Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 23, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 23, 2017. 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
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 8-23-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is its usual stain and is at a normal level. Surface temperature on the water was 90 degrees Tuesday. Bream remain excellent. They’re being found around lily pads and the shoreline. Use worms or crickets. Crappie fishing is good. Crappie are working around the cypress trees and in creek channels. Minnows or jigs will work. Bass are good. Try a topwater, especially early, and plastic worms for the deeper reactions. Catfishing is fair on trotlines.
(updated 8-23-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red continues to receive around 4-6 hours of generation on weekdays and lesser amounts on weekends. Midges, soft hackles and sowbugs, along with wooly buggers, are working well for fly anglers. Pink colored Trout Magnets are recommended for spin fishing. 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 8-23-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the received about .25 inches of rain last night and the river is a little stained but fishable in the section below Sulphur Creek. The generation should clear the area this afternoon and the entire river should be clear by tomorrow. The bite remains good on small mayflies and midges with the best activity during late morning and early afternoon. The dam is open to traffic with one lane open so expect some delays when using this highway (Highway 5). The repair to the flood gates has resumed now that the lake level is back to normal.
(updated 8-16-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing has been consistently good over the last few days. Subdued temperatures, good water flow and cloud cover have helped the good fishing last all day long. Water is being released every afternoon as of late and should continue as rainfall occures. The hot flies have been pheasant tails, sowbugs and soft hackles.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 8-23-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake as of Tuesday was at 461.18 feet msl and falling with evaporation and generation. The lake is 1.36 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. The water temp has warmed back up to the high 80s again. The lake is still in summer mode but has lots and lots of new threadfin shad all over the lake. They have spread out nicely. A big shout out to Tom Bly, our AGFC fisheries biologists. Another couple of years of stockings and raising in nursery pond, the whole lake will be back full of threadfin. The hybrid and white bass are eating throughout the day and night and are using the 40-46-feet range and even falling out to a 50-55-feet range at times. Use spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits, and topwater baits. Some fish are schooling at different times throughout the day at a lot of places, but for the most part the best is yet to come as they are blowing up and going right back down, while single fish are coming up sporadically here and there. But all of the schooling will get better every day as we go forward. No report on walleye. The crappie fishing is still good, from reports from several anglers, at about 18-30 feet of water on jigs and minnows fished vertically. The catfish are still being caught on a variety of baits all over the lake day and night. The bream are eating crawlers and crickets, in-line spinners and small crankbaits from real shallow out to 30 feet. The black bass are eating well from real shallow and a bunch out in 25-40 feet and some schools are out to 50 feet. Some schooling is going on sporadic as well; try C-rigs, football heads, jighead worms, Texas rigged worms. and the wind-blown spinnerbait and crankbait bite is good as well.
(updated 8-23-2017) Cody S. Smith of FishGreersFerry.com (501-691-5701) said unseasonably cool temperatures continue to dominate across north central Arkansas and the fish are responding well. Greers Ferry is currently at 461 feet and 1.5 feet low in comparison to normal pool at this time. Cooler weather and precipitation have backed the surface temperatures off from summer highs around 90 degrees. They had fallen off to the low 80s over the last couple of weeks with surface temps rebounding to the high 80s this past week. With the short- and long-term forecast looking to be much cooler than average temps look for the late summer early fall transition to really get going. Fish and bait are starting to show up in good numbers much shallower than they have been over the last month. Most of the shad are utilizing 10-24 feet with select pods in 3-8 feet. These areas seem to be holding the highest concentrations of fish. Mixed bags continue for their guide boats on a daily basis – 7-9 species on a single trip are and will continue to be the norm right on into October. Cody says their gamefish have responded well to the shad stockings and baitfish populations are on the rise. Gamefish are stuffed full and look as good as he has seen them in several years. With continued stocking efforts and habitat improvement projects, Greers Ferry Lake is well on its way to producing some really good bags for tournament and recreational anglers alike. Shad-imitating baits, along with live bait rigs, are your best options for a great bite right now. Call, email or text to book your next great day on the lake. “We specialize in making memories.”
(updated 8-23-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is stained and at a normal level. Bass are biting well. Anglers are getting good results with topwater baits as well as crankbaits. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie improved a little, with fair results on minnows and jigs. Catfishing was good, but other details were unavailable.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309
(updated 8-23-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high about 3 feet clarity is good. Water temperature is good around 85 degrees. Bass are still doing well. Bream are on their beds again but have slowed down some. Catfish are doing well in shallow water around buckbrush on nightcrawlers and minnows. Crappie are slow but are starting to catch 10-15 a morning, 10-13 inches in 5-8 feet of water in the channels.
(updated 8-23-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said water is dingy and is at a high level. Surface temperature on Tuesday morning was 84 degrees. The most action was coming from catfish. The bite was excellent, with catfish very active in the creeks. Use minnows or chicken livers. Bass were fair in the deeper water. Crappie were fair and were found about 6 feet of depth around brush piles. Use minnows or jigs. Bream fishing has fallen off, and anglers report poor results. The bream that showed interest were going after worms or crickets.
(updated 8-24-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) reported that black bass are slow. Largemouths are biting on spoons, drop-shot, jigs, crankbaits, wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits, and Sweet Beaver. The fish are still 10-15 feet off the weeds by about 10 feet deep in the shallow water during dusk time and at dawn. You can also find them tailing just below the white bass chasing the shad, 12- 18 feet in the deep water. Kentucky bass are also slow. They are being caught on hair jigs, spoons and minnows. They can found in the deep water mixed in with the black bass. The white bass bite is slow. White bass are schooling at east end and some are midwest in the lake. They are coming up for a shorter period of time and moving quickly with the schools. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. The crappie bite is good. Crappie are stacking up around channel and brush piles. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (Tennessee Shad). Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught 12-15 feet and 18-20 feet deep. Fish off the channel or under bridges. Bream are good. Bream can be found on the brush piles but moving quickly. Lots of reports about redear on west end of lake. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is slow. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water but are moving into shallower water. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 8-23-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been fair with crickets and worms. Catfish are biting some on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bass have been slow to bite but minnows have been getting some bites early in the mornings. Crappie fishing has been slow.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 8-23-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting fair on crickets and redworms. Catfish are biting fair late in the afternoons on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass have been biting fair early in the mornings on minnows and small plastic lizards. Crappie fishing has been slow but some small ones have been hitting pink minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-23-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been biting minnows and small plastic worms and lizards. Catfish are biting fair on trotlines baited with minnows, goldfish and black salties. Crappie have been biting in some places on the river on size 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs. Bream will bite a cricket or redworm on the river almost any day if it’s not too muddy. Cooler weather is on the way and fishing should improve and be more comfortable. Many outdoors people begin to concentrate on hunting about the same time the fishing is at its best. Enjoy your hunting but don’t let you fishing gear get too dusty this fall and winter. It’s Lisa’s favorite time to fish.
(updated 8-23-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is still good with crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been good at night and early in the mornings with minnows, Carolina rigged plastics and topwater baits. Catfish have been biting for some using minnows, goldfish and black salties. Crappie have been slow to bite anything in the last two weeks.
(updated 8-23-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting crickets and worms. Bass have been biting minnows, plastic worms and lizards and topwater baits. Catfish are biting minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Crappie have been biting fair on No. 6 and No. 12 minnows.
(updated 8-23-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said water is down to 40,000 cps with a little muddy look. Bass are in shallow water near grass lines early in the day and late in the evening. Use firetiger-colored buzzbait and throw it in front of the grass and run it parallel to the grass. Also use a weedless white topwater frog. Reports have been good. Catfish are shallow early in the day and late in the evening from 5-15 feet deep. Use whole shad and nightcrawler combo. As the day moves on, fish around the jetties about 5-25 feet deep. Reports have been good. Bream are good around riprap. Fish a Mepps or Rooster Tail in black with copper blades. White bass are chasing schools of shad early and late. Throw a sassy shad. Striper fishing has been fair. Stripers are around both sides of the generator late at night. Use bream or shad, as well as a wobble spoon with a trailer of white with chartreuse tail. No report on crappie.
(updated 8-23-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water clarity has improved, and Tuesday it was clear. Water level and current are normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream were reported poor this week. Crappie are in about 5-6 feet of water and the bite is fair. Use minnows. Bass fishing is good early in the morning and late in the day. Anglers report good results on spinnerbaits and with plastic worms. Catfish reports were poor, but reports were that they were in the main river. Use worms or blood bait. White bass reports were poor.
(updated 8-23-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said reports were fair from folks catfishing. They were snagging and using skipjack or slicks. Also, white bass are fair around the Murray Dam. Throw split tails their way.
(updated 8-23-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that nothing changed from last week. Tthe clarity as “average” for this time of year. Level and current are normal. Largemouth bass are active early in the day, and the reports ranged fair to good the past week. Best success is on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater baits and plastic worms. Bream bite is good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good with anglers using curly jigs. Catfishing is good on worms. White bass reports were fair.
(updated 8-23-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water level ranged from high to normal. Water is muddy, and no surface temperature was available. Vince received no reports on bream or crappie catches. Bass reports were fair, with action reported on crankbaits. Catfishing was fair using stink bait.
(updated 8-23-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie fishermen were trolling near the Terry Dam and having fair results using minnows or jigs. Bream reports from there were fair on worms or crickets. No bass reports. Catfishing ranged poor to fair. Go with cut bait.
(updated 8-23-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no change in its report from the past week. The river has average clarity for mid-August. Level and current are normal. Largemouth bass are active early in the day, and the reports ranged fair to good the past week. Best success is on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater baits and plastic worms. Bream bite is good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good with anglers using curly jigs. Catfishing is good on worms. White bass reports were fair.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-23-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said had no report on the clarity, level or temperature. They did say that bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are biting, with anglers reporting fair results using minnows or crickets. No reports on bass. Catfishing appeared to range from poor to fair, with best results coming on cut bait.
(updated 8-23-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and is at a normal level. The bream bite is good on worms or crickets. Crappie reports were good from anglers trolling with minnows or jigs. Bass activity is fair using spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Catfishing is good on worms.
(updated 8-23-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the tailwaters of Bull Shoals Dam remain high, but the lake is now just 16 feet above power pool and dropping. Just speculating here, but maybe we’ll see a decrease in generation by early to mid-September; one morning soon we’ll come down to the river and it will be almost wadeable. If you can bounce a jig with the right wrist action, you’ll catch a bunch of browns–1/8 ounce white or white and gray jigs are still the ticket, with either a chrome or a white head. Browns continue to bite on sculpins and craw fish, especially if you can dangle your line and bait deep over a favorite hole. When the rainbows were ignoring everything else, they occasionally responded to the scent of shrimp so keep some handy. We hope you were able to experience the solar eclipse this week; here in Cotter I didn’t see any unusual trout activity except that maybe the bite was slower for a day or two. Eclipse related or normal fish behavior? Tales for another day. The coffee’s on, stop by.
(updated 8-23-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and the river is running high, with five to 10 generators going. The trout bite is excellent. For anglers who want to fish in boats, you’ll find good success on rainbows or browns, they say.
(updated 8-23-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that during the previous week, they had several rain events (combined for about an inch in Cotter), cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 2.5 feet to rest at 18 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 16 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 feet to rest at 0.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 14 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.5 feet to rest at 5.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with heavy generation. 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 flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation, with limited wadable water in the near future. Hopper season is here. Many guides are banging the bank with grasshopper patterns. Add a nymph dropper (ruby midge) to increase takes. If the grasshopper is hit or sinks, set the hook. John’s favorite grasshopper pattern is a Western Pink Lady.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim 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 is a bead-head pheasant tail nymph (size 14) with a ruby midge suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also says, “One of the things that I hear every day is, ‘Where can I fish, on this high water?’ The best advice that I can give is to fish from a boat. They are safer, more comfortable and a more effective fishing platform than wading. However, there are many anglers that do not have access to a boat or they just don’t like to fish from one. Some fly-fishers just prefer to wade fish. I am one of them. When I wade, I feel that I am one with the river. I am one of a few local guides that will book wade trips. Sometimes I feel like I am the only fly-fishing guide in Baxter County that owns a pair of waders. ‘What do you do when they are running a lot, of water, and you don’t own a boat?’ I say, think outside the boat. We are lucky here in that we have a lot of alternatives to wade, when they are running big water here in the Twin Lakes Area.
“The first stream that I think of is the Norfork tailwater, the stream below Norfork Dam. Unlike Bull Shoals Dam, there is no series of dams above Norfork Dam and as a result the Norfork draws down more quickly and is wadable more often and more consistently than the White. The trick here is that you need to carefully monitor the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see when the prediction indicates a period of wadable water. I do this every day. I caught a nice opportunity yesterday. The Norfork was scheduled to be off until 10 a.m. I got there at 6 a.m. and got in four hours of fishing before the water came up. You can also fish the North Fork of the White. This is the same stream but is the river above Norfork Dam. This is a great trout stream with some really nice wild rainbows. There is no dam on this section. It is a free-flow stream until it gets to Norfork Dam. My wife, Lori, and I fish it from time to time and always enjoy it. My favorite fly here is a big stone fly nymph.
“If you feel like driving a bit further, try the Spring River. This is a very special stream to me. It is a spring-fed river stocked with trout. This is where I learned to fly-fish and where I met Lori. The only problem with this river is that it is very popular with canoeists and kayakers. During warm weather it can get quite crowded with boaters that have little concern about disturbing your fishing. I generally reserve the Spring River for colder weather when there are fewer boats. My favorite fly here is an olive Woolly Bugger.
“If you want something a bit closer, try Crooked Creek. It is a free-flow smallmouth bass stream. It is Lori’s favorite. The most convenient place for me to fish is at the Fred Berry Conservation Center. There is a catch-and-release section there that fishes well. Make sure that your vehicle is outside the Fred Berry Conservation fence before 4:30 p.m. because they lock the gate then. My favorite fly for this section is the Clouser Minnow.
“Finally another spot that probably has some of the most spectacular scenery around is the Buffalo River. This is a National River and is basically a National Park surrounding the Buffalo River. There are loads of accesses and 135 miles of river to take in. I prefer to fish the lower 40 or so miles. In warm weather, there can be canoes and kayaks on the water but not as many as the Spring River. There is even a herd of elk. My favorite fly here is the Clouser Minnow.
“As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to wade when they are running water. I fish all of them from time to time when I want some wadable water. Go out there and give them a try.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 676.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said they’ve still got 23 extra feet of water in the lake. The Army Corps of Engineers is bringing it down. The fishing is starting to pick up pretty good this week. Del said they had some weather move in and the cold nights have got the fish moving around quite a bit. They’re schooling really hard. “I’m going to let the cat out of the back,” Dell said, saying that he’s starting to catch them really shallow. The baitfish is starting to move in to the backs of some of the creeks that have runoff coming into them. If you can find a temperature change of a degree or two, those areas will be better than the ones that are more pockets. There are threadfins back there, there are gizzards back there. Del says that’s the hot bite he likes, catching them back there. He’s used a squarebill, just burning it through 0-4 feet of water; he says it “seems like you have to bump that thing into something to get bit.”There are a lot of what they call bushes that are out on the flats now, and he’s starting to pick up a few fish on a frog. The topwater bite seems like it’s been hit or miss, so you want to have one ready to go. Del says he did pick up a few on the Whopper Plopper. He says he’s not doing so hot on the walk-the-dog style baits; he’s tried Spook or a Sammy and will I’ll pick up a few, but the bigger bite seems to be on the Whopper Plopper. Also, as the fish start to migrate into these creeks, they’re going to use these channels, so wherever that old channel comes up along the bank, you can do right with a jig there. If it’s super windy, throw a War Eagle Spinnerbait, either Blue Shad or Sexy Shad or Mouse, depending on the color of the water – it varies throughout the lake, they’ve had quite a bit of water traffic lately. The clay banks with the boat traffic, those are really dirty, he said. If you get some wind in there, those fish will be in there and you can pull a few out with a spinnerbait. The ledges, 25 feet is about as deep as Del has been having to fish and most of the fish he’s been catching 10-15 feet of water – a lot of times less – he’s throwing a half-ounce Right Bite Jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue, whatever the angler prefers. The NetBait Paca-Craw Senior in either green pumpkin or summer craw, that seems to be getting quite a few fish, he said. When going in the back water areas, because they have a lot of structure in the high water, if you can find the pole timber of the trees, Del will throw a Strike King Rage Tail Structure Bug in there. That will help you pick up a few more fish. Conditions are everything, he says. If you’ve got wind, if you have a quality day, you can power fish with a spinnerbait or topwater. And watch for baitfish. If you get into some fish, you can get right back in there; a lot of times you’ll catch 2-3 fish in the same little area. They’re schooled up pretty hard. Del says he caught two on a squarebill the other day on the same cast. He also likes to cover some water. It seems to be more productive – points, channel swings, not very deep. Smallmouth are out a little deeper. The drop-shot bite has been so intermittewnt, and the weather is changing, so he says he’s going to stick to the shallow fish. The fishing is going to get even better – these rains come, it cools down, the shorter days, it’s a great time to be on the lake. Water temps are about 84-85 degrees so it’s starting to come down.
(updated 8-23-2017) K Dock Marina said the lake is continuing to drop about 4-5 inches per day. This has had a big impact on the number of fish being caught. Fish do not react well to extreme changes in water level. Water color and temp are great, just a slow bite for all species. Live bait working the best right now. Hope to get a better report from some of our anglers after this weekend. Water level is 20 feet above normal as of last weekend. Water temperature ranging 80-82 degrees. Water is clear to stained.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 565.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says striper fishing has slowed for some because they have not kept up with the ever-changing Norfork Lake conditions. When there is high water, the stripers go into survival mode in late August and September. They will feed but not as often and for shorter periods of time. You need to find that sweet depth for the fish. As the days go by, the depth where the stripers will stay will keep going deeper. Right now the best depth is 80 feet. Tom has caught stripers on the bottom at 80 feet, and in water 200 feet deep I have caught them at 80 feet. The best time to catch a striper is when the dam has started to generate like trout that gets the stripers in a feeding mood. The basic fishing rig has not changed much. Now, Tom says, he only uses 4-ounce weights with a short leader. Put the bait on the bottom, and then bringing it up about a foot and keep it there – as anglers move around, that produces fish. One trick to fool the stripers is when you see some fish near the bottom and you know your baits are in front of them, make a hard turn and kick your trolling motor up full speed, then stop it and let your baits fall back down. That will trigger a strike. The stripers are now concentrated around the dam area. The best places are Dam Cove, the channel leading to the dam and around Quarry Marina. Tom’s son fished Thursday through Sunday last week and limited out each day except Thursday, when it was rainy and overcast. Tom and his son were fishing their usual spots, but most of those fished had moved. They did manage to land three stripers per boat. Friday they moved to the dam area and both limited out. Sean was done a lot faster than Tom, but Tom says he finally figured it out. Saturday and Sunday the bite increase due to the generation of water. By Sunday it took only an hour and 20 minutes to catch 15 stripers between the two boats.
(updated 8-16-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is in its summer pattern and fishing methods should be very similar for the next month. The lake level is falling slowly and currently sits about 11 feet above normal pool. The surface water temperature is ranging 82-85 degrees depending the time of day. The main lake looks fairly clear with the creeks and coves stained. The striped bass bite continues to be good for most out on the lake. The easiest and most productive method of catching stripers at this time is with live bait. Live threadfin shad, shiners and small bluegills are all working well, with shad being the best type of live bait. Lou says he’s currently finding large schools of stripers lying on the bottom in 70 feet of water. The best areas to find the stripers at this time are on points and large deep flats in the dam area and at the start of the Big Creek area (Long Point, Koso, Thumb, Point 1, Hudson) and also on the flats out in front of Sand Island in the Jordan area. Artificial baits are also producing striped bass. Try vertical jigging with a spoon or a 3-inch (or so) grub with a ¼- or 3/8-ounce jighead. If you’re jigging, keep the action of your bait moving slow, use small twitches of the bait and work them slowly on the bottom. It is hard to feel the bite, so be ready to set the hook with the slightest heaviness of your line while moving the bait. Trolling swimbaits and 4- or 5-inch crankbaits are also producing some fish.
Lou says a second area to catch hybrid bass and the occasional striped bass is in 25 feet (plus or minus 5 feet) of water. The lake thermocline is roughly at 25 feet with good oxygenated water from the shoreline out to 25 feet with about 80-84 degree water temperature through out this water column. Most of the bait fish he’s found are in this 0-25 feet range, so as you would guess it is holding lots of fish. Lou has found some schooling hybrids in the mid-lake area in the 25-feet range feeding on shad. With this shallower water, all types of artificial baits will work. Lou said a friend who was trolling deep-diving crankbaits ran into schools of nice striped bass on points in the mid-lake area,
The walleye bite is getting good. Most walleye are being caught in 18-25 feet of water on the bottom. Trolling a crawler harness with bottom bouncing weights are catching some nice fish, as are deep-diving crankbaits such as a Flicker Shad. If you’re using crankbaits, use about a 4-inch minnow imitating crank. If you just have shallow-diving cranks, you can always add some inline weight to get your bait down to the 20-feet level. Lou says he’s always had the best luck when the bill of the crank digs into the bottom of the lake a little. Walleye are showing up all over the main lake, including points and large flats. He has used threadfin shad set on the bottom and have picked up a few walleye. He has also caught walleye while striper fishing in 70 feet of water. Yesterday he did not land any walleye, but on four different occasions he set my hook on a light bite to bring up only his weight and leader with no hook. Lou says he would guess that he was getting numerous walleye bites.
Panfish are also ranging 0-25 feet of water. If you can find some brush pile in 20-25 of water, you will find some crappie, but most are roaming the flooded shoreline trees feeding on shad. Crickets are working well for bluegills in the shallow water.
Catfish are showing up at all depths. Lou says he has caught cats in 70 feet of water when striper fishing, as well as in 20 feet of water while walleye fishing. They are roaming all over the lake.
Lou adds, “A week ago I had a family that love to bowfish. I sent them over to a point in the Cranfield area and they had a blast. The best part of this group is that they clean and eat what they shoot. I have never eaten gar before, but they tell me they are excellent eating as long as they are cleaned properly. I took a cleaning lesson one afternoon when they were cleaning their catch and saw that you end up getting a nice white fillet with no bones after you are done. I guess I will have to try cleaning one next time I land a gar. I typically cut the line and release them when I do catch one.
(updated 8-23-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake last week fell 0.8 feet to rest at 10.3 tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 13.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had limited wadable water. On the Norfork, the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well one day and poorly the next. 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). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
(updated 8-23-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more 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 1,127.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said it was slow week for fishing in their neighborhood. The water is clear and remains high. No temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. Crappie were biting for the trolling anglers. Crappie are deep and biting minnows. Reports were fair. Bass are fair. Early in the day, go with topwater lures. At night, a plastic worm is the right call. Catfishing is good on jug lines and trotlines using live bait.
(updated 8-23-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) reports that Beaver Lake striper are back on the feed, and they have been seeing some fish surfacing with the cooler temps the last few days, so have your spoons, jigs or topwater plugs handy. Striper fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad, minnows and bream fished on free lines and downlines from 10 feet down to about 45 feet. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers or snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. You will need to locate fish near springs along bluffs with tree lines. Stripers are using areas like these due to summer temps and summer water condition. Night fishing with lights has been productive in these areas. Make sure you do not keep stripers under 20 inches and not more than three stripers or hybrid or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. There is no limit on white bass. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website. Water surface temperature is in the low to mid-80s. Check out these hot spots on the mid- and lower sections of the lake: Point 1, Indian Creek, Dry Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Pine Log, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm. Make sure the check the main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the areas where the channel intersects.
Walleye are in their summer mode and can be found from 20-30 feet deep, depending on areas you fish. Go with three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also use slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 8-9-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has picked up quite a bit this week. Most trout are being caught between Spider Creek and Parkers Bottom. Trout are biting on various ¼-ounce spoons, various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. One particular thing noted, a lot of these fish have been quite a bit bigger. The biggest one caught this week weighed 8 pounds. However, 2-pound trout have also been caught in nice numbers. The water temperatures in the area mentioned above has been between 55-58 degrees. Hybrids are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island pulling various Rapalas and Berkley hard baits in 6-10 feet of water. The weather has been great, so get out there and catch some fish.
(updated 8-23-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported the water below Beaver Dam has fallen enough to get out there and do some wading. Fly-fisherman and bait fisherman are catching their limits, as many gravel bars are finally exposing themselves allowing fisherman to get to “that” special spot to catch them elusive trout. Nightcrawlers and waxworms are working well for catching trout. PowerBait in dough or balls are also working well. Fish the Bertrand and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw ¼-ounce spoons. Flicker Shad are also doing the job. Don’t forget: The annual one-fly, one-lure tournament is in October; pick up a registration form at the front desk of the Beaver Dam Store.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 8-16-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are hitting topwater hoppers and poppers, Rooster Tails, crawdad and grasshopper crankbaits, 4-inch soft plastics, live minnows and crawdads caught from creek. Largemouth bass are hitting in the stretch of War Eagle running into Beaver Lake on topwater lures, spinnerbaits, soft plastics, jigs and crankbaits. Goggle eye are good on topwater hoppers and poppers, small jigs and live worms. Catfishing is good on liver, stink bait and live perch. Bowfishing good on blufflines and below War Eagle Mills to Beaver Lake
(updated 8-23-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said water is dingy and the level is high. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Anglers report some good catches on crappie. Crappie tended to range from fair to good the past week. Use minnows or jigs. The bass bite was good on topwater lures and with plastic worms as the heat rose. Catfishing is good. They’re being caught on worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken livers.
(updated 8-23-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is muddy and the level is high. Water surface temperature was recorded as 83 degrees on Tuesday morning. Reports on bream were poor, as they have been of late. Crappie fell off, with just poor reports from anglers. Bass are fair; try throwing a spinnerbait. Catfishing is good. They’re biting chicken livers or shad.
(updated 8-23-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is getting pretty low now. But the fish are still out there to be caught and there is “no limit” to what you catch. So, please go get them before it is too late. Ome has heard about some very nice bass being caught. But there are plenty of bream and crappie being caught also. You might just get a record-breaker on any bass, crappie, bream or catfish. Think positive and go get them.
(updated 8-23-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) this past week was similar to last week. Water is crystal clear and the surface temperature is 85 degrees. Level and current were normal. Fishing overall has been slow. Bream are fair and biting both redworms and crickets. Bass are good and anglers are using small crankbaits for the best action. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers and liver. Crappie reports remain poor.
(updated 8-23-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 340 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been clear. With the river lower than it has been all summer the trout have been hitting great. Cool temps the rest of the week should only make it better. Y2Ks and Guppies were hot last week. When the trout go off the bite and trout can be seen chasing the Y2K but not hitting it. It is best to put a small dropper nymph about a foot behind the Y2K and they will eat it up. Hot pink and white trout magnets have been working great on smallmouth and trout for spin fishers.
(updated 8-23-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing better. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is on and there many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 8-9-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater baits. Catfishing is fair with worms. Bream reports were poor, as were crappie reports. White bass also were poor.
(updated 8-23-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are in the upper 80s throughout, visibility is about one foot in Lake Langhofer and less than 6 inches on the main channel of the river (muddy). The main channel is flowing steady. Navigation is fairly safe at this time, but you’ll need a strong trolling motor to fish in the main current of the river. Black bass were not biting well for the team this past weekend. Still, fish were caught using a variety of lures from buzzbaits to crankbaits, and Texas-rigged crawfish imitators to drop-shot-rigged finesse worms.
(updated 8-23-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said bream are still biting there. They are biting on worms and crickets. Both nightcrawlers and redworms seem to be working for bream. Bass are still biting on topwater baits, including spinnerbaits. Catfish are slow, but fishermen with trotlines are having some luck. Crappie are kind of slow, but with a little bit of luck if you can find a hole. Crappie should pick up in a couple of months. Temperatures are hot and humid! Morning fishing is best right now, because it gets so hot in the afternoon. Hot temperatures are tending to continue until well after sunset, with the humidity lasting all 24 hours. There is no indication that the heat is driving the fish away any more than usual, but you are likely to be uncomfortable as a fisherman in the afternoon heat.
(updated 8-16-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said catfish are biting at Lake Chicot on just about anything. Anglers are having luck with bass in areas with water running into or out of the lake. Spinnerbait, swimbait and crankbait have been equally effective.
(updated 8-16-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the water surface temperature is ranged from the lot- to mid-80s. Clarity is average to good. The lake level is high. Bream are good. The fish are in 3-5 feet depth. Use worms or crickets. Bass are in shallow water, about 5-10 feet of depth. Use plastic worms or topwater lures. Catfishing is good on trotlines. No reports on crappie. No reports on white bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.32 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said as lake level is about at normal conservation pool and steady. There is minimum current of 170 cfs in Little River; tailwater about 230.2 ft-msl. Water temps increased slightly over the past week. Surface temps as of Mondayranged near 86 degrees early to 93 degrees range later under full sun, depending on location. Use normal caution on Little River and Millwood. Clarity and visibility is stained to muddy depending on location from recent rain, compared to last week, on most areas of the main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 5-7 inches. Cottonshed and northeast section of the lake remains heavy stained to muddy. Little River’s visibility ranged 5-8 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging 6-12 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Mike says warmer daytime highs this week diminished the surface schooling activities they have seen over the past few weeks up Little River. Largemouth bass remain fair to good around 2-3 pounds on topwaters at daybreak. Bass still react most aggressive at dawn around stumps, cypress trees and vegetation in the oxbows and Little River near deep drops. Topwater bite at daybreak remains very good on soft plastic fogs, buzzbaits, Stuttersteps, Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters, and Jitterbugs. Soft plastic Bass Assassin Shads and topwater soft plastic frogs continuing getting good responses around vegetation and lily pads. Best color of buzzbaits over the past couple weeks are black/blue, Casper the Ghost, bubblegum and firecracker/chartreuse around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels or in the river. Bass Assassin Shads continue biting best on chartreuse/silver glitter, Mississippi Hippie, Limetreuse and Texas Red colors. Best colors over the past week of the Stuttersteps are the Sexy Ghost, Gold Black Back/Orange belly and Bone. Big bulky, fat, 7-10-inch worms and Brush Hogs continue working in drop-offs, with best colors over the past few weeks being peanut black grape, black or pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail. Best locations for working the bulky worms range from 5-10 feet deep in Little River behind points (primary and secondary) around grass mats after morning topwater bite subsides, and in the same areas where the topwater early bite is aggressive. Continue moving deeper in the creek channels or to the points of Little River where the creek junctions the river as the sun rises and begins to heat up the flats adjacent to creek channels. The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shad are still working across underwater points in Little River; squarebill crankbaits continue working long old river channel cut-overs, ditches and deep creek outer swings where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into Little River. Rat-L-Trap/Echo 1.75 squarebills are Pinch’n Peach and Chartreuse Flash in the stained water areas, and the Ghost Minnow and Sexy Chrome in the clearer water backwaters away from current. Nice-size bass also continue biting on magnum-sized, 4-inch salty tubes with smokey/black/red flake, purple smoke/purple fleck, and black/blue tail colors working over the past several weeks. Chatterbaits in black/blue and War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Firecracker with chartreuse colors are working also away from muddy water and current of Little River next to cypress trees and knees, and over the past couple weeks in the oxbows away from current in Little River once the sun gets up, and in the clearest water you can locate. Shad and bream-colored squarebill crankbaits continue working around hydrilla and stumps from 5-9 feet deep near cypress trees along creeks and parallel to vegetation lines/mats dumping into the oxbows.
Whites/hybrids are still roaming, but not much surface breaking activity this past week with the influx of muddy water and current. Mike has seen no consistent/reproducible pattern for crappie since all the inflow, increase in current and muddy water of Little River last week. As for catfish, blues continued feeding well this week in Little River. Channel Cats continue biting well on trotlines set along outer bends of the river in stump rows of old river timber from 8-15 feet deep.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 543.62 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the lower to mid-90s. Schooling activity has picked up early from sun-up until mid-morning, but the bass are finicky. Most of the shad are about 1.5 inches long. Small Flukes and Finesse Fish are working well if you can get it on the schoolers quick enough, small CC spoons and 2-inch twister tail grubs work well for suspended fish. The size 90 Whopper Plopper is still taking some nice size bass in open water over the main river channel. During mid-day try fishing finesse worms or drop-shot rigs in watermelon red and pumpkinseed colors, off of main lake points in 16-20 feet of water. Crappie are fair on fish shelters and are holding 15-20 feet deep; live minnows remain the best bet for crappie right now. Catfish are fair on noodles and trotlines, small sunfish and liver are getting the bigger bites. Gary says he hopes all you die-hard anglers were able to enjoy the eclipse from a boat on the lake like he did. It was a strange and unforgettable experience and the fish bite was really good throughout the day, especially during the event. Be safe and don’t forget to hook up that kill switch.
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
Cossatot River State Park had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 401.52 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is fair with a few decent catches reported, but most fish are running small. Look for fish feeding in shad schools early in the morning. Good areas to try are the points in the big coves between points 2 and 6 on the south side. Also look for fish along the State Park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Most any surface lure will work along with Flukes and swimbaits. More important is to get the lure over the fish as soon as the “break” occurs because the fish will come up for a shad and immediately go back down. A few better fish reported coming from mid-lake between Caddo Drive and Yancey Creek. Try medium-running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless. Quite a few nice Kentuckies are showing along the bluff banks at points 14 and 15. Try a Texas rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin. Crappie fishing is improving with the approach of cooler weather and water. Look for fish mid-lake between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Try the deeper attractors at 18-25 feet. Fish a 2-inch curly tail grub vertically over the thickest part of the brush. Tennessee Shad is hard to beat in clear water. Like bass, early morning is by far the best time. Hybrid fishing is fair with the fish scattered between the dam and the mouth of Brushy Creek. Look for schooling fish early in the morning and throw most any small topwater lure. Also try swimbaits on the small umbrella. A few fish are holding in deep water, 100-plus feet along the old river channel between the dam and point 4. Use the sonar to locate the fish which will be suspended at 50-60 feet down. Drop a heavy jigging spoon or a 3-inch grub on a heavy jig. White is the best color. These fish are really scattered, so be prepared to do a lot of searching. Bream fishing is good and will remain so as long as the water stays warm. Look for fish on points in major coves most anywhere in the lake. For bigger fish, tight-line a redworm or cricket to just above the bottom in 15-25 feet of water. Also try the edges of the crappie attractors.
(updated 8-23-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass continue schooling early in the mornings. He’s using spoons with success. As the water temperature falls, start working the brush piles for the crappie. Darryl expects the possibility of an early fall.
(updated 8-23-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer is here eclipse and all.” The lake level is at 401.54. The water temperature ranges from mid- to high 80s. The thermocline is near 30 feet. This is a slow time of year for fishing with the heat and summer storms in Arkansas. Lake level being down has pulled the water out of the weeds, losing lots of cover for fish. Black bass can be caught early and late on topwaters near points or cover. Black Colorado blade spinnerbaits are a good bet after dark. Then, it is the summer routine of worms, points, drop-shot and brush piles. The crappie are slow and deep. The deeper the brush pile the better. Whites, Kentuckies, hybrids and black bass are still surfacing from Shouse Ford to Iron Mountain. Look for calm water. The problem is they don’t want to stay up long and the schooling blacks are somewhat finicky. Shad-looking topwaters like Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook Jr. and Devil’s Horse are best. When they go down, switch to deep-diving crankbait like a Shad Rap or use a spoon. Hybrids seem to be holding in the 20-feet range. Count down your spoon to 20-feet before starting your retrieve. Bream and catfish are slow. Bream fishing on the bottom in brush piles at 15 feet. A weather change is coming midweek. Look for the water temperature to begin to fall as temperatures and length of the days shorten. The fall bite is coming. Good fishing and be safe.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.48 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-16-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said anglers are still catching a few bream on upper and lower side. Crappie and catfish are slow. Bass are biting well on topwater and wobbleheads, just be cautious boating as the river is low.
(updated 8-16-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said there have been no reports from the lake.
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report.
White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 8-23-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said anglers experienced a week just like last week. Water is clarity is cloudy and the surface temperature was recorded as 84 degrees. Water level has been high of late. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Bass fishing has been excellent, with anglers showing off several nice-size bass. They are using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good. Try using worms or chicken liver. No reports on crappie. No reports on white bass.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 8-23-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy scheduling 10-hour generation periods each day to help maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is at its highest peak. Fast currents and possible open floodgates are dangerous and keeping proper distance from the area is vital for safety. Life jackets should be worn at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow, which is the norm for this time of year. The bite is very slow and patience is key regardless of techniques used. Live bait presentations are best presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms and mealworms are an excellent choice along with live minnows and crickets. Artificial lures are nonproductive as hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the area to spawn. Summer trout fishing requires stealth and patience as the fish are extremely wary and the bite lasts for only a few hours. White bass are in the tailrace and are being caught on live minnows tight-lined over dep water below the bridge. In periods of current flow, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern have worked well over rock structure and sandbars. These fish are in and out of the tailrace most of the summer season. Stripers have migrated into the tailraice to feed on the shad migration. Fish in the 20-pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the floodgates are open. Anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now. Casting weightless softplastics perfectly match the injured shad drawn through the open gate flow. Strong lines and rods are highly recommended as many of these large predator fish are in excess of 20 pounds and are ferocious fighters when hooked. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules and always follow all park and lake regulations.
(updated 8-16-2017) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born and bred Xpress all-weld aluminum fishing boat, reports that over the last week water conditions have fluctuated drastically both in water flow and temperature. Fishing has transitioned from dock fishing to main points of the lake. Walleye are being taken in large numbers and large sizes while fishermen are targeting bass. Bass are showing very early signs of the fall shad binge. Fish are lurking near underwater main points in the 12-15-feet range and waiting in ambush positions. Fish are still sluggish due to the heat of the hotter days, but when the water cools drastically (as it does frequently) fish become active again. Big worms like Zoom Ole Monster worms in black or plum and large tube baits like Zoom Watermelon Tubes are working well off points in the 70-degree range, and taking good fish at that. It’s only a matter of time before swimbaits and Rat-L-Traps will be making a sudden appearance into the picture so do not rule out these baits when targeting fish.
(updated 8-9-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperatures are in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Water clarity is good; there are some dingy creeks. The topwater bait for largemouth bass has been excellent. Jigs and large worms are working very well on deep structure. Crankbaits have been working well along riprap and jetties. Striped bass fishing has been good on spinnerbaits, swimbaits and topwater Poppers on the end of jetties and gravel bars just outside the buoy line. White bass and small stripers are on the sandy points. The topwater bite has been good for them, and spoons and crankbaits will catch them, too. Bream has been excellent around floating mats that are stuck on wood around points and jetties. Catfish have been good around the mouths of the creeks and off the deep drops of sandbars. Cut perch, shad and skipjack will catch them.
(updated 8-23-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports noted on US97 with Tom Duke that the Ozark Bass Club fished Lake Hamilton last Saturday night, with Duke saying it was pitch black without a moon, no breeze and heavy air. The winner, Caleb Byars, caught 10 pounds of fish, and the Big Bass was 3.08 pounds. Tom said he fished a topwater, a jig and a spinnerbait that got a hit, then went to a lid-head and caught two on consecutive casts. Full moon they bite, they feed.
Kastner says Hamilton is so crazy at this time, and not normal for this time of year. You’re as apt to catch as many fish using topwater or throwing a frog down the side as you are fishing a worm. It’s this weather – it’s just not normal weather and Hamilton is reacting differently.
(updated 8-23-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the white bass are still schooling early in the mornings and spoons work we’ll for him. As the water cools, be prepared to hit the brush piles for the crappie. It might be an early fall this year.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.90 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the anglers found the fishing slow the past week. The water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie reports were poor, though minnows and jigs were getting nibbles. Bass reports were poor. Catfishing is fair using chicken livers or nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-23-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report, saying the fishing was slow.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 572.61 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are slow and being caught with topwater baits fished early and late. Walleye are slow and being caught on spoons or bottom bouncers on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are slow on live bait or big hair jigs. The eastern end of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are good in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. No report on crappie. Catfish are very good on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs with trot line or jugs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Water temperature has ranged 82-86 degrees. Water clarity has been clear. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 8-23-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 that he got some good reports, including one he wasn’t expecting. One angler went out with a half-ounce bottom bouncer where walleyes and Kentuckies tend to be and ended up catching 2-3 nice-size black bass. That’s not normal for this time of year, Kastner says, especially when you’re talking about 25-30 feet of water on a rock hump. A balled hump in 30 feet of water is not where big black bass hang out this time of year. But he’s just using a jigging spoon, just hoping like if he was out for Kentuckies or whites. Kastner suggest a smaller one for shallower water, but at 30 feet that angler probably not wanting to wait that long for it to drop and, “you can’t argue with success.” If the black bass are cruising those jumps, you’ll probably catch some good ones using a worm, too. He adds that if you go out on any of the area lakes now, they key is finding that deeper brush. On Ouachita, those humps should be out of the lake as the lake is almost 7 feet down now and still going down.
Rain these days won’t slow the lake-falling effect as there is no water coming into any of the creeks, he said. Water should continue to be a slow fall. The cooler temperatures expected later this week will be a great relief but the water shouldn’t add any more water to the lake. But the way the water has been falling, not quite as fast as usual for August, it has allowed the moss to stay caught up with growth in pockets where it is just matting right below the surface. He says there are some places you can see it, but the majority is just below the surface of the water. That makes throwing a frog or a topwater bait over the top of it so much fun. It’s so easy to do. A lot of fish are being caught doing that, and he said he would not be surprised to see people start flipping a jig or a worm in that mat as well, that’s just right around the corner. Most guys would want a 1-ounce jig or something to get through it. Use a Texas rig with a heavy slip sinker, a three-quarter or 1-ounce slip sinker, but you’re just going along round looking for holes in that moss and pitching a jig or a lure of some kind, and let it go down to the bottom, yo-yo once or twice, and then bring it back up. Eight times out of 10 the fish will hit it on the first sink, anyway. If you yo-yo it once or twice and don’t get a hit, that’s about it. Move to another hole. You’re fishing 5-6 feet of water, flipping a lure those holes, and seeing if you something in that hole.
(updated 8-23-2017) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said striper fishing on Lake Ouachita has been tough. The fish are in the trees and not very active. Mainly seeing them around 50 feet deep and almost always in trees. Finding fish is tough; getting them to bite is hard; hooking and bringing them out of the trees is extremely difficult. The rewards are great though. Snags are inevitable, so make sure you have lots of tackle. Safe and happy fishing to everyone.
Angler Jacques Ridenour had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.72 feet msl (flood pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-23-2017) Professional guide Ronnie Tice of Horseshoe Lake Guide Service (901-687-6800) had no report.
(updated 8-23-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no report.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
(updated 8-23-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no report.
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