Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 4, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 4, 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 7-4-2018) 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 have been poor going on a couple of weeks now. 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 7-4-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue with typical summertime generation/water release schedule for the Little Red River of a few hours of early afternoon and evening generation. This schedule provides wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends soft hackles, midges, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink 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 7-4-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the bite has been hard to predict the last few days. Monday morning the fish were active in the morning during Greg’s half-day trip, but Tuesday the morning bite was slow. Both days he fished the same area in the lower river. The heat has made afternoon drift-fishing uncomfortable. Be sure to drink plenty of water with the high heat indexes. Small midge pupas, small mayfly nymphs, sowbugs and red-ass emergers have been Greg’s choice for flies. San Juan worms have been effective when fishing the lower river before the water has dropped out. When the water i sa little off-color, the fish seem to like them. “Happy Fourth of July and good fishing!,” Greg says.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.86 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 7-4-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level on Tuesday at Greers Ferry Lake was at 460.89 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 1.65 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 catching is good all around the lake as it is that time of year. Flatheads, really an untapped resource here, are spawning. 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 shore out to 45 feet. Use spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged plastics, jigs and C-rigs tipped with a Right Bite Senko for the best action for all four species. 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 7-4-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear and, while no specific surface temperature was recorded, they assure us it is “HOT!” Water level and current is normal. Bream are good on crickets and worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Some nice-size bass have been caught in the past week. Catfishing is good, no baits were specified.
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 7-4-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said crappie are being caught in deeper water. Not a lot have been caught, but some really nice ones are being hooked. Bass are doing well around brush tops and structure with topwater baits and plastic worms. They are chasing the new spawn of shad and hitting topwater baits. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines using perch and trotline minnows. Bream are doing well on crickets, but you have to find them and then you will catch some good-sized ones. Water level is about normal and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 87 degree. “Everyone be safe and have a great 4th of July,” he said.
(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 6-27-2018) 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 7-4-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is hot. Water level and current are normal. Crappie are good; look for a bite in 5 feet of water with minnows. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good on the limblines and trotlines. They’re biting worms and stink baits. No reports on bream.
(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 7-4-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained and the level and current are normal. Surface water temperature has ranged from 85 degrees to a high of 89 the past week. The bream improved to good this week; use redworms or crickets. Bass are good using crankbaits, plastic worms and jigs. Catfish are good below the dam on stink bait. Nothing to report on crappie.
(updated 7-4-2018) 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 6-27-2018) 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 6-20-2018) 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 7-4-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water has remained 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. Catfish are still 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 7-4-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says summertime fishing on the White River is so cool – the temperature drops 10-20 degrees below the air temperature on the bank. A wonderful way to escape the July heat wave. Bull Shoals Lake is now sitting just below power pool level at 660 feet msl elevation; we’ve been treated to low water when we depart in the morning and we return in the afternoon to rising water (up to 6 generators or more.) That requires different fishing styles, bait and tackle. Carry some artificial pink worms or wriggling red worms to the river as it rises in the afternoon and you might just catch a 20-pound brown like one of our anglers this morning. River minnows lured several browns this past week while the fresh crawdad tails moved some nice rainbows into the boat. Once in a while you have to work for your bait if you’re serious about hooking a nice trout so, if possible, trap some minnows and catch a couple of river crawdads before you get to your favorite fishing hole. But always take time to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Arkansas Ozarks from a White River perspective.
(updated 7-4-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said that with the weather so hot, the fishing has rated only fair of late. The water clarity is clear and there are 2-3 generators running regularly at the dam. The trout bite is fair to good. Rainbows are preferring PowerBait. Not many browns were reported caught.
(updated 7-4-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week, they had several minor rain events combining for about a half-inch in Cotter, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.9 feet to rest at 0.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.5 feet msl. This is 33.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 feet to rest at seasonal power pool and 14 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 0.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 7.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation and no wadable water. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. 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.
John also said about dealing with the current weather trends, “The summer solstice is the official beginning of summer. It occurs on June 22, which was just a few days ago and I believe that summer is truly here. Today (last Friday) the high temperature is forecast to be 98 degrees and my iPhone weather app tells me that the forecast high temperature for tomorrow is 101 degrees. That is hot. As a guide, I make my living outside. I can’t cancel a trip because it is hot. I have to go out there and deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at me and help my clients do the same.
“The best way to deal with extreme heat is to avoid it. Start early. I had some contractors working on my house recently installing new windows and doors in my sunroom. They would show up at 5:30 and quit when it got too hot for them to work. Begin as early as possible. I have noted that most of my guide trips recently have been half day trips in the morning.
“I would also say that another way to beat the heat is to wet wade. That has not been much of a possibility lately with our current high levels of generation. This may be a possibility in the near future. I checked the lake levels (Friday) morning and all of the lakes in the White River system were less than a foot from reaching power pool. When the lake levels drop below flood pool the Corps of Engineers transfer the control of generation to the Southwestern Power Administration, who usually generates power during periods of peak power demand (afternoons). We may get some wadable water soon.
“If you can’t avoid the heat, dress for it. I like the Patagonia Island Hopper shirts in long sleeve. They are loose fitting, light weight, cool and have two button flap pockets so I don’t lose the contents, when I bend over. The latest trend is the knit polyester or polyester and cotton blend long sleeve T-shirts. They dry super quick and are cooler than even cotton plus they protect you from the sun. Although I have one to mow my lawn, I don’t like to fish in them because they don’t have pockets and I always carry stuff.
“I like quick-dry lightweight tropical fishing pants in light colors. I avoid shorts because I have a fair complexion. I only wear long sleeve shirts for the same reason.
“I wear quick dry boat shoes and lightweight quick dry socks. I used to wear sandals but I got a pretty serious sun burn on my feet. I usually wear a big straw cowboy hat. They are light weight, cool and comfortable. A lot of my fellow guides prefer Buffs. These are tubular polyester neck gaiters that protect the neck and can also be pulled up to protect the nose and ears. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. I don’t like them because I think I look like I am holding up a convenience store when I wear one.
“Drink lots of fluids because you are going to sweat, when it’s this hot. The best thing to drink is water. The best place to carry water is in your body. Don’t just carry water; drink it. I always carry double the amount of water when it’s this hot. I carry a minimum of a quart per person.
“Don’t forget the sunscreen. Put it on any skin surface that is not covered. Use one that has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Apply it often and lavishly. Most people don’t apply enough.
“Take breaks in the shade from time to time. You can even wade around in the water (it is around fifty seven degrees) to cool off.
“Don’ let hot weather keep you at home! I will be out there fishing.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 661.02 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) 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 lake 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.”
(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.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 555.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper bite has gone from good to outstanding this past week on Norfork Lake. The week before, Tom says, they had a hard time catching any size or numbers; now they are limiting out in less than two hours on each trip. This past Saturday and Sunday morning his clients caught 10 limits of stripers in less than 24 hours. The difference between the morning and evening bite is the heat and timing. The evening bite is happening late during the trip; it usually starts at sunset and right after dark. The morning bite starts around 6 a.m. and last for two hours. This is especially great because the heat is only starting vs. the evening when the heat index is often 100 degrees. The walleye are still biting, but you do not have to go early. But the heat is the biggest problem sitting out on the lake with the heat index of over 100. 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.
Tom adds that the stripers are now in their summer pattern. You will find them feeding in 40-60 feet of water. In the 40-foot range they will be on the bottom feeding. In deeper water the fish can be found in the 35- to 40-foot range feeding on shad. The good news is the bite is lasting longer in the morning. Tom says they have been catching stripers up to between 8-9 a.m. The walleye are biting all over the lake on bottom bouncers using spinners and nightcrawlers, crankbaits and spoons. The best bite is 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to dark. Look for them on the flats in waters ranging 24-32 feet. “We are 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.
“The lower end of Norfork is now turning on. Find a point or flat and you should find feeding stripers. The walleye 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 ‘Grow Trophies, 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 7-4-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week, they had several minor rain events combining for about a half-inch in Cotter, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. Norfork Lake fell 2 feet to rest at 0.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.3 feet msl and 23.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had more generation and little 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 at or slightly above the top of power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the afternoons but there is a possibility of wadable water in the cooler morning. The Norfork water has cleared substantially and has fished much better. There have been some nice midge hatches that have fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding over 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. He says 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). 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 7-4-2018) 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 Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,121.39 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity of the lake is clear and the surface water temperature has been in the mid-80s of late. Bream are good on worms or crickets. There are lot of ways to get to the crappie, and reports have been good. Some anglers have been trolling. Try using a small, deep-diving crankbait. The crappie are going deep these days. The bass bite is good. The best time is late in the evening. Anglers are working the brush and using crankbaits or a plastic worm. Night fishing has been good for both crappie and bass. Catfishing is good using live bait. Jugs and trotlines are getting good bites.
(updated 7-4-2018) 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 tree lines adjacent to the channel. 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. Downrigging said baits will be effective, too. 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 mid-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). The walleye spawn has ended and a large portion of the walleye are making their way back to the main lake; 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. Go with 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 7-4-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing the river has been decent this past week. Several trout were caught between Bertrand Access and Parker Bottoms. Trout bit various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons were also a big hit during the generation times. Tossing a spoon near big rocks and structure seemed to produce the best results. Smallmouths have been hitting soft plastics and Shad Raps, fished near structure in 8-10 feet of water. No white bass were caught the past week, nor walleye. A good number of walleye have been caught in the lake this past week; message Austin on Facebook for details. He adds, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been generating most of the day, so I would get out early to avoid water flow. Remember, it is still hot out and it is important to drink plenty of water and shade yourself. Get out there and fish and have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!”
(updated 7-4-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the Dam has been releasing quite a bit of water here lately and as of last Friday, the discharge was constant with one unit running all day. 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 and midges are working well along with white or olive PJ Jigs. 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 7-4-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water clarity is cloudy. The surface water temperature was 86 degrees at last check, and the water level was normal. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair, and anglers are trolling minnows or jigs for them. Bass are fair on the plastic worms. Catfishing is fair using chicken livers or a glow worms.
(updated 7-4-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water is clear and hot, ranging 89-91 degrees. The level has dropped and is low by 5 inches. Bream are good; use worms or crickets. Nothing to report on crappie. Get up early to get the bass; you’ll find the bite good then with a buzzbait. Catfish are good on chicken livers or shad. NOTE: During July, the boat dock will be open all night on Friday nights.
(updated 7-4-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park reminds anglers and Fishing Report readers that, “Yes, we are open. Although there is no Lake Poinsett for maybe two years, we are open every day 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And, we are keeping plenty of bait available you our fishermen.” 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 7-4-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is clear. Water level is normal. The surface water temperature is 88-89 degrees. Bass are good, but get on them early before the sun gets up. Use spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on worms or chicken livers. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie.
(updated 7-4-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 320 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The catching has been great early with the bite tapering off when the heat rises. Olive and black Woollies, El Diablos and Guppies have been hot. Some mornings have had good hatches and a hopper dropper with the dropper being a hare’s ear, pheasant tail or a prince working well. Hot pink and white Trout Magnets are working well. Have to fish them just off the bottom! Adjust float as depth changes.
(updated 7-4-2018) 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 7-4-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water clarity is clear and the surface water temperature was 88 degrees. The water level is low by 8 feet. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair using spinnerbaits or plastic worms. No reports on catfish. Walleye catches were fair; use jigheads.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-20-2018) 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 7-4-2018) Park Interpreter Houston Wynn at Cane Creek State Park said fishing at Cane Creek has been fairly slow, considering. The water level is low due to the hot conditions, and the bite for most fish is scarce. The bass action hasn’t been great over the past couple weeks. Any reports that have come in have said that the bite is decent in the late evening. You can find these fish chasing schools of shad in the channels along the surface. Try any bait that swims shallow and resembles shad. Crappie can be found if you can map out structure on the bottom. These fish are holding up on brush piles in deeper water. If you find them, pretty decent-sized fish are being reported. The catfish bite has been fairly consistent throughout the summer. They can be found in deeper waters during the heat of the day, and the bite turns up during the night in shallow waters. Stink baits, large minnows, cut bait or liver will work great for bait. One fish that you will not struggle to find is bream. They’re biting in full swing and can be found along the banks at all times of the day! They will bite almost anything you put in front of them.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “It’s very HOT after 10 a.m., folks.” Mike says that with all this July heat, the best bite for largemouth bass continues to be from dawn to around 10 a.m., and bite disappears until just before sundown. Some 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 early up to 3-5 pounds on topwaters, and cloud-cover mornings have seen best activity early at dawn. Feeding activity levels have slowed with the increase of surface temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s and low-90-degree range over the past couple weeks. Best baits drawing reactions over the past couple weeks have been buzzbaits, plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Best color of frogs has been black or green pumpkin/pearl in new lily pads. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions lately are Hot Firecracker Chartreuse, Firecracker Candy, Spot Remover and black. A good spinnerbait bite is randomly working on shallow flats early, near lily pads and vegetation like pond weed and alligator grass near stumps and laydowns close to creek channel swings. 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 also 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 in creek channels near stumps. Topwater activity levels slow considerably after 11 a.m. with the sun baking down. There is very little top water activity after noon until dusk. Mike adds that shallow-running square-bill 2.0, 3.0 and S-cranks and Echo 1.75s continue drawing out a few good random reactions by deflecting and banging/deflecting off stumps from 8-10 feet deep in creek channels and points. Bass around 14-15 inches in length are randomly responding to crankbaits in shad and bream colors. Best color of cranks in the oxbows 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 worked slower and deeper in the creeks. Bass Assassin Shads in Mississippi Hippie, Bad To The Bone, Panhandle Moon or Grey Ghost colors along with Magnum 4-inch Gitzit tubes with internal rattles continue working deeper into the creek channels. Best colors for the Gitzit tubes over the past couple weeks have been Black & Blue tail, Watermelon Magic, Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse tail or Bluegill. Once the topwater bite subsides, a big, bulky, 10- to 12-inch worm around stumps on points and deeper in the creeks will get a bite from largemouth bass, and on points dumping into Little River, and secondary points along Little River. Berkley Power Worms and Zoom Ol’ Monster 10-12-inch worms in June-Bug/red, black, blue fleck and Red Shad. Vertical-jigging spoons will connect with a few Kentucky (spotted) bass and schools of largemouths in Little River behind points and washouts. Schools of Kentuckies and largemouths feeding on river shad will hit vertical-jigged spoons with abandon once the topwater bite subsides late in the morning. Mike and his anglers have been using Cotton Cordell-hammered spoons over the past week or two, with added bucktails. Some mornings a white bucktail is best, and it seems like on cloudy mornings that a red bucktail works better. Between Jack’s Isle and Hurricane Creek along Little River, in 10-15 foot of depth where broken timber and stumps are located, you’ll will find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders. Also, the mouth of Snake Creek gave up a few over the past week.
White bass are biting jigged 1-ounce slab spoons in Little River under the U.S. Highway 71 bridge next to bridge pilings. Casting spoons to the points in Little River, above Highway 71, also connected with some 2-3 pound white bass last week. No report on crappie, and not many crappie fishermen out in the past few days. Blues and channel cats were biting minnows and cut bait on yo-yos set around 8-10 feet deep, hung from cypress limbs in very back of Mud Lake oxbow, along Little River, over the past week.
Siefert said the lake on Monday was about 5 inches above normal conservation pool and steady at 259.6 feet msl; the discharge was near 175 cfs for Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates remains very low, about 223.5 feet msl Monday. Water temps continued climbing over the past week, with Monday’s surface temps ranging near 86 degrees early to 94 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigating Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken or floating timber. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Clarity and visibility 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, 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 is moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity currently ranged 20-30 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
(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 Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.25 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is almost 4 feet below full pool of 548 feet msl and holding pretty steady. Water temps have made it to the upper 80s. The bass have transitioned to their summertime patterns. Super Spook Jr’s and Booyah Hard Knockers are seeing some action on main lake points early and late. Shaky head Yum Finesse Worms and drop-shots rigged with Yum Kill Shots or Sharpshooters are working well on main lake points as well. Night fishing has been decent lately using black Booyah Spinnerbaits or Yum Ribbontail worms. Crappie are slowing down, but still good. They can be caught in 15-25 feet brush with minnows.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.75 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “The Fourth of July is a special time. Sometimes it seems there are as many boats as there are fish.” The water is very warm, 87-89 degrees. Some water is being pulled off, but minimal. Crappie are getting harder to find and catch. The fish being caught near brush piles are slow and deep. The shad fry are about an inch to an inch and a quarter in length. If you throw a jig, keep size in mind. The bite is very light and soft. Best bet for jigs is to let them fall beside brush piles and feel for the bite on the fall. Pulling crankbaits (Bandit 300) is a good method for this season. Pull near bluffs around Shouse Ford and Piney Creek area. Long-line trolling is also a good method for crappie in summer. No reports on black bass except for surfacing fish. Surfacing fish reports in Shouse Ford area. Spooks, Tiny Torpedo and Whopper Plopper are great on schooling fish. Hybrids are still on the move. They can be found from Iron Mountain, mid-lake, and Shouse Ford. Use your electronics to locate a school. Drop your spoon, grub or live bait down just above the school and hold on. “The Fourth is here and boat safety should be our No. 1 priority. Good fishing,” he said.
(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.”
De Queen Lake
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.67 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.66 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-4-2018) Melanie Lively at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) reports that with the July heat in full swing, the fish have stayed relatively deep. Bream are hitting well on crickets in 6 feet of water with bait hanging around 4 feet. The bass are surfacing some during the day, but are easier to catch either early morning or late evening. Worms and lizards have done well, with some topwater baits having luck. Catfish are on the bottom and have been caught on Ol’ Roy dog rounds, live bait and shrimp. Mainly trotlines and noodles have been used to catch the catfish or tight-lining off of the deeper banks near the levee systems.
(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 7-4-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature has hit 92 degrees. Lake level is low by 1 foot. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports were poor. Bass are fair and, staying below the hot surface, are favoring crankbaits and plastic worms. No reports on catfish.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 7-4-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that rainbow trout fishing has dropped off sharply. 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 7-4-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the high 80s to low 90s and getting hotter. Water clarity is clear with some creeks with an algae bloom. There has been sporadic current and sporadic river levels, which has made fishing very tough. But with a lot of patience you can still catch what you are looking for. Largemouth bass have been fair on the river with Zara Spooks, buzzbait and poppers. Ribbontail worms and small jigs with Bamboozie trailers have been working well on the bottom. Chiselers weightless have been working well on the suspended fish. Stripers have been good on topwater bait such as Gilmore Jumpers and large poppers while they are feeding on the surface. Swimbaits and spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits with a scam Shad trailer, have been working well while they are suspended. White bass have been excellent on small poppers, small crankbaits and spoons; inline spinners have been working also occasionally. Crappie have been good with white jigs, pink jigs and black and chartreuse in the river; they are deep, 10 to 12 feet, and in the creeks they are 4-6 feet. Bream have been good in the creeks around stumps with grass. They’re biting rickets, jigs and grasshoppers, with occasional worm bite in the river. They have been good in the lily pads. Catfish has been good with cut shad, liver and cheese in the river, while large minnows have been working very well in the creeks.
updated 7-5-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on the US97 online fishing report with Tom Duke that he got one good report (and a good photo) from a guy who caught a big bass on a Texas-rigged Trick Worm. He was throwing it off a flat just off a hump, and ended up catching 2-3 fish doing that. Also, Kastner said, a neighbor of his went out July 4 morning and caught six fish on topwaters on Hamilton around the boat docks. “That’s a good sign of what’s going on, the fish are using boat docks on Hamilton for cover because, arguably, there just isn’t a whole lot (of cover) if there’s not brush, all that’s left is boat docks. Using topwaters around boat docks, catching a good mess, that’s a good sign.” Tom Duke noted he had not seen a lot of breaking fish lately but this week driving on Airport Road he finally saw a few breaking bish and wondered why. Kastner said it’s about getting shad to school up. “It’s good and hot, the Corps of course is putting water through our lakes and that makes shad a little more predictable. They make the schools ball up and that’s what the breaking fish are doing, they’re picking on schools of shad.”
(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 Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.95 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Bream have ranged fair to good this past week. They are found in 6-8 feet of water and are scattered around the lake. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good and anglers are catching their limits. The fish are in 16-20 feet of water and will bite minnows or jigs. Bass are good. Look for them in 6-12 feet of water. For your best bet, throw them a Zoom Ol’ Monster plastic worm or something similar. Catfishing is good. They’ve been in shallow water and will bite bream, nightcrawlers. Yo-yos and limblines are getting good responses.
(updated 7-4-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 574.97 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Creature baits and Texas-rigged worms are working well. Walleye are excellent. Try using a CC spoon near brush for these fish. Stripers are fair on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the eastern part of the lake are the best for these fish. Bream are still good and being caught on crickets and worms in 8-15 feet water near brush. Crappie are fair 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 84-88 degrees. Water clarity 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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.84 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-4-2018) 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 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.
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