Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 25, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 25, 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 7-25-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says anglers continue to see little to no change in the conditions or the response of the fish during this hot month. Water level and current are normal. The clarity remains stained stained. 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 7-25-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said he continues to see summertime generation pattern for the Little Red River. This schedule is a few hours of early afternoon and/or evening generation. You will find wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, he recommends midges, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. NOTE: The AGFC Trout Habitat Program will be doing some in-stream work on the Little Red River adjacent to Dripping Springs Access on Monday, July 30. The purpose of this work is to remove the sediment that was deposited from the berm failure last spring and to restore the navigation channel. Be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 7-18-2018) 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 458.97 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 7-25-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 458.98 feet msl and falling with evaporation and generation. It is 3.56 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. The catching overall is good for most species. Read on for a rundown, and note that the catch ratio is going up every day with fall in the headlights. The crappie are suspended most of the time or on bottom in 15-35 feet of water all over the lake; use jigs and jigs tipped with minnows in and around brush piles and pole timber. Walleye are the slowest thing going right now but should be better soon with lower temperatures in the water and air and more cloud cover; try dragging crawlers in 18-32 feet of water for the best results. Catfish are eating all over the lake on any of your favorite baits, anyway you like to catch them. Bream are eating from super shallow out to about 28 feet on crawlers and crickets. Some can be caught with flies, small crankbaits and inline spinners. Black bass are up shallow chasing bream and out deep to 55 feet of water eating big jigs, C-rigs and Texas-rigged worms. Some schooling fish are all over the lake as well; use crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Flukes and topwater baits up shallow. Keep a spoon on for longer casts for schooling fish. Hybrid and white bass are eating well several times a day and at night. The whites are eating threadfin and gizzard shad fry. The bigger hybrids are eating big gizzard shad right now. Timing is everything, and staying around the shad. Use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and swimbaits for the best catches.
(updated 7-25-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is clear and the surface temperature is “hot.” The lake is 1 foot low. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair. They are deep, with the bite at about 16 feet. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair; use spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Catfish are good on trotlines using worms or 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 7-25-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water level is about 2 feet low and the clarity is clear. Surface water temperature is 84-85 degrees as of Wednesday morning. Bream reports have been excellent this week. They bream are in about a depth of 7-8 feet and biting worms or crickets. Crappie are good. Try a depth of 15-18 feet with minnows or jigs. Bass are good around the points and in the creeks. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are working best. Catfish are good on chicken livers. Catfish appear to be spawning.
(updated 7-25-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said largemouth bass bite continues to be excellent. Keeton Blaylock and Kyle Wise showed that again Tuesday night with a 12.04-pound stringer on the weekly bass tournament, and a couple of teams pulled in Big Bass catches of 3.24 and 3.44 pounds. Rogers Nesuda says the bass are about 10-20 feet deep with some that are just outside 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. The largemouth bite more during dusk and at dawn. Kentucky bass are good. 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 excellent. There are 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. Anglers continue to report finding crappie 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 reports are good, with the bream being caught in 6-12 feet depth and on brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet deep. Catfishing remains excellent with more channels moving out and the blue catfishing coming in. Use stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and 20-feet deep.
Next week marks the last Tuesday night bass tournament of the season, Roger notes.
(updated 7-25-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are still doing well on fresh chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bass minnows. Crappie are fair on small crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Bream are excellent on crickets and redworms. Bass have been slow on brooder minnows and spinnerbaits.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-25-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said lots of small bream and catfish are being caught off of crickets, especially out of the back pond. The area desperately needs rain, it’s pretty low. “That’s pretty much all I have heard about over there,” Lisa reports.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-25-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been doing very well on trotlines using goldfish and black salties, and on brooder minnows and black salties on rod-and-reel. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and 4-inch green pumpkin lizards. Crappie slow on small crappie minnows. Bream, like everywhere else, are doing excellent on crickets and redworms.
(updated 7-25-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are great on crickets fishing on bottom. Crappie are slow on medium-size crappie minnows. Bass are fair on crankbaits. Catfish have been good on nightcrawlers and bait shrimp and assorted stink baits.
(updated 7-25-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said small and medium crappie minnows have been the key to some very nice crappie for a few of her customers going there. Bream are good on crickets. Bass are fair on bass minnows and crankbaits. Catfish are good on fresh chicken livers, brooder minnows and Sonny’s Dip Bait.
(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 7-25-2018) 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 7-25-2018) 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 7-25-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the clarity of the river pool is clear with a surface water temperature in the low 90s. The level and current are normal. Bream are in about 8 feet of water and the bite is good. Use worms or crickets. No reports on crappie. Bass are good both early in the day and late. Topwaters, crankbaits and plastic worms are working. Vince heard good reports of bites on small
(updated 7-25-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water remains clear and the surface temperature has been in the high 80s to low 90s. 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 7-25-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the bass bite is good near Terry Lock and Dam on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are being caught on worms and blood bait, with good results. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. The water is clear on that end of the river pool and the surface temperature was reported as 90 degrees. Water level and current are normal.
(updated 7-25-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that below Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or by snagging. White bass are good on spoons, shad and twister tails.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-25-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the surface water temperature is 90 degrees and the water clarity is clear. Level and current are normal. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good and are biting worms.
(updated 7-25-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported water temperature hitting 90 degrees, and the level is normal. Water clarity is clear. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are biting topwater lures, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms, with anglers reported good catches. Catfishing is good on worms and blood bait.
(updated 7-25-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the bite is on and the anglers on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks are catching trout on the first cast of the day, on the last cast in the afternoon and on a whole lot of casts in between. Anglers of all ages and persuasions are catching trout downriver from Bull Shoals Dam in the Cotter neighborhood. The water is cold and clear, refreshing if you wade or bank fish, and providing a cool updraft when you’re moving downstream in a jon boat. A family fishing adventure offers so much togetherness time in an outdoor arena, sharing quiet moments and watching nature “happen” in real time, in a digital-free environment (or as much as you desire it to be.) A professional guide on the White River can handle the distractions and let you and your kids experience the thrill of bringing a trout to your net, maybe keeping a limit or watching them swim back to their kingdom after safely releasing them. With low water releases from Bull Shoals Dam, return to the ever-successful combination of shrimp-PowerBait combination. “Bring some of your photos for some ah-h-h-h time.”
(updated 7-25-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the fishing for brown trout has been great the past week. Browns in the 24-inch-long range are being caught. Also, there are lots of rainbows. The river level is low most of the day, but higher in the afternoon. You’ll have excellent success here based on the past few days, they say. Water is clear.
(updated 7-25-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said over the weekend that during the past week they had no measurable rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds at Cotter. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 feet to rest at 2 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 36 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.8 feet to rest at 1.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest 1.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had less generation with more wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 1.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 25.4 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, 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 are still coming off. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (sizes 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.
John added, “Last week I had a guide trip with a nice married couple. He was a CPA and financial consultant and she was a nurse anesthetist. They had never fly-fished but wanted to learn. I consider myself a teaching guide, so I was intrigued by this trip.
“It was a great day for fishing. They were running a bit less than one full generator (about 2,500 cubic feet per second) at the dam, which is a great water level to fish. At 7:30 a.m., it was 72 degrees but the weather forecast called for a high of 97 degrees, partly cloudy skies and light winds. There was a dense fog on the river that made it nice and cool.
“I began the day with a quick fly-casting class. Neither one of them had ever cast a fly rod. It took me about 15 minutes to get them going. I continued the lesson throughout the day as we fished. I made minor corrections as we went along and by the end of the day they were casting well.
“On the first drift, they both had hookups but lost the fish. I carefully explained what they had done wrong and how to correct it. He had been a bit slow on setting the hook. She had turned the reel in the wrong direction allowing slack in the line, which allowed the trout to slip the hook.
“On the next drift, things went a little better. First, he hooked up a nice trout. I was moving toward the front of the boat to net the fish when she hooked up. I was standing between the two of them, which was the best spot to net the two trout. Landing two fish can be a bit tricky: Which one will be ready to come in first and can the other angler keep their fish on, while the first trout is being netted?
“Things went perfectly. Her trout was ready first. I scooped it up and quickly removed the hook. I was about to release the fish when I had an idea. I kept the fat 18-inch rainbow in the net and scooped his trout. It was the mirror image of the first trout.
“I had two really nice rainbows in the net and thought it would make a great photo. It was a great double and their first trout. I kept the fish in the water, until he got his iPhone out and set up for the picture. I took several photos and captured the moment of them holding their first trout. It set the mood for the rest of the day.
“They caught some nice fish. A 14-inch rainbow was the smallest trout and the 18-inchers were the big fish. After several hours of fishing, it was starting to warm up and they were about ready to go back to the lodge. They were tied at eight trout each. I suggested one more drift as a tie-breaker. They agreed.
“We were about 50 feet into the drift when he hooked up. At the same time, I saw the first raindrops (rain was not in the forecast). They did not have rain gear, so we quickly landed the trout and headed back to the ramp. They scrambled to their car and I got soaked putting the boat on the trailer. Despite the wet ending, it had been a great day that began with a memorable double.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.08 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 554.31 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said that this past week has seen a lot of Norfork Lake stripers caught. My son and I have landed multiple limits of stripers daily. The striper bite right now is almost entirely live bait. Some are being caught trolling using umbrella rigs and spoons. However if you want to catch numbers right now hire a live bait guide. That is your best chance of catching your limit and a big fish. Today (Sunday) I zigged twice before I zagged and found a new spot with lots of active stripers. My current spot has been good but it has slowed and other guides have found me and moved in on the spot. My son and I spend most off days fishing for new spots with active stripers. A lot of people look for the guides then move in thinking that’s the best opportunity to catch a striper. This seems to happen a lot in the summer and is one of my pet peeves. On Sunday we went over 2 hours without a bite but the last 2 hours made up for it. The stripers were shallow next to a buff and deep water. We were catching them in 50′ with our lines set at 40′. We also caught fish off the buff in 80′ of water with our lines set at 50′. If you find some fish suspended in 40 to 50′ of water no matter how deep the bottom is go ahead and start fishing. Most likely a school will come around. Find a shaded buff next to a channel and you will find active stripers. The evening bite has started again. Look for stripers in water starting at 40′ and move out until you find them. Saturday evening they were feeding heavy at 44′ on the bottom. The bite will last up until dark. The stripers are on the points with sloping flats near the dam. Stripers are still being caught from Diamond Bay off point 2 in the channel, Georges Cove, Koso Point, Hudson, Hand Cove, Dam Cove and Thumb Point.
(updated 7-25-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good and has had some very interesting occurrences that are not typical based on his prior years’ experience. If you are looking for some fun topwater action, it has been occurring for the last several weeks. White bass and hybrids are erupting in the mid-lake to northern parts of the lake in the mornings and the afternoons. The small to mid-sized whites are on the surface, but if you get down 5-10 feet the bigger whites are feeding heavily. “I suggested using a Kastmaster blade-type bait to some of my guests. They found the feeding frenzy this morning and had a blast.” The catfish bite is also doing very well. Some of Lou’s guests have set trotlines in coves in about 10 feet of water and are catching blues and channels overnight, as well as a few during the day. “I have caught some really nice-size blues in about 50 feet of water on the sides of points with a sharp drop-off. My catfish have been caught using live threadfin shad.”
Lou says the striped bass and hybrid bass bite is good if you can locate the schools of fish. He has been fishing in two different areas, but he said he can see the fish are slowing moving out. “I did a little looking around different areas from Point 2 down toward the Jordan area. I marked a few fish in all areas, but didn’t find anything really exciting. In the last spot I did find small schools of stripers that were still feeding. A first-time striped bass fisherwomen landed a nice 8-pounder out of this school. We had two other rods bent to the water at the same time, but we missed both of them. After this flurry of activity the fish moved on and we headed home. I am going to check this spot out much earlier in the morning tomorrow.” Lou says he has been mainly using threadfin shad, but spoons are also working. If you enjoy trolling you should be able to pick up some nice fish. Umbrella rigs and swimbaits are both catching fish. The trick is to get your bait down to 30-40 feet deep, Lou said. Look from Point 2 to the dam out in the deeper water along bluff lines and main lake points. Norfork Lake is holding fairly stable for both the lake level and the surface water temperature. The lake currently sits at 554.30 feet msl and the surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 87 degrees. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are somewhat stained.
(updated 7-25-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the past week Norfork Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 1.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 25.4 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, 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 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 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 (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10). Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 7-25-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are 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 1,120.09 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148 said the water is clear and at a normal level. No temperature was reported. The fishing are biting pretty much the same as last week, with good reports throughout. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater plugs. The catfish bite is good on juglines, trotlines baited with live bait. Some nice flatheads have been reported.
(updated 7-25-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says stripers are scattered throughout the lake. They are 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-80s. Mike suggest checking out these hot spots in the mid- and upper sections: Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks (check main lake points and humps. Pay attention to where tree line intersects channel), Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, the Highway 12 bridge (check mouth of the river and main lake structures, a lot of fish coming out of the river late due to high water) and Prairie Creek (pay attention to areas around the islands and Point 10, a lot of fish coming out of the river late due to high water).
The walleye spawn has ended and a large portion of the walleye are making their way back to the main lake and a good portion of them can be found suspended 10feet down over 20-plus feet of water near structure. The post-spawn negative feeding mood is wearing off and they are beginning to get back on the feed. Most walleye are being caught in 20 feet of water or less. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse.
(updated 7-25-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “What a week! The bite has been spot on in the tailwaters. Baitfish are starting to make their way into the tailwaters. Several bait balls were marked along with some very big shad. One thing of concern is the water temperature. The temperature from Houseman Access to the U.S. Highway 62 bridge was 74 degrees this past Friday, which I find to be a bit off. Although the trout like it a bit cooler, that didn’t seem to slow them down.” He says trout bit on light terminal tackle fished with various PowerBaits. Spoons have still been the ticket for the “nicer” fish. A couple more very nice trout were caught and released this past week throwing ¼-ounce to 1 1/6-ounce ounce spoons. The hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms. Peak hours have been between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. A few walleye were also caught this past week. “I’m sure the water temperature, along with the baitfish, had a little something to do with it.” Walleye hit on live minnows being jigged in 20 feet of water. Smallmouths and spotted bass also bit nicely on soft plastics thrown at structure and chunk rock. Most of that action was between Beaver town and Holiday Island. ”Get out, have fun and catch some fish. One more thing. If you see me out fishing and you want a quick rundown on what the fish are biting on that day or where the hot spots are, feel free to pull alongside. Have fun, stay safe!”
On Tuesday, Austin gave a late update: “As of this evening, things are not looking good for the tailwaters. The water temperature is about 86 degrees from Houseman Access to Bertrand launch ramp. As I understand it, all the generators are down at the dam, thus no generation to cool things off. Unfortunately I have started to notice a fish die-off of sculpin and shad. I am afraid if this continues, we will start to see a massive trout die off as well. Since the water temperatures have started to rise, I have notice spontaneous bleeding from the trouts’ gills when they are stressed (being caught). Furthermore, the trout that have been caught and released have needed extra care to get them swimming again. I can honestly say I have not witnessed this before. I sure hope that this week’s rain chances happen and help cool the tailwaters so the fish we all enjoy catching have a chance to survive this endeavor.”
(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 7-25-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature earlier this week was 90 degrees. Water level is normal. Fish is good early for all species, they say. Bream reports ranged from fair to good overall. Worms or crickets will work. Crappie was also fair to good, depending on the hour of the day. Minnows and jigs are working. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms or blood bait.
(updated 7-25-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the lake rose a little in the past week but is 2 inches low. The water is dingy, and the surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Bass are fair on plastic worms and topwater plugs. Catfishing is good on stink bait and chicken livers. No reports on crappie.
(updated 7-25-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “In my opinion, it is ‘fishing weather!’ Also, because we are selling lots of live bait. I get a lot of requests regarding when Lake Poinsett will be great again. We don’t know for sure, but maybe up to two years. That will be, ‘happy days’ again.” In the meantime, 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 7-25-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said anglers saw little change from last week, though most reports of catches were up from fair to good. The water level is normal and the clarity is clear. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Brass are good; anglers are using plastic worms, topwaters early and late, and spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on worms.
(updated 7-25-2018) 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 (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 7-25-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the low to mid-90s. Water clarity is around 1-1.5 feet in most places, with some areas clearer. Wind, barges and lock operation are about the only thing moving water in the main channel. Black bass are slow throughout. Best bet is to start before sunrise, covering water quickly with topwaters and moving baits. After the sun gets up, it becomes very difficult to get bites. Focus on shady spots along steeper banks and either fish very fast or very slow. Offshore brush piles in Lake Langhofer will produce a few bites as well.
(updated 7-25-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said hot weather hasn’t slowed down the bream in Cane Creek Lake. Fishing a cricket in shallow areas among lily pads will get result in enough fish to make a meal! Catfish are still biting in depths of 5-10 feet during the cooler hours of the day, like dawn and dusk. If you wait until about 10 a.m., when the temperature begins to rise, you will begin to catch catfish moving into the deeper pockets around the lake. As they escape the heat and feed on sediment that is moving with the current, they will be apt to bite pieces of chicken liver they find sitting in their way. Crappie are still technically biting in deeper water, over structure. But you have to know exactly where to look to find them. Fish deep pockets with shiners, and if you catch one, stay put! Many locals are also kind enough to point you in the right direction if you are brave enough to ask. Bass are tricky during this time of year. While out on the lake you see them jumping all over the place, but you may not get a single bite. They are being affected heavily by the temperature, and the cooler the air the better your chances of landing a fish. Fish in the early morning or late evening. Look for shad balls that are common around the lake during this time of year and fish white spinnerbaits, shad-colored cranks (lipped or lipless) and save a topwater for when the sun is almost down to draw them in with noise.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, Millwood Lake level has almost reached 100 percent of the 24-inch drawdown. Monday the discharge was near 985 cfs for Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday has dropped accordingly with gate released to about 225 feet msl. Water temps have been stable over the past week, ranging 85-95 degrees. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions while the Corps of Engineers drawdown is in effect. This 24-inch reduction of normal pool elevation is bringing stumps and broken timber to or very near the surface pool. Use extreme caution in navigation during ongoing drawdown conditions. Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially up river. The main lake and lower sections of Little River continue to improve and are not quite as stained as the upper regions of Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity currently ranges 20-30 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike says the best bite of the day for largemouth bass continues to be from dawn to around 9 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 deeper sections of creek channel depths and mouths of creeks dumping into Little River where the thermocline resides between 10-15 feet. For the past few weeks, bass are active early up to 2-4 pounds on topwaters. Cloud-cover mornings continue seeing the best activity early at dawn. Feeding activity levels have slowed with the increase of surface temperatures during the heat of the day. Baits drawing the best reactions at early morning continue to be buzzbaits, soft plastic frogs, Cordell Crazy Shads, Stuttersteps and jitterbugs near pads and vegetation. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions lately are Hot Firecracker chartreuse, Bleeding Bream, black, or Hot Cotton Candy. Best buzzbait bite is working across flats near creek channel swings, with stumps and laydowns, and around lily pads. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads, Arbogast Jitterbugs and Moss Bosses continue working in the slop and are all getting fair to good reactions from largemouths in creek channels near stumps, cypress trees and lily pads. Topwater activity levels drop off after 10-11 a.m., with very little top water activity after noon, until dusk. After the topwater activity diminishes, a fairly decent bite can be had by shallow-running square-bill crankbaits, 2.0 & 3.0 & S-cranks and Echo 1.75s to 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 14-15-inch-long bass are randomly responding to crankbaits in shad and bream colors. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the 2.0 S-cranks, and Echo 1.75 square bills, have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic and Ghosts. Increasing size up to a ¾-ounce Rat-L-Trap, 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 have been Millwood Magic and White Smoke. The square bills, S-cranks, and Echo 1.75 cranks and shallow running crankbaits in bream, Bluegill ghost, and Tennessee Shad colors are working near creek mouths and points extending into Little River. Working the cranks in a stop-and-go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves. The drawdown in process will bring the majority of predator largemouths to creek mouths and points in junction with Little River. Several groups of schooling bass have been found in Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows up Little River over the past week around daybreak. Largemouths, Kentucky bass and white Bass have been randomly schooling over the past week at dawn running river shad. Kastmaster spoons, Cordell spoons, Rat-L-Traps and Little Georges all were 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. Also, Bass Assassin Shads in Grey Ghost, Salt & Pepper Phantom, Violet Moon and Rainbow Shad colors are still working near creek channels with stumps and vegetation. Magnum Tubes like Gitzits have been working on stumps with best reactions on Black & Blue tail, Watermelon Magic, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail or bluegill colors.
Mike says that vertical-jigging spoons will still work 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. He’s 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, anglers will find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders. Hurricane Creek had some spoon-feeding bass early one morning last week, as well as surface schooling Kentucky bass and white bass where bends of creeks contained deeper water in 10-15 feet depth. Crappie improved last week in planted brush and standing timber out of current in Little River from 9-14 feet deep using minnows. No update from very few crappie anglers on the river this week. No reports this week on catfish. Meanwhile, 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 shoreline and the floating dock from 3-6 feet of depth.
(updated 7-11-2018) 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 543.46 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-11-2018) 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 402.25 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Now, this is summer. Water temperatures are now at the high 80s. The lake level is at 402.25 feet. The lake is down more.” The surfacing fish are showing up from Point Cedar to mid-lake. The majority of the surfacing fish are whites, blacks=, and Kentuckies. They are in the same pattern as last week. They do not stay up long. Topwaters like Whopper Ploppers and Zara Spook Jr’s are good for topwater action. The hybrids are usually below them but not always. There has been very little surfacing done from hybrids. The mainstay for hybrids is to use your electronics to find them and then spoons to catch them. The shad that the fish are feeding on are about an inch long. The main key is time of day. Some schooling has been reported in afternoons, also. Crappie are so slow on the bite. They may best be caught trolling crankbaits like the Bandit 300. If not crankbaits, pull or push jigs for long-line trolling. In a couple of days, the moon will be full and that’s when the bream bed up. Use your electronics to locate the beds using side-imaging. Stand off and cast to the beds. “Again, use you electronics, side-imaging, to locate the beds. They can be found in around 6 feet of water or deeper. I think the best advice I can give is ’go early,’” he said.
(updated 7-25-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Not many folks are fishing right now, especially bass fishermen with most tournaments ended until fall. Bass fishing is slow with only a few small fish reported. Try the big coves in the lower end between points 2 and 6. Look for surface feeding fish early in the morning. Throw most any topwater plug in a natural shad pattern. Also try Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. A few fish also reported in the big coves at the state park and around the park marina. Crappie fishing is very slow due to the hot weather and water; it looks like the fish are suspended in the deep timber. Hybrid fishing is slow with only a few fish reported coming from the Iron Mountain area in coves on the south side. Very little schooling activity. Try a heavy jigging spoon fished down to about 50 feet. The good news is that the white bass are thick in those same coves and are surface feeding early in the morning. Look for “breaking” fish and throw small spoons, inline spinners and 2-inch curly tail grubs. White is the best color for all lures. Lots of bream are showing both shallow and deeper to 20 feet. Look for fish in most any cove with some rock or wood cover. Also try the crappie attractors on the main lake. Very few crappies, but lots of bream. Use redworms or crickets.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.43 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.87 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-11-2018) 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 7-25-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported the lake level as normal and clear throughout. No temperature was reported. The bream bite is good on worms or crickets. Crappie are biting fair to good on minnows or jigs. Bass reports are good; use spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfish are good on worms or blood bait. No report on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 7-25-2018) 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 7-25-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said spoons and swimbaits are catching the white bass, black bass and hybrid bass in the creek arms. Use sonar for the large concentrations of shad, you’ll find the feeding fish early in the morning.
(updated 7-25-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boat, reports that lake temperatures are in the high 80s throughout and fishing is getting tough. Bass are in the classic hot-water pattern of no pattern at all! That being said, you can throw numerous lures and get some good results if you are patient enough. Medium- to deep-diving crankbaits in Sexy Shad run through drop-off shaded areas work. Zoom Horny Toad Frogs skipped under docks and dragged through grass areas also work, and yes, the old summer special big ole black ribbon tailed worm, Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged … well those work, too! It doesn’t hurt to have all three rigged up and ready to go on the deck at all times right now. You finally have a reason to have three rods or more in the first place that doesn’t involve lying to your wife! Crappie is slow but much better at night on minnows. Catfish are good, as always.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.12 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says the hot spot she’s been hearing about from her customers is here at Lake Nimrod. Bass minnows seem to be the key for a couple of guys who have been in already a couple of times this week to the shop. They have been catching some good-size crappie on the minnows.
(updated 7-25-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the crappie continues to be excellent. The fish moved to shallow water and were being caught in 12-14 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. No reports on bass. Catfish reports were good using worms. Bream are good on worms or crickets. The lake is clear and at a normal level.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reported
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 573.78 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. Texas-rigged worms and drop shot finesse worms are working well. Walleye are still excellent. Try using a CC spoon near brush or drop-shotting a nightcrawler for these fish. Stripers are 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 very good and being caught on crickets and worms in 15-25 feet water near brush. No report on crappie. Catfish are still very good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature continues to range from 84-88 degrees. 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 386.32 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-25-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the weather is hot and so is the fishing. Anglers are reporting black bass to be hitting Texas-rigged green pumpkin Baby Brush Hogs and Jig-Sooie jigs in the center of dead cypress trees. Square-bill crankbaits and single blade spinnerbaits are also producing. Several anglers are catching 4- to 6-pound bass. Bluegill are still 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. No one has been fishing for catfish.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5 mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be open the first and third Saturdays of every month through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only (outboard motor may be used for loading and unloading or in case of emergency). 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 7-25-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), tells us, Bear Creek Lake has seen a slight increase in activity. The bream fishermen are saying they are having more bites the past week or so using live bait (crickets, in particular) in two coves near Lone Pine campground. “We’re hoping the cooler weather will hang around long enough to bring some more anglers out,” Natalie said.
(updated 7-25-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek activity still isn’t very high – some bass fishermen are having luck in the back coves early in the morning using jigs, but once the morning warms up the fish seem to be laying low.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!