Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 2, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 2, 2017. 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
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 8-2-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 90 degrees. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on jigs fished close to live cypress trees. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, Flukes and Berkley Crazy Legs craws fished close to the edge of the lily pad fields. Catfishing is good on worms and cut shad.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said generation on the Little Red has been reduced to 4-6 hours on weekdays and lesser amounts on weekends. Midges, soft hackles and sowbugs, along with wooly buggers, are working well for fly anglers. White Trout Magnets are recommended for spin fishing. 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 (www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (www.swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 8-2-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 463.08 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 8-2-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.24 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. The lake is full of shad, and the AGFC just released the nursery pond with more threadfin shad into the lake to help sport fish grow. Catching is good all over the lake. Black bass can be caught shallow and out to 65 feet on wacky worms, Texas rigged worms, Carolina rigs, football head jigs and topwater baits. Crappie are pretty much suspended in 15-30 feet of water and can be caught on jigs, Beetle Spins and minnows. The big bream are pretty shallow up the rivers, but deeper in main lake (out to 27 feet); use crickets and crawlers, inline spinners, small crank baits and spoons. Walleye are so-so. You will find them roaming the flats throughout the day, and the best way to catch them as been trolling cranks or dragging crawler harnesses. Catfishing is good at night all over the lake on live and prepared baits. Hybrids and white bass are still going good , but are on the move. Many of the super-deep fish have moved shallow. Some can be caught at 25 to 40 feet according to conditions, but they continue to eat off and on all day and night.
(updated 8-2-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is somewhat stained and at normal level. Bream are biting well, with some anglers catching 60 to 80 on crickets during all-day trips. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No report on catfish.
(Updated 8-2-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that crappier are deep, but biting on Bobby Garland 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’Rs in blue ice, Cajun cricket, BBQ chicken, monkey milk and penny back shad colors. Minnows also are working. Crappie are biting at night as well. Catfishing is fair on minnows, worms and shad. Bass are biting on worms, minnows, buzzbaits and topwater lures. White bass are biting on Cajun spins, Johnson Silver Minnow spoons, and Bobby Garland 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’Rs. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and rock hopper jigs.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309
(updated 8-2-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no new report.
(updated 8-2-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 85 to 90 degrees. Bream are biting well on crickets fished around brush. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs in 15 feet of water. Bass are slow, but a few have been caught on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is slow. White bass are fair.
(updated 8-2-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) had no new report.
(updated 8-2-2017) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop (501-758-4948) had no new report.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers are catching catfish at Sunset Lake on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are biting fair on crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been slow to fair with minnows and watermelon seed lizards and worms. Crappie fishing has been slow.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 8-2-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers, minnows and bait shrimp. Bream are biting fair on crickets and worms. Bass and crappie fishing has been slow.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-2-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are being caught on trotlines baited with brooder minnows, black salties and goldfish. Bass have been biting minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie have been slow but some have been caught on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s Grubs. Bream are fairly easy to catch with crickets and redworms. Expect to catch plenty of small ones and a big one now and then. Gar are fun and challenging to catch and they’ll bite a minnow if you get it anywhere close to them.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting fair for some at night using minnows and back salties. Bass fishing has been fair with Carolina rigged plastics and small topwater baits early in the mornings and minnows in the evenings. No reports of crappie being caught lately.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bass have been slow to bite but some have been hitting minnows and Carolina rigged plastics. Crappie fishing has slowed but a few nice ones have been caught this week on size 6 minnows and Kalin’s Grubs.
(updated 8-2-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the bad storms on Friday night and very low flow Sunday have made for some rough conditions for this week’s report. Bass have moved off the grassy banks and are sitting deeper on jetties than normal. Spoons and old Critter Getter jigs fished in the cuts below the jetties have been the only way to catch a few, but it’s been poor at best. Bream are biting well on crickets fished below sandbars in the drops. White bass are schooling and chasing shad around jetties, but they were spotty. Tiny Torpedoes, Zara Puppies and other topwater lures were catching a few. Catfishing was fair on whole shad dragged slowly on a drift-fishing setup.
(updated 8-2-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reports that the flows on the river are slowing and fishing is still good. Bass fishing is good to excellent right now depending on the day. The fish are definitely in full summer mode and sticking close to that highly oxygenated water found near current. Look ambush areas near the main river where the current is broken up. Good fish can also be caught in deeper back waters where there are small blowholes that keep a small amount of water moving. Use moving baits like spinnerbaits and squarebills around current. Try slower baits, like big worms and jigs, around the slack water. Crappie fishing is slow. Some can be caught in the deeper slack water holes behind jetties. Use jigs and minnows in 20-25 feet. Most of the catfish are fully recovered and eating well. Now is the time to use your biggest offerings. Place large live or cut bait (the fresher the better) in the deepest holes you can find. Be sure to set up on the upstream side so the current and ‘walk’ your bait back to the cats. For bream, Trout Magnet on a single pole is deadly right now. Look for water willow grass around the shallower jetties. Flip in there and hold on!
(updated 8-2-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and at normal level. Bass are the big story on the Little Maumelle right now. Early and late in the day, largemouth bass are biting very well on spinnerbaits, topwater lures, soft plastics and shallow-running crankbaits. Things slow down a bit once the sun is up, so get out there early or wait for the evening bite. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair to good on minnows. Catfish are fair on worms, shad and chicken livers.
(updated 7-26-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said bass are excellent in the Murray Lock and Dam area. Use a plastic worm, white twister tails and minnows. No other reports.
(updated 8-2-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that the water was clear and at normal level. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting well on Curly Critter jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Shaky head finesse worms also are working on the bass. Catfishing is good on worms. White bass are fair.
(updated 8-2-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is clear and at normal levels. Surface water temperature is at 90 degrees during the day. Crappie are biting well on minnows and tube jigs fished near jetty drops. Bass are slow to fair on Texas-rigged worms and deep-diving crankbaits around the jetties. No report on catfish or bream.
(updated 8-2-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is hot and clear. Bream are fair at best. Crappie are fair on minnows and the occasional jig. Bass are fair on crankbaits fished around jetty tips. No report on catfish.
(updated 8-2-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and cooling off with the recent rains. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets in the backwater areas 4 to 5 feet deep. Crappie are biting very well on Curly Critter jigs fished in 8 to 10 feet of water. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, spoons and crankbaits fished in the main river. A shaky head worm also has been producing spotted and largemouth bass. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers. White bass are fair.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said reports have been excellent on bass from the north end of the pool and in the Murray Dam area. Anglers report great success working plastic worms as well as white twister tails and minnows. With the extremely hot conditions, fishing appears to have slowed down, they report.
(updated 8-2-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water in Clear Lake is hot and clear. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting well on jigs and minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, shallow-running crankbaits and soft-plastic worms. Catfishing has been slow.
(updated 8-2-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is high and clear. Bream are slow on worms and crickets. Crappie are slow on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting well on topwater lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are slow.
(updated 8-2-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the only thing that could make a summer day on the White River any better than it already is would be spectacularly mild, sunny, gorgeous days. We’ve got it here in the Arkansas Ozarks at Cotter. Make a date to get to the White River, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at Big Spring Park between the morning and afternoon catching sessions. Fluctuating water levels require a variety of baits. The staples will include yellow and pink Power Bait, 1/4 ounce red/gold spoons, a few jigs including white, black and olive green (White River Zig Jigs perform well) and a Rapala Countdown (gold/black is a favorite). A cup of nightcrawlers or redworms is a must. We’re beginning to see some grasshoppers, so try yellow or green hopper baits and skip them on the river to attract some curious browns.
(updated 8-2-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water has a lot of moss in it, but fishing has been decent. Three generators are running at night, and eight are cranking up during the day. Rainbow trout are biting consistently well, but it’s nothing to “rave” about right now.
(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that they had had a trace of rain in Cotter, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 1.1 feet to rest at 24.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 9.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.4 feet to rest at 1.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 12.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 6.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.8 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with moderate generation. On the White, the hot spot has been the Rim Shoals. 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 size 16 or 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 nymph with a ruby midge suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
John, noting the recent heat spell, also says, “I checked the temperature when I was on the river the other day and it was 99 degrees. The fish are still there. Our major trout streams are tailwaters and the water temperature is constantly cool year-round. The trick to fishing now is to beat the heat.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 686.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no new report this week, but summer patterns should dominate. Look for bluffs, points and saddles and try working a drop-shot rig with a fineese worm or shad-style bait. Always have a topwater shad-imitation tied on and ready in case you see some surface action. Topwater lures like Whopper Ploppers and Spooks are also good bets in the mornings. You can also drag a jig or stroke it over the tops of submerged bushes to draw some strikes from bass.
(updated 7-26-2017) K Dock Marina said the lake is slowly starting to drop, but the surface temperature is really going up! They’re seeing most people fishing early and late evening to avoid the heat. Not a lot of trolling right now. All species are slow due to high water and temperature. Water level going into last weekend was 687 feet msl and falling (27 feet above normal). Water temperature was ranging 88 to 92 degrees. Water is clear.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 570.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the water level is falling around 2 to 3 inches per day and currently sits at 568.86. The lake is clear to its normal green summer time tint. The surface water temperature has reached 90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees. Fishing has not changed much over the last couple of weeks, which means the striped bass bite continues to be strong in deep water and all other species are biting in zero to 20 feet of water. When Lou has had the chance to get out, the bite has been strong. Striped bass are being caught from south of Point 2 to the dam and east of the dam to Jordan Island. The larger stripers are being caught in 50 to 70 feet of water. They’re lying on the bottom early in the morning and during the day. Live bait is working very well, but several artificial baits also are working. Vertical jigging with a spoon, as well as jigging with a small 3-inch grub (green or off-white) on the bottom. Move your bait very slowly along the bottom. Trollers are picking up some nice stripers, but again you will need to get your bait down below 45 feet. Many nice-sized largemouth bass have been seen in about 3 feet of water early in the morning around the dock. The gravel parking lot is still partially under water and the bait fish and small blue gills are loving it with the warm water. Bass are having a field day feeding at will. Look for those flooded roadways early in the morning and cast out your favorite soft-plastic crayfish imitation or swim bait and you should pick up some nice fish. I am also noting some bass hitting the surface early in the morning as well as at sunset. Walleye fishing has also starting picking up. The best water depth is around 18 feet on large rounded points. Use a crawler harness with a bottom bouncer or drop shot a live minnow to pick up some nice fish. Bluegill also are in the 18-foot water depth range; crickets have been one of the best baits at this time. White bass have been sporadically erupting in the mornings. I have gotten reports from all different areas of the lake with topwater action. There have been some nice-sized hybrids and mid-sized whites coming up and feeding on small shad.
(updated 8-2-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says this summer’s striper fishing has been the best in years. Most guides are producing limits on each trip. The stripers are moving deeper as the water warms up. The highest temperature seen so far is 90.5 degrees in the early morning and around 95 degrees later in the day. The warm water puts a lot of pressure on the stripers as oxygen levels keep dropping, which forces the stripers go to deep. The good news is that they are still feeding heavily in the morning, from 6 to 9 a.m. Reynolds urges anglers to only catch your limit and quit fishing. He’s seen a few floating stripers that were caught and released, but can’t survive after the fight during these hot days and low-oxygen conditions. The basic fishing rig has not changed. A 3- or 4-oz. weight with a short leader puts the bait on the bottom, then bring it up about a foot and keep it there as you move around. Stripers are still concentrated around the dam area; the best places are Dam Cove, Koso, Thumb, Point 1 and the Hudson Area. Trolling and spooning is also producing some fish but not the numbers the live bait is. This action should continue into August.
(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.9 feet to rest at 14.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had no wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation, with limited wadable water in the near future. Meanwhile, the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek is fishing well one day and poorly the next. With school out, it can get a bit crowded. 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). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more 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 1,127.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and at normal level. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on crankbaits trolled 12 to 16 feet deep near main lake structure. Bass are fair on soft plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits early and late in the day. Catfishing is good on minnows and goldfish.
(updated 8-2-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) reports striper fishing picked up slightly from last week, and he’s seen some fish surfacing with the cooler weather. Have your spoons, jigs and topwater lures handy. Stripers can also be taken on live shad, minnows and bream fished on downlines from 10 to 45 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs or plugs like the Rapala No. 14 Husky Jerk in black back or purple back colors, or try the 5-6-inch model of Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on down riggers or snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. You will need to locate fish near springs along bluffs with tree lines. Striper are using areas like these due to high summer temperatures, dropping oxygen content and the loss of thermocline due to generation. Night fishing with lights has been productive in these areas. Water surface temperatures are in the high 80s on the mid- and lower sections of the lake. The hot spots are all on the lower end of the lake. On Point 1, Indian Creek, Dry Creek and Lost Bridge North, check the main lake structure, humps and secondary points where creek channels intersect the main lake channel. Points 3, 4, 5 and 6 also are some hot spots this week. Lost Bridge South, Pine Log and Big Clifty are producing some stripers as well. In the upper section of the lake, white bass have been seen busting the surface, and can be caught in Horseshoe Bend. Walleye also are being caught in the bend underneath the whites. Walleye are in their summer mode and can be found scattered throughout the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Use three way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, and Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 8-2-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said water temperatures have been between 70 degrees and 58 degrees between Houseman Access and U.S. Highway 62 bridge. The trout bite has improved significantly just upstream from the 62 bridge. Trout are being caught on light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits and waxworms. Spoons of various sizes and Rapalas are also doing the trick. Walleye are being caught toward Beaver town. The most productive rig has been the crawler rig with a nightcrawler. Rapalas are also doing well fished between 6-15 feet of water. Smallmouths are hitting off brush piles and other structure; using soft plastic or drop-shot seems to do the trick. Once again, please: If you are going to take a boat in the tailwaters, please do not be negligent when operating your water craft. There is hidden structure that is inches below the water that could injure yourself or another if operating a watercraft at a high rate of speed. Also, smaller boats and kayakers can and will be swamped by your wake. If you approach an anchored boat, kayakers or a smaller boat, lower your speed as to not cause a wake. Thank you, have fun and be safe.
(updated 8-2-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported that the water has fallen enough to get out and do some wading. Fly fishermen and bait fishermen are catching their limits along the gravel bars. Nightcrawlers and wax worms are working well, as is Power Bait. Fish the Bertrand and launch ramp just below the dam, and also try the Parker Bottoms area. Spoons and Flicker Shad crankbaits are working well. The best fly patterns are pheasant tails, midges in blue dunn, black and olive and hare’s ear nymphs.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 8-2-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are hitting topwater hoppers and poppers, Rooster Tails, crankbaits, soft plastics, live minnows and crawdads caught from creek. Largemouth bass are biting very well in the stretch of War Eagle running into Beaver Lake. Anglers are fishing around bushes, trees and grass with topwater lures, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Crankbaits, jigs and soft-plastics are working better toward deeper water. Goggle eye are hitting topwater hoppers and poppers, small jigs, Rooster Tails, and live worms. Catfishing is excellent with liver, stink bait, and live perch. Bowfishing getting good with successful anglers walking bluffline stretches and working from boats below War Eagle Mills to Beaver Lake.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said anglers enjoyed a good to great week of fishing despite the rising heat. The water is clearing up and is at a normal level. Bream are excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie ranged fair to good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was excellent, with crankbaits and plastic worms working best. The catfish bite is good, anglers say.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear and the surface temperature is 90 degrees. No report on bream or crappie. Bass are biting well early and late in the day on topwater lures. Catfishing is good on live bluegill and goldfish.
(updated 8-2-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the lake is being drained for major repairs and rennovations to the lakebed. There are still fish to be caught until the lake is drained, and you can keep all you catch. All limits have been removed on the lake. There are some big catfish out there. Ome says they are keeping plenty of bait on hand for you.
(updated 8-2-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and the surface temperature is very high – 95 degrees. Bream are excellent on worms and crickets. Bass are fair to good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. No report on crappie this week.
(updated 8-2-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 372 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The river is looking great and the trout have been on the bite. Y2Ks are the hot fly, and trout are really hitting it hard. Olive woollies and hopper dropper rigs have been fun to fish on some days. Not many hitting the hopper but that occasional trout coming up to hit the hopper is priceless. Got to have the dropper below the hopper. It is where you will get the most hits. I like a small nymph or small Y2K. Hot pink and white Trout Magnets have been hot this week. And to be honest hot pink Trout Magnets always catch trout. Fish just off the bottom below a trout magnet float. It also works great on a fly rod for smallmouth bass on local creeks like the Myatt and South Fork. These smaller creeks that run into the Spring River are hot spots for catching smallmouth. Nice weather this week, get out and enjoy.
(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing better. This is a great place to wade-fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is on and there 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 8-2-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is clear and warm. Fishing has been extremely slow for all species. Bream are slow, but a few can be caught on worms and crickets deep. A few crappie have been caught on jigs. Bass are slow, with only a few coming on topwaters and spinnerbaits early in the morning. Catfishing is slow on worms.
(updated 8-2-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said the surface water temperature is in the upper 80s, and visibility is just under 1 foot in most places. The river is not flowing much lately. Black bass are biting well, especially in the mornings. Some days they will respond to topwater lures, such as buzzbaits, walking lures and poppers. Other days they will only bite soft-plastic worms and crawfish-imitating lures worked on the bottom. Experiment each day to gauge their activity level. Focusing on shaded areas has been the key lately, along with making many casts to likely spots to get the more lethargic fish to bite.
(updated 8-2-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said fishing on Cane Creek Lake has remained relatively stable. As of this week, worms are still outselling crickets as the most popular bait for bream fishing. Bream are biting in the shallows, so bank and pier fishing are prime. A recent mayfly hatch means they will be ready to bite anything that breaks the surface of the water. Bass are biting well also; topwater baits and crankbaits are drawing strikes from bass, although it seems they are striking more from aggression than hunger. Frogs are also receiving satisfying results when drug across the tops of lily pads. Fish transition zones between lily pads and open water to increase your chances. Catfish are becoming more aggressive, and biting on live and moving baits. Some bass fishermen are even reporting catching catfish on deep-running crankbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are still hard on structure, but seem to be a little shallower than usual. Crappie are biting on shiners, and a few on jigs. A recent cold front and rain may slow the bite some, but they’ll bounce right back as soon as the weather stabilizes.
(updated 8-2-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.
(updated 8-2-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the water is crystal clear and the surface temperature has been 83 to 89 degrees. The water is at normal level. Crappie are fair on jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and topwaters early in the morning. Most of the bass are being caught 20 feet deep and deeper. Anglers should pay attention to inflated swim bladders from fish being pulled from deep water. A video on how to “fizz” a fish to release the air in the bladder can be found on the AGFC’s Black Bass Program Facebook Page. No report on bream or catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said as of Monday the lake level was 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is current of 1,167 CFS in Little River. Water temperatures range from 83 to 92 during the day, and the only thing hotter than the weather is the mayfly hatch that has the fish feeding like mad. The bream bite has been incredible during this hatch. There are new “no wake buoys at White Cliffs boat ramp extending from the north end of the park to the south end, and they are strictly enforced. Water clarity improved to 10 to 15 inches on the main lake and up to 20 inches in oxbows off Little River. Bass remain excellent, with many 2 to 3 pounders and an occasional 4 to 5 pound fish erupting on the surface on topwater lures at daybreak. Fish Jitterbugs, Baby Torpedoes, Chug Bugs, Shad Assassins and other soft-plastic jerk baits around lily pad stands and vegetation in Little River near deep drop offs. Topwater frogs and buzzbaits also are drawing some good strikes. The best buzzbait colors are black, blue glimmer ghost, white/chartreuse and bream. Bulky, 7- to 10-inch worms and large Brush Hogs continue working along drop-offs in Little River around grass mats, with the best colors being peanut butter and jelly, black grape, watermelon-purple, or watermelon candy and green pumpkin. Continue moving deeper in the creek channels or to creek junctions with the river during the day. Deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shad, also are working across underwater points in Little River. Squarebill crankbaits continue working long old river channel cut-overs, ditches, and deep creek outer swings where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into Little River. White bass continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on Rat-L-Traps, Fat Free Shad crankbaits, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads fished 7 to 12 feet deep. Schooling white bass have been noted in the backs of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows off Little River early at daybreak on flats adjacent to deeper drops in the depths from 5-10 feet deep at random intervals for the past several weeks. Crappie continue improving in Little River over planted brush piles on vertically jigged tubes and jigs in 7 to 8 feet of water. The best colors were pink/white, chartreuse/blue, and chartreuse/white combinations. Good bream were hitting crickets and worms at the Millwood State Park late last week off the bank, and all along Little River over the past couple weeks, and especially under any leaning cypress or willow, and other “leafed out” trees where the Mayfly hatch is happening. The Mayfly hatch this year is tremendous. Any bait resembling a Mayfly will get you a limit of Bream really quick along the river. Casting or jigging with popping bugs, crickets, and red worms, Mayflies, and tiny jigging spoons and Blakemore Roadrunners are catching a limit in short order. Blue catfish improved this week with the increase in Little River current. Trotlines set along outer bends of the river in stump rows of old river timber from 10-12 feet deep, baited with chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, cut buffalo, and blood bait were working well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.18 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the surface water temperature is in the low 90s. Bass are biting well on Texas-rigged worms in dark red or purple in 12 to 15 feet of water near main lake points. Largemouth bass and white bass have been schooling some in the mornigns, and everyone seems to be catching them on a small, size 90 Whopper Plopper. Crappie are fair on fish shelters and are holding about 15 feet deep. Live minnows are the best bet for crappie right now. Catfish are fair on noodles and trotlines baited with small sunfish and liver.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.81 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good early in the morning along the south side in the big coves. Also try the coves all along the state park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Look for schooling fish off points and throw topwater plugs and soft plastics such as Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. The lure is not as important as getting it to exactly where the fish “breaks.” Another good pattern has been running a spinnerbait or buzzbait past the standing timber in the back of deep coves. A few fish reported coming from mid lake between Caddo Drive and Yancey Creek. Once again this is early morning action with medium running crankbaits worked across points being the best pattern. Crappie fishing is slow with only a few fish reported coming from the deep attractors at 25-28 feet. Drop a 2-inch grub or tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead to just above the brush at about 15 feet, move slowly around the structure covering the entire attractor because the fish will usually be in only one spot. Mid-lake between Arlie Moore and Shouse Ford has been best. Hybrid fishing is good with the fish now suspended in the thermocline at about 50 feet in 100-plus feet of water. Look for fish along the old river channel in the lower end of the lake between Point 4 and the dam. Use the sonar to locate the fish and drop a heavy jigging spoon or 3-inch grub on a 1/2-ounce jighead to just above the fish. Best colors are white and chartreuse. Once again, early morning is best. Bream fishing is good with lots of fish most anywhere in the lake. Look for fish on main lake humps and also in coves. The bigger fish will be deep, 15-18 feet. Vertical-fish a redworm or cricket.
(Updated 8-2-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass are schooling early in the mornings. Casting spoons are producing.
Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) had no report.
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report.
White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 8-2-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and at normal level. The fishing has been slow this week, but the fish are out there. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair to good on spinnerbaits and topwaters early in the morning. Catfishing is fair. White bass are slow.
(updated 8-2-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 8-2-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports Water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summer pool, with Entergy scheduling 10-hour generation periods each day to maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is high. Fast current and open flood gates are dangerous, so it’s important to keep a proper distance from the area and wear your life jackets at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow, which is the norm for this time of year. Patience is the key to fishing this time of year, regardless of the technique used. Live bait under a bobber or floated off the bottom with a marshmallow are working. Redworms, nightcrawlers, wax worms, mealworms, minnows and crickets are all good choices. Hundreds of thousands on threadfin shad have moved into the tailrace area, so artificial lures are not working as well as normal. White bass are being caught fairly well in the tailrace on live minnows tightlined over deep water below the bridge. When there’s current, try a black/silver jerkbait over rocky structure and sandbars. White bass should be present from the bridge to the dam until late July. Stripers have moved into the tailrace, chasing the shad. Some fish in the 20-pound-class have been seen feeding on small shad below the bridge in the late evening. Small Alabama rigs and hair jigs are much more effective now than earlier in the spring. Weightless soft-plastics also are a great imitation of an injured shad that was pulled through the floodgates.
(updated 8-2-2017) Greesons Marine, the hometown dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs said fishing has been good, despite the heat. Bass we semi-actively taking large black Texas-rigged worms and large watermelon-colored tubes well into the nights between 10 and 15 feet of water. Docks with solid or rocky bottoms below have been the most productive areas to target. Water temperature has been the major factor on where fish have been and how active they are in those locations. If you can find that water in the 85-degree range (usually near the river channel), you most likely will have your bait in front of a fish. Still, you must slow down, be patient and watch your line.
(updated 8-2-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water clarity is good in the river and the creeks. Bass fishing has been good with frogs in the grass and lily pads early and late with worms and crankbaits off of sandbars and points. Stripers and white bass have been excellent on topwater lures, with a big bite on crankbaits and swimbaits. Bream have been excellent on main river jetty rocks with grass. Use worms or crickets. Catfish have been good on cut bait just outside the buoy line in the Indian Creek channels.
(updated 8-2-2017) Greesons Marine, the hometown dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs, reports water surface temperatures are hovering at the 90-degree mark in most areas. With the temperatures being bathwater, warm fish are returning to deep spots during the hottest parts of the days. Even early in the mornings fish are staying in shaded areas only. Work deeper areas that have some sort of drastic structure. Areas 10-18 feet have been best around docks and sharp drop-offs with hard rock bottoms or boulders. If you can match all of the above, you are in the strike zone for sure. During the days use those electronics and find baitfish on sudden drop-offs near current or creek channels. Find the baitfish ball and you’ve found the bass. Oxygen levels are low this time of year, so keep your baits on the large size. Fish are looking for a whole day’s meal in one swallow. Another tip is to use scent attract. If the bite is “mushy” and fish aren’t hammering baits, use scent attract so you have time to get a good hook set. Best baits to use right now have been Zoom Ole Monster 10-12-inch ribbon-tailed black or Watermelon worms fished with a single large split shot 18 inches up. Texas rigged green lizards have worked well also. For the deeper fish chasing the baitfish, work a jerkbait, deep-diving crankbait or black or dark-colored spinnerbaits at a slow and steady pace parallel or just above where you think the bait fish are located. Shad and silhouette colors like dark craw have been prompting strikes.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.57 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is at 89 degrees. Bream are biting fairly well, with anglers catching about 50 bream a day on worms and crickets. The fish being caught have all been of a good size. Crappie are biting well on jigs and minnows fished 5 feet deep. Bass are fair to poor on topwater lures. Catfish and white bass are slow.
(updated 8-2-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is still hot and clear. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie are fair on jigs. Bass are fair early and late on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing has been fair on worms.
(updated 8-2-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, Bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 574.24 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-2-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said water temperature is 90-94 degrees and the water is clear. Black bass are fair and are being caught with Texas rigged plastics and jigs fished late evening and night. Drop-shots fished with finesse worms have been productive for spots near brush. Walleye are very good and being caught on spoons on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are still fair on live bait. The central and eastern parts of the lake are the best areas for these fish. Bream are still good in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths of around 20-25 feet fished near brush. Catfish are still fair on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 8-2-2017) Greesons Marine, dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs, said they have heard good reports of crappie being caught in the 8- to 14-foot range over brush pile tops. The best baits have been minnows tipped with a jig and live minnows on a snell rig. Bass have been biting topwater lures in the mornings and evenings. Go-To’s like Whopper Ploppers, Zara Spooks and frogs are the weapons of choice. Some large fish have been netted recently by anglers fishing dark-colored worms and Yum Dingers in green or black off points in 10 to 20 feet of water. Texas-rigged worms have been the staple choice so far, but the drop shotters are doing well also during the day. Black, blue and green spinnerbaits worked slowly start to turn on when the sun goes down over any type of drastic structure.
(updated 8-2-2017) Angler Jacques Ridenour reports that everything but bass and catfish is slow this week. Catfish are being the best for night fishing and bass early morning. Water level is above normal for this time of year.
(updated 8-2-2017) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) had no report this week.
(updated 8-2-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said fishing activity has slowed considerably the last few weeks. Bass and bream are still moderately active in the mornings. Anglers are using mainly live bait, with a few anglers doing well on bass with jigs.
(updated 8-2-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said a few anglers have had some luck bass fishing with jigs and artificial lures, but the water temperature and daytime temperatures are so warm that few people are fishing and few fish are biting.
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