Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Sept. 12, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 12, 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 9-12-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the lake has a medium stain and the surface water temperature is in the low 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 this week. Bass, however, are good. Anglers report nice catches on crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is fair; use cut bait or large minnows.
(updated 9-12-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is getting a couple hours of afternoon generation this week. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommend midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and cotton candy bodies on chartreuse jig heads 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 Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 9-5-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “I fished with a good client who has also become a friend over the years of fishing together. We fished two days and it started when he booked the trip by telling me he really needed to unwind and have some ‘river’ time. This reminds me of why most of us go fishing – not for food or competition; it’s to enjoy the outdoors and the peace and relaxation a day on the river can bring. Although, I still like an occasional tug on the end of my line to add that “icing on the cake” to a day on the river. We had that and more on Sunday and Monday. The cool and cloudy mornings were welcomed by the fish and fishermen alike.
“The fish were rising to blue-wing olives and midges. We had good days using size 16 bead-head pheasant tail nymphs and midge pupa. Sometimes the trout mistake the midge pupa for a blue-wing nymph since both are about the same size and color. Fish slow and with patience making your drift and the rising fish will take your offering. A slight twitch at the end of the drift will sometimes make the difference.
“I spent last Saturday flipping hamburgers and hot dogs for the great folks that helped clean up the Little Red River. I haven’t cooked that many hamburgers since my restaurant days! It was a good day visiting with friends and new acquaintances that helped in a good cause. Thanks to all for your help!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.41 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 9-12-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.43 feet msl as of Tuesday night, 2.11 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl for this time of year. It is not falling much with generation, as we have water coming in that is supplying much-needed oxygen for this time of year, and that has the fish eating well. Crappie are being caught upriver and in the lake around brush piles and pole timber; any wood is good if it’s in the right depth for them to suspend in or around it in 12 -25 feet of water. Use crankbaits, minnows or jigs. Walleye are eating well, when you find them on flats next to deep water, drop-shotted or on a jighead with a crawler or a crankbait in 12-38 feet. Catfishing is good all around the lake on a variety of baits at a variety of depths. Bream catching is good with the bream getting ready to spawn again. Try small crankbaits, inline spinners, crawlers and crickets from super shallow out to about 18 feet. Black bass fishing is on and off with the different weather patterns. With the bass moving so much, try fishing shallow around wood, or mid-depth secondary points or main lake points with Texas-rigged worms, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, football heads or the old ball and chain. There is some schooling all around the lake as well. Hybrid bass and white bass fishing is good on and off all day and night. Find the shad, and be patient, and fish them in 25-58 feet of water with spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or topwater plugs.
(updated 9-12-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water clarity is partly cloudy and water level is 2 inches above normal. Surface water temperature earlier this week was recorded as 81.4 degrees. Bream reports were good. Crappie are fair. Black bass are fair and were biting well early in the morning and late at night. White bass are fair in the morning and then again in the evening. Catfishing is fair.
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 9-12-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water is up a little from where it had been recently, but it’s still 8-10 inches below normal. Clarity is clear. Surface water temperature is 82-84 degrees. Bream are fair in about 10-12 feet of water. Fish the brush piles with worms or crickets. Crappie are excellent and still are in 10-12 feet depth. Anglers are getting their limits every day, Larry reports. Target the brush piles with minnows or jigs. Bass are fair and are biting crankbaits as well as buzzbaits. Catfishing is fair; try chicken livers or noodling and look for cats in 7-8 feet depth.
(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 8-29-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said with rain, rain and more rainwater in the river, it’s been muddy and there’s been fair flows of water. “A few chickadee fishermen have fished here.” Black bass are on jetty points where you have large schools of shad. Use shad-colored spinnerbaits slow-rolled. Also chartreuse crankbaits will work. Reports on bass have been good. Bream are on the jetty tops. Use worms moved slowly over the bottom. Good reports on bream. Catfish are on the backside of jetties and on points. Use worms and catalpa worms. Reports have been great on catfish. White bass have moved to where the mudline and the clear water meet. Use shad-colored crankbaits.
(updated 9-12-2018) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the fishing has been above average the past week. The water is clear and the level and current are normal. No temperature was available. Crappie are biting at about 4 feet depth. Reports have been fair. Use minnows. Black bass are fair on worms. No reports on bream. Nothing to report on catfish. No white bass reports.
(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 9-5-2018) 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) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river clarity is stained and the surface water temperature is ranging 83-85 degrees. Water level is normal, if maybe a little high. Bass reports have been good. Bass are cruising the water about 8 feet deep and chasing smaller fish. Use a crankbait or bait with a smaller fish on a hook, or go with a small jig or small Texas-rigged redworm. Catfishing is fair on stink bait or nightcrawlers. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie.
(updated 9-12-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that below Murray Lock and Dam, catfishing is fair using skipjack or shad.
(updated 9-12-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water clarity is a little muddy, with a normal level and current at Terry Lock and Dam. Bream are poor. Crappie reports were poor. Bass are fair. Catfishing is good behind the dam.
(updated 9-5-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the pool is dingy and there is very little current. The bream bite is good in 5-6 feet depth with crickets. Crappie are fair on pink minnows. Bass are fair. Try fishing with a topwater plug early. Then look for bass in 10-15 feet depth. Fish the sand bar drops and throw a bone-colored Whopper Plopper or a Red Bug shaky head. Catfish are good below the hydroelectric plant. They’re favoring skipjack.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-12-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is, fittingly, clear and at a normal level. No temperature was recorded. Bream are poor, but you’ll get a little response with redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were good, with anglers using spinnerbaits or worms. Catfishing remained poor.
(updated 9-12-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water is dingy and the lake remains low with a few stumps are showing. Crappie fishing is fair. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair with topwater lures working best. Catfishing is fair; toss anything their way and they’ll bite. Bream reports were poor.
(updated 9-12-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says fall is just around the corner with cooler weather; the lower temperatures, however, haven’t lowered the catch of trout. The rainbow and brown bites have remained steady as we move into fall and the fish adjust to the lower water levels. Deeper holes and colder water areas are the best spots to find the trout hiding. In the coldest water just below the dam, several brook trout have been caught, reflecting an improvement in their numbers through the AGFC stocking program. Smaller spoons (silver/blue and gold Cleos) and the silver Blue Fox have been enticing the browns, while crawdads or their imitator: frozen shrimp, have been consistently pulling in rainbows and browns alike. Keep your bait floating just above the bottom (in the clear water of the White you can easily see the river bed) and in this low, minimum-flow water it’s best to keep it in or near the river channel. Early fall is a great time to get on the water without having to sweat the temperatures or the catch.
(updated 9-12-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river clarity is clear. The river is low during the day was rises in the evening with generation. Rainbow fishing was great this past week; brown trout reports were “terrible,” they say.
(updated 9-12-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week that had just a trace of rain, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. Substantial rain fell after John’s report was submitted. But as of last Friday the lake level at Bull Shoals was 3.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl, or 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 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 saw little generation and had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. The White River 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.
John also said, “At this year’s Fly Fishing Fair, which will be held at the Vada Sheid Center at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home on Oct. 4-6, Gary Flippin and I will teach a river boat handling class. Anyone who is new to river boating and would like some pointers on how to operate a White River jon boat on our rivers should sign up. There is a modest fee. We taught this class several years ago and have been asked to do it again.
“Gary has been on the river all of his life and I have been a guide for over 25 years. During that time we have made every error that can be made and have learned from our mistakes. Maybe we can keep you from making any errors on your own.
“As a part of this class we have put together a prelaunch checklist of everything you should do before you launch your boat. These are the things you should do in the parking lot before you back down the ramp.
“The only thing that you should do on the ramp is launch your boat. As soon as your boat is off the trailer, drive up and park your rig. The ramp is a busy place and should not be clogged with someone getting his boat ready to launch.
“Insert your drain plug. Make sure that it is snugly inserted. Otherwise water will enter the boat. Been there, done that! I leave mine in the boat and I carry an extra in case something happens. Remove the tie downs from the boat. The boat will not slide off the trailer until you remove them. Once again, I have made that error.
“Check you gas level and connect the fuel hose to your motor. Prime the fuel line. You do not want to run out of fuel. I have never done this but have heard of guides that let this happen. Their clients were not amused. I always use ethanol-free fuel to prevent engine problems.
“Load your boating equipment. I carry a paddle, a long-handled boat net (you judge your guide by the size of his or her net), personal flotation devices for each passenger, an anchor and a throw cushion. I also carry a spare propeller, a small tool set, a couple of sparkplugs, a rain suit, a first-aid kit, a few bottles of water, a knife and a pair of binoculars.
“Load your fishing tackle. I rig my rods before I launch. I also carry a large boat fly box that contains all of the flies that I use the most and a separate fly box with just streamers in it (they take up a lot of room. I also carry leaders; tippets (2X, 4X and 5X) split shot, forceps, nippers, hook hone, stomach pump, fly floatant, fishing license and sunscreen.
“I then look around and see if it is my turn to launch. Be sure and wait for your turn. If everyone prepares their boat before launching and keeps their time on the ramp to a minimum, it will not take long.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 657.51 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 552.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is in great shape and fishing has been very good. The lake is in the final stage of summer fishing pattern. Some species will start to migrate to the cooler waters up in the northern parts of the lake. Other species tend to move into cover, and start to feed heavily on large flats. As the water continues to cool, fish will become more and more active and start to move into shallower water. The lake is shaping up for a great fall fishing season. The crappie bite is improving daily. Lou says he is starting to find some nice-size crappie in brush located 30-35 feet deep. Most of the crappie he has caught lately have been 25-30 feet down in or near brush. In the afternoon the fish are coming up in the water column, so you might check out anywhere from 15-30 feet deep over or near brush. You will still find some nice slabs roaming the flats following baitfish.
Lou says his fishing method of choice has been to vertical-jig a spoon, either quarter-ounce or half-ounce. “I have also downsized my fishing line to 4- and 6-pound test, low visibility monofilament line. My favorite color choices for spoons has been all white, white with a chartreuse back, or white with a red throat. Small grubs with a twister tail would also be a good bait choice in similar color schemes as mentioned above. Live bait, as usual will work great with a small slip float.”
White bass fishing has been very good. Lately Lou have started his mornings fishing a large flat in the Cranfield area right before sunrise. Large schools of white bass are roaming the flats chasing shad. He has found this species in 18 feet of water out to 40 feet of water. The fish are suspended from the surface down to about 30 feet. Lou says he’s mainly been vertical jigging a half-ounce spoon. There has been some topwater action in the mornings right at daybreak, but the afternoon topwater bite, right before sunset, has been better. When you get into topwater action, throw your favorite topwater bait or a blade-type bait. “I mainly have been use a Kastmaster (blade bait) when I know the fish are close to the surface. I can cast this bait a long way and I can also let it sink if the fish go down,” he said.
Walleye fishing has also been good. Trolling a crawler harness with an inline spinner and bottom-bouncing weight has been picking up some nice fish. One day they are in 25 feet of water. then the next day they move to 35 feet of water. Keep checking different depths until you start picking up some fish. Lou says he’s caught walleye as deep as 65 feet on the bottom while striped bass fishing over the last week. You will also find some walleye in or near brush in the 30-35 feet range. Live threadfin shad was the bait that he had down. The walleye are located lake-wide, so you do have plenty of choices. Striped bass fishing is still good in the dam area. Live bait is working the best, but vertical-jigging a 1-ounce spoon is also picking up some nice fish. The striped bass are 60-70 feet down on the bottom, but you will find some schools of fish suspended in the deep channels, but still 60-70 feet down. Before long the striped bass will start their northward migration to the cooler water.
Lou says the surface water temperature of Norfork Lake has dropped a little from his last report. In the morning the temperature has been 81 degrees with a slight rise during the daylight hours. The lake level is remaining fairly stable and currently sits at 552.14 feet msl. The main lake is clear on the surface and some creeks and coves are slightly stained.
(updated 9-5-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper bite continues to be excellent on Norfork Lake. He says, “In fact, on Friday the action was so fast we finished up quickly so I invited a local who fishes by me to come on to my boat. We hooked up the other person’s rod who stayed in their boat and in another 25 minutes they both had their limit of stripers. I limited out the last four days very quickly. Today, Labor Day, my clients were done in 45 minutes. A tourist had been fishing by us the last two days with their grandchildren with no luck. Today it was just Jenna and grandpa so we had Jenna get in my boat and set up grandpa and they both caught their limit of stripers. Jenna caught her three so fast she could not get one in before there was another one on the pole.
“I enjoy seeing these kids’ smiles on their faces when they catch the biggest fish of their lives and now know they can catch fish. Grandpa was smiling ear to ear.”
Tom says the stripers are moving deeper and he’s now catching them in the 70-80 feet range with gizzard shad. “The guys using threadfin shad are catching them but not at the rate we are. Threadfin life span is very short at these depths, so you have to change them out every 5 minutes whereas the gizzards can stay down to up to 20 minutes before you need to change them. When that school comes by the lively bait will always catch more fish,” he said. Spoons are not working right now; the stripers do not want to move much to feed. They are catching some trolling but nothing like live bait is right now. The stripers are now within a quarter- to half-mile of the dam off the points in waters ranging from 70-130. The best bite is after light starting around 6:30 and lasting up to 9 a.m.
(updated 9-12-2018) 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 saw little generation and had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. The Norfork has fished very well. There have been some nice midge and sporadic caddis hatches that have provided some limited topwater action. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole over the past year. 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. He also says 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 9-12-2018) 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 1,118.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that the water level is a little low, down about 2 feet from normal. The clarity is clear. No surface temperature was recorded. No reports on bream. Crappie are improved, however. Crappie are being found in 15 feet depth and anglers are trolling with bright-colored crankbaits. Also, minnows and jigs are getting bites. Bass are fair. Topwater plugs are getting responses early in the day, while spinnerbaits work best at night. Also, anglers are using shaky heads and drop-shots. Catfishing is good on juglines.
(updated 9-12-2018) 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 9-5-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) asked, “Where is all the water going? The river levels are low, but that is not slowing the bite for the trout.” He says the best method this week has been with dough PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. The hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Bertrand access. Parker Bottoms has produced some nice fish, too. The trout have also been hitting various spoons and Rooster Tails as well. Not too many Kentucky bass or smallmouths have been caught this week, but the ones that were caught, were caught with soft plastics thrown toward structure and chuck rock. Most of the bass action has been between Holiday Island and Beaver town. “We are forecasted to have some rain this Friday and Saturday as a tropical system moves up from the Gulf. That rain should pick things up after it blows through. Have fun and be safe.”
(updated 9-12-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the lake is a little strained. Surface water temperature was 77 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream fishing is really slow, they say. Crappie are fair for anglers trolling a crankbait. Black bass fishing has been slow. Catfish are fair, with anglers reporting catching some accidently while trolling for crappie.
(updated 9-12-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water is clear and the level is normal. Water temperature at the surface is in the high 70s to low 80s. No reports this week on bream. Crappie are fair on redworms. Bass seemed to be turned on more, with fair reports this week. Plastic worms are the way to go. Catfish are fair; use punch bait.
(updated 9-12-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “It seems that more rain is coming due to Hurricane Florence. We’ll see. Minnows and goldfish were our best sellers last week, but so far we are having more calls for crickets. Lake Poinsett State Park will continue selling bait and other supplies even though the repairs on the lake bed and dam are not complete and the lake will not be filled until 2020.” While Lake Poinsett is closed to anglers, 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 9-12-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear except for where the water is running. The surface temperature was 85 degrees. The level is up 1 foot from last week, but that still leaves it overall down 1 foot from normal. Bream are biting redworms, but the reports are poor. Bass are fair on crankbaits or topwater plugs. Catfishing is fair. Fish with chicken liver, shad or nightcrawlers, and fish the shallow areas where water is running in for best results. No reports on crappie.
(updated 9-5-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 260 cfs, 350 average, and water clarity has been mostly clear. The river is getting very low, making for easier wading. Olive and brown Woollies have been hot in sizes 6-8. Still a lot of little trout in the river that will not leave anything below a size 8 alone. A bigger fly will greatly increase chances of a bigger trout. Hot pink Trout Magnets are always hot, and you might try a trout crank in a rainbow pattern for some bigger fish.
(updated 9-12-2018) 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 9-12-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water level rose a little but remains very low, less than 5 feet below normal. No temperature was recorded. Bass remain fair as they have been for a couple of weeks. Use a crankbait or jigs for best results. Crappie are fair on prepared bait. Walleye are fair and are hitting live bait and jigs. No reports on bream. No reports on catfish.
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 257.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake remains at its 2-foot drawdown pool; lake level is currently slowly rising, though, as it was about 14 inches below normal conservation pool on Monday at 258 feet msl; gate discharge was between 168-200 cfs into Little River, and the tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was stable at 224 feet msl. Water temps have jumped over the past week, ranging 80-86 degrees Monday. 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. This 24″ 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. Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially upriver. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current.
Mike notes again that anglers looking for the HOT SPOT should watch for three to five or more of the white egrets standing on pads, stumps and cover in 4-9 feet deep flats. These egrets are picking off the leaping shad bouncing on top of lily pads while the bass chase the shad in the flats from 4-7 feet depth. Find those egrets and the topwater schoolers and buck bass are not far away. Most of these buck bass are only 2-3 pounds but tons of fun to fight in the lily pads.
More seasonal weather and cloud cover cooled the lake over the past week and a lot of the bass continue randomly schooling. Early morning is most definitely best bite for topwater blowups. Anglers continue to find schools of bass surface breaking on shad in midmorning. Of course, the dawn and early morning will yield most aggressive topwater explosions. Cooler daytime highs, rain and cloud cover over the past few days this week led to finding a lot more bass are surface-feeding in the shallow flats. The largemouth bass, Kentucky bass, and a few white bass continue randomly surface-schooling on shad in Little River, and McGuire Lake along Little River, for the past couple of weeks. This happens near midmorning in the oxbows over deep water from 15-20 feet, and also a few of the flats from 5-9 feet in lily pads and vegetation. 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. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions lately continue to be Firecracker or Shad Candy. After the topwater activity diminishes, a fairly good bite has been found 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 1.75s, 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 square bills, have been the Millwood Magic and Ghost. Vertical jigging spoons are still working with Kentucky (spotted) bass and schools of largemouths in Little River behind points and washouts. 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, and Cordell Hammered Spoons with red/white bucktails, and Rocket Shads. No report on crappie. Channel cats and blue cats from 2-6 pounds have been biting up Little River for the past couple of weeks on yo-yos hung from cypress trees using cut bait (gizzard shad or gar), chicken livers and homemade blood baits.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 540.48 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 397.09 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-29-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer, summer go away! Wow has it been hot. Even with the heat the days are getting shorter and the water temperature has stopped rising.” Water temperature is in the mid-80s. Moon has been full, so bream should be on the bed but it is late in the year. “Since I have no bream reports, let me review with you how to find the beds,” John said. “Pick an area with the depth you want to view for beds. Set side imaging on one side (right or left), stay about 100 feet from shore and set side imaging to same distance. Travel 3-6 mph and watch for the ‘waffle.’ Mark with waypoint and back off and cast to beds. That simple.” Water level is even lower at 398.31 feet msl. Crappie reports are slow. Water temperature needs to drop a little more and days continue to shorten and they will begin fall patterns. Schooling fish is still the story in town. Surfacing fish can be found throughout the lake if you can find calm water. From Iron Mountain to Shouse Ford they are schooling. One-ounce spoons will get the white bass, and if you can get it under the whites the hybrids are around. Fish the calm side of the lake. Be there early (some are up at 6:15 a.m.). Rooster Tails and Red-Eyed Shad are good baits, also. Good fishing to you.
(updated 8-29-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Due to Entergy sucking water, the lake is getting very low, so boaters beware. Bass fishing is only fair early in the morning with mostly small fish being caught. Look for schooling fish in the lower end in the big coves at points 2 and 4. Also some fish along the state park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Throw topwater plugs, Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. You have to hit right where the fish “break” because they come up for a shad and right back down. Also quite a few Kentuckies showing along rock bluffs and points on the south side. Work a 4-inch Texas-rigged worm down the steep banks. Red shad and green pumpkin are good colors to start with. Crappie fishing is very slow with most of the attractors at mid-lake too shallow with the low water. “Someone please tell the AGFC to place some attractors in deeper water,” George says. “Around 20 feet is ideal for crappies, so that means, place them at 30 feet at full pool.” Hybrid fishing is slow with very few schooling fish reported. In fact, there has been a lack of schooling activity all summer even though there are vast schools of shad. A few fish are being caught on heavy spoons fished deep in the thermocline at the dam area. Lots of bream reported but most are on the small side. Look for fish in most any cove with some rock or wood cover. Try redworms or crickets.
(updated 8-29-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass are schooling and hitting everything from bottom-bouncing spoons to topwater baits. They are beginning their migration toward the river.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.13 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.33 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 8-29-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are fair on crankbaits and wobbleheads. Bream are still being caught, just have to find them. Crappie are slow, no report on catfish.
(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 9-12-2018)Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said rainbow trout fishing is 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. 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 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. Good luck and go Greeson!
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.04 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reported the lake is pretty clear and at a normal level. However, no one has been fishing, they say.
(updated 9-5-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is a little dingy and the surface water temperature is ranging 82-85 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are fair but it’s spotty throughout the lake. Crappie are fair. You’ll have best success toward the dam fishing in 8-12 feet depth with minnows. Bass are fair. The best bait to use is a white spinnerbait. Catfishing is good. Anglers are using chicken livers, noodles and big minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.90 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 brushtops.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.84 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-12-2018) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the recent rains have muddied the water and slowed the bite. Anglers are reporting a few black bass to be hitting Texas-rigged green pumpkin Baby Brush Hogs in the deeper water. The bluegill have slowed down. Catfishing has been fair off of the dock with nightcrawlers and hot dogs. No report on crappie.
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, Sept. 15, from 8 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 also 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 Sept. 22 , Wil Hafner will be leading an oxbow fishing class in the education center from 10-11 a.m. Come prepared to learn, and then bring you boat and tackle to try out your new knowledge after class. 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.
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