Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Dec. 5, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 5, 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 12-5-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is stained and the lake level is low with the winter drawdown. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair and biting in 4 feet of water on worms and crickets. Crappie fell off quite a bit in the past week, with poor reports. They are slow at the Highway 89 bridge, while Palarm Creek, Caney Creek and Gold Creek have been good. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on jerkbaits and jigs. Catfishing is excellent on worms, nightcrawlers and prepared bait.
Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reports
(updated 12-5-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said, “This is a hard time of the year to forecast water and weather conditions. If you are on the river on the right day, weather and water levels are right, you can have a good day. Otherwise you may be in for a cold day, catching few fish. This goes back to the old saying, ‘You should have been here yesterday.’” Greg says the brown trout are spawning on the shoals, so if you get a chance to wade, be careful of walking through the redds. “For those who are unfamiliar with this term, redds, it refers to the areas on the river bottom where the brown trout have made their spawning beds. These will show up as clean, polished areas of gravel in the shallow areas of a shoal. Please avoid these, since disturbing these areas will prevent the eggs from hatching. The eggs are in these areas until about February, when they will hatch.” It is always best to fish for the browns that are moving up to the spawning areas and those laying behind the redds, eating the eggs floating off these areas. Rainbows will also be downstream of the redds feeding on these eggs. Browns are not stocked in the Little Red River, so fishermen can help ensure the future brown trout population by being careful during this season.
Greg said he spoke with the Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday morning and was told that they have requested the 12-hour minimum generation through Thursday, when it will return to a power demand basis. With the cold weather forecast through the weekend, anglers should check the proposed generation before planning their fishing trip.
Also, Greg adds, “If you are wondering what to get that special person for Christmas or if you have been asked what you want for Christmas, a gift certificate for a fly-fishing trip on the Little Red River may be a good gift idea. Just give me a call and we’ll work out the details. Merry Christmas and good fishing!”
(updated 12-5-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said water release from the Greers Ferry Dam has occurred to accommodate power demand. They are seeing sporadic daily generation, which often changes from published schedule, so it’s best to check what is scheduled and the current water release to determine when and where to fish on the Little Red River. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink, cotton candy and white 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 Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.67 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 12-5-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.23. It is 0.19 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and falling with generation. Tommy says, “The lake just received another stocking of threadfin shad, courtesy of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. All species are healthy in the lake and growing. They have really made a big difference and (the AGFC is) determined to keep it up, so next time you run across one of our biologists, pat them on the back, with Tom Bly leading the charge.” Tommy says a lot of species have settled in, in the deeper haunts for the winter. Not only will you be fishing deeper, but you need to fish slower. Bream are out eating in about 25 feet of water on some small baits and line. Catfish are still pretty shallow for this time of year feeding up on a variety of baits and can be caught on a variety of methods as well. Crappie catching is still going good all over the rivers and creeks, as well as the lake if you have some manmade structure for them to hold on. Try fishing in 18-30 feet of water on small minnows or jigs fished vertically. Black bass catching is good from right on the bank out to 60 feet of water on a variety of baits – spinner baits to drop-shots. Hybrid and white bass are eating at will; the bite is good all over the lake, you just have to stay around the shad. Try spoons, inline spinners, grubs, and even some topwater baits. The hair jig will also shine this time of year with a grub on it to make it look bulky. Concentrate in 25-60 feet of water.
(updated 12-5-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is stained and the level is normal. No surface temperature was reported. The crappie bite continues to be good. Fish with crappie minnows around rocky points and close to the bank. No other reports came in.
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said a few of her customers have been traveling to Harris Brake and are catching some nice crappie off of No. 4 crappie minnows. They’re also using Bobby Garland 2-inch Slab Slayers in the color bone white/chartreuse with success.
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 11-28-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said little has changed from last week. Water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 54 degrees. Bass are doing well. Bream are slow but anglers are still catching some on redworms. Haven’t heard anything about the catfish. Crappie are doing fair, but it changes from day to day. Some are using jigs and others are using No. 4 and No. 6 minnows. Johnny says, “Happy Holidays to you and your family from us at Overcup Bait Shop off Highway 9.”
(updated 12-5-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the clarity is clear in the main parts of the lake but a little dingy in the creeks. The water is high and Larry says it needs to come down about a foot or a foot-and-a-half for good fishing. Crappie are doing well. Good reports from anglers with best success at 10-15 feet depth and around brush piles. Bass are reported fair. Bream reports were poor. Nothing reported on catfish or white bass.
(updated 12-5-2018) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598 said the water temperatures are anywhere from 48-52 degrees. Largemouth bass are biting great. With the water temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s some bass are being caught in 10-15 feet near stumps as well as some being found suspended off creek channels in 20-25 feet depth. Try using crankbaits, jerkbait and jigs. The Kentucky bass bite is great. They are mixed in with the largemouth bass, but most can be found in 10-15 feet of water. Try fishing off drops and brush. White bass reports are good. Some whites are being caught on brush piles with the crappie in 20-30 feet of water. Crappie are excellent. Crappie are staging in their fall pattern. Reports of them being found on top of deeper brush suspended in about 20-30 feet of water. Try using jigs and minnows. Search for sharper ledges and deeper brush. Bream are poor. Fewer reports coming in this week. Some are still catching bream on redworms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been hitting No. 4 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows, especially around the bridge and off of the dock. A few catfish were reported caught off of Wild Cat Blood and brooder minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits in pink and also chartreuse-colored.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some very nice crappie have been caught at the dock at Lake Charles with pink minnows and No. 6 crappie minnows. A few big catfish have been caught off of No. 12 bass minnows and also nightcrawlers.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Lyle Park Access crappie have been doing well on No. 6 crappie minnows. The walleye there too have done well on brooder minnows. Down at the spillway of the Saline the walleye have been very good on brooder minnows. Also at the boat ramp down past Sunset Lake the walleye have done fair off of brooder minnows. Catfish are fair off of goldfish and nightcrawlers.
Lisa hears from her customers that a couple of hot spots continue to be Lake Atkins near Russellville and Harris Brake Lake in Perry County. At Lake Atkins, she’s told, the crappie are still doing great off of pink minnows and No. 6 crappie minnows. At Harris Brake some nice crappie are being caught off of No. 4 crappie minnows and also Bobby Garland 2-inch Slab Slayers in the color bone white/chartreuse.
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been fair off of pink crappie minnows and No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been caught around the docks with the brooder minnows. Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers and small bream.
(updated 12-5-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are fair on minnows and red/chartreuse jigs. Fish the east end of the lake for best success.
(updated 12-5-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing is fair around the gazebo. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 12-5-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says bass are good around the spillway. Anglers are using Texas Ridge creature baits or deep-diving crankbaits. Catfishing is fair around the launch ramp. Try using minnows or nightcrawlers.
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been hitting No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Crappie are being caught off of No. 12 bass minnows.
(updated 12-5-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said weather and hunting have just about shut down fishing in that area. Most fishing is below Lock and Dams 9 and 10. Catfishing is mainly around deep holes and around jetties below the dams. Use a combo of liver and shad. For stripers, use a wobble spoon or float a live shad. A few sauger are being caught with a speck rig tipped with minnow. Bass are biting on a worm or a jig fished slow. No reports on crappie, bream or white bass.
(updated 12-5-2018) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is a little stained and the level and current are normal. Bream are fair, but you’ll have to fish for them deep. Use worms. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on catfish.
(updated 11-21-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good. Jigs in black/chartreuse are working best. Expect a bite in 6-8 feet depth. Bass are good below the dam. Fish with blue/chartreuse Super Flukes. No other reports.
(updated 12-05-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the river is stained and is at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie are good. Target them in 5-15 feet of water and fish with blue/chartreuse or black/chartreuse crappie jigs. Bass are good in about 8-10 feet of water around the jetties. Use a chartreuse crankbait. No reports on catfish. No reports on bream.
(updated 12-5-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the clarity is a little murky and the level and current are a little high near the Terry Lock and Dam. Crappie are good, with the fish biting mostly minnows but some jigs. Bass are fair on crankbaits and worms, with best success had near rocky points. Catfish are good behind the dam. Use shad, cut bait and live bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 12-5-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said white bass have been fair near the David D. Terry Lock and Damn. Use white and chartreuse twister tails.
(updated 11-28-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said fishing, at least for crappie, is better this week in the pool. Crappie are excellent and can be found in 6-8 feet of water. Minnows and jigs were working. Black/chartreuse jigs are the best way to go. Focus on the Burns Park area and White Oak Bayou for best crappie chances. Moving down toward the Terry Lock and Dam and below that dam, crappie are excellent and can be found in 10-12 feet depth. Focus on rocky points. Catfish are fair below the damn. Fish with cut shad. Also, stripers are active and are going after pearl Super Flukes.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 12-5-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the clarity is clear and level is just a little high. Crappie picked up, with good reports. Minnows or jigs are working. Bass are fair on crankbaits and worms. Bream reports were poor. Nothing to report on catfish.
The lake has closed for the season and will reopen Feb. 2, 2019.
(updated 12-5-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “A cold wind has been ushering in some winter-like temperatures – it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. There’s good news in that: Fewer anglers on the river means more opportunity for those who join us trout fishers on the White River outside of Cotter.” Water releases have increased to serve increased power demands during the colder weather, but like we always say, the really good news is that trout love cold water and they love lots of water. While the releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been relatively judicious, anglers have had an easier time navigating to the deeper holes, yet bank fishing hasn’t been negatively impacted to any great degree. The added depth offers more confidence in casting some of the favorite stick baits (those No. 5 countdowns are continuing to prove successful) and larger streamers. The browns have given some
attention to sculpins, even in the middle of their annual spawn. “Come on over and tie on your favorite baits; catch some trout and revel in the changing seasons we are so blessed to enjoy.”
(updated 12-5-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river clarity is clear and the level is low. It has been “cold and nasty” there, with no one fishing. There have been up to three generators running at times at the dam. There are walleye visible along the dock.
(updated 12-5-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week that they had about an inch of rain, cold temperatures (to include frost advisories) and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.2 feet to rest at 4 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 feet to rest at 3.4 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 feet to rest at 2.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 11.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had little wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.2 feet to rest at 0.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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 well below the top of power pool. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There have been some blue-wing olive and some midge hatches (try a size 20 parachute Adams). 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 bead-head pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 654.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake’s stripers are moving out from the flats into their winter holding pattern. Tom says he was catching stripers in the 25-30-foot range and now they have moved into the 50-80-foot depths. You will find them there feeding in the 40-50-foot range. The stripers are now in large schools along with the white bass. Shad, shiners and spoons are the best baits. Because they are now schooled up, when using those baits the action can be very fast. Trolling will produce fish but because you’re moving, you are not staying on the schools long enough to catch many. Even though it’s cold, winter striper fishing is one of the best times to catch lots of fish and have the lake to yourself. The good part of winter striper fishing is the fish will stay in this pattern for the next several months, so there should be not a lot of traveling looking for fish. When you find big balls of bait, the stripers will be close by. The stripers will move to the channel toward Crystal Cove and stay on the big flat and channel near Howard Cove and Blue Lady. Float Creek will begin to hold fish as the water turns colder. Stripers tend to congregate near and in the four corners area of 5A.
“We are using shad but shiners will be an effective substitute to shad,” Tom says. “The best method is downlines set off the bottom about 2 feet. I also had 1 rod set about 20 feet down to catch the roving hybrids that are in the higher water column. Float and Panther creeks should also hold stripers, plus Big Creek. Follow the same pattern, find the shad and the stripers are nearby.”
(updated 11-28-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake’s fall fishing pattern is slowly moving toward the winter pattern. As the water continues to cool the fish go deeper following the bait. Over the last week I have noticed the bait moving from around 28 feet of water to anywhere from 35-50 feet of water. The bite over the last week has been good for most species. There have been continuous cold fronts, then warm air then back to cold fronts. Each time a system moves through the area the bite is affected. The best bite on the lake, in my opinion, is as follows: white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, but the hybrid bass and striped bass bite are starting to pick up. Walleye and catfish have both been sporadic, but I have seen good signs that both are ready to improve. I have been having a lot of fun over the holiday week fishing with family members. Our resort was partially filled with my wife’s side of the family and the remainder of the resort was filled with guests fishing for all types of species. I was really impressed that the cold weather didn’t stop many of our Texas, Florida and South Carolina family members and they all were able to catch a fish. White bass have schooled and are located on flats in 35-50 feet of water depending on time of day. Early in the morning they are typically in the shallowest. As the day wears on they move to deeper water on the bottom and also have been found in very deep water, but suspended in the same 35-50 foot range. In the afternoons, look in the mouths of deep coves for this species. Within these schools of whites are hybrid bass and striped bass. Most of the stripers and hybrids are still suspended from 15-35 feet down. I have been fishing flats and mouths of coves from our resort up towards the Red Bank area, as well as, from the 101 bridge flat up to Bennetts Bayou area. The best striped bass bite has been up in the Bennetts area, but stripers have been caught in Pigeon Creek, Cranfield area and the mid lake major creeks, Float, Fall and Panther. Vertical jigging a spoon, casting out Kastmasters and live shiners have been the best baits for whites, hybrids and stripers. Largemouth and spotted bass are being caught in many different types of areas and structures and are being caught on different types of baits. I have a lot of fun looking for schools of bass on the flats and they are currently being found in 35 to 48 feet of water. If you can find a slight drop off out on the flat it will be holding fish. When I find these schools I vertical jig with a spoon and at times will catch one after another. They are also located on the bluffs and close to the transition areas from bluff to chuck rock. Most will be suspended on the bluff, so casting rattle traps, spinner baits and crank baits will catch you some nice fish. They will also be on the drop offs along the bluffs so throw a jig & pig, Texas rigged worm or a crawdad, all will pick up some nice fish. Work the bottom along the bluffs 20-30 feet deep. The bite has been very light, so if you see your line start to move set the hook, or if you feel a slight heaviness set the hook. Walleye are starting to show up on the flats in about 40 feet of water, with the other species and some really nice fish are being caught jigging a spoon. The crappie bite has been very good. Look at brush in 30-40 feet of water, on the main lake, as well as, part way back into the creeks. Early in the morning and midday the fish have typically been buried inside of the brush. Late in the afternoon after the water has warmed a bit, they have a tendency to move up in the water column above the brush. Live bait is the best, but jigging small spoons or paddle tail grub are picking up some nice 13 – 14 inch slabs. Norfork Lake level is currently fairly stable with a slight fall one day then a slight rise the next and currently sits at 552.65 feet above sea level. The lake surface water temperature is falling slowly and currently is 53-55 degrees. The main lake is fairly clear.
(updated 12-5-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 0.2 feet to rest at 0.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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 well below the top of power pool. The Norfork has fished well. There have been some nice midge and sporadic caddis hatches that have provided some limited top water action. Navigate this stream with caution; there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole over the past year or more. 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 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 12-5-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and clear. The smallmouths are much less active with the cold conditions. 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 1,118.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is clear. Water level is low, slightly below normal for this time of year. Surface temperature was in the low 50s. Crappie are good. Anglers are finding them in the upper end of the lake along channels and banks. Minnows, jigs, crappie tubes and small crappie jigs are working. Bass are good. Use spinnerbaits or jigs. Catfishing produced no reports. Nothing to report on bream. White bass showed very little activity. Overall, they say, there are very few anglers out right now.
(updated 12-5-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) striper activity forecast for this week is good. Stripers are in fall transition mode and are heading into their winter locations. They are on the move, and being mobile/flexible will be key to finding them. Mike Bailey says they continue seeing some topwater action, so get those binoculars out and be on the lookout. For you diehard live baiters, fishing using weighted lines, balloons and downlines between the surface and 25 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, as well as Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5- to 6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Down-rigging those baits will be effective as well, especially at night. You should also try casting Rat-L-Traps on points and bars at night. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper/hybrid or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in Beaver 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. Mike also says live bait is always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. This week, water surface temperatures remain in the low 50s. Mike suggests checking out these hot spots on the mid- and upper sections of the lake: Point 5 (stripers are still being found over deep open water and near the tree/bluff lines between points 5 and 6), Rocky Branch, Larue (check the main channel bends and cuts as stripers move through on their way upstream), Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow (check mouth of this arm), Highway 12 bridge (check mouth of the river and main lake structures, striper heading upriver), Prairie Creek (pay attention to areas around the islands and point 10; stripers still found over deep open water and near the tree/bluff lines during daylight hours, at night fish the shallows with jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps) Blackburn Creek, Hickory Creek (check channel bends and gravel bars, watch for surfacing fish), War Eagle/White River junction, White River and War Eagle River (check channel bends and gravel bars and watch for surfacing fish).
(updated 11-21-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “If you have been able to stand the cold temperatures, fishing has been going quite well in the tailwaters. We still have the lack of water problem, but if you can find the deeper holes, you can catch some nice fish.” The fishing method this week has been light terminal tackle, fished with various PowerBait. The hot spot has been Parker Bottoms; remember to find the deeper holes. “Spoons have done a pretty good job too this week, gold had seemed to work the best. Nothing else to report this week. Good luck and stay warm. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!”
(updated 11-28-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is clear and at a normal level. The surface water temperature is 49 degrees. Crappie are good and are found in 8-15 feet of water. Use minnows, jigs and spider rigs. No reports on bream, brass or catfish.
(updated 12-5-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water clarity is a little murky and the water level is normal. No surface water temperature was recorded. Bream continue to bite poorly. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports remained poor. Catfish are good on chicken liver or shad.
(updated 12-5-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Everyone seems to be anxious for the Lake Poinsett to come back. So are we. We miss our lake. We are still keeping bait and other fishing supplies on hand.” While Lake Poinsett is closed to anglers until 2020 for extensive repairs, there are other lakes in the immediate area to check out, including Lake Charles and Lake Hogue. Also, the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program is stocking the pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 12-5-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no report.
(updated 12-5-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 300 cfs, “350 average,” and water clarity is clear. The river has been looking great. It is low, and we could use some rain in the area. There were some warm days over the weekend with OK fishing, but the cold snap last few days has the fish feeding hard. Y2Ks have been hot for a few weeks now. Big ones caught. Hot pink and candy corn Trout Magnets are the ticket for spin-fishing. With the cold temperatures, be safe out there. Layer up and stay dry. The colder the weather the harder the hits! Trout love it.
(updated 12-5-2018) 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 over. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 12-5-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water continues to be very low, about 6-6½ feet. “It has come up some, but it’s still not normal,” they report. Walleye are biting, with good reports. Jigs, jerkbaits and live bait are working, but just about anything has been successful. Fish the deeper holes in the river.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 12-5-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 12-5-2018) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 12-5-2018) The lake was drawn down about 6-7 feet and while the AGFC completed vegetation and fish cover work on the shoreline through September. The lake is rising with rainfall will cover the new anchoring of cut gum trees and other vegetation good for fish habitat on the shallow shoreline areas. During the drawdown, tree stumps are showing in the coves toward the east and northeast of the lake; those are good areas to fish for the bass. Next spring should be a great time to check out this fishery.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake continues a slow pool reduction and falling, with gate changes at the dam by the USACE. Millwood was about 4 inches above normal conservation pool Monday at 259.5 feet msl; the discharge was recently decreased to around 3,000 cfs for Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam, as of Wednesday, is now about 229 feet msl, with Corps gates release at the dam. Water temps dropped over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging near 42ºF early to 48ºF range later under full sun, depending on location. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate-release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Watch for sudden gate changes and debris, which will increase with current in Little River. Navigation is normal, and floating debris is reduced in navigation this week. Clarity and visibility have improved over the past week with the reduction in river current and lake pool, and navigation is noted normal along Little River. Further up river finds highest turbidity rates. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 10-12 inches with stained conditions, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranges 20-30 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
Mike says not much changed over the past week on Millwood in terms of fishing. The bite for bass is random, and good most warm days during the midday hours in the oxbows. They are finding bass still hitting crankbaits in the oxbows, with Bomber Crankbaits and Fatbutt Magnum Gitzit Tubes remaining the best responses. The schools of largemouths, Kentuckies (spots) and white bass are getting fewer and farther apart, but continue to follow shad schools. Best locations over the past few weeks for these schools were at mouths of creeks and sloughs dumping into the back of the oxbows on points, ranging from 10-12 feet deep with dead lily pad stems and stumps. Shad migration into the creek channels continues and the bass continue following them into numerous creek channels, on points and ditches. Best reactions we have seen over the past week or two remain fair to good during the heat of the day, and the bass continue to randomly hit crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps in the creeks between 8-12 feet of depth. Surface-feeding activity levels have diminished with current conditions. The best crankbaits drawing reactions over the past few weeks were Bomber Fat Free Shads in Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad, or white. Rat-L-Traps and SpinTraps in chrome/blue and shad patterns like Millwood Magic, Sexy Bone Nova, Blueback Herring, or Liv-N Chrome continue working, albeit slower. These are still drawing random reactions in creek channels with any cypress trees, standing timber and stumps. Magnum tube jigs like gitzits, Brush Hogs and Real Deal Custom Tackle Jigs continue taking a few chunky, 3-4-pound largemouths in depths of the creek channels from 8-10 feet deep on stumps and on secondary points with stumps from 5-9 feet deep. Blackberry, Green Pumpkin or Red Shad colors continue to be good colors for soft plastic Brush Hogs for catching the solitary bass not chasing shad. Good reactions have been found on Real Deal Custom Jigs in Habenero, black/blue or black/blue/purple using a Hog Craw trailer for bulk. Jumbo or Magnum 4-inch Gitzit Tubes are beginning to draw a few solid hits from solitary, 2-5 pound largemouths on stumps in creek channel swings, ditches, wash-outs, ridges and cuts behind secondary points along the river. Put a rattle inside your tube jig on a tungsten knocker weight to draw a reaction in the stained water clarity conditions. Best colors of tube jigs and Gitzits have been smoke/black/red flake, black neon and pumpkinseed or green pumpkin with tail tentacles dipped in JJ Magic Chartreuse dipping dye. Pitching the Gitzits on stumps from multiple angles seems to initiate a reaction in mid-day warmer periods.
Decent-size schools of white bass continue following shad in the oxbows, and nice 2-4-pound white bass continue randomly hitting crankbaits in Horseshoe and McGuire oxbow lakes up Little River. These White Bass are following the same schools of shad along Little River and the oxbows as the largemouths, and were back to randomly hitting Fat Free Shads, Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Hammered Spoons with red/white bucktails, and Rocket Shads. Best color crankbaits for the white bass seem to be the Tennessee Shad and the Citrus Shad patterns. Crappie have begun stacking up vertically in standing timber of the oxbows, and were hitting paddle tail, smoke-colored grubs and Blakemore Roadrunners in white and chartreuse. Catfish continue biting well on yo-yos and trotlines in Mud Lake, Horseshoe Lake and McGuire Lake up Little River. Chicken gizzards or livers, punch bait and any cut baits were working well over the weekend and late last week.
(updated 11-28-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) says some nice crappie continue to be caught here. No reports on bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 549.65 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.32 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.46 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 529.50 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 11-28-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado says the river has been up the last couple of weeks, and that has slowed the fishing down. It is back to normal now. Crappie and bass should pick up.
(updated 12-5-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported that clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Surface water temperature was not recorded. Crappie are still going strong, and reports are “mostly excellent.” Use minnows or jigs. The rest of the fishing isn’t keeping up with the crappie. Reports on bream, bass and catfish all were poor.
(updated 11-28-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said some customers have been having great success fishing for crappie using pink minnows and No. 6 crappie minnows.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 12-5-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the winter drawdown is now complete for lakes Hamilton and Catherine. A 5-foot draw is now in place and will remain at this level until March 1, when both lakes are scheduled for refilling. Normal water levels have returned to the area after days of open flood gates, which created unsafe navigation below Carpenter Dam. Rainbow trout are now stocked in the Carpenter Dam tailrace. Bank fishermen are catching
trout on waxworms or mealworms floated just off the bottom with
a marshmallow floater. Redworms or nightcrawlers presented in the same manner will also be effective. Fly-fisherman can wade to areas that hold numbers of trout and can catch limits of fish casting egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. San Juan worms in red or hot pink will draw strikes from hungry trout in areas close to the main channel where some current is present. Spin-fisherman casting Super Dupers in silver or gold over current flow will have success as rainbows will be feeding on injured threadfin shad. Rock structure provides a perfect ambush point for trout chasing bait fish. Trout fishing starts slowly in November as lower numbers are stocked this time of year so anglers need to use patience and use different techniques until one is found that produces results. Some striper activity has been observed below the bridge late in the evening around 4 p.m. Alabama rigs and Super Spooks in white give anglers a good chance at hooking one of these large predator fish as they feed on trout and gizzard shad. Walleye and yellow bass are feeding on threadfin shad schools that have migrated in the tailrace. Anglers using Carolina rigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers will catch walleye in periods of slack water by the bridge. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current has taken good numbers of yellow bass and trout although the size runs on the small side. Anyone planning to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace is cautioned to be aware of the generation schedules and always wear a life jacket.
(updated 12-5-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 48 degrees, warming to 53. River clarity is still poor but clearing slowly. Some creeks are muddy, some are clear; bays are dingy. Bass fishing has been good. Soft jerkbaits like scam shad, hard jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, swimbaits with underspins, jigs and Hoax Bamboozie craw are working, and use structure buds on the days that are tough. Stripers have been good on Rat-L-Traps, swimbaits and Alabama rigs. Crappie have been excellent; chartreuse has been working in deep water, while pearl white and black chartreuse are working well shallower. And, of course, minnows work. It seems like 12 feet depth is the norm. White bass are in the Creeks. Use Rat-L-Traps, spoons or white grubs. No reports on bream. Catfish have been good in the creeks and at the mouth of the creeks. Stink bait, blood bait and cut bait have been working well.
(updated 12-5-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred, Xpress all-welded fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports that lake temps are in the mid-50s and water clarity stained to semi-clear throughout. No one here had success bass fishing, so we recommend trying crappie. Crappie are suspended over the tops of brush just off the main channel or on lake points in the vicinity of 30 feet of water. Minnows, jigs and spoons will put dinner on the table. Try and fish ahead of cold fronts and the odds of smashing a cooler-full are high. “Dear Santa, please bring us some more daylight so we can fish longer! Good luck and Go Greeson!”
(updated 12-5-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the water temperature is really cooling off into the low 50s. Vertical jigging spoons just off the bottom in 35-55 feet of water is producing a large variety of species.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.85 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is murky but stable, and the level is normal. No surface temperature was reported. Crappie are good. The fish are in 12-14 feet depth and are biting minnows and jigs. Nothing else reported on bream, bass, catfish or white bass.
(updated 12-5-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
As of Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.76 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-28-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. Bama rigs or spoons fished on main lake points or in creek channels are best at this time. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the western and central parts of the lake are the best for these fish. No report on bream. Crappie are still slower and being caught with jigs or minnows in 15-20 feet of water near brush. No report on catfish. Surface water temperature ranges 48-54 degrees. Water clarity is stained. Lake level is about a half-foot below full pool at 577.54 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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.60 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-5-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no report.
(updated 12-5-2018) No report.
(updated 12-5-2018) The Cook’s Lake fishing season for youth under age 16 and for mobility-impaired anglers has ended. It will resume the first weekend of March.
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
Nov. 30, 2023
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