Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 8, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 8, 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 8-8-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the clarity remains stained and the surface water temperature is in the mid-80s. Water level is normal. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on jigs. Get out early for the bass, as the bite is fair; use plastic worms and topwater plugs. Catfishing is fair.
(updated 8-8-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said Heber Springs got about an inch and a half of rain on Tuesday night. The lower river has gotten about 5 inches over the last two days (Monday-Tuesday). The water below Winkley Shoal is stained but fishable. The report Greg got from the lower river at Ramsey was the river was muddy. All areas should clear with Wednesday evening’s generation if they don’t get more heavy rain. The generation remains the afternoon pattern with 4-5 hours each weekday and less on the weekend. The trout bite has been fair to good with blue-wing olive mayflies being the only hatch at this time. Small flies (size 18 and 20) have been the best producers, he said.
(updated 8-8-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue with a summertime generation pattern for the Little Red River. You will find wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, he recommends midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.01 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 8-8-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 458.00 feet msl at 7 a.m. Tuesday and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 4.54 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl at present and with the generation schedule will continue to fall pretty quickly now when it gets this low, making the fish easier to target and the schooling activity to get better and better every day. Bream are getting ready for another spawn with the moon. Look real shallow and use crickets, crawlers, inline spinners and small crankbaits even out to 18 feet or so. Crappie are eating real well in 12-30 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Walleye are eating crawlers and crankbaits this time of year on bluffs and rocky flats and points in 12-35 feet of water. Black bass are gorging on shad. Some bass are schooling all across the lake, while some are on the bank chasing bream, and some are deeper and eating soft plastics and jigs. Hybrid and white bass are feeding well off and on all day and night on shad, small to large bait fish. Use inline spinners, spoons and swimbaits from the surface down to 55 feet. Catfish catching is good all around the lake.
(updated 8-8-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water clarity is murky and the surface temperature was a hot 91 degrees. The water level is low by 14 inches. Bream reports have been good, but that’s all that’s been shared on those. Crappie are biting slow of late, with just fair results. Target them in the 8-9 foot range. Bass are fair and are about 6-10 feet in depth. Catfish are fair, but the catfish are everywhere around the lake.
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 8-1-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is about normal, but getting a little low. Surface temperature is around 83 degrees. Bass are chasing shad still. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. Catching some good-size bream. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines with bream and minnows. Crappie are being caught on minnows and jigs, but not catching a lot. Johnny had a 40-pound flathead Tuesday morning on his trotline.
(updated 8-8-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is a little dingy looking, the expected summertime green tint to the water. Larry says they need rain; the lake is about 4.5 feet low. The temperature was recorded at 83 degrees earlier this week and expected to rise. He says the bream bit is good with worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass are favoring plastic worms, and the reports have been good. Catfish are good on worms; look for catfish in about 10-12 feet depth.
(updated 8-1-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the largemouth bass bite remains excellent. The bass are about 10-20 feet deep, while some are just outside the grass. Try using Zoom Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 6-8 feet and 10-16 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on Pop-Rs, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits. The blacks are still biting more during dusk and dawn. Keeton Blaylock and Kyle Wise had another good night on Tuesday to win the last regular season Tuesday tournament on the lake, hauling in a 9.12-pound stringer and the Big Bass of 3.48 pounds. Meanwhile, Kentucky bass are good. The spots are off the grass line and also about 8-12 feet down over the drop-off points. Rocky shoreline is best with a crank bait or jig. The white bass bite is good. Reports keep coming in of whites schooling near the dam from 6-9:30 p.m. Use Rooster tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie are good, with more reports of crappie being found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 8-12 feet deep and from 16-20 feet deep. Try using spider rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are good and are being caught 6-12 feet deep and on brush piles. Use crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet of depth. Catfishing is excellent. More reports this week of the channel cats moving out and the blues coming in. Try stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and at 20 feet depth.
(updated 8-1-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have still been good for some people at the lake. One of Lisa’s customers recently caught a 22-pounder off of nightcrawlers. Some crappie have been hitting pink crappie minnows and small crappie minnows. Bream have been good on crickets. Bass have been hitting brooder minnows and small spinnerbaits.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 8-1-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said it’s till been pretty slow, with little to report from here.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-1-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the water has come up a little but the area still needs more rain. The bream have been fair on crickets and redworms. Bass have been good on brooders minnows and Brush Hogs. Catfish are good on trotlines using black salties and goldfish. Also, some flatheads have been caught on rod-and-reel using brooder minnows. Crappie have been slow, with best results on medium-size crappie minnows.
(updated 8-1-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are slow but are biting medium-size crappie minnows and Kalin’s 2-inch Grubs in Bleeding Tennessee Shad color. Catfish are good on black salties and nightcrawlers. Bass are good on Brush Hogs and brooder minnows. Bream have been doing well on crickets.
(updated 8-1-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting good for some off medium crappie minnows and others small crappie minnows. Bream good on crickets. Bass are good on bass minnows and Rebel Wee Crawfish. Catfish are good on chicken livers and bait shrimp.
(updated 8-1-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said anglers are still fishing early and coming in around 9:30 a.m. due to the heat. There are millions of shad in the river. Catfish are up early around jetties in about 10-15 feet of water, then going deeper. Charley said he is drift-fishing. Use shad. Also, float a live bream about 5-10 feet deep while you drift. Results have been very good. White bass are chasing shad around creek mouths and over sunken jetties. Use crankbaits in pearl and shad colors. In the late afternoon the shad are going to the center of the river. Fish tiny torpedoes and Zara Spooks. You will see how many shad are there; pick a school and throw in and crank out. Results have been good. Bream are good on crickets on grass and overhangs. Kentucky bass can be found early under the overhangs. Use buzzbaits, jitterbugs and chatterbaits. Results have been good. Stripers are blow dams 9 and 10. Use wobble spoons. Also, when shad are schooling in the late afternoon in mid-river, keep using the wobble spoon as well as Spooks or a larger crankbait. Expect good results. Black bass are in the overhang areas early like the Kentuckies, then they move to secondary drops where you have wood.
(updated 8-8-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said anglers are enjoying average fishing right now: not bad, but not really great, either. It’s pretty much the same as it’s been for some time now in the hot summer. The river clarity is clear and the level and current are normal. Bream are fair. Crappie are fair and preferring minnows. Bass are fair; anglers are urged to start early. Bass will bite minnows and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair. Most are being caught late in the day on chicken livers or minnows.
(updated 8-8-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said nothing has changed over the past week. The water is clear and the level and current are normal. Surface temperature is 85 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair, with the best bites on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are fair on shad.
(updated 8-8-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that at Murray Lock and Dam, the bream bite is fair on worms or crickets. The fish are being caught by the hydrowall. Catfishing is fair; go with skipjack or shad. No other reports.
(updated 8-8-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is fairly clear with the surface temperature ranging from the mid- to high 80s. Water level and current are normal. Bream are good on redworms. Crappie reports have come in as fair. Bass are good and are hanging around 15 feet depth. They’re hitting crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good below the dam. Use stink bait.
(updated 8-8-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is very clear and the surface temperature is in the mid-80s. Bream are good on crickets. Bream are in the backwaters; target them at 3-4 feet. Crappie are good; look around the rock jetties in 12-15 feet depth with jigs. Bass are good. They’re responding well to topwater plugs as well as black buzzbaits and black Bandits. Catfishing reports have been fair. Skipjacks are working best below the dam. In the Terry Lock and Dam area and the pool below the dam, bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are good in 10-12 feet depth on jigs. Bass reports are good with topwater lures and plastic worms. No reports on other species.
(updated 8-8-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water in the area of Terry Lock and Dam is “pretty cloudy.” The level and current are normal. Bream are fair in that area and appear to be spread out. They will bite worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass were poor Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, but this was likely due to the storm system moving through. Catfish are good. Anglers are catching them with big minnows, goldfish, worms and shad.
(updated 8-8-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that at Murray Lock and Dam, the bream bite is fair on worms or crickets. The fish are being caught by the hydrowall. Catfishing is fair; go with skipjack or shad. No other reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-8-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said that similar to the report from the Little Rock pool near Terry Lock and Dam, the water appears cloudy The level and current are normal. Bream are fair and will bite worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The storm system that was moving through Tuesday evening and Wednesday seemed to throw off the bass; reports were poor. Catfish are good and can be caught with big minnows, goldfish, worms and shad.
(updated 8-8-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water level is low and a few stumps are showing now. The clarity is clear. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair. Crappie are fair with jigs. The bass bite is fair with spinnerbaits working best. Catfishing is fair; try liver or hot dogs.
(updated 8-8-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says fishing on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam was a treat this week; the weather was mild for early August, the river level was low, the water clear and cold, and the trout were biting – a lot. Didn’t take too much to keep the bait near the bottom, and the rainbows snatched your bait if you kept a little shrimp on the hook. Water releases have occurred midday but the rise isn’t seen until late afternoon in the Cotter area. The action on jigs has been great at the minimum flow water depth, and when the water begins to come in, turn to nightcrawlers or red wigglers. Favorite spot for browns this week was the power lines below Rim Shoals where they’re hitting sculpins and crawdads regularly. “We had a pretty dry July in north central Arkansas and, except for some rain (Tuesday) afternoon, it’s likely to stay dry with the lake remaining a little below power pool and no reason to release more except to meet power demands. I think the water release pattern has been set for the coming weeks: extremely low levels (wading paradise) during the morning hours until mid- to late afternoon. Expect low water and no afternoon increase on weekends. Come and test the waters and enjoy the Natural State with us.”
(updated 8-8-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water clarity is good, with minimum flows in the morning and 6-7 and even 8 generators running in the afternoon. Trout catches have been good; lots of folks have been fishing for rainbows. Waxworms or PowerBait are a great way to go, along with stick baits and sculpins. The browns really love the sculpins; the rainbows will go for the stick baits.
(updated 8-8-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week they had a half-inch if rain, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 feet to rest at 2.6 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 36.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool and 17 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 feet to rest at 1.4 feet below seasonal power pool and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River saw less generation with wadable water every day. Norfork Lake fell 0.7 feet to rest at 2.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. All of the lakes in the White River System are 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 River 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 (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (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 combination is a size 14 Copper John with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down.
John added, “On Monday (July 30) I went fishing with my wife, Lori. We try to fish together once a week. Sometimes that is not possible with our schedules. We are both guiding, teaching fly-fishing, and Lori is busy training and showing our two English Labrador retrievers, Tilley and Ghillie. We are also still restoring our 1922 stone bungalow in Cotter.
“Lori is my favorite fishing buddy. I met her 18 years ago, when I was teaching a fly-fishing class for the Mid-South Fly Fishers, my old fishing club in Memphis. I was paired with Lori for the on-stream day of the class. I was amazed with her innate ability, and we finished the day with the most fish caught by a student. It was love at first sight. We began dating and a bit over a year later we got married. Since then we have fished from Montana to east Tennessee.
“Early on I got her involved with my fly-fishing classes. With some solid tutelage from my brother, Dan, and Lefty Kreh, she became a great caster and a natural casting instructor. She leads the casting portion of the fly-fishing classes we teach at ASU (Mountain Home), teaches casting at the Sowbug Roundup, and conducts casting seminars for fly-fishing clubs. She is the best casting instructor in the area.
“We arrived at the river at 9 a.m. The river was on the bottom, the sky was overcast and there was a dense fog on the water that didn’t burn off until around noon. It was pleasantly cool and Lori wore her rain jacket all morning. I was comfortable in a long sleeve shirt. I launched the boat. I had rigged three rods the day before. Two were set up for nymphing with a Copper John and a ruby midge dropper. The other had a large foam hopper and a ruby midge dropper.
“We had the river to ourselves. We began drifting and were soon into fish. The ruby midge was the hot fly, but we caught a few on the Copper John. We fished till about 11:30 a.m. We had landed well over 25 nice trout averaging about 16 inches, with a few larger fish thrown in.
“It was about time to go in. We had left our black Lab Ghillie in the dog run and we were concerned that it may rain and we didn’t want to leave him outside in the rain. We decided to make one last drift. About the same time, we saw a good trout hit the surface. Lori wanted to try the hopper. By then I had caught enough trout so I just concentrated on handling the boat to see if she could catch one on the top. On the next drift, she took one on the dropper.
“I set up another drift near the bank. As we came down stream, I saw a good trout hit the surface. She saw it, too. I saw her pick up the line and make the perfect cast. There was a minimum of effort and dead-on accuracy. The fly hit the water 18 inches above the spot where the fish had risen. It went downstream a bit over a foot and the fish hit. She deftly raised the rod. Fish on! It took a few minutes to get the big rainbow in.
“It was a great way to end the day, sight casting to a rising trout and making the perfect cast. Life is good!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake water is starting to cool off, which is helping the fishing. They have 84-degree temperatures as of Wednesday. Del says, “I’d say the biggest bite for the lake has been the walleye. The walleye have been really good this past week.” Anglers are bottom-bouncing from 28-36 feet around main lake points and secondary points. “Everybody seems to be catching them.” As far as the largemouth bass fishing goes, pretty much the early morning topwater bite seems to be on the “moving” baits rather than on poppers or the walk-the-dog style baits. Del says buzzbaits and the Whopper Plopper are working. Some of the shad have migrated into the creeks. He notes that threadfin shad appear headed about halfway to three-quarters back. “I think it’s the rains we’ve gotten that have pulled them back there, and (the Army Corps of Engineers) haven’t been running a bunch of water (at Bull Shoals Dam). The Corps has it at minimum flow.” The Kentucky bass seem to be around the channel swing banks or suspending over trees. There are tons of trees in Bull Shoals Lake, he says. Del adds that “you can never go wrong with a half-ounce football head jig on Bull Shoals Lake. Big worms are also working. Anything with red in it will work.” Crappie are mostly random these days. There are a couple of regular crappie anglers that Del seems often, but he said he hasn’t seen them going out lately.
(updated 8-1-2018) K Dock Marina on the Missouri side of Bull Shoals Lake said lake conditions are perfect right now for fishing. Water is clear of debris and sitting around the new normal of 659 feet msl. Surface temp has cooled off with the recent rains. The cooler temperatures have brought the lake way down from the 91 degrees experienced a couple of weeks ago. Bass have become very active feeding in shallower water. Boat launch, Bluff Road and courtesy dock are all usable. The lake level Tuesday is 658.7 feet, the lake temperature is 84 degrees. Clarity is stained. Black bass are good on a variety of baits. Topwater plugs such as Zara Spooks, full-size Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits. Great results have been seen using a 10- to 12-inch plum worm, Texas-rigged, in and around brush piles. Also good results on jigs and Brush Hogs. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows on trees and brush piles. Several 12- to 15-inch crappie came in last week. Large crappie are hitting medium crankbaits along the high rock bluffs while trolling. Walleye are good vertical-jigging silver or white spoons off of steep rock points. Good reports toward the power site/bridge area. Also good on large crankbaits trolled in 20-40 feet depth. Best reports on trolling are coming from around Bee Creek Island and the Drury Mincy flats starting at Barn Cove and heading downstream (just past the 35 Lake Marker).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “The striper bite on Norfork Lake is awesome right now. My son and I are catching limits both morning and evening. I see everybody catching stripers, guides both live and artificial, trollers, and spooners.” Tom says the best bite is using live bait. If you can get out on the lake before light, say 5 a.m., and hit points with sloping flats around 35 to 40 feet like Koso, you can limit on hybrids and stripers before light or shortly thereafter. Once the sun comes up, the fish move to deeper water but are still catchable. Tuesday this week, Tom caught stripers in 42 feet of water and 1 hour later he had his limit in water depths of 130 feet. He says the trollers are having good luck this year because the stripers are high in the water column and eager to feed. In years past the stripers tended to stay close to the bottom and trolling lures proved very difficult to reach them. The best bite now is within sight of the dam from Georges Cove to the dam and from Thumb Point to Hand Cove. Look on any point or side of points starting in 40 feet of water and keep moving out, zig-zagging until you find them. Tom also reports that the white bass and smallmouth bass are feeding all over the lake on this year’s shad hatch. “I see them in the main lake and halfway up the creek arms. One very good spot is the big flat below location 6B past Fout Marina. Small topwater plugs or spoons are the best bait to catch them.”
(updated 8-8-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing has been consistently good for the last several weeks. Of course, as you would expect, there are times that one day is better than the other. I expect the strong bite to continue throughout August, assuming the weather patterns and the lake levels hold fairly stable.” Lou says the bite for striped bass and hybrid bass has been excellent. He said he’s finding striped bass and hybrid bass schooled up in deep water (60-80 feet) and the fish are typically suspended 30-50 feet down. He says he’s also found some big stripers and hybrids in 35-50 feet of water. These fish are 30 feet to the bottom. “I have had the best luck with deep-water fish before it gets light out in the morning, from about 5 a.m. to about 7 a.m. The fish are being found on bluff line points, but not necessarily in the main lake. At around 7 a.m. I move to a shallower bank, still not main lake that is holding a lot of bait. I am finding large schools of whites, hybrids and stripers feeding heavily on shad, and this has lasted until around 8:30 when they tend to disappear. The timing has been great for me, as I need to head back to work at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. Fishing is part of my job description, since I need to be able to help my guests find and catch fish. Tough job, but someone needs to do it.”
Lou adds, “I have been fishing two methods: live bait in the dark, then I switch to a spoon and start to vertical-jig. Live bait will work great all the time, but I enjoy spooning for fish. Best locations for striped and hybrid bass are from around Point 2 down and a little past the Jordan area, as well as by the dam. Look at secondary points back in the creeks and larger coves, but they do move to the main lake points at times. This is a large area, but there are lots of fish at many different locations at this time.
He says topwater action is still going in the mornings as the sun is starting to rise and can occur at any time of the day anywhere in the lake. Sunrise and sunset are still the best times for topwater fishing. In the area where Lou is fishing for striped bass, he says, the fish start to chase shad on the surface as the sun comes up. He has caught spotted bass, largemouth, whites and hybrids on a Zara Spook over the last couple of weeks. Large schools of whites are erupting from the 101 bridge to Cranfield Island and also up to the Red Bank area. Once you find the school creating white water, cast your favorite topwater bait or a blade-type bait such as a Kastmaster into the active fish and hang on. It is a blast catching one fish after another.
He says the walleye bite is still good. The walleye he has found have been in 35-50 feet of water on the bottom. “I caught fish on a spoon, vertical-jigging it off of the bottom. Troll a crankbait with lead core line, downriggers or inline weights in order to get your bait down to 30-40 feet of water. Troll along bluff lines or large flats. You can also find walleye hanging around brush piles in 25-40 feet of water. Live bait or spooning will work around the brush. You can also use a crawler harness with a blade and a bottom-bouncing weight to catch some nice fish. Some of the best colors of blades are chartreuse and orange.”
Crappie are scattered at this time and are being picked up while trolling for walleye. Some crappie are hanging around brush piles in the 30 feet range and can be caught on jigs or live bait. Norfork Lake level is dropping very slowly and currently sits at 553.12 feet msl. The lake surface water temperature has dropped from his last report and ranges 84-87 degrees depending on location and time of day. The main lake is clear and the some creeks and coves are stained.
(updated 8-8-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the past week Norfork Lake fell 0.7 feet to rest at 2.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. All of the lakes in the White River System are 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 Norfork 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 flooding in the past year. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has cleared and is fishing much better. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 8-8-2018) 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 1,120.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148 said the water is clear and is normal level. The surface water temperature has cooled off “a couple of degrees” this week and that fishing is better than usual for this time of year. Bream are fair, and the catches aren’t very big, they say. Crappie are good and more of them are being caught in the river arms. Target the brush piles and transition areas with minnows. Bass are fair on jigs and plastic worms, as well as spinnerbaits. The fishing is best at night, but the bass appear very concentrated. Catfish are good. They’re being caught on juglines and trotlines, and some very nice catfish are being pulled out.
(updated 8-8-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says the striper activity for this week is good. Stripers are still 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. Down-rigging 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 linked above. 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).
(updated 8-8-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been hit and miss since the last report. The river conditions have been really bad with the rising temperatures and lack of water due to the Beaver Lake dam generators being out of service. Water temperatures from Houseman Access to U.S. Highway 62 bridge have been in the mid-80s to high 70s. There has been no trout caught between those locations, which is a first for Austin, he said. Between Highway 62 and Spider Creek, the water temperatures are in the mid- to low 70s. Some mornings you can get a bite; most mornings, nothing. All the trout have moved toward the cooler water beyond Spider Creek, toward Parker Bottoms. Your only option is to bank fish, as there are areas where kayaks can’t even float. The method that has produced the best bite has been spoons of various colors. Light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits have also done well. There has been a slack off in the spotted bass bite as well. Most of that action is between Beaver town and Holiday Island. The preferred method has been soft plastics thrown toward structure and chunk rock. Austin said, “I am still noticing trout die off along the river, in numbers I have not witnessed since I have fished this river. There are rumors of relief on the way, but as of now they are rumors. If you follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service), I give more weekly updates on the conditions and the bite. Sorry I do not have much to report, but it is what it is.”
(updated 8-1-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the water conditions are poor on the White River because of the broken generators and not knowing when the water will pick back up and turn to original conditions once again. Fly-fisherman are still catch good numbers on the water, and so are the bait fishermen. Temperatures on the river are starting to climb with the little water they are letting out from the generator. The pocket is holding good enough to sustain the trout in the upper part of the river. Always be attentive to rising water conditions. Nymphs and midges are working well along with white or olive PJ Jigs.
(updated 8-8-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the clarity is clear. Water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream reports were good. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on plastic worms, live worms and topwater baits. Catfishing is poor; but throw a worm and maybe get some response.
(updated 8-8-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water is dingy and has a surface temperature of 85 degrees, a 3 degree drop from a week ago. The water level is 5 inches below normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. No report on crappie. Bass are good using topwater plugs and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair with chicken livers.
(updated 8-8-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said heat and humidity have kept a lot of the fishermen inside. It won’t be long until the weather will be bringing them back. Bait sales have been slow recently here at Lake Poinsett State Park; but, we are maintaining a good supply of what you need for a successful day on the water. While Lake Poinsett is closed for up to two years undergoing repairs, 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 8-8-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water level is about 2 feet below normal level and the clarity is clear. Temperature was in the high 80s and approaching 90 degrees at last check. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Still reports this week on crappie. Bass fell off the past week; anglers reported results were fair, with the best bites early in the morning or late in the evening. Topwater plugs are the way to go. Catfishing is fair on liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-8-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 284 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been clear. Catching has been great early in the day with the bite slowing down after noon. Olive Woollies are great some days, and other days a candy corn or hot pink Y2K can work great. It can always be productive to run a small nymph behind either fly. Hot pink Trout Magnets have been working great on the spinning rod – hands down one of the most consistently producing fishing methods on the river. Fish the Trout Magnet below a float just off the bottom. It can also be productive on a fly rod in local creeks with a fast strip back. Always superglue the bodies on the hook the night before to keep it from sliding down.
(updated 8-8-2018) 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 8-8-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is so low that it’s hard to fish, and there is nothing to report. Also, a tournament is scheduled there next week and no one is talking about catches, the folks at Triangle say.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
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 Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.35 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that Millwood Lake is still its drawdown state and is currently stable at about 23 inches below normal conservation pool; the discharge was near 435 cfs for Little River on Monday, 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 223 feet msl. Water temps have been stable over the past week, with Monday’s surface temps ranging near 85 degrees early to 90 later under full sun, depending on location. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s web page linked above, 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 COE drawdown is in effect. This 24-inch reduction of normal pool elevation is bringing stumps and broken timber to, and very near surface pool. Use extreme caution in navigation during ongoing drawdown conditions on Millwood.
Mike says that largemouth bass and Kentucky bass continue randomly surface schooling on shad in Little River and the oxbows of Horseshoe and McGuire along Little River. They’re random in nature, and near midmorning, over deep water from 15-20 feet, and at mouths of creeks dumping into Little River on points between 12-18 feet. Bass remain active at daylight up to 2.5-3 pounds on topwaters at dawn. Feeding activity levels taper off except for the schooling fish much after daylight’s first couple hours. Best baits at early morning over the past couple weeks have been slow-rolling buzzaits, soft plastic frogs, Cordell Crazy Shads, Baby Torpedoes, StutterSteps and Bass Assassin Shads thrown near pads and vegetation. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions continue to be Hot Spot Remover, black or Hot Firecracker Candy. Best buzzbait bite continues to be across deeper flats near creek channel swings, with stumps and laydowns, and around lily pads. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads, Arbogast Jitterbugs and Bass Assassin Shads are working in or near the vegetation and lily pads. Quarter-ounce to half-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Ghost, Holographic Transparent Shad, Livin Chrome and most any shad pattern are catching the schoolers breaking surface on shad, along with Little Georges, Hammered Cordell Spoons, Kastmaster Casting Spoons, Rooster Tail, and H&H Single-Spin Spinnerbaits for the surface-breaking fish. The majority of these surface breakers are appearing to be younger buck bass, adolescents and juveniles about 1-2.5 pounds in size. These surface feeders are a huge time to get kids interested in fishing, while the action is hot. When you see these surface breakers inside the vegetation and lily pads, throw an H&H Spinnerbait, Bass Assassin Shad or Johnson Chrome Spoon with a white grub trailer on the back. “We are getting great reactions to those baits inside the vegetation where crankbaits would normally hang up in the slop,” Mike says.
After the 8-9 a.m. early topwater bite, switch to medium-diving cranks or a big, bulky 10-12-inch worm around stumps on points and deeper in the creeks to draw a few reactions from feeding largemouths, and on points dumping into Little River or secondary points along Little River. Berkley Power Worms and Zoom Ole Monster 10-12-inch worms in June-Bug/red, black, blue fleck and Red Shad colors are drawing random reactions from largemouths along steeper vertical washouts, ledges and stairsteps along Little River and near creek mouth junctions, points and intersecting feeder creeks dumping into Little River. Vertical-jigging spoons are still working with Kentucky (spotted) bass and schools of largemouths in Little River behind points and washouts. Schools of Kentuckies and largemouths, feeding on river shad, will hit vertical-jigged spoons with abandon once the topwater bite subsides late in the morning. We have been using Cotton Cordell Hammered Spoons with added bucktails over the past few weeks. Some mornings a white bucktail is best, and seems like on cloudy mornings that a red bucktail works better. You will find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders between Jack’s Isle and Hurricane Creek along Little River in 10-15 foot of depth where broken timber and stumps are located. Hurricane Creek had some spoon-feeding bass early one morning last week, and surface-schooling Kentucky bass and white bass were around for several days where bends of creeks contained deeper water in the 10-15 feet depth range. Whites were still randomly surface feeding on schools of shad in Horseshoe and McGuire oxbow lakes with the largemouths last week, but not have been as visual or surface schooling this week. Crappie improved and were biting in planted brush piles along Little River from 9-12 feet deep on sunken trees and brush. Live shiners and jigs were catching a few fish early. Catfish improved at night this week, and they were good at night on yo-yos hung from cypress trees with live shiners and Charlie or cut bait.
Clarity and visibility continue improving, but the water remains stained in places, especially upriver. The main lake and lower sections of Little River are not quite as stained as the upper regions. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.51 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) says the lake level is 6.5 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 around brush 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 15-30 foot brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.41 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said the summer heat is taking its toll on the fishing. Water is back up to high 80s. Lake level is even lower at 400.46 feet msl. The crappie fishing is dead slow. Trolling and long-lining the best bet. It appears that the crappie have done their summer DeGray thing: That is, dispersed throughout the deeper areas of the lake. Some people are catching one or two here and there. Still some good bream being caught in stumpy areas. Fishing with a drop-shot on the bottom or fishing with bobbers near the bottom are the best bets. No black bass report. Just like last week the best story is schooling fish. Whites are schooling throughout the lake. Hybrids are mixed in with them along with Kentuckies and some blacks. Zara Spook Jrs, Devil’s Horse and Whopper Plopper are good for topwater, followed by shad-colored crankbaits and then spoons. Spoons are the go-to bait for schooling fish. When the fish are not on the surface and you can see them on your electronics, count down to the appropriate depth and hold on. The big thing is, be early or real late. You need calm water to see the fish surfacing. Schooling fish are being caught from No. 2 marker to Point Cedar. Shouse Ford, Ozane, Alpine and Arlie Moore also have surfacing fish. Rain is coming and that should change everything (naturally). Water is down; watch for humps and islands. Stay hydrated and be courteous. Boats will migrate to surfacing fish.
(updated 8-8-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is only fair early in the morning when some small fish are showing off the deep points between points 2 on 6 on the south side. Look for schooling fish and throw topwater lures such as Zara Spooks, Pop Rs and Flukes. Also try 3-inch swimbaits. A few fish are showing in the coves along the state park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Once again look for surface action early in the morning. Try the main lake points between Edgewood and Caddo Drive with Texas-rigged worms for a few bigger fish. Crappie fishing is very slow due to the warm water with the fish suspended deep over submerged timber. Crappie fishing will pick up in September with the cooler water. Hybrid fishing is slow with no schooling reported. A few fish are suspended in the deep water off DeRoche Ridge, but are hard to catch. This time of year the entire lower end of the lake should be loaded with hybrids, but they are just not showing this year. Is it possible that the lower stocking rate is responsible for fewer fish? The good news is that there are lots of white bass all over the lower end. Look for “breaking” fish between points 2 and 4 and throw small topwater lures, small spoons and inline spinners. Early morning is best. Lots of bream are showing all over the lake in most any cove with some rock or wood cover. Try redworms and crickets. Also fish vertically off secondary points at 15-20 feet, near the bottom, for shellcrackers.
(updated 8-8-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass are schooling early in the morning. Casting spoons or trolling Alabama rigs will produce. Believe it or not in this 87-degree water, crappie are biting live bait on brush piles fished 15 feet deep.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.52 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.00 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 8-8-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few bream and catfish being caught. Bass and crappie are slow.
(updated 8-8-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported the lake level as 1 foot above normal, the surface temperature as normal for this time of year, and the clarity is “pretty clear.” Bream have been biting fair on worms and crickets. Crappie reports have been poor; minnows will work best. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfishing is very slow.
(updated 8-1-2018) Angler Ken Vinson says Lake Atkins is low and mostly clear. Surface water temperature is between 88 and 90 degrees. Bass are hitting on plastic worms and crankbaits. Crappie are hitting on minnows. Bream are hitting on crickets and worms. Catfish are hitting on shad.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 8-8-2018) 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 August 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 but some fish 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 lately, 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 8-1-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 86 degrees. River clarity is good. Some bays are heavily stained. Largemouth bass have been hit-and-miss; large Ribbontail worms are working well on sand bars when there’s current. Jigging Bamboozie, frogs, scam shad and weightless lizards are working well around lily pads. Pop-Rs, Chug Bugs and prop baits are working well on the schooling fish, as well as small inline spinners and tailspins. White bass have been excellent schooling throughout the river system and eating small crankbaits, Pop-Rs, Chug Bugs and small spoons. Striped bass have been good when there is current; try using chatterbaits with a scam shad trailer, large Gilmore jumpers, prop baits, bucktail jigs with grubs. Bream have been excellent on crickets and worms around lily pads in the main river stumps and lay down in the creeks. Catfish have been fair on cut bait, shad, skipjack, perch and liver.
(updated 8-8-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the all-aluminum, all-welded Xpress fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports lake temperatures in the mid- to high 80s and clear throughout. Reports have been fair at best. With the recent re-emergence of summer and the moon phase at minimal, fishing has really slowed down. Bass have moved out deep once again to gravel shoals and drop-offs in the 15- to 20-foot range. Many of these fish have suspended and the only chance of getting bit is to throw a Strike King Sexy Shad deep-diving crankbait until your arm falls off or until Mama calls you home. Make sure you get your crankbaits down and grinding the lake floor. If you can’t feel constant bottom, add lead or downsize line. No crappie reports. Catfish as always and forever are excellent. “Here’s to you, catfish!”
(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.
As of Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.79 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said they hope the fishing picks up with the weather change this week. The lake is fairly clear with a surface water temperature of 85 degrees. The level is down a foot from normal pool. Bream are fair. Crappie reports have been good, with the fish biting at 5-7 feet depth. Black bass are good. During a big bass tournament on the lake recently, lots of bass were caught and a 17-pound stringer of five fish won the tournament. Anglers are having best success throwing a red/chartreuse jig or plastic worms. Catfishing is good. Best success is with noodles. The catfish are biting at 5 feet depth. No report on white bass.
(updated 8-8-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reported that with the weather being too hot, no one is fishing and business overall is down. The water level is lower than normal and the water is “hot!” They tell us they will start fishing for catfish when it cools off some and the lake gets some rain.
(updated 8-1-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says the lake is still doing well for a couple of here customers for good-size crappie caught on bass minnows. She has seen some photos of some dandy ones from there.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 572.86 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 online said on Tuesday the FLW pros have been practicing this week in preparation for the FLW’s Forrest Wood Cup Friday through Sunday on Lake Ouachita. In discussing the prospects of the tournament with Tom Duke, Phillip said, “It’s really, if you look at the water, it’s going to be a wild card. The temperature is going to drop close to 20 degrees in the next 48 hours. And the difference also between being high sun and the sky the way it is (Tuesday) and cloudy and rainy like it’s supposed to be Thursday, it will be a completely different scenario than what they’ve been practicing with right now. I look for things to be changing. It’s not a secret for them that they have to adapt. Certainly they have and will.” He notes that “each of the guys that have won around here have all fished differently” and it will come down to “decisions they make on the fly. The old pattern of throwing a Texas-rig worm and topwater bait all day, don’t get me wrong, that will catch a lot of fish. But a lot of these guys live on square bill and throw it in places you and I wouldn’t normally do it. And there are a lot of drop-shot fishermen. I can’t put my faith in that but it worked three years ago for Brad Knight. You and I fish completely different that these guys and that’s why these guys are touring pros and we’re not.
Tom Duke added, “Brad Knight, a drop shotter, stayed up in the Blakeleys the whole time,” and Phillip concurred. “He was fishing the drop shot in 5-8 feet of water. Who’d a’thunk it. This guy’s throwing a spinning rod, 8-pound line, 10-pound line in 8 feet of water on structure, on brush. I would have never fished like that, it wouldn’t have entered my mind. Wouldn’t have had the patience.”
So, Tom and Phillip urge the regular anglers on Ouachita to give the pros a wide berth during the weekend (the lake is off-limits to the pros on Thursday before the tournament), and those guys are fishing for big money and it’s their livelihood. But there’s plenty of opportunity for the weekend anglers on a big lake. Phillip notes the walleye catch that’s been going on the last couple of months. “It’s amazing, it’s still going in full swing. There are so many people catching walleye still on Ouachita that I’m having to re-display our walleye section basically once every other week. I’m just surprised at how much of this stuff that we’re selling. Between bottom-bouncers and nightcrawler harnesses, and nightcrawlers and spoons, guys if you’re not going up there trying to catch walleye, you’re missing the deal because it’s going on every day.”
(updated 8-1-2018) 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 386.10 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-8-2018) 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. Black and chartreuse square-bill crankbaits are also producing. Several anglers are catching 4- to 6-pound bass. Bluegill can still be caught on crickets or nightcrawlers in the shallow flats or at the base of cypress trees. Crappie fishing has picked up, with a few slabs being caught in submerged brush on black and chartreuse tubes. Catfish have started biting again with best luck on nightcrawlers.
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. 18, 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 8-8-2018) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) said on his Facebook page that he and his guests have been catching crappie in large numbers lately. Several days this month he’s noted a great bite.
(updated 8-8-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says Bear Creek Lake has seen a rise in bream activity, especially early in the morning. Folks are fishing with live bait (Natalie says, “Selfish plug: worms purchased at Mississippi River State Park’s Visitor Center”) and seem to be having good luck, especially along the shoreline with lots of low hanging trees/sunken branches. They’ve also seen a rise in catfish activity; people are using homemade stink bait and juglines.
(updated 8-8-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake still hasn’t had much activity to report as of late. Some anglers are reporting slight bass activity in cooler morning hours, or in shaded areas in the back coves of the lake. Fishing off of chartreuse jigs.
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