Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 15, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 15, 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 8-15-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says everything seems to stay the same there from week to week this month. The clarity has changed, though, with clear water instead of the usual Lake Conway stained. 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 8-15-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said they had a heavy rain Tuesday morning and this caused the river to be dingy from Sulphur Creek to Libby Shoal. They only generated one unit for two hours Tuesday afternoon. This could push the dingy water downstream to Lobo or Dripping Springs by Wednesday. The forecast is for additional rain each day the rest of the week, so watch for heavy downpours in the area, which could cause the river to be muddy. If the rain misses the area, then the afternoon generation should clear the river. Midge pupa and small mayfly nymphs are good choices when the blue-wing olive hatches occur, and sowbugs are always a good choice if no bugs are active. Greg also says, “I know it’s a little early, but please remember the river cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. We can use everyone’s help in keeping the Little Red the beautiful river that all enjoy. Plan on giving a helping hand by coming to Lobo Landing on Saturday morning and being assigned a section of the river. If you have a boat, bring it. If not, just bring yourself and help out!”
(updated 8-15-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said The Little Red is currently receiving a few hours of evening generation. There are wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly fishing, we recommend midges, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse jig heads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 457.64 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 8-15-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 457.68 feet and falling. It is 4.86 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and will continue to fall with generation and evaporation. The catching overall is getting better by the minute. The crappie are eating jigs and minnows real well in and around the pole timber and brush piles all over the lake in 12-25 feet of water. The walleye bite is picking up somewhat with fish coming in between 23-32 feet of water on crawlers and crankbaits. The bream are eating crickets, crawlers, and inline spinners up real shallow out to 18 feet of water. The black bass are eating topwater baits and spinnerbaits up shallow and soft plastics out deep. There are schooling fish all around the lake as well. The hybrid and white bass are eating spoons, inline spinners, topwater baits and swimbaits in water 25-55 feet. Stay around the shad.
(updated 8-15-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water clarity is clear and the water level is up this week. No temperature was reported. Bream are fair. Bass are fair, and anglers will have to fish deep to find them. Catfishing is fair. No reports on crappie.
(updated 8-15-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) says Harris Brake seems to be the area hot spot, based on reports from her customers. One of her regulars at Harris Brake said that he finally got into some huge crappie using small crappie minnows and Bobby Garland 2-inch Slab Slayer in the color bone white chartreuse.
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 8-15-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is a little dingy looking, still. The lake remains 4 feet low as of Tuesday. The temperature, though, has fallen to 77 degrees early, rising to 84 degrees later in the day. The bream bite has fallen back to fair with worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. You’ll find them in 8-10 feet of water. Bass are fair this week, hitting topwaters and crankbaits. Catfish are good on minnows; target them in about 6-10 feet of water.
(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 8-15-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that “between the weather and the kiddos getting ready to go back to school, I must say fishing has been pretty slow around here.” A very few have still been catching some catfish using nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Some bream, too, have been biting on crickets. A few bass have been caught off of topwater baits like the scum frogs. A couple of reports of some huge crappie being caught off of bass minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 8-15-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said fishing been slow but she did have a guy say that right off the bat the other day he caught seven fish, one after another, off of medium crappie minnows. Then they stopped. “I guess it’s just a hit and miss over there, like everywhere else. We need more rain, for all the waters around are still low,” she said.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-15-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some catfish still being caught on trot lines with black salties and goldfish. A few crappie being caught in some of the deeper holes using pink crappie minnows and medium crappie minnows. Bass are being caught off of brooder minnows as well as off of bass minnows. Bream doing well off of crickets.
(updated 8-15-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are doing well using crickets fishing on bottom. Catfish are good on bass minnows and chicken livers. Bass are good off of brooder minnows. Crappie have been few and far between. “Like I have said before, this lake has some very nice crappie but they are very hard to catch,” Lisa added. “Crazy thing, I have had customers using brooder minnows on their trotlines catch some very nice crappie on them.”
(updated 8-15-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said small crappie minnows have provided for some nice crappie lately. Catfish are good on bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bream are good on crickets. Bass are good off of bass minnows.
(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 8-15-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the clarity is dingy and “not bad.” The water level and current are normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair. Crappie are fair. Bass are fair. No baits or any other details were offered on those fish. Catfish are fair on chicken livers.
(updated 8-15-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said there hasn’t been much if anything reported from this pool this week. The most recent news a week or two ago was that bream were 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 8-15-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water ranges from a stain in some places to fairly clear. The surface water temperature is mid-80s and the water level and current are normal. Bream are in shallow water by grass and are biting fair on redworms. Vince heard nothing this week on crappie catches. Bass reports are good, though, with the bass in 8-12 feet depth. Use a jighead worm, or go with spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is fair, according to reports from below the dam. Anglers were using stink bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-15-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said anglers report that the water is dingy and the surface temperature is in the 80s. The level and current are normal. The anglers fishing around Willow Beach have had excellent results going for bream. They’re using worms and crickets. The crappie anglers, meanwhile, are finding their best luck in the Burns Park area. They’re targeting 12-15 feet depth with red Crappie Magnets. Results are fair. Largemouth bass will bite early in the pool. Anglers are using shaky head magnum black or grape Trick Worms, as well as black buzzbaits. The target depth is 15-20 feet. Reports have been fair. Catfishing is fair below the dam; use skipjack. No reports on white bass. On the south end of the pool and into the pool below Terry Lock and Dam, the water is dingy. Bream are fair on worms and crickets and close to the sandbars. Bass are fair in the early morning; fish with Senkos or buzzbaits. No other reports.
(updated 8-15-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water in the area of Terry Lock and Dam is “pretty clear.” The level and current are normal. Bream are good. Crappie are good. Bass are good with crankbaits and worms working best. Catfishing is good below the dam.
(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 8-15-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and the water level is normal. No temperature was reported. Bream are slower than they’ve been. They’re fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass, though, are excellent. Throw spinnerbaits or crankbaits or try worms. Catfish are slow.
(updated 8-15-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water level is low and a few stumps are showing again this week. The clarity is clear. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair. Crappie are good. The largemouth bass are good. Catfish improved significantly this week, rating excellent. No other details were provided.
(updated 8-15-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says an atmosphere of stillness and waiting seems to pervade the shops, parks and an entire community with the onset of the school year, and the same is true on the river. This week has seen a slowdown, as is normal for August, with less traffic on the river and fewer anglers vying for the biggest, brightest trout. “And we found some!” they say. “Several beauties were brought in for photos, lured in by sculpins. One lunker brown was hooked on a little shrimp to the delight of a new trout fisher.” The average size of the rainbows here in the Ozark region of The Natural State seems to be increasing and they’re still attracted by a flash of gold (Little Cleos, 1/6-ounce for now) and the scent of shrimp. The pattern for water releases continues to be very, very low from early morning until midafternoon. Late in the day, Southwestern Power releases increasingly more water through Bull Shoals Dam until late evening, when SPA drops it down to below minimum flow again. “Those river guides are expert at finding a way through the shoals to the best and deepest holes and instructing fishers on the habits and habitat of each species you’ll see. Come and test their skills … and yours! See you on the river.”
(updated 8-15-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said this past week was a “really good week.” The clarity is clear, and the river starts at minimum flow, at noon there is the beginning of generated water, and then the river rises. The trout bite is good. PowerBait and worms are the way to go. They report nice brown trout caught on jigs.
(updated 8-15-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that during the previous week, they had several rain events that combined for 3.5 inches of rainfaill in Cotter, along with hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 feet to rest at 3.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 37.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.6 feet to rest at 3.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 17.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 feet to rest at 1.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 10.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had less generation with wadable water every day. Norfork Lake fell 0.6 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 27.2 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 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 (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 combination is a size 14 Copper John with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down.
John also said, “Last week end I had a client, Todd, who was originally from East Tennessee. Though he is now a college football coach in Louisiana, he missed fly-fishing the small mountain streams he enjoyed in the Great Smoky Mountains, where he was raised and thought he would try trout fishing in Arkansas.
“I am originally from Tennessee and I have fished the section of the Smokys that he was familiar with. My daughter went to college in Knoxville and I have fished there quite a bit. I backpacked a section of the Appalachian Trail there and fished the upper reaches of the mountains. My wife, Lori, and I were married just outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Townsend, Tenn., and fished in the park just after our wedding ceremony. I had fished all of the streams that Todd had and I had a good understanding of his angling background.
“The fishing there is quite different from the conditions that we have here. The streams are, for the most part, natural flows and are not subject to generation (there are a few TVA dams in the area). The streams are small and over grown with rhododendron and hardwoods. The fish are small, wild and hard to come by, with a few native brook trout.
“We arrived on the White River around noon. It was on the bottom, the sky was clear and the sun was unrelenting. The high temperature was to be in the mid-90s with a light wind. We were fishing from the boat and I suggested that we use my rod as it was already rigged.
“The first fish he hooked was a fat 18-inch rainbow. He started stripping in the fish and quickly lost it. I explained that the fish here are much bigger (we were in a catch-and-release section) and you cannot successfully force them in. I suggested that he put them on the reel. He struggled a bit but soon caught on and began landing trout, finishing the half-day with over a dozen nice trout.
“The next day we spent the morning on the Norfork. I thought that the smaller size of the river and its wadability would be more familiar to him. I prefer the Norfork because I always seem to catch bigger trout there. Todd wanted to use his fly rod. It was a nice Orvis rod and a new spring and pawl Battenkill reel. I was a bit concerned about the reel because the drag was very light and I was not able to adjust it very much.
“The first trout we hooked was about a really fat 20-plus-inch rainbow. He clamped down on the line and broke it off. It was too much pressure. I had to re-rig and I reminded him that he had to let the big ones run. On the next cast he hooked about a 30-inch brown. It took off like a scalded dog. The reel wasn’t able to slow it down. There was not enough pressure to keep the line taut.
“We hooked four more really large trout, with the same results. They were all too much for the light reel, with the nonexistent drag. I had never had a client hook so many big trout in such a short period of time. I told him he didn’t have enough reel. We finally managed to land an 18- and a 14-inch rainbow. These were the smallest fish he hooked that day.
“Todd was not in the least bit frustrated. He was having the time of his life. He had never encountered big fish like we have here, and he liked it. The Norfork reminded him of East Tennessee except that the trout were much larger. He sent me an email to let me know that he bought a new reel with a heavy disc drag.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 657.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Norfork Lake striper bite has been very good this past week. “We fished every day and had limits each day up to Sunday. Sunday, the wind was strong and from the east and the schools we have been seeing did not show up. Between my son and I we did catch 11 stripers but that’s the lowest number caught this past week. Fishing is awesome right now. My son and I are catching limits both morning and evening. Everybody has been catching stripers using live and artificial, trolling and spooning.” Tom says the best bite is using live bait. If you can get our before light – say, 5 a.m. – and hit points with slopping flats around 35 to 40 feet like Koso, Thumb, Point 1, and Dam Cove, you should catch your limit of hybrids and stripers before light or shortly thereafter. Once the sun comes up the fish move to deeper water but are still catchable. Tom says they are catching stripers from 70-130 feet. “The striper schools are roaming, and when you hit them you will have three or four rods down like we had today. There is nothing like having seven rods out and four of the seven are on the floor with fish and others have no bait on them.” He says the stripers continue to move toward the dam. Do not be afraid to fish the channel from the dam north, Tom adds. You will find roaming fish out ready to take your bait. The white bass and small largemouths are feeding all over the lake. The problem is they are only around 10 feet and stay up feeding for only a few seconds then move another 50 yards. It’s very hard to stay on them. Your best bet is find a large cove where they are feeding and watch how they are moving; the fish will move in a big circle. After the first two feeds you should be able to figure out there direction and be in position 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 8-15-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake fell 0.6 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 27.2 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 lately. There have been some nice midge, caddis and sulphur hatches that have provided some good topwater action. Navigate this stream with caution. Last year’s flooding caused 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 (size 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 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 8-15-2018) 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 1,119.75 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148 said the lake is clear and the water is obviously cooling off more, a continuation of last week’s trend. The lake level is a little low, they report. Overall, the lake is down slightly more than a foot below pool. It has been a great crappie season there, Southtown reports. This week, results were good. Anglers are trolling with minnows. Largemouth bass are good and even a few white bass have been caught, they report. Anglers are using very small baits and catching the whites mostly late in the evening. The largemouths are hitting topwater plugs. Catfishing is good on trotlines. No reports on bream. But overall it’s a good time to be fishing Beaver Lake, they say.
(updated 8-15-2018) 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 8-15-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the clarity is clear. Water level is normal. Surface temperature is 82 degrees. Bream reports were fair but very spotty (“a few here and there,” they say). Use redworms. Crappie are good on minnows and crankbaits (regular shad). Bass are deep and the bite is fair on cranks. There have been no reports this week on catfishing.
(updated 8-15-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water is still dingy and has a surface temperature of 88 degrees, a return to where it was two weeks ago. The water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports were poor. Bass are fair using topwater plugs; go early in the morning or late in the evening. Catfishing is good with chicken livers.
(updated 8-15-2018) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is still selling bait, though the lake is as dry as a pasture. Lake Poinsett is drawn down for repairs that will keep the fishery out of commission until 2020. While Lake Poinsett is closed, 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 8-15-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water level is about 3feet below normal level and the clarity is clear. Temperature was 90 degrees. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Still no reports this week on crappie. Bass were better this week, with good results early going with topwater plugs and late in the evening fishing with crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers or shrimp.
(updated 8-15-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 270 cfs at the spring, 350 average, and water clarity has been clear. There are still a bunch of small trout in the river. Size 6 Woollies have been working well for bigger trout. It has been really good on overcast days. Hot pink and chartreuse have been the go-to colors for Trout Magnets. So far the heavy rains have missed this area. Stay tuned to Mark’s blog on his website (click link above) for any changes on river conditions.
(updated 8-15-2018) 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. With canoe season 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 8-15-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water clarity has been pretty steady of late, good for fishing. The surface temperature ranges 68-73 degrees. The river is a little low, they report. Bass are all that were reported this week. The catches have been excellent. Crankbaits are working best, but some anglers having good success with frogs. The White River Classic last Saturday drew 53 boats, with 103 bass caught.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 8-15-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the upper 80s to low 90s by end of day. Water visibility is between 1-2 feet. Very light flow on the main channel, but barely noticeable. The cooler air temperatures and periodic rainfall have helped perk the fish up lately. Black bass are still slow during the middle of the day but numbers can be caught in the morning, evening and around periods of rainfall. Reaction lures like buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and swimjigs worked along shoreline vegetation or jetties on the main channel can get bites during the active times. Finesse Worms on shaky heads and light Texas rigs can get bites from offshore brush piles in Lake Langhofer during the inactive times but you must be patient. Best bet for right now is to cover water very quickly in the mornings and evenings to encounter as many active fish as possible before they go inactive from bright sunlight. If you continue fishing in the middle of the day, slow down and deliberately work through deeper woody cover with finesse gear.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake remains in the 24-inch drawdown; lake level is currently falling at about 17 inches below normal conservation pool and lake level (as of Monday) was at 257.9 feet msl; the discharge was near 1,050 cfs for Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday dropped accordingly with gate released, about 224 feet msl, with six gates releasing near 1,050 cfs. Water temps have dropped over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging near 83ºF early to 89ºF range later under full sun, depending on location. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on Mike’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, and very near surface pool. Use extreme caution in navigation during ongoing drawdown conditions on Millwood.
Mike says there was not a lot of change from last week in terms of the fishing. Cooler temps over the past few days, however, did improve the surface activity and allowed the surface strike reactions to last a little longer on cloudy mornings. The largemouth bass and Kentucky bass continue randomly surface-schooling on shad in Little River and the oxbows of McGuire and Mud Lakes along Little River for the past couple weeks. It’s 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 or 3 pounds on topwaters at dawn. Feeding activity taper off except for the schooling fish after daylight’s first couple hours. Best baits drawing reactions at early morning over the past few weeks are slow-rolling buzzbaits, 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 Cotton Candy Lime 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. Cordell Crazy Shads, Arbogast Jitterbugs, Baby Torpedoes and Bass Assassin Shads are working in or near the vegetation and lily pads. The surface-schooling bass are showing up randomly along Little River and the oxbow lakes most days, midmorning. Use ¼- to ½-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Ghost, Holographic Transparent Shad, Livin Chrome; also most any shad pattern is catching these schoolers breaking surface on shad, along with Little Georges, Hammered Cordell spoons, Kastmaster casting spoons, Rooster Tails and H&H single spin spinnerbaits. 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 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 said. Vertical-jigging spoons are still working with Kentucky (spotted) bass and schools of largemouths in Little River behind points and washouts once the topwater bite subsides late in the morning. Between Jack’s Isle and Hurricane Creek along Little River, in 10-15 foot of depth where broken timber and stumps are located, you will find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders. Hurricane Creek had some spoon feeding bass early one morning last week, and surface schooling Kentucky Bass and White Bass several days where bends of creeks contained deeper water in the 10-15 feet depth range. White bass were still randomly surface feeding on schools of shad in Mud Lake and McGuire oxbow lakes with the Kentucky bass this past week. No report this week on crappie, but the last couple of weeks the live shiners, minnows and jigs were catching a few fish midmorning from 8-9 feet deep. Catfish have been fair to good on yo-yo’s hung from cypress trees in Mud Lake oxbow at night, with live shiners and chicken livers, gizzards and hearts, blood baits and cut rough fish. Nice blues and channel cats from 3-7 pounds were biting over the past weekend upriver.
Clarity and visibility continued improving over the past week, but it remains stained in places, especially upriver. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity currently ranging 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.
(updated 8-1-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) reports that a few bass being caught.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 543.84 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) says the lake level on Tuesday was 4.5 feet below full pool of 548 feet msl and has risen some with the recent rains. Water temps have made it to the mid- to upper 80s. The bass have are in their summertime patterns and have slowed down considerably. Super Spook Jr’s, Zara Puppies, Booyah Hard Knockers, and small swimbaits are seeing some action on main lake points early and late with some schooling action from spotted bass taking place. Shaky head rigged Yum Finesse Worms and drop-shots rigged with Yum Kill Shots or Sharpshooters are working OK on main lake points around brush, too. 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- to 30-foot brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.07 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said the big story on fishing is the schooling fish. Reports are that they are surfacing pretty well throughout the lake. From Point Cedar to mid-lake toward Iron Mountain. White bass, largemouths, Kentucky bass and hybrids are surfacing. If you can find calm water, that is the trick. Baits that are producing are spoons, topwater shad-colored baits and rooster-tailed jigs. With these cloudy days you can expect extended morning fishing opportunities. Midmorning after the morning schooling you can troll Shad Raps or 2-ounce spoons. Color seems to be critical. Change you spoon colors till you find what works. Chartreuse, white and purple are good colors. Bream are being caught fishing in pretty deep water around 16 feet. Worms fished on the bottom are the best producer. Crappie are slow. Try fishing brush piles at least 16 feet deep. Upper lake around Shouse Ford seems to be better for them. Use minnow and fish about 16 inches off the bottom. Crappie are spread out. When you find them in a brush pile at the right depth, you can pick up several. Rain is coming and that will change everything. Be early and stay late.
(updated 8-15-2018) Local angler George Graves said bass fishing is getting better, with quite a few nice catches reported the past few days. Look for schooling fish on the south side between points 2 and 6. Throw most any topwater plug in a natural shad pattern. Be sure to hit as close to the “break” as possible. Also try soft plastics such as 3-inch grubs, swimbaits and Flukes. Schooling fish are also reported all along the state park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Look for fish in the big coves and use the topwater lures. Early morning is best time, even before sunup. A few crappie are starting to show on the deeper brush piles at 20-25 feet. Fish a Kalin’s 2-inch grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead vertically at about 15 feet or to the top of the cover. Tennessee Shad is best in clear water and black chartreuse when the water is discolored. Look for attractors in the upper end at Shouse Ford and on the main lake. A few hybrids are being caught on jigging spoons in the DeRoche Ridge area in deep water and suspended at about 45 feet down. There is no schooling activity with the fish mostly singles. These fish are very hard to catch, so don’t expect any big catches. Lots of white bass showing at DeRoche and around the State Park Marina, also in the big coves at points 2 and 4. Throw smaller spoons, inline spinners and 3-inch curly tail grubs. Bream fishing is good most anywhere on the lake in coves with some wood or rock cover. Use red worms or crickets.
(updated 8-15-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass are still schooling early in the morning. Casting spoons or trolling Alabama rigs will produce. 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 8-15-2018) 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 12-21 inches are present in the tailrace, but numbers are few. Bank fishermen have had some success using waxworms and mealworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Nightcrawlers and redworms will also work presented in the same manner. As the month of August kicks in, few rainbow trout will be seen feeding and smaller numbers caught. By mid-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 present in the tailrace with numbers being taken from the bank by anglers casting flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie have long 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 8-15-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred, all-welded, aluminum fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton waters clear to stained depending on what part of the lake you are on. Localized rain showers are bringing in cooler water temperatures and hopefully a little more water levels. Water temps are in the mid- to low 80s throughout. Bass have been sluggish do to lake levels and moon phase. The pattern has changed dramatically away from crankbaits and topwater to a near exclusive slow methodic bottom bite. Large worms in black or plum are doing OK along with watermelon tubes. Fish these Carolina-rigged or Texas-rigged through brush piles. Structure in the 15-25 foot range are the go to right now. Use your electronics to locate and mark structures and work them over slowly. There are lots of little fish chasing bait schools. It is easy to chase breaking fish but catching them is near impossible. No crappie report, but that will change in October. Catfish are excellent on drop-offs near flats.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.08 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is the way most anglers like it, with a dingy clarity. The surface water temperature ranges 82-85 degrees. The level is a foot high above the pool, they report, at 344 feet msl. Bream are good. They are 3-5 feet deep and are biting little flies in addition to redworms. Crappie are good. You’ll find them in at a depth of 5-7 feet in 14 feet of water. Use minnows. Bass have been “fished to death,” they report. The results this past week are fair. The largemouths appear to be about 5-7 feet above the bottom. Try a gray plastic worm. Catfishing has been good. Worms and noodles are working in 3-5 feet depth. Overall, they say, there have been a lot of fish caught of late.
(updated 8-15-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reported that in their area, “nobody is fishing because it’s too hot.” The water temperature the past week was too warm, though no specific reading was recorded. The lake level there was down just slightly. They did report that catfishing is fair, but heard no other details.
(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 572.93 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 8-15 -2018)Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) had no new report. 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 386.86 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-15-2018) 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 8-15-2018) 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 8-15-2018) 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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