(updated 6-27-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the lake has been stocked two weeks in a row – once on June 12, the other time on June 22, the day before the big fishing derby. It provided nicely for lots of people wanting catfish. Plus, with the fact there are some tagged fish in there, too, it made it a great challenge for some to go try out their luck on them. Prizes range from tackle boxes to rod-and-reel combos and gift cards, a water board and a kayak. Be on a lookout for one of those tagged catfish; who knows, you might just catch one. Lots of Lisa’s fresh chicken livers made it down there and did pretty well for many anglers. They also caught them off of nightcrawlers, stink baits, bait shrimp and minnows. Bream are doing great on crickets and redworms. Bass are biting on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Crappie have been fair off of pink and No. 4 crappie minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-27-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said one customer showed me a picture of about an 11-pound catfish caught out of the back pond that has a pier on it. He said he was using cut shad to catch it. Some bream have been caught off of crickets and redworms out of both the front and back ponds. Some bass are being caught off of No. 12 bass minnows, too. Plastic also have produced a few bass out there. Small crappie have been caught on pink crappie minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-27-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been good on No. 12 bass minnows and black salties, also off of watermelon red plastics and green-pumpkin-colored ones. Crappie are slow but biting on No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee Shad Grubs. Catfish have been good on trotlines using goldfish and black salties. Bream are good on crickets and super mealworms.
Lisa says she hears from her customers about hot spots outside of her immediate area. She says that as for Lake Ouachita, the Westbrook brothers have been doing great on slab crappie on No. 4 crappie minnows. They have been hitting those deep brush tops with that little crappie minnow, for it won’t get them hung up like a bigger crappie minnows will. And Lisa says she had another customer over at Lake Ouachita say he caught his limit on walleye using CC Spoons.
(updated 6-27-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are deep and biting on crickets. Bass are good on No. 12 bass minnows. Catfish are good off of nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and chicken livers. Crappie have been slow but there is a bite deep using No. 6 crappie minnows.
(updated 6-13-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said Lake Sylvia has been a hot spot of late. Anglers have been having great success catching catfish using chicken livers.
(updated 6-27-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie did well for one of her customers on the No. 4 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on live crawdads and chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bass have been good on crankbaits and No. 12 bass minnows. Bream are great on crickets.
(updated 6-27-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) reported lots of young shad, the weather has been spotty, fronts moving through almost all week. The bass bite is good early in the back of coves and overhangs. Use topwater plugs. Then go to spinnerbaits and crankbaits and use around wood. Catfish are good. Use catalpa worms and fish 5-15 feet around jetties. Bream are good on crickets in 2-8 feet of water. White bass are chasing shad schools. Use shallow-diving lures in pearl or white. Fish where you see schools, the action will be on top of the water. No reports on crappie. No reporters on stripers.
(updated 6-27-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water clarity is clear and the level and current are normal. Nothing report on surface temperature. Bream have moved deep, and the catches have ranged from poor to fair. Crappie are in about 5 feet depth and the bite is fair; use minnows. Bass are fair if you get out early or try them late in the day. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms were working best this week. Catfishing are good on chicken livers and cut baits.
(updated 6-27-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Bream are good in 3-4 feet depth and biting worms and crickets. Crappie reports are good, with the fish in 10-15 feet depth and around rocky points. Black bass are fair, with the best bite early. Go with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and buzzbaits. Nothing to report on catfish or white bass.
(updated 6-20-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or by snagging. White bass are good on spoons, shad and twister tails.
(updated 6-27-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water remains clear and the level and current are normal. Surface water temperature has ranged from 85 degrees to a high of 90. Bream are fair. They’re best around the jetties and rocky points; use worms or crickets. Crappie are fair around jetties as well. Try crappie tubes as well as minnows and jigs and look for the bite in 5-10 feet of water. Bass are fair on crankbaits, Bandit 200s and hollow-body frogs. No reports on catfish.
(updated 6-27-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the current and level are normal. The bream bite has been fair to good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair. Reports from the Terry Lock and Dam area are that they are in deeper water now and biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good both early in the day and late in the evening. They’re hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Around the Terry Lock and Dam, bass are hitting those baits and also topwater plugs early and late. Catfish reports have ranged from fair to good. Use worms.
(updated 6-27-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said that near the Terry Lock and Dam, water is clear and the current and level are normal. No temperature was reported. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair to good in the backwaters. They’re biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good. Work especially around rocky points, with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms all bringing them in. Catfish are good behind the dam.
(updated 6-20-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that below Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or by snagging. White bass are good on spoons, shad and twister tails.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-27-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and level is a “hair” low. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are excellent. Worms and crickets are working. Crappie are excellent. Go with the usual minnows or jigs. Bass reports are good. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms all are working. The only negative from here is the report on catfish: poor.
(updated 6-27-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water is clear and at a normal level. No temperature was available. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are good. Anglers are trolling with minnows or jigs. Bass are good. They’re biting topwater lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is excellent. Use worms.
(updated 6-27-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been heavy and round-the-clock with continual output of four or more generators, 12,000 to 14,000 cfs all day. All this high water provides lots of places for trout to run and hide in (and grow big and feisty) and has tested the skills of the anglers. Look for clear water to drift, cast toward the bank and you’ll most often pull in a rainbow in no time. Get their attention with fluorescent, bright baits and flashy silver spoons. Drifting a Berkley Pink Worm with or without the PowerBait has offered some success. Browns have been partial to river minnows again this past week; most of the browns were found downriver of Hurst Hole to just past the U.S Highway 62 bridge north of Cotter. “We expect lower water levels in the next few days once Bull Shoals Lake reaches desired power pool range; catching will become less of a challenge. Come on out and test your skills. See you on the river!”
(updated 6-27-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is high with eight generators running at the dam round-the-clock. Trout catches ranged from poor to fair in the past week. The anglers are fishing with boats and came back with a few browns and a few rainbows at best. Check with the resort for any change in the water, but they say right now it is too high for good fishing.
(updated 6-27-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Friday that during the past week one rain event produced about an inch in Cotter, plus they had warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.1 feet to rest at 3.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.77 feet msl. This is 31.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 feet to rest at 0.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 2.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 2 feet to rest at 1.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.5 feet msl and 21.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had more generation and little if any 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 warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, expect more generation in the near future, particularly in the afternoons. The White River has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals (this access is closed for repairs). There are sulphurs 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.
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.
John also added this important note about fishing line, “The other day my wife, Lori, returned from a trip to Memphis to put on a fly-casting seminar for the Mid-South Fly Fishers, our old fishing club. She was storing some food items in the refrigerator that she had picked up while she was on her trip. She needed a bit of space in the fridge and began checking the ‘use by’ dates on everything to eliminate expired items. Out went milk, yogurt, cream cheese and some funky looking diced cantaloupe. As I was helping with this, I thought about other things that did not age well. Not everything is like wine and good cheese that actually improve with age.
“The first thing that came to mind was monofilament, the basic nylon material used in fishing leaders and tippet. It degrades over time. If you keep it too long it will become a bit more brittle and can break easily. Monofilament leaders are made from the same material and have the same properties. I formerly used only Orvis tippet because it featured a ‘use by’ date. For some inexplicable reason Orvis discontinued featuring a ‘use by’ date on its tippets and leaders. I personally think it was because obsolete material was hard to sell.
“I find that monofilament begins to degrade in about a year. Therefore, I recommend that you replace your monofilament every year. It is easy enough. Just buy new tippet every time you renew your fishing license. This may seem like a bit of expense, but it is not too much when you consider that a $5 spool of new tippet could easily save you from losing a couple of $2.50 flies (I always use double-fly rigs) on a single hookup.
“This is no problem for me. As a guide, I can go through a new spool of tippet in a couple of days of guiding. Since a regular 30-yard spool of tippet will only rig about 30 rods (it takes two 18-inch sections of tippet to rig a double-fly rig), I buy the 100-yard spools. I usually have six at a time and they never go bad. I do take a Sharpie and note the date I bought it. I pretty much do the same thing with leaders.
“When I am on a guide trip, the first thing that I check is the rigging on my client’s rods. I always ask the same question, ‘How old is this leader?’ If it is a year or older, I change it for a brand-new leader. I always put on new tippets.
“It should be noted that fluorocarbon tippets and leaders are much more durable. In fact, they can last much longer. The only problem is that they cost three times as much as monofilament. If you don’t use that much tippet and you keep it for a long time, fluorocarbon is a good deal. It is also a bit stronger and very abrasion resistant.
“Take a minute and check out your leaders and tippet. It may save you the fish of a lifetime.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 662.38 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) K Dock Marina on the Missouri side of Bull Shoals Lake said lots of fish were caught the last few weeks. Anglers are still doing great on almost all species of game fish. Water is hot and dropping fast, but the bite is still on if you can stand the heat and humidity. (The Army Corps of Engineers has now made this current lake level the new summer power pool after implementing the Minimum Flow Act several years ago.) Unfortunately the boat launch near K Dock will still not be usable at this level. This launch was designed to be used for a power pool of 654 feet msl. This launch was never raised before they changed the lake to the current level. “We believe it’s time to make some noise and tell the Corps that we need a high water boat launch! I will be posting a separate blog on this site about this project very soon.” Scott says the water temperature is ranging 87-90 degrees and the water is stained. Black bass are good on a variety of baits – topwater early morning and evening; jigs on points and steep rock bluffs, peanut butter and jelly are working good; large crankbaits and 8- to 10-inch plumb or blue fleck plastic worms. Walleye are good on trolling medium crankbaits. Keep the boat in about 20-25 feet for suspended walleye in the 12-18 feet range. Some walleye are being caught on larger crankbaits and bottom bouncers in the 20-30 feet range. They will really start to go deep if the surface temperature jumps above 90 degrees. Lots of 5- to 6-pound walleye were caught on white or silver spoons, vertical-jigging, around 20-25 feet of water off the points. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows in brush piles. Also some very large crappie are being caught trolling small to medium crankbaits a few feet from the high bluff sides of the lake.
(updated 6-28-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said lake level Thursday was at 661 feet msl, still about 2½ feet over the normal pool for this time of year. Temperature is about 84 degrees up to 90 depending on where you’re at. It’s been hot; Thursday was the hottest day of the year. The Corps been generating quite a bit of water, running about eight units a day, to get the lake level back down. And it’s summertime, the fishing’s pretty much going to stay the same for a while here. Expect a report every two weeks or so unless something major changes. Early in the morning there’s a good topwater bite still. You can throw a Zara Spook, you can walk the dog, throw a Sammy, Gunfish, anything of that nature. “There’s a small feeding window there, so if you get up really before the sun comes up and get ready beyond the water when it happens, it’ll definitely pay off that first hour, hour and a half, sometimes two hours. We’ve had a lot of fronts come through lately, so if you can get it out before one of those storms come in without getting in trouble you’ll do good,” Del said. Now, definitely you want to follow the shad around, he says. If you can find the bait, you’re going to find the fish, so pay attention when you’re out there. The main lake definitely has been better and it will continue to be as they generate water. The lake still has those fish out on the points, so as the sun comes out you want to fish the main pake points, secondary points, humps, islands, docks and brush piles anywhere in that 20-25 feet range. There is a drop-shot bite that’s working, you can spoon them; get up around the docks as the spoon bite’s been pretty good. If you want to go in the back, you can do that if you get some runoff. You can definitely go in the back after one of the storms and get into the fish, but it’s going to be hit or miss, that’s for sure. Del and other anglers are still catching fish on the Whopper Plopper; they’re catching them in the bushes, those largemouth are relatively shallow early and it’s hot out. Del says he’s fishing half-days now, and you can line up a trip with him. “Also if you want to get out and catch some fish you’ve got other options: the White River, which is right here, we’ve got bowfishing, we got the Fourth (July 4) coming up, the scuba guys have been out on the lake spearfishing for walleye and the walleye guys that are fishing are doing really good dragging bottom-bouncers. The last week was anywhere in the 20- to 28-foot range.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 557.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said striper and walleye fishing on Norfork Lake is good but inconsistent. Depending on what part of the lake you’re fishing you will either limit out or look at lots of stripers on your locator and not get a bite. The area around the bridges seems to hold more active fish. Tom says he keeps seeing pictures of limits of stripers caught each day. The lower lake has lots of stripers. Sometimes you will see 100 stripers on your screen but only get one bite. The stripers are stilling feeding on crawdads but their main source of food is the 1-inch shad that hatched a month ago. The evening bite seems to be better than the morning bite. You will need to wait out the fish. It’s like deer hunting. The last 45 minutes of light produces the best bites. The stripers can be found in 40-120 feet of water each morning. The ones on the bottom feed the least, which is the opposite for this time of year. Tom and his groups are fishing seven downlines, with each line set at different depths from 30-45 feet. The stripers are still hitting free lines that have a small split shot set back 80 feet from the boat. The side of bluffs and points are holding the most fish. Stripers are being caught on shad and trolling using umbrella rigs and swimbaits.
Walleye are biting but you do not have to go early. The best bite is from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to dark. The 101 Dock area, Robinson Point, Thumb Point, the back of Big Creek and Diamond Bay, to name a few, are producing limits of walleye. Spin rigs with nightcrawlers are producing the best. The rigs should have a 30-inch lead. You will have to try various colors to find the color and blade shape that they want that day. Meanwhile, the stripers have set into their summer pattern of being higher in the water column at early light, then moving deeper as the sun comes up. The good news is the bite is lasting longer in the morning. We have been catching stripers up to 9 a.m. It’s slower after 7 a.m. but you can catch them. The walleye are biting all over the lake on bottom bouncers using spinners and nightcrawlers, crankbaits and spoons. The best bite is 7-10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to dark. Look for them on the flats in waters ranging 24-32 feet. Tom’s crew is also catching stripers while fishing anywhere from 50-120 feet of water. The walleye are usually around the 35-foot range in the deep water. Stripers continue to feed on shad and crawdads. We are catching them using 3- to 5-inch gizzard shad. Threadfin shad are also working, plus spoons. Right now, the middle of the lake is still the best bite for stripers – Crystal Cove, Robinson Point, Float and Panther creeks. The walleye, though, are everywhere. Just pick a long flat on the side of a point or, if the point has a flat, try that. You should be able to mark them; they will be right off the bottom. Remember, we now in the summer period of striper fishing, so you should stop releasing legal stripers caught on live bait. The slogan for the summer is “Catch Your Limit and Go Home.” Catch your limit and quit for the day or change your target species. Save some fish for your next trip and watch them grow into trophies.
(updated 6-27-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is in the early stages of its summer pattern. This means the lake has a thermocline forming and many species are close to this level and other species are going deeper. Several species school this time of year while other species scatter to the cooler depths of the lake. The bite for striped bass and hybrid bass has been excellent over the last week. Yes, you do need to find them, but once you do, you are going to have a lot of fun. Lou said he had the pleasure of fishing with his daughter’s family and two of her friends over the last week and “we had a great time. I would take out the girls one day and the next the guys. The girls definitely outperformed the guys. I love to instigate trouble.” Lou is finding these fish in many different types of locations – main lake points, main lake flats, back in the major creeks and some in the larger secondary creeks. In the morning the fish seem to be congregating close to deep channel swings. These are areas where the creek or main lake channel is curving in close to the shore, especially if it is close to a rocky point. The fish have an opportunity to go shallow to feed on crawdads during the night, then move out to deep water to feed on shad during daylight hours. Lou said he is finding stripers in 60-100 feet of water with the fish suspended from 30-70 feet down. A pretty good bite in the afternoon has also started. In the afternoon look for a deep main lake flat or a big rounded point. The fish will be out in the 60- to 80-foot range. You will need to look for the bait, and if you can find them, the stripers will be nearby. The striped bass are still scattered throughout the lake, but the better areas for Lou have been around the bridges and heading south. It appears the bigger stripers are at the deepest level – nice fish, but smaller ones are up higher in the water column. Live bait, either shad or shiners, is working great, but vertical-jigging with a spoon is working very well for him, Lou said. Trolling large swimbaits or deep-diving crankbaits is also working as long as you can get your bait down below the 35-foot water depth.
Lou adds that walleye fishing has also been very good. You will find the biggest concentration of fish at or near the thermocline from 20-30 feet depth. As the thermocline drops, so will the fish. Lou says he’s also picking up a few that are out chasing shad while he is striper fishing. These fish have been anywhere from 40-60 feet deep. Trolling crawler harnesses with a small spinner has been working very well, as well as trolling a deep-diving crankbait. Both of these baits need to be close to or actually in contact with the bottom to entice the fish to bite. Another good method of walleye fishing is vertical-jigging a spoon. Lou has been using a ¾-ounce spoon, bouncing it off of the bottom.
He says that largemouth bass fishing has also been good. There is still a little topwater action right before sunrise and then again as the sun is setting. They are located all over the lake, from the main lake to the creeks. Most of the topwater action that he has seen has been back in creeks in the mornings and out on main lake flats at sunset. Swimbaits and crankbaits are working early in the mornings. As the sun comes up, the fish go down. Switch out to some of your favorite plastics, either Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged. Get your baits down to 18-30 feet. Lou says he’s picked up a few big bass 50 feet down over the last week while striper fishing off of points. The bass are feeding on dark green crawdads, as well as threadfin shad. Crappie fishing is still good under docks at different times of the day. The crappie are scattered out in deep water, as they normally do this time of year. If you find some 30- to 40-foot-deep brush, check it out, as there will be a few crappie hanging around. Norfork Lake water level is still falling several inches per day and on Tuesday was at 557.19 feet msl. The surface water temperature is in the mid- to upper 80s. Most of the lake is very clear with some of the creeks and coves slightly stained. Norfork Lake is in great condition of all types of water sports. “Give us a call at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort (870-492-5113) for your summertime vacation. We still have availability for most weeks in July and August. If you are looking for a fishing vacation, I will be able to help put you on fish. I am out on the lake at least five days a week trying to keep up with their ever-changing locations. If a lake loving vacation is what you are looking for, Norfork Lake is in great shape for your swimming and boating fun.”
(updated 6-27-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that last week Norfork Lake fell 2 feet to rest at 1.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.5 feet msl and 21.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had more generation and little if any 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 warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, expect more generation in the near future particularly in the afternoons. The water here has cleared substantially and has fished much better. There have been some nice midge hatches that have fished well. Navigate this stream with caution. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole in the past year. 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 much better. There are fewer fish in the creek. 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 6-27-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable but low. 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 1,122.77 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity of the lake is good, with a surface temperature in the mid-80s. Level has returned to normal. Bream reports this past week were poor. Crappie, however, have perked up nicely with good results for anglers, especially at night. Anglers are trolling for best success and staying around the brush piles. Try Bandit lures, Pico jigs and minnows and crappie jigs. Bass are fair late in the evening and in the early, but they are deep. Go with crankbaits mostly, but they’ll hit topwaters before the sun is high. Catfishing is fair at night. Live bait is working on the trotlines and limblines.
(updated 6-27-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says 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. Some stripers are still making their way out of the river to the main lake. For you diehard live baiters, fishing with green lights at night and using weighted lines, balloons and downlines between about 20-40 feet deep during daylight hours 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 the 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper, hybrid or combination of the two. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Know your species and make sure you identify any fish you keep. There is no limit on white bass. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike Bailey’s website. Live bait as always is the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. Water surface temperatures are in the low 80s. Mike suggest checking out these hot spots in the mid- and upper sections: Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, the Highway 12 bridge and Prairie Creek (pay attention to areas around the islands and Point 10, a lot of fish are coming out of the river late due to high water).
(updated 6-27-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been good this past week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is generating around 8 a.m., so if you get out early, you don’t have to contest with flowing water. Trout are biting on various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. Quarter-ounce spoons and Rapala hard baits are also catching some nice fish. The hot spot is going to be between Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. The water temperature has been between 45-50 degrees between U.S. Highway 62 bridge and Houseman Access. Further downstream towards Holiday Island, the smallmouths and Kentucky bass are still biting well on soft plastics, fished in 5-6 feet of water. Crappie are hitting along the banks and structures on live minnows and jigging soft plastics. A few white bass have been caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island throwing an Alabama rig with white grubs. Try fishing near structure and throwing into bends along the shore. Walleye are still very active on the lake. Austin says, “Once again, as I do not write the fishing report for the lake in this area, if you contact me through my Facebook page, I would be more than happy to fill you in on what I have found/know. Walleye can still be caught in the river, but you will have to hunt for them. The best method I have found, has been to jig rocky/structure. Try using Berkley PowerBaits 3-inch minnow. On a safety note this week, please stay hydrated in this heat, this upcoming week is going to get pretty darn hot! Fish early in the mornings or late in the evenings. Try to mix Gatorade with water to keep electrolytes up. Good luck to all!”
(updated 6-27-2018) Beaver Dam Store said bait fisherman are catching numbers of trout using PowerBait, nightcrawlers and waxworms. 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. Stocking occurred two weeks ago and fly-fisherman are reporting good numbers of fish being caught. Typical good lures in this area 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 6-27-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is stained and the level is normal. Surface water temperature is 84 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Anglers are having to troll for them with minnows and jigs. Bass are good on plastic worms. Catfishing is good using worms and the usual catfish bait.
(updated 6-27-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water clarity is dirty. The lake is low by about 4 inches, and the surface water temperature Monday was 89 degrees. Black bass reports were good. Topwaters are working well. Catfishing is good using shad and chicken liver. No reports on bream or crappie.
(updated 6-27-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Ok, now the temperature is getting up there, but the fishermen don’t mind. We are maintaining a supply of the live and artificial bait that you will need. Also, if you need other fishing accessories, we have those too.” Lake Poinsett is drawn down for about two years so that repairs can be made to areas of erosion, the water structure and other areas. There are other lakes in the immediate area for anglers to check out, including Lake Hogue and Lake Charles. Also, the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program is now stocking the pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 6-27-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is cloudy. Water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Bass are good early in the morning and late in the day. Use spinnerbaits and topwater plugs. Catfish are good on chicken livers. No reports on crappie.
(updated 6-27-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 320 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been clear. The trout are biting great early and slows down in afternoon when the heat sets in. Olive Woollies, El Diablos and Woolly Worms are working great on the fly. Hot pink, red and chartreuse Trout Magnets have been hot fished just off the bottom of the river.
(updated 6-27-2018) 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 6-27-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the river is still high, but there were anglers having some success nonetheless. Bass reports were fair, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits the go-to. Walleye were biting fair as well. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish. The water is clear.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 6-6-2018) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0186) in DeWitt said that in the Arkansas River below Dam No. 2, catfish are biting very well on cut bait when water is generating. In the Arkansas River between Dam No. 2 and Dam No. 3, catfish are biting very well off sandbars on minnows. Largemouth bass are biting well along rocks and cover where water is running though. Crappie are slow but are biting around pilings, very deep.
In the White River WMA, fish are biting in some lakes. Crappie are biting on jigs, in brush tops. Bream are biting very well on crickets. “Reservoir fishing in our area right now is excellent for all species of fish. We have seen a big increase in minnows and crickets sales the last two weeks. Come see us if you’re around DeWitt.”
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-13-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temps are in mid- to upper 80s, while shallow backwaters are reaching low 90s by the end of the day. Visibility in the main channel is a little over half a foot at worst to around 1 foot at best. Some backwaters are up to 1½ feet of visibility. The river has been flowing lightly. Black bass are biting well in the mornings on buzzbaits and square-billed and medium-diving crankbaits worked along rocks and vegetation, especially on the main channel. Fish the current side of jetties and rock banks for more bites. Most of the fish are small but occasionally there is a large one mixed in. Some fish can be caught from offshore brush piles in Lake Langhofer. If you prefer to fish the bank, target the shaded banks after the sun is fully risen for higher success rates.
(updated 6-13-2018) Park Superintendent Jeff Shell at Cane Creek State Park said the water is staying warm as the overnight lows have been in the 70s and 80s. Bream can still be found on beds, and for your best chances of catching pan-sized bream, use crickets. Jeff recommends casting out at least 15 yards and use a float to suspend your cricket. The water clarity has increased to the point that those large bream are skittish. Bass are taking advantage of the cooler morning and evening. Use a hollow frog dragged across the tops of lily pads before “hopping” off into open water. A soft plastic bait fished near structure on shaded banks may also lead to successful catches. Catfish are starting to come off bed and are biting various attractants from an hour before dark to an hour after dark. Crappie are hard to find right now, but if you’re determined to find some, try suspended timber in deeper water.
(updated 6-13-2018) 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 6-27-2018) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report.
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 6-27-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that while it is “STILL HOT, folks,” the lake level has stabilized. On Monday it was about 2 inches above normal conservation pool and falling at 259.4 feet msl; the discharge was near 1,500 CFS for Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates remains very low, about 226.5 feet msl as of Monday. Water temps continued climbing over the past week, with surface temps Monday ranging near 85 degrees early to 93 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. 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. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken or floating timber. 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. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranges 20-30 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 adds that in this heat, best bite for largemouth bass happens at dawn to around 10 a.m., and bite subsides until almost dusk. Lots of bass are night-feeding during cooler times of the feeding cycle when the sun is not baking the shallow cover and flats. Largemouth bass have been good to fair, and cloudy mornings have seen the best activity, over the past few weeks early at dawn and dusk. Best baits drawing reactions over the past week or so have been plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Buzzbaits continue working for 2-3-pound largemouths. Best color of frogs have been black and June Bug fished in new lily pads. Hot Firecracker, Firecracker Candy, Spot Remover and Cotton Candy buzzbaits and spinnerbaits are working randomly around flooded brush and new emerging vegetation. Slow-rolling the spinnerbaits off points, ditches and creek mouths dumping into Little River from 8-12 feet will yield a few random bass. The buzzbaits are working across flats with stumps and laydowns near creek channels, and around lily pads. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads and Baby Torpedoes are still getting fair to good reactions from largemouths around vegetation and new pads. Topwater activity levels slow considerably after 11 a.m. Very little topwater activity after noon until dusk. Shallow-running square-bill 2.0, 3.0 and S-cranks and Echo 1.75s, are drawing out a few good random reactions by deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 8-10 feet deep in creek channels and points. Bass that are 14-15 inches in length are randomly responding to crankbaits in shad and bream colors. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the 2.0 S-cranks and Echo 1.75 square bills, have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghost. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic and White Smoke continue drawing random reaction from 14-17-inch bass in creek channels leading in and out of flats; work them slower and deeper in the creeks. Square-bill S-cranks and shallow running crankbaits in shad or bluegill and bream patterns are working near creek mouths and points extending into Little River (since the largemouths 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. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Watermelon Magic colors, along with Magnum 4-inch Gitzit tubes with internal rattles, continue working deeper into the creek channels. Other good colors have been Black & Blue, Watermelon Candy, Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse or Green Pumpkin. Heavy, big, bulky 10-12-inch worms continue working and taking random bites 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 June Bug/red, black, blue fleck and Red Shad are drawing random reactions from lethargic, post-spawn largemouths along steeper vertical washouts, ledges and stairsteps along Little River and near creek mouth junctions, points and intersecting feeder creeks dumping into Little River.
Mike says white bass were found again by vertical-jigging spoons in Little River under the U.S. Highway 71 bridge next to bridge pilings. No report on crappie, as not many crappie fishermen out in the past few days. Nothing to report on catfish.
(updated 6-20-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said there have been a few reports on bream being caught. Nice crappie are being caught at night. No report on bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.20 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is about a foot and a half below full pool of 548 feet msl and holding pretty steady. Water temps have made it to the mid- to upper 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 feet of brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.61 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Things are warming up for sure. If you can believe it, the water is a couple of degrees cooler.” Water temperature is 85 or so depending on where you are located. Water is steady with little, if any, being drawn off. Things are slowing down with the heat. Crappie fishing is slow. Fish are in the 15-20 foot levels in brush piles. They are scattered, and the bite is soft. Look deep. Bream fishing is slow. Some reports of catching them on very small crankbaits. Black bass are in the summer mode. Fish topwater early then move to deep-diving crankbaits on the points or worms Texas-style. Hybrids are the elusive fish right now. They have been here around Iron Mountain, then some fish around Arlie Moore and lately Alpine and Ozane, but they moved today. John says he has no reports of surfacing hybrids. Whites and blacks are schooling when the wind cooperates. Whopper Plopper and Zara Spook Jr. work good on surfacing fish. Again, they are reported here and there. They are not staying up long, either. Find them on your electronics and then use spoons or Alabama rigs counted down to just above them and work it in. Some are on the bottom. If so, jig vertically with a spoon for best results. With the Fourth of July coming up, things will get a little crazy. Be safe, be courteous, stay hydrated.
(updated 6-27-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said little changed from last week. White bass and hybrid stripers are feeding at first light at mid-lake on spoons.
(updated 6-20-2018) Local angler George Graves said that morning surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing is fair, but it is strictly an early-morning affair. And it is all over by 9 a.m., so get up early and be on the water by sunrise. Bass fishing is fair with lots of small fish reported. Look for fish in the lower end along the south side between points 2 and 6. Look for surface feeding fish in the big coves and throw topwater plugs, Flukes and 4-inch swimbaits. Also, there is some action along the State Park between the lodge causeway and the marina. Some action has been reported coming from mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Throw medium-running crankbaits across main lake points. Later in the morning try a Texas- or Carolina-rigged worm or lizard worked across the same points. Lots of Kentuckies reported coming from the bluff banks at points 14 and 15 at Shouse Ford. Try a Texas-rigged finesse worm worked down the steep banks. Red shad and green pumpkin are the “go to” colors. Remember, the key to summer bass fishing is early in the morning.
George adds that crappie fishing is only fair with a few fish reported coming from attractors in the lower end between Caddo Bend and the big coves at the lodge. Look for attractors in about 20 feet of water and drop a Kalin’s 2-inch Grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Be sure to get the lure over the thickest part of the brush. In the clear water, Tennessee Shad is best color. Fishing would be much better if there were just more attractors in the lower end. This should improve once the AGFC finishes its habitant-placing project, which is supposed to key on the lower end of the lake. The GPS info should be added to the AGFC interactive map after the project’s completion. Hybrid fishing is only fair, with the problem being there just doesn’t seem to be the number of fish as in years past. The best bet is now at mid-lake between Edgewood and Alpine Ridge. Also, a few fish have been reported coming from the mouth of Brushy Creek. White bass are holding up well and at least provide a bit of action when the hybrids don’t show. Use the same lures that you would with hybrids. Bream fishing is good with lots of fish relating rock or wood structure in the major coves most anywhere in the lake. Bait with redworms and crickets.
George noted that last Friday, while fishing off DeRoche Ridge, he saw a huge flock of white pelicans to the south. “There must have been hundreds of birds. A boast scared the birds, and when in the air I only then realized how many there were.” He said that when he lived in Florida he spent considerable time at Ding Darling Preserve photographing birds. “I thought I saw some big blocks of white pelicans, but nothing to compare to at DeRoche. Of course, I didn’t have my camera.”
(updated 6-13-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says DeGray Lake is a hot spot for crappie. She said anglers have been doing decent on crappie above the brush tops using Bobby Garland Split Tail in the color pink cotton candy, and also in Bobby Garland Scent Wiggl’R in the color pink sparkle.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.85 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.93 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-27-2018) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 6-20-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are biting well on crickets or worms. Bass are starting to pick up a bit. The crappie bite is slow.
(updated 6-20-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 86-87 degrees. Lake level is low. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie have moved deep, but the bite is good on jigs. Bass are biting off the shoreline in about 3-4 feet depth. Catfishing is fair to slow using chicken liver or shad.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 6-27-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that rainbow trout fishing has dropped off sharply since last week. June is traditionally the last month for quality fishing below Carpenter Dam as the summer season kicks in. Anglers will experience short feeding times and a finicky bite as wary trout feed on insect hatches and injured baitfish. Patience is key as the remaining trout numbers are actively feeding in the late evening as the sun sets over the top of the dam. Trout from 12-17 inches have been caught and released in the last week, but numbers have been few. Bank fishermen have had some success using waxworms and mealworms fished just of the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Nightcrawlers and redworms will also work presented in the same manner. As late June approaches, few rainbow trout will be seen feeding and smaller numbers caught. By July, trout fishing will be over and good numbers of fish won’t be caught again until the stocking program begins again in November. This scenario is repeated every year below Carpenter Dam. 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 fishermen 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. Little striper activity has been observed this week, but huge numbers of shad are present and these predators can appear at any time of day to feed. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of the generation schedules and must always follow all park and boating regulations.
(updated 6-13-2018) 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 6-27-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boat, reports that Lake Hamilton and the surrounding lakes are maintaining water temps in the high 80s. Bass are doing their best to beat the heat by staying deep into heavily docked areas that retain their shade all day long. Skipping jigs in brown or green pumpkin colors up under docks are producing good results to these relatively untouched fish. Other anglers are finding success going deep and fishing over the tops and sides of humps in the lake. Throwing a large black or ruby worm (Texas-rigged) should produce you bites, especially in the early mornings.
(updated 6-27-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass are biting at first light on spoons in the back of major creek arms.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.16 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the clarity is dingy. The surface water temperature is 82 degrees, and the lake level is remaining at a normal level. Bream have moved deeper after their spawn. They are in 12-14 feet of water and the results have been fair. Go with crickets for bait. Crappie are fair and are going after shad, as well as minnows or jigs. Bass reports were fair. Plastic worms are working best. Catfish are good around the shoreline on the yo-yos and limblines.
(updated 6-27-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.50 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-27-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. Creature baits and Texas-rigged worms are working well at this time. Walleye are still very good. Try using a CC Spoon near brush for these fish. Stripers are fair to good on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the central and eastern parts of the lake are the best for these fish. Bream are good and being caught on crickets and worms in 8-15 feet water near brush. Crappie are still fair and being caught on minnows or jigs in 15-18 feet of water near structure. Catfish are still good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 82-86 degrees. The water is clear. 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 6-15-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 online report that he’s had several good reports here. The moss on Ouachita is holding a lot of good fish, They’re cruising the outside edge in the morning, but they’re not getting in that grass until the sun come up. Anglers are fishing a Texas-rigged worm or a big jig on top of the moss after the sun comes up, after 10 a.m. Kevin Brown, who won a bass tournament there over the weekend, was a Rat-L-Trap or a frog on top of that moss. After 10 is when the fish move up in that grass and you get better, quality bites, Kastner said. Fish are really keying on the moss. The 10-12-foot-deep edge of that moss line is really thick and lush right now, he said. Another way you can fish it is with a wobblehead, which is basically nothing more than an egg sinker attached sideways to a great big hook (4-0 or 5-0 hook) and you can use whatever soft plastic you want, Kastner said – creature bait, big worm, etc. Throw it out there with a half-ounce weight or even a three-quarter-ounce if you’re fishing deeper and let it slide down the edge of the moss line. Whenever you feel it start to ball up on moss, rip it out of there and a lot of times that’s when you get the fish to bite.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.12 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-13-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said anglers are reporting black bass to be hitting Texas-rigged baby brush hogs and Jig-Sooie jigs at the bases of the deeper cypress trees. Bluegill are spawning and can be caught on crickets or nightcrawlers in the shallow flats or at the base of cypress trees. Crappie have been slow.
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 Saturday, June 16, 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 anglers, 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 6-20-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), tells us, “Unfortunately, there’s not much to report down our way. The hotter temperatures seem to be scaring some folks off the lake.” Bear Creek is still seeing some catfish activity – most folks are using jug lines, but some have had success with a rod and reel. Stink bait and homemade bait seem to be the winners (Natalie says she can’t divulge their secret recipes – “sorry!”) However, not much to report for other fish such as bass and bream. Even if the fishing isn’t all that great, Natalie still encourage folks to come out and enjoy their beautiful park and the beautiful St. Francis National Forest. “There is plenty more to see around these parts!”
(updated 6-20-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake Storm Creek Lake remains about the same as it’s been fishing lately. Some catfishing success stories, but nothing more in the way of bass, bream or crappie.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!