Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Sept. 19, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 19, 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 9-19-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says there has been little to no change since last week. The lake has a medium stain and the surface water temperature is in the low to mid 80s. The level is normal. Bream are biting fair. You’ll find them in 10-15 feet depth; throw redworms or crickets. Crappie reports were poor. Bass are good and are favoring crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is fair; use cut bait or large minnows.
Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reports
(updated 9-19-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the expected return of lower temperatures over the next few days combined with wildflowers in full bloom make this a great time to trout fish on the Little Red River. Currently the Little Red is receiving a few hours of afternoon and/or evening generation. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton candy bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 9-19-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “Just when you thought fall is here … summer returns.” The warm temps have increased the demand for power and the amount of generation. Greers Ferry Dam is back to the summer schedule of 5-6 hours of two generators starting in the early afternoon into the evening. This has caused the bite to be later in the morning (about 10:30 a.m.) until 4 p.m. in the mid to lower river and earlier for the upper river because the water levels are lower for this area. The brown trout bite has been almost nil the last couple of weeks. This is not too uncommon for this time of the year and should change with the cooler temperatures of fall and shorter days. The rainbow bite has been good using small flies to match the blue wing olive hatch. Size 18 and 20 flies have been the best bet with a color to match the small mayflies. Pheasant tails, beaded or plain, and midge pupas have been a good choice. Watch out for the rain this weekend. If it’s not too heavy, it won’t be a bad thing because it should bring cooler temperatures. The river remains clear and water temperatures are good.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.99 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 9-19-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.08 feet msl, = 2.46 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet for this time of year, and it will continue to fall with generation because not much rain is forecast for this hotter-than-normal time of year and for generation needs. The catching all over the lake is great and getting better by the minute. The fish are healthy and we have a large forage base going into fall and winter. The bite will be off the charts between now and when it gets super cold in late January. The crappie are eating well, especially up the rivers. The lake fish get no respect or pressure at all; try using minnow and jigs fished vertically in 12-28 feet of water around any wood. The catfishing is good all over the lake with not much pressure either; use any method you like, there are plenty to be caught using rod and reels or jugs and lines. Walleye are eating cranks and crawlers; use jigheads or drop-shots in 15-28 feet on flats. Black bass are on the feed and aggressive, schooling on top or down. Try topwater baits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, jig-headed worms, Texas-rigged worms or C-rigs from super shallow out to 38 feet. The bream bite is good from super shallow out to 28 feet on crickets and crawlers. Up shallow try small crankbaits and inline spinners or flies. The hybrid and white bass are gorging themselves on top and down; use topwater baits, spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or Alabama rigs in 15-55 feet of water. Just stay around shad.
(updated 9-19-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water clarity has cleared up and the level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on crickets. The crickets are also working for crappie, along with minnows, and the catches have been good. Bass are fair; they’re biting goldfish. Catfishing is poor.
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 9-5-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 84 degrees. Crappie are being caught on jigs and minnows in 6-8 feet of water around stumps and creek channels. Bream are slow bit still catching some good ones on crickets and red worms. Bass are doing well on crankbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and minnows.
(updated 9-19-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said fish are “jumping in the boat” at Brewer Lake. The water is at a normal level and is clear. Surface temperature is ranging 82-84 degrees. Crappie fishing is good at 10-12 feet depth with best success working the brush piles. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair to good and are favoring crankbaits, but they’ll bite at anything now, Larry said. Catfish are good; target a depth of 7 feet with minnows. Very few reports on bream, however. He said the bream fishing was poor.
(updated 9-5-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the largemouth bass bite is good, They are about 10-20 feet deep while some are just outside of the grass. Try using Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 6-8 and 10-16 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on Pop-Rs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Some really good reports coming in from the east north corner of lake. The largemouths are still biting more during dusk and dawn. Kentucky bass are good. Expect to see some schooling in the next few weeks. Kentucky bass are off the grass line and also about 8-12 feet deep down over the drop-off points. Rocky banks are best with a crankbait or jig. White bass are good. Reports of the whites schooling near the dam from 5-9:30 p.m. Use Rooster Rails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie are good. More reports of crappie being found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 8-12 feet deep and from 18-22 feet deep. Try using spider rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are slow. Bream are being caught 6-12 feet deep and on brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfish are good. Reports this week of the channels starting to move out and the blues coming in. Try stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and 20 feet deep.
(updated 9-12-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a few bass being caught off of crankbaits and Rebel Humpbacks. Crappie are doing fair off of small crappie minnows. Bream are good on crickets and redworms. Catfish have been hitting various baits such as chicken livers, bait shrimp and bass minnows.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 9-12-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a few small crappie have been caught off of medium crappie minnows out of the back pond (named Lake Charles). Also some bass and catfish have been caught off of bass minnows back there. Bream have been hitting crickets and redworms. Lots of bream have been caught out of the front one (named Lake Norma) off of crickets. Some very nice bass also have been caught off of artificial baits out of this one, too. These ponds are on Boone Road at Bishop Park in Bryant, with one at the front by the road on the left-hand side of the park. And the back one, you go through the park past all the buildings to the very back. There is a little dock on this one.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 9-12-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that down in the bottoms of the Saline, the flathead catfish have been doing great on trotlines using goldfish and black salties. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and 4-inch Zoom Lizards in green pumpkin and watermelon candy colors. Crappie are fair on medium crappie minnows. Bream are doing well on crickets. Give it about another month and the walleye will be doing great, using a brooder minnow on a No. 2 plain shank bronze hook with a small split shot. “This always provides a limit of walleye for my husband,” Lisa said. “October through February is when he does best on them.”
(updated 9-12-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Lake Norrell has still been providing some big redear bream off of crickets for some fishing on the bottom. Catfish have been slow on nightcrawlers, chicken livers and stink baits. Bass are being caught off of small artificial crawdads. Crappie are fair off of medium crappie minnows. This is a very hard lake to crappie fish, but usually if you find them they are usually good ones. This lake is 13 miles from my shop, going out Congo Road.
(updated 9-12-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing remains excellent. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-12-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says bream are fair around the piers. Use redworms or crickets. Bass are biting fair on spinnerbaits, topwater poppers and black and blue jigs. No other reports.
(updated 9-12-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Lake Winona crappie have still been doing well off of bass minnows. Bream are being caught on crickets. Bass been doing well on crankbaits. Catfish can be caught off of chicken livers and bait shrimp.
(updated 9-19-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 9-19-2018) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water is clear and the level and current are normal. No temperature was available. Crappie are fair and still biting at about 4 feet depth. Use minnows. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and worms. Go early, or come back late. Bream are poor. Catfish are fair on chicken liver, trotlines and shiners. No white bass reports.
(updated 9-19-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are biting fair in 3-4 feet depth. Use crickets. White bass reports have been fair in this pool. Nothing else was reported.
(updated 9-12-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing at the Murray Lock and Dam is fair using skipjack or shad.
(updated 9-19-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river clarity is stained and water level is normal. Bass reports have been fair, with most smaller fish reported caught. They’re biting crankbaits and jigs. Catfishing is fair on stink bait below the dam. Poor reports on bream. Crappie are fair, look for them in 8-15 feet depth with minnows or jigs.
(updated 9-19-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water clarity is clear, with a normal level and current at Terry Lock and Dam. Bream are poor. Crappie reports were fair from anglers working the edges. Bass are good; crankbaits and worms work best. Catfishing is fair behind the dam.
(updated 9-19-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report on the river conditions. Anglers report, though, that the crappie bite is fair in 12-15 feet depth. Crappie Magnets in red and chartreuse are working best. If you’re fishing near Terry Dam, work around the riprap with black and chartreuse Super Jigs. Bass are fair, also in that 12-15 feet range in the pool. Use a Red Bug or a shaky head. If you’re around Terry Dam, throw a black buzz bait, and be out there early in the morning for the bass. Catfishing is fair below the dam. Anglers are using shad and skipjack. Bream reports were poor. Reports from anglers fishing near or below Terry Dam were that stripers were biting excellent. They were using silver and white spoons and white crankbaits.
(updated 9-12-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that below Murray Lock and Dam, catfishing is fair using skipjack or shad.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-19-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and just a little low. No temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass reports were good, with anglers using spinnerbaits or worms. Catfishing remained poor.
(updated 9-19-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water clarity has cleared and the lake remains low with a few stumps are showing. Crappie fishing is fair. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are poor. Catfishing is good. Bream reports remain poor. No baits were suggested by anglers.
(updated 9-19-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says fall is approaching and the big browns are ramping up their bite ahead of the upcoming spawn. The past week we’ve seen wide temperature swings from fall-like temps in the morning to almost summertime highs in the afternoon. Despite the changes for the anglers, the rainbow catch has been steady with the favored PowerBait color changing from yellow to either sunrise or range. A new lure has proved very successful this week: the Brook Trout Rapala. Trout of all sizes have been biting on it, with many larger browns being reeled in. Other favorites were the red-bladed Blue Fox and olive and tan jigs. Bring a jacket for the mornings and a camera to record your big catches.
(updated 9-19-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river clarity is clear, especially when it’s low. The river is low during the day was rises in the evening with generation. Early morning, there is no water. In the early afternoon, the rainbows are good, but there have been no browns.
(updated 9-19-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week they had a trace of rain, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 feet to rest at 3.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 37.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.2 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool and 17 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 2.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 10.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River little generation with significant wadable water every day. Norfork Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 3.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 27.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had little generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are below the top of power pool. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Buffalo Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead 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. 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 657.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said, “The days are getting shorter and the water is beginning to cool off a little bit and getting nice.” There are a couple of little things he’s been using that have been working, Del said. It’s that time of year to do a lot of junk fishing. So, depending on the day, sometimes the hour, if you’ve got wind there’s a couple different things you can do. The buzzbait bite has been going pretty strong. If you’ve got some wind you can throw a Whopper Plopper. He’s also catching few on the Zara Spook, or any of the walk-the-dog-style baits, out there in the bushes. A lot of these fish are moving up shallow, he said, and as it cools off, more and more will move up. Depending on the day, look for steeper banks, those 45-degree banks with chunk rock, football, basketball size rock – and wind. The water’s dirty and Del’s been throwing a Sweet Beaver-style bait up shallow in the rocks and he’s “been whacking quite a few with the jig” in green pumpkin orange or pumpkin blue, right outside the bushes close to the shoreline and dragging it back. Pay attention; you’ll catch a fish and they’ll be spitting out crawdads. “That’s how I ended up on that color.” If the water lays flat, you can still catch fish on the drop-shot. Those deeper fish are starting to move around a little bit, so you’re going to have to cover some water to stay on top of them. You can catch a few on the old redworm in the brush pile, again, depending on the day. If it’s hot and sunny, some of those fish will be off in deeper water. Del said he was catching fish from the surface down all the way to 27 feet of water. So, it’s that time of the year to keep moving and you’ll be able to stay on top of the fish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 551.81 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-19-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake’s summer fishing pattern is winding down, but still trying to hang on with the hot weather we’re having this week. If the future weather forecast has any validity, I predict that the fish will start to move more into a normal early fall pattern sometime next week. Hopefully my prediction is more accurate than the weather forecast usually is (ha). What I am trying to say is that the striped bass will soon migrate from the dam area and head northward toward cooler water, the larger slab crappie will start to move back into the brush, and the bass will start to feed more heavily in shallower water. Currently the best bite for striped and hybrid bass is still located close to the dam and the fish are deep, from 60 – 80 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended out in the deep river channel. I fished by the dam area on Monday the 17th and had a great day of fishing. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging with a spoon is also catching a few fish. Trolling an umbrella rig or a large swim bait is also picking up some nice fish, but you need to get your bait down below the 50 foot mark.
The walleye bite is also very good. You can locate this species in several different areas and depths. If you like to troll with a bottom bouncing weight and a crawler harness, start checking out the sides of long points, as well as, along the deeper bluff lines and bluff line points. The walleye are moving out a little deeper and can be found in 30 – 40 feet of water. The thermocline is dropping down so the fish are following suit. The second location is in very deep water on the bottom. Monday I found a huge school of hungry fish 80 foot deep. I was fishing close to the dam out in front of a main lake point. I was on a drop off with the front of my boat in 80 feet of water and the back of my boat in 100 feet of water. I was getting short bites on live bait and losing them half way up. I even tried a stinger hook with no luck. I decided to start vertical jigging a white with a chartreuse back spoon and they loved it. I would drop it to the bottom then lift it up about 4 feet then let it fall again. They were eating the spoon on the fall and when I would start to lift the spoon up again I would feel the weight of the fish. I limited out in less than a half hour once I started this process.
The crappie bite slowed for me this week with the water warming about 3 – 4 degrees. The bigger slabs that were on the brush last week seemed to have moved off of the brush. They should start moving back in next week with the upcoming cool weather forecast.
I had a good day of fishing this morning for spotted bass and white bass. The medium size whites have schooled up on large flats. Early and late in the day you can find schools of fish from 12 – 25 feet of water. I was vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon and catching one after another. The big jumbo whites will move onto these same flats as the water cools. At sunset you can find schools feeding on the surface. I found quite a few nice size spotted bass this morning while trying to find big crappie. I was jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon in and around brush piles. The spots were towards the bottom of the brush with a lot of small crappie and white bass on the tops of the brush. I also had a big battle with a 12 pound blue cat. This cat hammered my little spoon and I thought I was snagged at first, then he started to swim. 15 minutes later he gave up and came to the surface. I only have 4 pound test monofilament line on my reel with an ultra-light rod. It was really fun. I was grinning the whole time during the fight!
Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 551.83. The lake surface water temperature has increased slightly to 83-84 degrees. The main lake appears to be clear from the surface with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained. The thermocline has dropped to roughly 35 feet based on the temperature readings taken by the Norfork Lake Striper Club last week (thanks to the club for the great information).
(updated 9-19-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Norfork Lake striper bite will continue near the dam until the water begins to cool. Instead of the water getting cooler it’s going up with the warm afternoons. No rain increases the chances that the stripers will be near the dam for a while. The latest oxygen level shows there is no oxygen for the stripers other than the dam area. Stripers need 5 percent of oxygen to be active. As each percent is reduced the striper activity decreases. Right now at 70 feet the oxygen is 2 percent. The stripers are still feeding but you need to get your bait right on their noses. I’m using 4-ounce barrel weights and a short 18 foot leader and dropping it to the bottom then reel up a couple of turns. Gizzard shad is my bait of choice, they are more active than threadfin in both size and activity. I had a guide fishing next to me using threadfin shad and while I was getting bites he was watching us catch fish after fish. While we were catching our sixth fish for a limit he finally caught 1. Fish live bait right now, I have watched the trollers and spooners fish every day and only see 1 or 2 fish caught. When the water cools the bait will begin to school and will move to shallower water in the mouths of the creeks. Check Big Creek if you’re on the lower end of the lake and Robinson Point, Float and Panther Creeks in the mid-lake area. The Fouts area will begin holding fish along with areas from Red Bank to the 160 bridge. Find the bait and you will find the stripers. They will be hungry and begin their fall feeding pattern.
(updated 9-19-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 3.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 27.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had little generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are below the top of power pool. The Norfork has fished very well. There have been some nice midge and sporadic caddis hatches that have provided some limited top water action. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek is fishing much better. The hot flies have been size 14 sowbugs, size 12 Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).
(updated 9-19-2018) 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 1,118.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 9-19-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that the water level and clarity are normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are good and active at 8-10 feet depth around the brush piles. Use a crankbait. Bass are fair both early in the morning and late in the evening. Anglers were using topwater plugs, crankbaits and jigs. Catfish are good on prepared and live bait.
(updated 9-19-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) striper activity for this week rates as good. Beaver Lake stripers are in fall transition mode and are heading into their fall locations. They are on the move, and being mobile/flexible will be key to finding them. Mike Bailey says they are seeing some topwater action so get those binoculars out and be on the lookout. He says that for the diehard live baiters, fishing 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, especially at night. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper, hybrid or combination of the two. 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 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 high 70s. Mike suggest checking out these hot spots in the mid- and upper sections, checking the main lake points and humps: Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, the Highway 12 bridge and Prairie Creek. At the bridge and Prairie Creek, check the mouth of the river and main lake structures; a lot of fish are coming out of the river late due to high water.
Walleye are in their summer haunts near rocky points, rock piles, bluffs and tree lines, and a good portion of them can be found suspended 20-40 feet down over 40-plus feet of water near structure. Three-way rigging, down-rigging or using snap weights with Rapalas in natural colors for clear water, or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water, are effective – but hang on tight because the walleye and striper territories overlap some and you may hook more than you bargained for. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. And also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers on long points and humps near the channel rigged in orange/chartreuse.
(updated 9-19-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the water is low, but it is cold. Trout have been biting well on light terminal tackle, fished with various PowerBaits. They have also been biting on quarter-ounce spoons and Rooster Tails. The hot spot has been between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge this week. Spotted bass have been biting well on soft plastics worked in 2-6 feet of water. Throwing toward structure has also produced some nice fish. “All we have to do now is wait on some more water to raise the river levels. Be safe and good luck,” Austin said.
(updated 9-19-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the lake is a still strained. No surface water temperature was recorded, but the level is normal. Bream fishing remains poor. Crappie are fair; troll with a crankbait. Black bass are poor. Catfish are fair.
(updated 9-19-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water clarity is good for anglers and the lake level is normal. No water temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on redworms. Crappie reports were poor. Bass continue to improve, with good results this week. Plastic worms remain the way to go. Catfish are fair; use punch bait.
(updated 9-19-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “We are looking forward to cooler weather next week, which will make going fishing more inviting. Remember, for your live bait and other fishing supplies we keep what you need here at Lake Poinsett State Park. Happy Fishing!” While Lake Poinsett is closed to anglers until 2020, there are other lakes in the immediate area 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 9-19-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and is low by about 1 foot. The surface temperature has risen to 90 degrees this week, and is mostly in the high 80s. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs, but they are deep; fish for them at 20 feet depth. Bass are fair in the morning and then later in the evening. No baits were suggested. Catfishing is fair on shad sides and nightcrawlers.
(updated 9-19-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 260 cfs (350 average) and water clarity is little stained. The cooler days have been really great; on hot days the bite slows after noon. Olive Woollies have been the best fly for bigger fish on cool and cloudy days and when the sun peaks at noon it’s all about Y2Ks and getting it to the bottom. Cooler weather is just around the corner and that is when the Spring River produces big trout. Hot pink Trout Magnets and rainbow trout/trout cranks have been working great. The Trout Magnets fished just off the bottom will really produce numbers and the trout cranks are for going after big fish.
(updated 9-19-2018) 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 almost over and there are still several 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 size 10 olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash, size 10 cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and size 10 Y2Ks.
(updated 9-19-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water level has been very low the past week. Nothing to report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 9-5-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the mid-80s, visibility is between 1-1.5 feet with light flow on the river. What a difference 5 degrees of water temperature and a little flow make! Black bass are biting well, especially on the main channel, on buzzbaits, square-bill crankbaits and light jigs along rock jetties and wooden poles or logs. The key is moving water, either by wind or river current. Concentrate around the ends of jetties, points of rock or woody cover with wind or current pushing bait into it.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 9-5-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said fish are still biting at Cane Creek Lake despite the weather. Bream are the No. 1 goal for anglers at the moment, as they get active in warm water. Fish with a cricket set about a foot and a half away from a sinker, drug across the bottom, in water 2-4 feet deep. Chances are better if you’re also in a place with a significant amount of lily pads. The fish hide in the shade cast by the pads and dart out to catch food. Bass are beginning to bite again as the morning and evening cool down into the 70s. Since the lake is so shallow, when the temperature is too hot the fish have nowhere to cool down, which makes them sluggish. As water temperatures cool to the mid and low 80s, bigger bass will begin to bite on lipless crankbaits and spinners. Topwaters will get a strike early in the morning and late in the evening when the light is beginning to fail, but don’t expect anything too big. More quantity over quality. Crappie are surprisingly still being reported. Only a few places on the lake are still holding active crappie, but hopefully this will foreshadow an abnormally productive crappie season when the cool fall and winter weather hit. If you do happen to stumble on one of these illusive crappie holes, fish with a minnow on a line that is worked onto a slip bobber for varied depth. Holes of 12 feet or more are where they are hiding, but they are biting anywhere between 4-8 feet. Catfish are about to become extremely active. With a tropical storm heading this way, and large amounts of water expected to fall in Arkansas, the entire lake ecosystem is going to change. Water levels will rise, and they will be significantly cooler. Debris will also be washed in from creeks and tributaries that have sat stagnant almost all summer. This means tons of larva and organic matter for catfish to feed on. Once the rain hits, find a spot where water is running from the shore into the water. Fish near these confluences in shallow water to catch catfish in a feeding frenzy. Use liver soaked in onions, garlic and Kool-Aid to make the bait stand out amongst all the other foodstuffs washing into the lake. Remember, if you catch anything to be proud of, be sure to bring your fish up to the Cane Creek State Park visitor center to get you picture put on our catch wall and maybe even in the AGFC emailed Fishing Report!
(updated 9-12-2018) The lake is down about 7 feet and in a draw down while the AGFC does some vegetation and fish cover work on the shoreline through September. There is a little fishing going on. One boat was out close to midday recently, reporting a few bass and even a white bass caught. Tree stumps are showing in the coves toward the east and northeast of the lake; those are good areas to fish for the bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 258.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 9-19-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake continue to be a hot spot. Largemouth bass, spotted (Kentucky) bass and white bass all continue randomly schooling on the lake. Watch for 3-5 or more of the white egrets standing on pads, stumps and cover in 4- to 9-foot deep flats. These egrets are picking off the leaping shad bouncing on top of the lily pads while the bass chase the shad in flats from 4-7 feet deep. Find those egrets, and topwater schoolers and buck bass are not far away. The egrets are simply waiting their turn when the bass force the threadfin shad up into the shallow flats with nowhere to go except up and over the lily pads. When these bass run the shad out of the cover and depth, the shad can be scene bouncing on top of the lily pads for several seconds at a time. The egrets are picking them off, letting the juvie bass do all their work for them. It’s a feedbag fiesta near midmorning where you find groups of these egrets patiently waiting on their breakfast. Most of these bass doing that work are only 2-3 pounds but are tons of fun to fight in the lily pads.
Mike says the lake level is currently slowly rising at about 12 inches below normal conservation pool and lake level on Monday was 258.1 feet msl; the discharge was between 168-200 cfs for Little River, Monday, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was stable with gate release at about 224 feet msl. Water temps have jumped over the past week (83-87 degrees). Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US 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. Use extreme caution in navigation during ongoing drawdown conditions on Millwood. Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially upriver.
He says largemouth bass continue randomly schooling in Little River and its oxbows. Early morning is most definitely best bite for topwater blow ups. Anglers continue to find schools of bass surface breaking on shad throughout midmorning. Of course, the dawn and early morning will yield most aggressive topwater explosions. More bass are surface feeding in Little River, running shad to the surface, and in adjacent shallow flats to deeper ditches, creek channels and points along the river. The black bass and a few white bass continue randomly surface schooling on shad in Little River and McGuire Lake, along Little River. Best baits drawing topwater reactions at early morning continue to be Heddon Spitn’ Images, Cordell Crazy Shads, Baby Torpedoes, Stuttersteps, Rat-L-Traps and Bass Assassin Shads thrown near pads and vegetation. Buzzbait and chatterbait colors drawing best reactions lately are Firecracker or Shad Candy. After the topwater activity diminishes, a fairly good bite has been found for several weeks by medium depth-running (5-9 feet deep) Rat-L-Traps, Fat Free Shad crankbaits or square-bill crankbaits, 2.0 & 3.0 & S-cranks and Echo 1.75’s by deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps from 8-10 feet deep in creek channels and points. The bass from 2-3 pounds are randomly responding to crankbaits in shad colors. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the 2.0 S-cranks, and Echo 1.75 squarebills, have been the Millwood Magic and Ghost. Increasing size up to a ¾-ounce Rat-L-Trap, fished much slower and deeper, will draw a few random hits during late mornings in creek channels and across points converging with Little River. Best colors of Traps over the past week or so have been Millwood Magic and White Smoke. Bass Assassin Shads in Molting, Grey Ghost, Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom and Bad to the Bone colors continue working near creek channels with stumps, lily pads and vegetation. Magnum Tubes like Gitzits have been working on stumps with best reactions on Black & Blue tail, Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse tail, or Bluegill colors. Bass Assassin Skunk Apes are working in creeks from 8-10 feet deep on stumps. Best color of Skunk Apes over the past week has been the Houdini or Hillbilly Special. Vertical jigging spoons are still working with Kentucky 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. White bass have been randomly schooling on surface feeding shad in Little River with the largemouths and Kentucky bass, and are fair to good on Fat Free Shads, Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Hammered Spoons with red/white bucktails, and Rocket Shads. Crappie improved over the past week from 8-13 feet of depth on minnows, shiners and vertically jigging crappie tubes in red/white, blue/white, or Cordell Paddle Tail Grubs in smoke colors. Channel cats and blue cats from 3-4 pounds continue biting up Little River on yo-yos hung from cypress trees using cut bait (gizzard shad, buffalo or gar), chicken livers and homemade blood baits.
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 538.88 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-5-2018) 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 396.48 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-19-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Fishing is improving on all fronts probably due to the fall migration of the hugh shad schools. Bass fishing is fair early in the morning along the south side between points 2 and 6. Look for shad and feeding fish in the big coves. Throw most any small topwater lure because the fish are mostly small. Also try soft plastics such as Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. Also, some fish are showing in the coves at the state park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Crappie fishing is improving on the deeper attractors. The problem is that with the low water it is hard to find deeper attractors at 20-25 feet. Note to fishermen: If you are placing cover for crappies, be sure to put out some deeper stuff because low summer and fall water levels are becoming the norm. Also convey this to the AGFC. Look for fish between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford. Drop a 2-inch Kalin’s Grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead to the top of the brush over the thickest part and move slowly around the cover. Tennessee Shad is one for the best colors for clear water. A few hybrids are finally showing along with lots of white bass in the vast shad schools. Look for “breaking” fish early in the morning between the mouth of Long Creek and the mouth of Brushy Creek. Throw most any small topwater plug in a natural shad pattern. When the fish go down, work a jigging spoon up through the school. Due to the lower stocking rate, the hybrids are getting scarcer, so be sure to keep only what you can use and release the rest to insure a decent future fishery. Lots of bream are showing in coves all over the lake. Bait with redworms and crickets.
George also said, “A few days ago while fishing in a cove on the south side of Lake DeGray, I happened to look behind me and saw a hugh water moccasin swimming toward me and probably trying to get into my boat. I put the trolling motor on full throttle but he was catching up. Just as I was about to start the outboard he veered off toward shore. The lesson learned here is, “Every now and then, look behind you.”
(updated 9-19-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said his reports will resume in October.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.06 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.19 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 9-12-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported the lake is clear and the water level is normal. No temperature was recorded. Bream are poor. Best results were coming with worms; crickets were not working well for other anglers. Crappie are fair, with mostly small ones being caught. Use minnows or jigs. Bass fishing continues to pick up. Reports were good, with bass biting crankbaits and jigs. Catfishing is poor.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 9-19-2018)Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said rainbow trout fishing remains extremely slow. 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 September kicks in, few rainbow trout will be seen feeding and smaller numbers caught. Numbers won’t pick up until the stocking program resumes 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 are still being caught on small jigs and live minnows around rock structure and sand bars close to the main river channel. Striper activity has picked up some this week as some topwater activity has been observed below the bridge in the late evening. 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 9-12-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred, all-welded Xpress fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports that lake temperatures have fallen to 80 degrees or below throughout most of the lake. Water clarity is slightly of color (which is a good thing). Fishing really picked up during the rainy cool and overcast weather. If you were brave enough to get out in it, you likely did well! Bass are starting to turn on to the weather and have readily started hammering jigs, crankbaits in the mid-ranges and worms and creature baits Texas-rigged. You can really get on top of them with the water being off-color. A pitcher and flipper’s dream! Look for fish in the 5- to 10-foot range near some type of structure and near the main channels. No crappie report, but walleye have started to emerge into shallower water, and some bass anglers have hooked a few. Bream are feeding aggressively in the 10-foot-or-less range near grass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.91 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-19-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is a “pretty dingy” and the surface water temperature is 82 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream reports have tailed off. This week they’ve been poor, as the bream appear scattered and have moved out. Any that remain are biting at worms. Crappie are fair in 8-10 feet depth. Use minnows or shad. Bass are fair. A white spinnerbait seems to be the best bait. Catfishing is good. They report 51 catfish caught this past weekend. Noodling or using nightcrawlers is the way to go.
(updated 9-19-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.14 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) black bass are still fair. Texas-rigged worms and drop-shot finesse worms are best at this time. Walleye are very good. Try using a CC Spoon near brush 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 still good and being caught on crickets and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair and being caught with jigs or minnows in 15-20 feet of water near brush. Catfish are still good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees, and the water is clear. Lake level is 570.81 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
(updated 9-12-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said that over at Little Fir the fishing has still been going great for several of my customers using the small crappie minnows hitting the brush tops.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.28 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-19-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the recent heat wave has slowed the bite down, but cooler weather in the forecast should set fish in fall patterns by Oct. 6. Anglers are reporting a few black bass to be hitting Texas-rigged green pumpkin Baby Brush Hogs in the deeper water and white spinnerbaits near the bank. The bluegill have slowed down. Catfishing has been fair off of the dock with nightcrawlers and hot dogs. The crappie bite has picked up a bit on black/chartreuse tube jigs near brush tops and dead cypress stumps.
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 for youth and mobility impaired fishing on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Also on that day, Wil Hafner will be leading an oxbow fishing class in the education center from 10 to 11 a.m. Come prepared to learn, and then bring you boat and tackle to try out your new knowledge after class. The class is FREE but seating is limited, please call to register. 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 9-12-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says bream are still biting, but they seem to be slowing down. They’re biting off of live bait; however, activity levels are markedly lower than the past several weeks. Catfish are also biting on special bait and stink bait, in coves and around points just outside habitat locations.
She adds that they are expecting to see a decrease in anglers once hunting season picks up, but “please remember Mississippi River State Park still has everything you need for a great day of fishing! We sell multiple types of live and artificial bait, and also provide boat rentals on Bear Creek Lake.”
(updated 9-12-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Storm Creek Lake is still slow. Anglers out Tuesday morning were hoping to catch some bream, but activity was minimal both from the bank and from a boat. Seem to biting in shallow water, but not as aggressive as in weeks prior.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!