Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 18, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 18, 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 7-18-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says anglers saw little change in the conditions or the response of the fish from last week. Water level and current are normal. The clarity, though, is the Lake Conway stain most anglers look for. Bream are fair with worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair, early in the day or late in the evening, using spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers.
(updated 7-18-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue see a summertime generation/water release pattern for the Little Red River of a few hours of early afternoon and evening generation. This pattern provides great wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Purple and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 7-18-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, Summer continues in earnest! The generation is keeping the water temp in a good range for the trout for the most part.” Four to five hours each afternoon keeps the water temperature below 70 degrees for the 31 miles of designated trout water. There is sometimes a 9-degree difference in water temperature in the same location in the lower river according to the amount and time of the generation. The hot temperature and bright sun have an effect. Look for trout in slightly deeper water than usual or around moss beds offering cooler water under their protection. The bite is still hard to predict. One day the fish feed all morning into the early afternoon. The next, the bite may not start until late morning and go into the afternoon. A pattern is hard to come by. “Like I reported last week, try the naturals first (midges, sow bugs and mayfly nymphs). If these aren’t working, try something out of the ordinary (small streamers or bright colored nymphs),” Greg said.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.56 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 7-18-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greer’s Ferry Lake is at 459.58 feet msl as of Tuesday and falling with evaporation and generation. It is 2.96 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. There has been another shad spawn. It may be gizzard as there are some big gizzard shad around the bank, but nonetheless the fry are small – real small – and that one reason the bite has been tough, along with all the fronts and weeks of east wind, and some of the fish have moved as well. The black bass are eating Texas rigs, C-rigs, drop-shots, football heads, hair jigs, swimbaits and spinnerbaits deep and shallow. Try real shallow with blades and swimbaits, and out to 45 feet – just be patient. The crappie are up to all their old tricks, just moving up and down suspended. Just drop small minnows or jigs, or a jig tipped with minnow, in 12-30 feet. Bream are up shallow and out to 20 feet. Small crankbaits, crawlers and crickets will work a variety of ways. Catfish are good. There are a variety of baits and ways to catch them; bream are working good if you can keep them alive. Fish are anywhere from 15-45 feet of water. Some walleye are being caught again with the change of weather and some clouds, etc. Try dragging crawlers around, and some crankbaits will work as well in 28-45 feet. The hybrid and white bass are still chewing pretty good, day and night. “I had a report of a gentleman from Texas that said he was catching them on a new heavy blade at night. A legend of sorts, Bait Shop Bob, is building them. But just stay around the bait and you cannot go wrong if you’ll be patient and use a spoon, inline spinner, hair jig or swimbait in 20-70 feet of water.”
(updated 7-18-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 87 degrees. The lake is low by about 1 foot. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs; look for the fish biting at 15 feet depth. Bass reports were poor; some are hitting spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Catfishing is fair using chicken livers.
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 7-18-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is about normal. Surface temperature is around 90 degrees, but the lake had 1 inch of rain so far, which should help. Bream are doing well around the banks with crickets and worms. “I am seeing bigger fish this year,” Johnny says. Bass are doing well around brush tops and structure around the banks. They are chasing shad as usual. Catching on buzzbaits and minnows. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and big minnows. Crappie are slow but anglers are still catching some good ones in deeper water
(updated 7-18-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water level is normal and the clarity is clear. Surface water temperature is 90 degrees. Not much has changed in a week. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair in about 5-7 feet of water and are biting minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing are fair and eating the shad.
(updated 7-18-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are excellent. With water temperatures in the 80s the black bass are about 10-20 feet deep. Some are just outside of the grass. Try using Zoom 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. This week, the blacks were biting more during dusk and dawn. Cameron Nestevenko and Andrew Wooley got the best of the bass during Tuesday night’s tournament with a 9.54-pound stringer. Keaton Blaylock and Kyle Vise landed a 3.82 Big Bass. Kentucky bass are good, The spots are 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 excellent. Reports of the whites schooling near the dam from 6-9:30 p.m. 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 12-20 feet deep. Try using spider rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are good. Bream are being caught 6-12 feet deep and on brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs in 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 7-18-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that for several weeks now, catfish have been on lots of peoples mind there, especially after the stocking of the tagged blue catfish for prizes. That can be fun to try to catch a tagged fish, but just getting out in the nature and making memories especially with kids can be just as exciting as winning a prize. Don’t let the tagged fish be the only reason for taking those young ones out for a great day of fishing. Lisa adds, “I don’t know how many fish were tagged out there, nor do I know for sure they have all been caught. But the catfish have been doing good on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bass minnows.” She says bream have been good on crickets as well as on redworms. A few crappie have been caught off of small crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. The bass have been going after the brooder minnows and various plastic baits like Zoom Trick worms and Baby Brush Hogs.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-18-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said, “To be honest, I have had not many good reports from there lately. A few small ones being caught using nightcrawlers for bream and catfish.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-18-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is very low “We need some good steady rain to get it back up.” Some anglers have been hitting some of the deeper holes and catching some catfish. Brooder minnows and goldfish have been doing fair for them on trotlines. Bass, too, have been doing well on brooder minnows. Like everywhere else, bream have been doing pretty good on crickets and redworms. Crappie been fair on small crappie minnows.
(updated 7-18-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been good on nightcrawlers and black salties. Bream are great on crickets and redworms. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and spinnerbaits. Crappie have been slow on medium crappie minnows.
(updated 7-4-2018) 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 7-18-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some crappie, including some nice ones, are being caught off of the small crappie minnows. Bream are fair on crickets. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and chicken livers. Bass are good on bass minnows and some crankbaits.
(updated 7-18-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said anglers are fishing early and off river to around 9:30 a.m. when the heat kicks in. Catfish are up around the jetties early in 8-15 feet of water. Catalpa worms work best. Reports have been good. Bream are up under overhangs early. Use crickets. White bass, both early and late in the day, are chasing shad. Use shad and pearl-colored crankbaits around the jetties. Reports have been good. Black bass are biting early in shaded overhangs. Tiny Torpedoes and chatterbaits are working well. Later, they drop to cooler water, 15-20 feet, on wood. No reports on crappie.
(updated 7-18-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature is 85 degrees as of Monday. Water level and current are normal. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish reports were fair; no baits were reported.
(updated 7-18-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water remains clear and the level and current are normal. Surface temperature is in the high 80s. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie reports are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good, with the best bites coming early in the morning before the heat rises and late at night. Catfish are fair.
(updated 7-18-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing reports were fair with skipjack and nightcrawlers working best. White bass reports are fair as well; use spoons, swimbaits or twister tails.
(updated 7-18-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the surface temperature has been in the high 80s. The water level and current are normal. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. You’ll find them in the backwater around Willow Beach. Crappie are fair. Use hot pink jigs or minnows, and also try Fin Spins jigheads off the jetties. Look for them in 10-12 feet of water. Bass are good. They’re at a depth of 10-12 feet and are hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits, as well as plum apple watermelon candy Trick Worms and shaky head worms. Closer to the Terry Lock and Dam, go with spinnerbaits and the Trick Worms or some type of plastic worm. Catfishing reports have been fair.
(updated 7-18-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the bass bite is good near Terry Lock and Dam, and spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures all are working. Catfish are being caught on worms, with fair response. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. The water is clear on that end of the river pool and the surface temperature was reported, naturally, as hot. Water level is low as of earlier this week.
(updated 7-18-2018) 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.
(updated 7-11-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is clearing up from its previous stained look. The temperature is in the mid- to high 80s. Water level and current are normal. Reports on bream catches were good. They’re biting redworms and nightcrawlers. No reports on crappie. Bass are fair. Fish for bass in 6-8 feet of water with crankbaits. Catfishing is fair below the dam using stink bait.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-18-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake was indeed clear, but the level is low. Surface temperature is 86 degrees. Bream fishing is fair with worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass catches were fair; anglers went at them a variety of ways, using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater plugs. Catfish will bite fair on worms.
(updated 7-18-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the Peckerwood Lake level being low with stumps showing. The water is clear. No temperature was recorded. Bream reports ranged poor to fair, with worms working best. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass reports were good. Anglers had best success with crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is good; no reports on baits used.
(updated 7-18-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says fishing from Cotter on the tailwater of Bull Shoals Dam produced a good quantity of fighting browns and healthy rainbows this week. All of the browns were less than legal limit but fought hard and gave the anglers a thrill. The new norm for water releases: half a generator (2,200 cfs) throughout the morning, then the rise begins in the Cotter area at about 3 p.m., falling out again around 4 a.m. Again, sculpins were the bait for browns – even an artificial sculpin tied with a jig pulled in a nice brown for a couple of pictures then back to the river. “The brown bite increased in the afternoons several days this week, which is a little uncommon; the pop-up showers and changing pressure systems can be credited for the change in the action, I think. This week, a mixture of baits was called for: One day we had luck with the brown trout Thomas Buoyant spoon, the next day the red/gold spoon won the bite. So keep a variety of smaller artificial baits on hand. Always be ready with some shrimp and scented egg pattern baits for a limit of nice rainbows.”
(updated 7-18-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and the river level the past week was low. There are two generators running at the dam. Trout reports were good. The rainbow trout bite is OK, about the same as it was last week. Rainbows are biting PowerBait and Power Worms.
(updated 7-18-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week, they have had no rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.9 feet to rest at 1.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 35.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had less generation with some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 24.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. 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 below 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 mornings.
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 bead-head pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last week the lake level was at 659 feet msl; water temperature is about 90 degrees, mid-90s, depending on location. We’ve been under a heat advisory, so we’re doing half-days. If you guys want to get out, learn how to drop-shot, it’s a great time to learn how to do that. Definitely sticking with the half-days,” he says. The biggest thing is to fish the conditions. It’s that time of year, got the thunderstorms rolling in – it might rain, it might not rain, that’s going to affect the bite. Early in the morning there’s still a topwater bite. Any walk-the-dog style baits are going to work. If you get around the fish you’ll notice they’ll be schooling pretty much out toward the main lake, any of those long points or saddles. If you see them busting you get in there right away, you can catch a few on it. Also started catching a few throwing a spoon at them. If they’re a mile out there, if you chunk a piece of lead in there and let it sink, if you get in there right away, you’ll catch a few. The top water bite, if you do get one, the most predominant bite for Del is picking up the spinning rod and putting a drop-shot on them. Places you’re going to drop-shop: main lake points, main lake bluffs, secondary points, anywhere where you’ve got the channel swing banks where it comes in, if you’ve got deep-water ledges, that’s where you’re going to want to key in on the drop-shot. The conditions that Del will fish the drop shot: If the water is laying flat, or sunny, or the fish just aren’t cooperating. “We love to power fish just like you guys. I’d love to go out and throw a Whopper Plopper and catch them.” Whopper Plopper is catching a few fish depending on the conditions. If you stick with it you’ll catch a few. “A Whopper Plopper is one of my favorite ways to catch them just like a lot of you guys, so if you’re gonna throw the Whopper Plopper with the lake level being where it is – we’re right where we’re supposed to be, 659 feet – there’s a little bit of bushes left in the water, Whopper Plopper fish have been on those transition banks with bushes, points of bushes, a little bit of cover for them to get on.
“Another thing I’m doing is, if it’s flat, sunny, some of the deeper docks, you can throw a Flutter Spoon in, pitching that around the docks, any of those docks that have 20 or more feet when you get around them. Those seem to be the ones that are holding the fish. They’ll get in around the shade; make sure you fish the shady side of the docks. With all the boat traffic the lake is dirty, he said. He adds that there’s a Sweet Beaver bite going on, that’s catching a few and these are shallow. These are going to be your largemouth bass. He’s also catching a few on a square bill. There’s a lot of shad that are up right now. Found a nice pocket of shad and went and fished them relatively shallow and caught some fish off of them. Fish very early, then go back in the evening.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 554.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper bite continues to be great the first two hours of light on Norfork Lake. “I did find a striper bite after 7 a.m. but it took a lot of searching to find active fish. What I found was stripers that were off points next to a channel swing in waters ranging 60 to 120 feet. The stripers are feeding on crawdads then moving to the deeper water to find this year’s hatch of shad. Once you find the fish you will limit out very fast. We average less than 30 minutes to get a limit. Since I set out seven rods we usually will have two to four rods get hit when a school swims by,” Tom says. He adds that the oxygen level in the lake is great this year with good levels as deep as 115 feet, so “we should see a great bite well into September. As we get to August I expect to see some great action on Robinson Point. Every few years when we have good oxygen and normal water levels the stripers will school on Robinson Point; the best bite is usually middle afternoon into evening.” Tom says they will also see a strong movement toward the dam. Anglers should find large schools of stripers on the lake side of Koso Point near or next to the channel. This should be fantastic late-summer fishing season, he said. Stripers are being caught from Diamond Bay off Point 2 in the channel, Georges Cove, Koso Point, Hudson, Hand Cove, Dam Cove and Thumb Point. “Remember, we are 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,” he says.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is in its summer pattern. Fish are going deeper as the thermocline continues to drop. The thermocline appears to be in the 22-30 feet range, depending where you are located on the lake. Striped bass fishing continues to be very good. The best artificial method has been vertical-jigging with a spoon. If you are trolling, use a large swimbait or an umbrella rig with the same swimbaits attached to it. Live bait (threadfin or gizzard shad and large shiners) has been working the best for him, Lou said. “I am catching stripers 40-70 feet deep in 45-100 feet of water. Most of the fish I’ve caught over the last week that were 40 feet down have been hybrids. The striped bass has been deeper. Locations for the striped bass have not really changed much since my last report. I am finding them on the main lake as well as in some of the creeks. Channel swings where the water drops off to 80-plus feet very close to shore are one of the best areas. Long points where the channel is close are also holding some really good fish. I am finding striped bass from the 62 bridge area all the way down towards and beyond Hudson Point, a little east of the dam.”
Largemouth bass fishing has also been good. There is still some good topwater action right before sun up and as the sun is setting. Other times of the day you need to look for these fish on or slightly below the thermocline. Brush piles near the thermocline are also holding some nice fish. Catfish and walleye have also been biting very well. Lou says he has caught some really nice-sized channel and blue cats on live shad while fishing for striped bass. Most of the catfish came from 60-70 feet deep close to the bottom, especially when he has found deep bait. The same, as above, holds true for the walleye. You will also find nice walleye below the thermocline especially early and late in the day. Crawler harnesses are work very well, as well as live larger minnows.
Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 555.28 feet msl. Periodic power generation is occurring to hold the level close to the current normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature is in the 86-90-degree range. The main lake is clear with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained.
(updated 7-18-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that over the previous week Norfork Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 24.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. 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 below 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 mornings. On the Norfork, the water has fished very well. There have been some nice midge, caddis and sulphur hatches that have provided some good topwater action. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during last year’s flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Nutt. 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 though 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.
John adds, “Yesterday (Thursday, July 12) I had one of my best days ever fishing on the Norfork tailwater. I only caught four fish. How can that be a great day? When the smallest fish you catch is a fat 18-inch rainbow, it can be a spectacular day.
I have not fished the Norfork much for over a year. Last year’s 500-year flood devastated it and it is just now returning to its prominence as Arkansas’s premier blue ribbon trout stream. I have been spending most of my time fishing the White River and doing well.
“I have a couple of neighbors who live elsewhere and have weekend places here in Cotter. Mike lives in Collierville, Tenn., and Scott lives near Tampa, Fla. They were both in town and we have fished together a few times while they have been here the last two weeks. Yesterday we decided to fish the Norfork.
“We left Cotter at 6:15 a.m. and drove to the Ackerman Access. There were three cars already there. We put on our waders and headed upstream into the catch-and-release section. It was cool with a light fog and virtually no wind. The forecast was for 97 degrees and a sunny sky. We agreed to quit at 11 to avoid the heat.
“We all chose different spots. I was nymphing a fast, deep run and hooked a big trout. It made a run upstream and wrapped a rock, spitting the hook in the process. Two casts later I hooked another good one and he hung on to the hook a bit better. He made a long run and I moved out of the fast water toward the bank to fight him better. I finally landed a stout 24-inch male brown. A couple of anglers nearby came over to see what the fuss was all about. One of them took my phone and got a good photo. I gently released the brown. I fished there a while longer and caught another trout; this one was a 19-inch rainbow. Both were caught on a ruby midge dropper below a Y2K.
“It was time to move on. I could see Mike and Scott upstream. I decided to walk up there and try some new water. I asked Scott if I could fish a favorite spot nearby. He said sure and I began fishing there. On the second cast, I hooked a big rainbow and quickly lost it. On the next cast, I hooked a big fish that took a long run. I waded out of the fast water so that I could fight it better.
“I finally landed it to discover that it was a nice, healthy, 21-inch Bonneville Cutthroat trout. These are the trout that our local Trout Unlimited Chapter has been growing for the past several years. The idea was to develop another natural sustainable species of trout like the brown trout on our trout streams.
“This is the largest specimen of the Bonneville that I have seen, much less caught. It was living proof of the success of the stocking program. I was excited to catch it and was quite pleased. Scott came over and took a photo and I released the trout, hopefully to catch it again in a few years when it was even bigger.
“I fished there a bit longer and landed another rainbow. This one was 18 inches long and put up a great fight. It was about 10:30 a.m. and it was getting warm. I had caught all of the trout I needed. Two trophies in one morning were way more than I had expected. I found a shady spot to sit and relished in the day’s events.
“At 11, Mike and Scott quit fishing they had also had a spectacular day. We waded back to the access, pulled off our waders and drove over to Heidi’s Ugly Cakes for lunch. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. The Norfork is back!”
(updated 7-18-2018) 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 1,120.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148 said the clarity is clear and the water feels very warm. Lake level is normal. The crappie bite is good. Anglers are catching them at night under lights, while during the day they are trolling for them. Use minnows or jigs. Bass reports have been good with catches very early in the day or late in the evening. Spinnerbaits and working along with big plastic worms and deep-diving crankbaits. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. The catfish bite is good on juglines, trotlines baited with live bait. Some nice flatheads have been reported.
(updated 7-18-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says the pattern continues with stripers scattered throughout the lake. They are still using mouths of coves, bluffs 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 those 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. 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- to high 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, and Rocky Branch.
(updated 7-18-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing the tailwaters the past couple of weeks has been excellent, to say the least. Trout have been very responsive to various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. Quarter-ounce and 1/16-ounce spoons have produced the bigger fish. Austin says, “Talk about bigger fish, this past week we were able to wrestle a 25½-inch, 10-pound, 4-ounce German Brown into the boat. This very nice fish was caught on a spoon. Numbers in the 20-inch range were also caught with spoons (get the hint! LOL).” The hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. “With the much needed rain we got Tuesday this week, I suspect the fishing will be great for the next few days,” Austin says. Further upstream between Beaver and Holiday Island, the spotted bass and smallmouths have been hitting soft plastics thrown at structure and chunk rock. Another application that has started to produce nice bass is jigging tubes in about 10-15 feet of water. Locate the baitfish (they are there) and you will locate the fish. “Hope everyone has a safe and great fishing trip.”
(updated 7-18-2018) Beaver Dam Store said bait fisherman are catching numbers of trout using PowerBait, nightcrawlers and waxworms. Stocking occurred Friday and fly-fishermen and bait fishermen alike are catching numbers of trout below the dam. Stocking occurs at the first boat ramp below the dam, Bertrand Boat Ramp, Highway 62 bridge and the Houseman boat landing just off Highway 62. Brown trout are being caught at dusk on jerkbaits. Try fishing the Highway 62 bridge area upstream toward Spider Creek Island. Always been attentive to rising water conditions. Nymphs and midges are working well along with white or olive PJ Jigs.
(updated 7-18-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water clarity is stained and the surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair, and anglers are trolling minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is fair; no baits were specified.
(updated 7-18-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water lake is still about 5 inches low and the water is clear. Surface temperature is 85 degrees as of Monday. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Nothing to report on crappie. Bass are being caught in the mornings on topwater plugs with good reports. Catfish are good on chicken livers or shad.
(updated 7-18-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “No change here at Lake Poinsett. We are patiently waiting for 2020 (approximate) when we get our lake back. We are continuing to maintain the bait shop as well as other fishing supplies. Sales have remained the same for the past few weeks.” 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 7-18-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said most of the fishing here is being done early in the day or late in the evening. Water level and current are normal. The surface water temperature is a HOT 90 degrees, and the clarity is clear. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie hauls are fair using minnows or jigs. Bass are fair; use plastic worms, and topwater lures like Zara Spooks. Catfish reports were fair, no baits mentioned.
(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 7-18-2018) 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 7-18-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said there is a lot more swimming than fishing going on with the hot weather. Water is clear and the level and current are normal. Catfish are biting early in the day and late in the evening on worms; catches were rated good. Bream, crappie, black bass and walleye reports were poor.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 7-18-2018) Park Interpreter Houston Wynn at Cane Creek State Park said fishing at Cane Creek has been very unsteady. The water level had been pretty low but is going to fluctuate due to the incoming rains. The bass fishing is definitely starting to pick up, which could be a direct result of all of the shad and other baitfish being on the move, especially in the late evenings. Any reports that have come in have said that the bite is decent in the late evening. Try any darker-colored spinnerbait or topwater frogs. Crappie fishing is still fairly slow but 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 getting more and more aggressive throughout the summer. They can be found in deeper waters during the heat of the day, and the bite turns on during the night in shallow waters. Stink baits, large minnows, cut bait or liver will work great for bait. Bream fishing is still in its top form. They’re biting in full swing and they’re big. They 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 258.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday after getting off the water that he noted the Army Corps of Engineers was dropping the normal pool lake elevation rapidly. The lake will continue to fall until it reaches about 24 inches below normal pool in a few days. As of Tuesday the late was at 258.5 feet msl, 9.6 inches below normal pool elevation, and the gate change is near 10,000 cfs. That’s big information to navigating boaters. BOATERS NEED TO USE EXTREME CAUTION navigating Little River and the oxbows. Stumps, broken timber and floaters are approaching surface pool with the drawdown that started Monday. Tuesday, 11 gates were open at 2 feet and two gates are open at 2.5 feet, with discharge near 10,000 cfs.
The lake is still hot, as is everywhere else. On Monday, the tailwater below the dam and gates had jumped accordingly with the increase of gate release to about 232 feet msl. Be sure and check the most recent lake level on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates while the drawdown is in effect.
The Corps is drawing down the lake in an effort to improve shoreline vegetation. It will be held near elevation of 257.2 feet until late August, then at that time will be permitted to rise as conditions allow, with the target to be back to conservation pool elevation of 259.2 feet msl by the end of October. Again, use EXTREME CAUTION navigating a boat on the lake, and wear a life jacket.
Mike says the best bite for largemouth bass continues to be from dawn to around 10 a.m. During mid-day in this southwest Arkansas heat of 90-100 degrees, until dusk, the bass are dropping off the flats into the depths of Little River where the thermocline resides between 12-18 feet. Largemouth bass have been good early up to 3-5 pounds on topwaters. Cloud-cover mornings, early at dawn, continuing seeing best activity. Feeding activity levels have slowed with the increase of surface temperatures in the mid- to low 90-degree range during the heat of the day. Best baits in the early morning have been buzzbaits, plastic frogs, Baby Torpedoes, jitterbugs, and Cotton Cordell Crazy Shads near pads and vegetation. Best colors of frogs have been black or June Bug in new lily pads. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions continue to be Hot Firecracker Chartreuse, Bleeding Bream and black. A good spinnerbait bite is working randomly on shallow flats early, near lily pads and vegetation like pond weed and alligator grass, and near stumps and laydowns close to creek channel swings. Slow-rolling the spinnerbaits off points, ditches and creekmouths dumping into Little River from 8-12 feet will yield a few random bass. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads, Arbogast Jitterbugs, Heddon Crazy Crawlers and Moss Bosses in the slop are all getting fair to good reactions from largemouths in creek channels near stumps. Topwater activity is mostly nonexistent after 10-11 a.m. until dusk. After the topwater bite slows, a fairly decent bite can be had by shallow-running square-bill crankbaits, 2.0 & 3.0 & S-cranks and Echo 1.75’s. You can draw a few good random reactions by deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 8-10 feet deep in creek channels and points. The bass around 14-15 inches are randomly responding to crankbaits in shad and bream colors. Best color of cranks in the oxbows for the past couple weeks or so have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghost. Increasing size up to a ¾-ounce Rat-L-Traps, fished much slower and deeper, will draw a few random hits during late mornings in creek channels and across points converging with Little River. Best colors of Traps over the past week or so have been Millwood Magic and White Smoke. Working the cranks in a stop-and-go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves. The drawdown currently in process will bring majority of predator largemouths to creek mouths and points in junction with Little River in short order. Expect to see an increase of schooling activities over the next few weeks. Largemouths and white bass were randomly schooling over the past week in Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows along Little River. Kastmaster Spoons, Cordell Spoons, Rat-L-Traps and Little Georges were all catching the surface schoolers over the past week. These fish appear to be juvenile and adolescent in age distribution, ranging in size from 1-2.5 pounds each.
Mike says Vertical-jigging spoons are still working with 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 couple weeks, with added bucktails. Some mornings a white bucktail is best, and seems like 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, will find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders. Hurricane Creek had some spoon feeding bass early one morning last week, and surface schooling Kentucky bass and white bass several days where bends of creeks contained deeper water in the 10-15 feet depth range. Whites continue hitting vertical jigged ½-ounce to 1-ounce slab spoons in Little River between Jack’s Isle and first entrance into Mud Lake, and also in Hurricane Creek from 10-15 feet deep. Crappie improved this week in planted brush and standing timber out of current in Little River from 9-14 feet deep using minnows. No real update from last week to this week on catfish, Mike said, but he expects blues, channel cats and mud cats to improve with the increase of discharge at the dam during drawdown, and the increase in Little River current this week. Bream were biting well at the Millwood State Park and at Jack’s Isle over the past week using waxworms, redworms and crickets. These aggressive bream were biting from the bank and the floating dock from 3-6 feet of depth.
(updated 7-18-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) reports that a few bass being caught. Crappie are being caught at night. No report on bream and catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.05 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) 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 and have slowed down considerably. 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 OK 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 foot brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.16 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer heat and summer storms. Wow it’s hot. Water in the lake is slowly lowering. DeGray has many humps and underwater ridges. As the water falls, watch your electronics and maps for those.” Lake level is 403.75 feet msl and the water temperature is in the high 80s. “I guess the best story is the schooling fish,” John says. The hybrids are moving early, and there is some afternoon activity. Shad-colored crankbaits (Shad Rap, Rat-L-Trap), and when they are deeper use spoons and count down to the appropriate depth above them or go with vertical-jigging if they are above trees, suspended, or near the bottom. Surfacing fish reported lake-wide. “It’s one of those things that you have to have the cove with the smooth water and fish. They don’t stay up long, so jump,” he says. Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook and Chrome Devil’s Horse work there. Mostly whites and blacks with some Kentuckies. Black bass are long and lean but hungry. Be early. The crappie bite is early and sluggish. Long-line jig trolling or crankbait pulling should be considered as a trolling option along bluffs and deeper structure. If you still fish brush piles, get it down deep. Fish slow. “No special part of lake, it’s just where you can find deeper cover. No bream or black bass report this week. Stay cool,” John says.
(updated 7-11-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing is pretty good providing you get out there early – that means even before sunup. Bass fishing is fair with quite a few small fish reported but the big ones are hard to come by. Look for surface-feeding fish in the lower end in the big coves between points 2 and 4. Also try around the state park, especially at the marina. Use most any topwater lure or soft plastics such as Zoom Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. There’s a little activity at mid-lake between Edgewood and Caddo Drive. Try working a Texas-rigged worm across main lake points where there is some cover. Also try a medium-running crankbait in a natural shad pattern. Crappie fishing is fair with the fish holding tight to cover on attractors in 20-25 feet of water. Drop a 2-inch Kalin’s Curly Gail Grub to the thickest part of the brush down about 15 feet. Tennessee Shad on a 1/16-ounce jighead is the best rig. Be sure to cover the entire attractor because the fish will be only in one spot. Once again, early morning is best. Hybrid fishing remains slow with a few fish showing in the lower end at DeRoche Ridge and the big coves between points 2 and 6. Look for surface-feeding fish and throw most any small topwater lure. When the surface activity subsides, try a jigging spoon because the fish are probably still present, just down deeper. White and chartreuse are best colors for the spoon. Lots of white bass reported coming from the same areas. In fact white bass and hybrids will school together. Try small spoons, inline spinners and 3-inch grubs. Plenty of bream in the secondary coves with some rock or wood cover. Most fish are shallow at 5-10 feet. Bait with redworms or crickets.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.53 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.18 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 7-18-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are still biting well. Bass are being caught on topwater and crankbait. Catfish are biting. No report on crappie.
(updated 7-18-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported that it has been closed the past week due to the heat. Call the number listed for any newer reports. During the previous week, bream were 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 7-18-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow. 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 are present in the tailrace, but numbers are 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 July approaches, few rainbow trout will be seen feeding and smaller numbers caught. By August, trout fishing will be over and good numbers of fish won’t be caught again until the stocking program beings again in November, when the water temperature is suitable for trout again. Walleye are also present in the area and are feeding on shad. The majority of fish are being caught by trolling shallow-running stick baits that imitate small minnows or crawfish. Carolina rigs tipped with nightcrawlers have taken the largest fish at night. White bass are making a run toward the dam with numbers being taken from the bank by anglers casting flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie have finished their spawning run and are still being caught on small jigs and live minnows around rock structure and sand bars 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 7-18-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrids are still biting in the creek arms on Hamilton.
(updated 7-18-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the all-welded arkansas born-and-bred aluminum fishing boat by Xpress Boats, reports that Lake Hamilton water temperatures are in the mid-80s throughout. Water is clear for the most part except after the afternoon rain showers they area has seen daily for the last few weeks. Bass are scattered all over the lake using isolated hard spots like humps, rock piles and drop-offs to deep water. For this target water, go to a Texas rig with a plum apple Ribbontail worm or watermelon Trick Worm. Wacky rigs have also produced, but with finesse comes patience. Being it’s hot and we are all cranky about the heat, it is best to fish very early (pre-sunup) until around 10 a.m. Water temps are at their coolest and fish are hungry. Many anglers here have been sticking to one weapon to target bass in shaded areas ONLY. Docks and shadowy areas are high-percentage areas for throwing the Zoom Horny Toad Frog or the wacky-rigged Senko in white or watermelon. Fish will not follow it away from the shadows, so short casts (and a lot of them) should put the bigger territorial bass in the boat. Don’t be afraid of the shallows with topwater lures. Crappie are fair with fish on brush in the 25-feet-deep ranges using minnows on a tipped jig. Catfish are excellent on drop-offs and rocky walled areas on cheese or whatever else is expired in the refrigerator.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.43 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the crappie bite really picked up this past week, with excellent reports. The fish moved to shallow water and were being caught in 12-14 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good and also are shallow, about 2-5 feet for the bite. Throw a topwater lure before things heat up, then use spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfish reports were excellent this past week, too. They’re joining the other fish in shallow water. Bream are good on worms or crickets.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 574.28 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Texas-rigged worms and drop-shot finesse worms are working well. Walleye are excellent. Try using a CC Spoon near brush for these fish or drop-shotting a nightcrawler. Stripers are still good 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 good and being caught on crickets and worms in 15-25 feet water near brush. Crappie are still slow 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. The water temperature is ranging 84-88 degrees and the 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.48 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-18-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) notes that the center will be open for fishing this Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for youths under 16 and mobility-impaired fishing (along with two helpers accompanying the youths and/or mobility-impaired). Will said fishing is excellent with the recent 5-foot drop of the White River in the last two week. Anglers are reporting black bass to be hitting Texas-rigged baby brush hogs and Jig-Sooie jigs at the bases of the dead cypress trees. Square-bill crankbaits are also producing. Several anglers are catching 4- to 6-pound bass. 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 almost nonexistent.
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 the first and third Saturdays of every month through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but they 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 7-11-2018) 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 7-11-2018) 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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