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Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 05-22-2019


May 22, 2019

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Weekly Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 22, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email 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.

Central Arkansas

North Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas

Northeast Arkansas

Southeast Arkansas

Southwest Arkansas

South-Central Arkansas

West-Central Arkansas

East Arkansas

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:

NOTICE (updated Friday, May 24): The Army Corps of Engineers has updated the flow forecast for the Arkansas River in Arkansas as rain continues to fall in the river’s drainage basin in Oklahoma and Kansas. The updated flows are expected to exceed the flows experienced in May 1990. Flows at Trimble Lock and Dam near Fort Smith are about 270,000 cfs and are expected to peak Monday, May 27, at about 560,000 cfs. Flows at Dardanelle Lock and Dam at Russellville are 185,000 cfs and expected to peak Wednesday, May 29, at about 540,000 cfs. Flows at Toad Suck Lock and Dam at Conway are 180,000 cfs. and expected to peak Thusday, May 30, at about 525,000 cfs. Flows at Murray Lock and Dam at Little Rock are 180,000 cfs and expected to peak Friday, May 31, at about 515,000 cfs. Flows at Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff are 180,000 cfs and are expected to peak Sunday, June 2, at 490,000 cfs, Flows at Dam 2 near Tichnor are 180,000 cfs and are expected to peak Tuesday, June 4, at 490,000 cfs. 
The National Weather Service predicts river stages and reminds persons along the Arkansas River to be monitoring the NWS website in order to make decisions about whether to move livestock, equipment and belongings to higher ground. People in at-risk areas should also stay in contact with local emergency officials.  
The river forecast website is
For persons who are interested in the Arkansas River in western Arkansas the National Weather Service link for Van Buren is:<wbr></wbr>2/hydrograph.php?wfo=tsa&gage=<wbr></wbr>vbua4.
For Central Arkansas the forecast site is just outside Conway at:<wbr></wbr>2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lzk&gage=<wbr></wbr>toda4.
For those interested in the Arkansas River in eastern Arkansas, the Pine Bluff forecast information is:<wbr></wbr>2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lzk&gage=<wbr></wbr>pbfa4.
Daily river information can be obtained at or the Corps’ mobile App which can be found in mobile App stores by searching for USACE Little Rock.



Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir

NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Conway in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water from Lake Conway for lawn or garden use from May 20, 2019, to March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.

(updated 5-22-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is murky while the water level is a little bit high. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Crappie are in 5-6 foot depth; fish around the green cypress. Black bass are excellent on soft plastic worms and topwater lures. Catfishing is good on trotlines using minnows and goldfish.

Little Red River

(updated 5-22-2019) Greg Seaton of (501-690-9166) said the river is muddy today after 2 inches of rain Tuesday night. The generation should help clear the water by Friday with the same amount of release that has been scheduled the last several days. This has been about 12 hours of two-unit generation from 8-9 a.m. to about 9 p.m. This schedule should hold for the next several days due to the lower river capacity. Check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock App for the scheduled generation.
UPDATE: 4 p.m., May 22: Greg says that he has now learned that because of power requirements in the region, the Corps is likely to be generating Friday and straight through Saturday, meaning that there will be no wade fishing or viable float opportunities Saturday because of the constant generation. The generation schedule should be back to 12-hour generation with two-units Sunday and Monday.
Fishing has been good by staying ahead of the new generation, with some wading available in the morning hours at Winkley and mid-day hours on the lower river shoals. Early morning wading at the dam until 8-9 a.m. Fish are taking caddis emergers, caddis pupa and midge pupa. Size 12 to 14 emergers and size 18 to 20 midge pupa are good choices.

Greg adds, “This is Memorial Day weekend and many anglers will be on the water, so please be courteous and safe. Be aware that the river will be high and swift when the generated water reaches your area, and plan accordingly. Don’t wade a great distance downstream from your takeout point and have to return upstream when the water rises. Also, if kayaking or canoeing, please plan your trip to stay ahead of the rising water and not risk the increased flow. If caught in the high flow, avoid docks and other obstructions from the upstream side. The water reaches Cow Shoals about 1 hour after generation starts, Winkley Shoal about 3½ hours, and Libby Shoal about 4-4½ hours. Be safe and respect the river. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.”

(updated 5-22-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing 12 hours of two units of generation daily. This generation pattern is providing small windows of wading opportunities on the upper sections of the river early mornings and on the middle and lower sections later in the day. With the water release of two full units of generation, the river will rise quickly. If wading, be observant of changing water levels and be aware of your surroundings for your safety. This pattern is also providing excellent drift-fishing on all sections. Use sowbugs, emergers, San Juan worms and streamers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use cotton candy and hot pink bodies on chartreuse jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-3625150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website ( for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule.

Greers Ferry Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 474.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.93 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).

(updated 5-22-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday morning the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 473.99 feet msl and staying pretty steady with rain. It’s 11.95 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. All species are eating all over the lake and rivers. Some crappie are in the bushes and some are out to 30 feet already; use your usual manner to catch them, be it jigs or minnows or a Road Runner, fished vertical or horizontal. Walleye are getting grouped up pretty well but hard to find – unless you find them, and then you can catch some. It will get better soon. For now, drag crawlers in 10-15 feet. Bream are gearing up for the upcoming moon to spawn; use crawlers, crickets and inline spinners. Catfishing is real good all over with the flatheads spawning soon. Black bass are in the bushes out to 30 feet like the crappie, and getting bit is not problem – the usual baits are working. Some hybrid bass and white bass are still in rivers and some are set up in the lake eating shad in 25- 42 feet of water. Fish them with spoons, inline spinners, and grubs up shallow.

Harris Brake Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is muddy and the level, while beginning to drop, is still high. Surface water temperature Monday mid-afternoon was 78 degrees. Bluegill and redear are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is excellent on trotlines with goldfish. No reports on black bass.

Lake Overcup

NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Overcup in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC urges adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water from Lake Overcup for lawn or garden use from May 20, 2019, to March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.

(updated 5-15-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 70 degrees. Bass are doing well on black plastic worms and buzzbaits around brushtops and structure around the banks. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. Crappie are being caught in deeper water, 8-12 feet fishing about 6 feet deep. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and shad. “Come see me, Catfish Banks, at the bait shop, off Highway 9.”

Brewer Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) had no reports, saying everything was poor across the board.

Lake Maumelle

(updated 5-22-2019) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports water temperature is in the upper 70s. Largemouth bass are good. Most of them can be found shallow, both at dusk and dawn, biting a variety of lures. Some reports coming in this week say the black bass can be find in 3-12 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are good. Some reports of them being found in 4-8 feet of water outside the grass line at dusk and again at dawn. They can also be found in 12-16 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass are poor. Reports of the run slowing down. Some can be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Crappie are heading out of the deeper holes. Reports of them being found 8-12 feet around brush piles as well as 14-18 feet and are starting to stack, while some are still scattered. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are slow. Reports coming in that the channel cats are moving in to shallow water. Try using stink bait, crayfish or worms.


Sunset Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers are catching catfish on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream have been biting this week on crickets and worms. Crappie fishing has been slow to fair with pink minnows, size 6 minnows and small jigs and beetle spins. Bass are hitting floating worms, Carolina-rigged lizards and centipedes or big lively minnows.

Bishop Park Ponds

(updated 5-22-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie and bass have been biting size 6 and size 12 minnows. Bass are hitting plastic worms and lizards rigged every way. Floating a red/black core Trick Worm is working best, according to some regulars at the ponds. Catfish have been biting fair on minnows, chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Bream are biting well on crickets and redworms.


Saline River Access in Benton

(updated 5-22-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that as the river goes up and down from the recent rains, the fishing has been up and down. When it’s not too high the fishing has been good. Minnows are always a good choice of bait on the river. Crappie hit the size 6 and pink minnows well and will also hit your favorite crappie jigs like Kalin’s Triple Threat grubs. Bass, walleye and catfish seem to prefer the bigger size 12 or brooder minnows as well as goldfish and black salties. Bass have a hard time resisting a number of artificial baits, too, like watermelon seed or green pumpkin lizards and worms or small crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Bream fishing on the Saline can be a blast. Take a light-action rod and reel with light line and small hooks and plenty of worms or crickets along and try to keep a count. A big number of them will be small but you won’t get bored and you’ll catch some of the most colorful perch you’ll find anywhere. Wherever you go, have fun, be safe and when you leave, please leave it clean.


Lake Norrell

(updated 5-22-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is starting to get good but still seems slower than it should be. All the rain must have them confused, but warmer weather and sunshine means warmer water, and that should turn it up real quick. Drop a cricket or redworm down around some underwater brush or logs and you’re likely to find a few big ones. Fish deeper than you might normally fish for bream and keep a tight line. Bass have been biting fair early and late in the day on live minnows, floating worms, topwater baits and small buzzbaits. Catfish are biting chicken livers, minnows, goldfish and nightcrawlers for customers fishing from their docks. Crappie are still biting for a few customers using No. 6 and pink minnows.


Lake Pickthorne

(updated 5-22-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are fair. Anglers are having the best success with minnows or with Bobby Garland white Slab Slayers and spider rigging. Fish the creek channel of the lake.

Lake Valencia

(updated 5-22-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says
catfishing is fair. Use chicken liver or chicken hearts.

Lake Willastein

(updated 5-22-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says black bass are excellent. Use spinnerbaits or buzzbaits. Catfishing is also excellent on nightcrawlers or chicken hearts.

Lake Winona

(updated 5-22-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a couple of trips paid well for some guys that went for catfish. Minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers caught good stringers two days in a row while fishing the bottom around steep banks. Bass fishing has been fair with live minnows, floating or Carolina-rigged plastic worms, lizards and Brush Hogs. The crappie bite has been slower than it should be, but some anglers have been catching a few on size 6 minnows and jigs. Bream are biting fair and are starting to make a few beds, so the bite should improve quickly. Crickets, worms or small jigs like a Rock Hopper should help fill a stringer or live well after a few warmer, sunny days.


Arkansas River at Morrilton

(updated 5-22-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.


Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)

No report.

Little Maumelle River

(updated 5-22-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the clarity is still muddy while the water level has stayed low, leading to poor fishing reports across the board.

Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)

(updated 5-22-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent at Murray Lock and Dam by snagging. White bass are also excellent. Use spoons and twister tails.

(updated 5-22-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good using cut bait and shad.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)

(updated 5-22-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the river is muddy and high. No reports from the Little Rock Pool. However, below the Terry Lock and Dam, bream are good on redworms and crickets, while catfishing is good by snagging, or by bait fishing with cut bait and shad.

(updated 5-22-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the river is high, but in the area around Terry Lock and Dam, the fishing is good for all species: Bream, crappie, black bass and catfish all had good reports, though no baits were mentioned.

(updated 5-22-2019) Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that the muddy river still remains too high and with too much flow for boaters and anglers to be on the river now.

(updated 5-22-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent at Murray Lock and Dam by snagging. White bass are also excellent. Use spoons and twister tails.

Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)

(updated 5-22-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the level is now down to normal and the clarity is clear. Bream fishing is good using redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; no baits reported. Catfishing is good with worms or chicken liver.

Peckerwood Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity is dingy and the water level is normal. Bream are excellent on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and trolling. No reports on black bass. Catfishing is excellent using worms.


White River

(updated 5-22-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says Memorial Day signals the start of summer with all the fun family traditions of picnics, fishing, camping, fishing, barbecues, fishing and … more fishing, and fishing the White River for a boatload of trout makes memories for all ages. This past week has seen consistent water levels generated from Bull Shoals Dam, an easy flow of about 3,000 to 6,000 cfs, and that means the trout aren’t being spooked by extreme changes in their environment. Our best bait was the Blue Fox spinner, gold, 3/16-ounce or ¼-ounce, but the Thomas Buoyant red/gold hammered ¼-ounce spoon was a close second. “We’ve seen some mossy areas on the river these last few weeks, so try to keep your bait not too far below the surface of the Cwater (keep your rod tip high). The water level is perfect for those jigs. Maribou jigs or White River Zig Jigs are attracting a lot of attention (brown-olive, black-green, brown-orange). Stick to sculpins and minnows for the browns – they’re just big meat eaters – and the bigger your bait, the larger the trout you’ll hook. We’d love for you to include some trout fishing in your summer plans, and Cotter is the Trout Capital of the U.S. of A. Stop in and say ‘Hey’ when you find your way to the Arkansas Ozarks.”

(updated 5-22-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Sunday that during the past week they had a half-inch of rain in Cotter, warm temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 3.5 feet to rest at 17.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock 1.9 feet to rest at 1.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 13.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 4.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had light generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.6 feet to rest at 13 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 10.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork we had less generation and reliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool, and there currently is light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect heavy generation in the near future. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 prince nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down).

(updated 5-15-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the clarity of the river is “pretty clear.” They add, “There are thousands of bugs on the water.” The river level, which has been high, is now low with under four generators running. The trout bite is fair. “They’re still catching a few rainbows,” they report. “There is lots of moss.”

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 680.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said late last week that the lake level was up 16 feet to 677 feet msl. “You’ve got a lot of water in the lake. that makes it fun, and we’re still catching fish.” Water clarity is about 25-30 feet. Down by the dam on a flat day, you can see quite a ways down, he said. So, that means you can fish the lake two different ways: clear and dirty. If you’re going to fish in the clear

Water, he said, there’s a good tube bite. You can drag a tube, and what ou want to do is fish the points, the old shoreline. Mark the bush and come back

out 10-15 feet and cast. Throw a tube, and a football jigs working in there as well. Carolina rigs are also working. “What I do is I like to go find a little dirtier water. There’s still some late spotters up and there’s some bed fish still, so go ahead and hit them up with the Senko. There’s also a Beaver bite, flipping the bushes, pushing the cover. That’s going to work good in the dirty water.”

He notes that there is a lot new water to explore, and if anglers get into the mulch pads, the frog is still working there. Again, it helps if there is a little dirtier water for that approach. “You can catch a few on a frog, and that’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Also

if you get up early there’s a

topwater bite that’s starting, so in isolated cover you can throw a Whopper Plopper or

throw a Zara Spook. If you’re looking to cover some water, you can also throw the Lucky Craft, the Gun Fish, if the water is real clear. That will put a couple of fish in the boat for you.”
Also working, Del said, is when a front is coming through and there are clouds, anglers can do some power fishing with a spinnerbait. The Whopper Plopper is st arting to work there, too. “You kind of want a little bit of wind, a little bit of clouds, a little bit of dirty water. Same thing with the buzzbait.” So, the story is, if you’re on Bull Shoals, Del says, there’s “a bunch of different ways to catch them.” Also, the smallmouth bass and Kentucky bass seem to be out toward the main lake now, while back in the arms and creeks, if you get the “skinny, dirty water,” there seems to be a bit more largemouth action back there.


Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 570.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “The week that was supposed to be did not happen. We had the warming spell and full moon but the shad did not spawn. The later part of the week, we had colder weather and heavy rain and that cooled the water down. The stripers are still feeding heavy at first light until the sun comes up, then the bite dies. What I have seen the last few days is fish are now suspending in the 35-45 feet range, which means downline fishing is starting. I have caught several stripers on downlines, which is a 2- to 4-ounce weight with a leader and hook straight down – thus it’s called downline fishing. I now have started fishing channel swings next to bluffs and I have long lines, planer boards and downlines to cover the whole water column.
“I will next start using weighted floats set at 35 and 40 feet with 6-inch gizzard shad as bait. We are still fishing the Big Creek area but have move out of the creeks and now fish the mid area. Soon we will be fishing both Big Creek and the main lake in deep water flats next to bluffs.
“The other method to catch stripers is pitch live bait into the brush early morning and late afternoon evenings. Pitching live bait into the brush is very effective. Some guides use this method very effectively, but you will get hung up a lot and miss a lot of fish that are roaming. A better method is to stay out and fish the old shoreline. I have found over the years the fish still relate to the old shoreline when the lake rises. They just move up when they are active, then move back as the sun comes up.”
The walleye bite is very strong right now. Tom’s sources tell him they are using bottom bouncers set at 15 and 25 feet of water with either a nightcrawler or Flicker Shad crankbait trolled at 0.75 mph off the points. Lot of shorts are being caught along with some nice-size keepers. The high water will alter the crappie bite. Until the water warms up, they will stay in the deep brush piles, but once it warms up look for stained water and find some buckbrush. The best method is to dip and cork and minnow into the brush. It’s very effective in catching spawning crappie.

(updated 5-15-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing continues to be good even with constant weather pattern changes. “Yes, our lake has risen roughly 11 feet since my last report, two weeks ago, but things are becoming much more stable. All species are biting, but the patterns have changed with all the new space the fish have to play in and all the new brush that has gone under water. High water is a blessing to the fish population, especially when it happens after most of the species have spawned. We will see the effect of this year’s higher water in about three years with increased fish population, as well as increases in size.”

The striped bass and hybrid bass bites have been steadily improving. They are being caught throughout the lake. The best locations at this time are partway, to most of the way, back into major creeks. “But I am starting to see a few of this species finally starting to move out to main lake points which is typically the norm for this time of year. This morning I found a huge school of hybrids near a main lake point feeding on shad. I ended up landing four in the 7- to 8-pound range, on a 6-inch paddle tail swimbait in a sexy shad color. As soon as it started to get light out the bait and fish moved on. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had almost a full house of guests with us last week and the majority of them were striped bass fishermen and women. Over the week I think they fished the entire lake and had great success on most days. The best bait for them was live shad or shiners. Free lining the bait with no weight caught fish, as did setting down lines at 20 and 30 feet deep. Most of the fish they found were back in major creeks in 30-45 feet of water. Some of the fish were close to shore on the deep side, but others were out in the middle. Vertical jigging with a spoon has also been producing some nice fish back in the same areas in 30-35 feet of water on the bottom.”
The bass bite has also been very good. The best location for this species is inside of the sunken brush. Some of the most productive areas have been long points that have been totally submerged, with some of the brush just slightly above the water line. The fish will be hanging near the brush to just outside of the brush. Use worms, lizards, centipedes or just about any plastic bait, worked slowly along the bottom. There are occasions that you will only see your line moving off to one side – if you notice the movement, set the hook. Spinnerbaits iare also working ripping them back through the brush. The fun part with fishing inside of the brush is getting the fish out. Topwater action has slowed for now but will pick up again soon. Even if you don’t notice the fish hitting the surface, throw a topwater bait into the brush and you will be able to call up some nice fish. Once the water temperature reaches 70-plus degrees we will start seeing the bass exploding.
Bluegill have started to spawn in the backs of creeks and coves in very shallow water. Small jigs are picking up some nice fish. The crappie bite has changed over the last couple of weeks. Most have spawned out and have moved out to their 30-feet-deep brush. The water level rose and has somewhat scattered the fish. Some are being caught at the edges of the sunken brush in 18-25 feet of water. Trolling small crankbaits will still work, but using small jigs once you find the fish will also pick up a few nice ones. Walleye are showing up with the stripers, hybrids and whites chasing the bait fish. You will pick up some nice fish with live bait or by casting a swimbait, an A-rig or suspending jerkbait to the shoreline. The best time to catch this species is sunrise and sunset. The Norfork Lake water level is 568.9 feet msl. The main lake ranges from crystal clear, to slightly stained to very stained depending on location. “Most of the coves and creeks I have been in are clear to slightly stained. The lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning ranged from 66-68 degrees depending on location.”

(updated 5-8-2019) Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service said that with the rain they had this past week Norfork Lake is up about 10 feet and the water temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. The upper end of the lake the water is stained with some debris floating. The rest of the lake down to the dam and up Big Creek is clear. There is not very much topwater activity going on. When there is some, it’s just a few coming up sporadic. If they are close enough to cast to, they will usually hit your lure. Throw a Spook, soft jerkbait or a wake-type bait. “When the fish aren’t feeding on the surface, I throw a swimbait and it will catch stripers, hybrids, whites, walleye and all three bass species. I even caught a couple crappie. At night, throw a stick bait to the edge of the brush close to the bank and retrieve the lure SLOW back to the boat,” Steve says.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 5-22-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Sunday that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 1.6 feet to rest at 13 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 10.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork we had less generation and reliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool, and there currently is light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect heavy generation in the near future.The Norfork has fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as 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 ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (size 14). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With school just about out it will be crowded soon. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and white mop flies. 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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 5-22-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. The smallmouths are more active with the warm 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.


Beaver Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,126.44 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is still up and is 1126.95 feet msl. They have had numerous rounds of some pretty severe weather this past week. “Had to dodge storms numerous days that limited fishing. As I post, we are expecting more rain (Tuesday), which should bring lake up some more. Good news is this is always great for the future recruitment of all species of fish in Beaver Lake and others in the region.” On that note, Jon said, bass fishing has a topwater and a Fluke bite starting up in any areas with flooded brush. Hit it early and later in day to get on this bite. Smallmouth and spotted bass are pulling out to normal summer locations. Look for them on bluff walls and main points and secondary points in 20-30 feet of water. Ned rigs and tubes in green pumpkin will work. Boat docks come into play. Stripers are still scattered throughout the lake and doing well. “I always tell people if you do not have good electronics you are missing a major piece of the puzzle. Learn them and you will increase your catch rates on all fish, especially stripers, as they move all the time all day long. Find them and they are not hard to catch. Same for walleye if you go to my Facebook guide page, Jon Conklin FishOn Guides, Goshen, Arkansas, I always try to post tips that will help you on Beaver Lake.” Walleye are good on worm harnesses now and the key on walleye is to have good speed control, “and for that I use a Minnkota trolling motor with I Pilot and spot lock. A great graph and also a good trolling motor are needed. You can keep great speed control with the I pilot up to 0.25 mph increments. Walleye are SO speed sensitive on the troll. If you’re over by a small amount of speed, greater than 0.3 mph, you may not get bit!” Crappie are good and going into summer patterns suspending to 15 feet and other structure in that depth range. Bream are showing up getting ready for the spawn. Catfish are good. It is time to run trotlines and jugs, etc. “Watch the skies, and be safe.

(updated 5-22-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity in the river arms is stained in places. The water level is high, about 1,126 feet msl as of Monday afternoon. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. They are in post-spawn mode, and anglers are finding them trolling and spider-rigging in the river arms. Black bass are good. Throw topwaters in the morning, and also fish with Long A’s. Catfish appear close to spawning. The bite is fair; work the bait around big rocks with rod and reel, and also you catch some noodling. Walleye are now on the bottom and are being caught trolling a nightcrawler harness.

Beaver Tailwater

(updated 5-22-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said this week the fishing has been a great. Trout bit mostly on PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons in various colors were also a hit. This weeks “hot spot” has to be between Houseman Access and first upstream bend. The fish just seemed to bite more in that area. Further downstream toward Beaver, the Kentucky bass were pretty hot. Kentucky’s were caught using various soft plastics, both suspended and horizontal jigging in 10-12 feet of water. Throwing toward structure and rock seemed to produce the best results. White bass are scattered between Beaver and Holiday Island. Once you got on top of them, a U-rig with white grubs and suspended hard baits were all it took to induce a response. White were staying pretty deep, so use something to get down to them. Walleye are spread out; you have to get out and search for them. If you have a graph, use it. Look around the points and inside bends. Jigging with live minnows, artificial baits, crawlers and worms near or on the bottom should produce some results. “We have some more rain moving in this week. Try to get out before then. Remember, if I can help further, contact me on my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) or shoot me a text. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!”

Lake Fayetteville

(updated 5-15-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports a clear clarity to the water and a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using plastic worms and live bait. Catfishing is good.

Lake Fort Smith

(updated 5-15-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, said that he noticed two great fishing success indicators for this past week: a nearly full parking lot at the boat ramp area most days, and only two surveys from anglers returned. “Yep – fishing is becoming so good here that NOBODY is talking about it for fear of losing their prized “honey hole,” Ralph says. “Suffice to say – we are having some successes here.” Park interpreter Heather Hula reported to Ralph that the bite is on and the fish are moving up into the shallow water and the newly submerged vegetation from all the recent rainfall. Clarity and visibility are 2.5 feet, and surface temperature is 73 degrees. Bream are good and are in 2 feet of water. They’ll generally bite crickets or worms. Crappie are in 2-4 feet depth. Black bass are excellent and will bite plastic worms fished in 2-4 feet depth. Fish around brush piles, stumps or rocky points. White bass are excellent in 2 feet depth. Use worms and focus around the stumps and brush piles. No reports on catfish.

Lake Sequoyah

(updated 5-22-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the level is normal and clarity is clear. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on chartreuse/black jigs, especially; throw minnows and other jigs as well. Black bass are biting black/chartreuse spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, and reports are fair. Catfishing is poor.



Lake Charles

(updated 5-22-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says the lake is murky and the level remains high. Surface temperature early Sunday was 59 degrees. She says fishing slowed down over last weekend with the storms coming in Saturday afternoon. There are reports of bream spawning, however, and the bite is good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs, crickets and redworms. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater baits, shaky head worms and jig-and-pig. Catfish are biting worms, blood bait, chicken liver and Catfish Pro Blood. “Stop by the visitors center and tell us your fishing experience.”

Lake Poinsett

(updated 5-8-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Wow, what a weekend we had. Sold out of minnows and most of our crickets. Lake Poinsett State Park has plenty in stock now and plans to have what you need when you get here. We are here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Happy fishing!” While Lake Poinsett is undergoing repairs through early next year, other options in the area include Lake Hogue and Lake Charles. Also, remember the AGFC’s public meeting about the status of the lake on Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Harrisburg.

Crown Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 72 degrees. Water level is normal to high, perhaps 6 inches above normal level. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass also are biting minnows, with good reports. Catfishing is poor.

Spring River

(updated 5-15-2019) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 470 cfs (350 average) at the spring and water clarity has had partly cloudy. The river is looking good this week. Water levels have been above normal, so be safe wading. The fish have been biting well down deep. The use of split shot about a foot above the fly will help to get closer to the bottom of the river. Olive Woolly Buggers have been hot this week with a nymph dropper; a lot of nymphs are hatching throughout the day. Black and orange Trout Magnets have been hot. It’s all about getting down to the bottom where the fish are. Don’t be afraid to use extra spit shot.

(updated 5-22-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a bit high. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. 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).

White River

(updated 5-22-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.


Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)

(updated 5-22-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the mid- to upper 70s. Water clarity is around 6 inches to 1 foot. The water level continues to fluctuate with the heavy river flows. Black bass are biting well, though they aren’t always holding in the same places day to day due to water fluctuations. In general, if the water is up, target flooded brush and vegetation. If the water level is normal, target steeper rock banks and woody cover. Shad-colored square-bill crankbaits, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are working well for covering water, and dark-colored jigs and soft plastics are working well in flooded brush and vegetation. The main channel is dangerous to navigate right now, partly for the turbulent water, but mostly for submerged jetties. If you do venture out to the main channel, do not run outside the navigation channel and use extreme caution at all times.

Arkansas River (Pool 2)

No report.

Cane Creek Lake

(updated 5-8-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said that aside from a little rain, the weather at Cane Creek State Park has been stable and enjoyable of late. Fishing in general has followed a slow trend of getting steadily better as the days go by. Crappie are getting harder to find, just due to the time of year warming up the water. As the water warms, your best chances of finding them will be in about 6 feet of water, over deeper holes and structure. Throw a minnow in and let it sink to the desired depth, and make sure it moves. The quantity of crappie will be low, but the quality should be breat. Bass will start to slowly make their way into deeper pools during the heat of day and return to the shallows as the water cools in the evening. Try soft plastic baits fished from the shoreline all the way into the deep to try and get a reaction. Dark spinners and buzzbaits fished later in the evening will get any agressive bass to bite. As the water warms up even more, topwater baits will also come into play. Catfish are still Cane Creek’s constant. No matter what, you can almost always catch a catfish here. Fish with liver, chunks of chicken, or soaked minnows/shad in about 10 feet of water. The later in the evening you fish, the better off you are. Cane Creek State Park’s bait shop is now selling frozen minnows soaked in our very own attractant recipe. Ask about it at the front desk! Finally, bream are making a showing after a lousy crappie season. As the water gets ever warmer, the bream get more and more agressive. They might not be sitting on beds anymore, as they are out of spawn, but that does not mean they won’t bite. We can officially say the bream bite is on! It is still too early to tell if worms or crickets will be the hot bait for bream this week, but fish with either one, tied on the end of your line and drug across the bottom in the shallows. Be sure to bring any big ones to the office to be photographed!

Lake Chicot

(updated 5-22-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says catfish are biting on worms and stink bait. Lake level is going down, but the recent storms moving in have made the lake very rough and muddy the last couple of days. The forecast is showing a chance of storms Wednesday and then minor precipitation expected throughout the week.

Lake Monticello

(updated 5-8-2019) Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) reports that Lake Monticello is has fair to good clarity while the water level is high. The fish are finished spawning and are moving to post-spawn. The black bass bite is good on crankbaits and soft plastics. Fish for them in 5-8 feet depth. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish.


Millwood Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 262.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Sunday the Millwood Lake pool continued falling from thunderstorms over past couple weeks. Lake elevation is about 2 feet above normal pool and falling. The Army Corps of Engineers were releasing around 15,000 cfs, which could change again by mid-week. The tailwater below the dam is also beginning to fall from the Red River backing up and, with USACE gates release at the dam, it is around 246 feet msl. Water temps rose over the past week, and earlier this week they were ranging 71-78 degrees. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website or app, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood this week, watching for random, broken or floating timber with the current conditions of Little River flow. Navigation conditions are cautioned with the current and discharge.
Clarity and visibility is moderate stain, ranging 2-3 inches. Little River has muddy current and visibility ranges 0-2 inches, stained conditions, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity slightly stained up with most recent lake level rising, and stain is obvious in the mouths of the oxbows. Currently, oxbow clarity ranges 10-12 inches.
Mid-morning activity for largemouth bass continues improving, and early morning activity continues improving in the oxbows and pockets away from river current. Excellent reactions have been seen using buzzbaits, plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads, Rat-L-Traps and jigs. The bite frequency and patterns improved again with increased surface temps this week. The best locations over the past few weeks have been in the back of the oxbows and pockets along main lake, where water conditions and clarity are best. The further away from Little River muddy current seems to find the best largemouth activity. Anywhere you find fresh lily pads, new grass and stumps will be prime locations. The white bass disappeared with all the recent muddy inflow and high current discharge. Crappie are post-spawn, and there has been nothing consistent to report with all the muddy current over the past few days in Little River with current discharge over 15,000 cfs. Blue catfish and channel cats improved dramatically on the lake side of the dam, along Little River, since the USACE opened the gates back up this week and increased current discharge at the dam. Below the dam, we are hearing good reports of spoonbills, flatheads and even a few striped bass coming upriver from the Red River and biting very well.

Lake Columbia

(updated 5-22-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) reports that bass are biting well on soft plastics. A few bream are being caught.

Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)

Visit for a daily update on fishing conditions.

Lake Greeson

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 547.07 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature Monday was 80 degrees. The level was at normal full pool, 548 feet. Bream are good, with the fish in 2-5 feet depth and biting worms. Fish the brush piles or stumps. Crappie are excellent. They are in 15-20 feet of water and biting minnows and jigs. Work the bait around the brush piles. Black bass are excellent. Reports of bass in 12-15 feet of water and hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures. Set up near brush and throw topwaters. Catfish are good using worms, blood bait and chicken liver. White bass reports were fair.

(updated 5-8-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is almost 2 feet above full pool of 548 feet and falling until the rain this week. Water temps have made it the mid- to the lower 70s. The bass are in their spring and early summer patterns. A lot of bass have moved to the post-spawn patterns and can be caught on Yum Pulse swimbaits and Super Spook Jr’s. Shaky-head-rigged Yum Finesse Worms are working OK on main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. Carolina-rigged Christie Critters or lizards in watermelon candy or green pumpkin are also working well on points adjacent to spawning areas. Wacky-rigged Yum Dingers have slowed, but can still work around spawning flats. Concentrate on secondary points next to spawning pockets where the fish are moving out of. Crappie are REALLY good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep on minnows and jigs. Catches of 50-100 per day are not uncommon right now.

DeGray Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.11 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina, said water level is at 408.6 feet msl and water temperature ranges from the mid-70s and up. Fishing reports have been great. Crappie have moved back to the brush piles and are being caught from 15 feet to 6 feet deep. Minnows and jigs have both been producing. Reports are good from Point Cedar to Arlie Moore. Black bass reports are good, also. Spinnerbaits and topwaters over the brush have been producing well. Brushy and Shouse Ford are good areas for black bass. White bass and hybrids are showing up from Caddo Bend to Point Cedar. This is early in their surfacing season, so the key is to find out what they will bite. Spoons, jigs and live bait choices are pillars in hybrid fishing … And then it rained. No reports on catfish or bream at this time. Fish early, use your electronics and be safe.

(updated 5-22-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says the crappie are off the shoreline for the most part and stacking up on mid-range brush piles. Minnows and jigs have produced fished 6-12 feet deep. White bass and hybrids have moved out of the river and creek arms. Casting spoons and trolling crankbaits and A-rigs have produced.

De Queen Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.68 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).

No reports.

Dierks Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 534.91 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).

No reports.



White Oak Lake

(updated 5-15-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, says the water clarity is murky and the surface temperature is 71 degrees. The lake level is 3 feet above normal. Bass are biting Flukes, Senkos, Rat-L-Traps and topwater chatterbaits. Crappie are biting blue and white jigs, along with pink and green. Bream are biting redworms and crickets consistently. Catfish are biting nightcrawlers slowly, as well as bream and pumpkinseed-color Senkos.


 (updated 5-22-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said the water is still high but the bream are biting well in the woods. Bass are slow. A few catfish are being caught. The Felsenthal Bream Festival is this weekend, May 24-25, in the town of Felsenthal.


Lake Atkins

(updated 5-22-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake clarity has a green color to it and the lake level is high, up 2 feet. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Bass are good. Catfish are good. No reports on crappie. The lake was fertilized last Tuesday (May 14), hence the green color, and traditionally the bite falls off for a few weeks.

Lake Catherine
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 5-22-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) says Lake Catherine fishing report (5/18/19) said the clarity is clearing while surface water temperature is 65 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crockets. Crappie are poor. Black bass are good using plastic worms, lizards and frogs fished around rocky points. Catfishing is excellent. Use stink bait and chicken liver. White bass reports are good using crankbaits or live minnows.

Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)

For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 5-22-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that fast currents still continue below Carpenter Dam with Lake Ouachita still over a foot into the flood pool. Heavy generation and open flood gates have been the norm below all area dams for weeks due to the flooding of the past month. This process is ongoing but a dry weather pattern is predicted beginning Wednesday evening, which will allow the big lake to fall below flood levels and allow Entergy to schedule safer generation flows. Carpenter Dam has been unsafe to navigate for weeks, but the rainbow trout population is present with all stocking completed until mid-November. These fish are virtually untouched because of the conditions and can be caught as soon as next week. Boaters can anchor in areas holding good numbers of trout and have success casting Rooster Tails in white or brown around rock structure and sandbars. The month of May brings huge numbers of shad toward the dam to spawn. Trout will feed heavily on these baitfish and will strike artificial lures that imitate a live minnow. Small jigs in gray or white will also work well in the same areas in slack or current situations. Trolling against the current with shallow-running crankbaits imitating shad or crawfish will attract larger trout that seek bigger prey. Bank fishermen should take advantage of slack water periods by presenting trout with nightcrawlers and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Waxworms and mealworms used in the same manner will allow anglers to catch limits of rainbows that are actively searching for food. Live bait presentations cannot be overemphasized because trout become much more wary as their environment warms and the summer heat sets in. June brings white bass by the thousands into the Carpenter Dam tailrace to begin the spawn. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig presentations will all draw strikes from these temperate basses from the dam to the bridge as they feed on shad for months. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers always migrate into the area in the summer months in search of food and cooler temperatures. Balloon rigs with gizzard shad give anglers a good chance to hook a big striper, but artificial lures such as Zara Super Spooks and Alabama rigs should not be overlooked. Strong rods and lines are recommended for these predator fish that possess great power and are often in the 20- to 40-pound range. Anyone navigating Lake Catherine should always wear a life jacket and be aware of the generation schedules. All park rules and regulations must be followed in the Carpenter Dam tailrace.

Lake Dardanelle

(updated 5-22-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said they experienced mostly sunshine until last weekend’s storms. After the storm systems move out of the area by Tuesday, a dry forecast with mostly sunshine and highs near 90 will begin Wednesday. River conditions should have a chance to improve if the forecast holds true. At the lower end, rains continue to keep the river muddy with very little visibility. The Big Piney and Illinois Bayou rivers are also muddy as well as some of the smaller creeks. Surface water temperature has been 76 degrees. Boaters should be on alert for driftwood and debris in all areas of the river. Dikes and revetments are underwater as well. On the upper end, from Spadra to Ozark, tailwater elevation remains near 355 feet just below flood stage (357 feet) and has held all week. Upriver, release at Ozark L&D 12 has held relatively constant around 150,000 cfs. As of Tuesday it was flowing near 152,000 cfs. There is some generation and water is mostly flowing through the spillway. Downriver, pool elevation does not change as dramatically. Release at Dardanelle L&D 10 has held near 160,000 cfs for the last week and has not changed much. They have not been generating much and are mostly flowing through the spillway.
No weekend tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park last weekend. No fishing reports, either. Current river conditions have likely changed the bite and where fish can be located. Try areas where the water has moved into the banks, timber or fields. Fish will feed on the insects and worms that have been flooded out.

(updated 5-8-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.

Lake Hamilton

(updated 5-22-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports that water temps are hovering in the low to mid-70s depending on the day. Water clarity is fair but not great, and visibility is only about 2-3 feet. Bass are doing well on topwater baits like Whopper Ploppers and toads early in the day and late in the day. Worms are also doing well for the bass, Texas-rigged in black and plum colors. Crappie have been fair, according to the few folks who have gone after them. Rain, please go away! Good luck and GoGreeson!

Lake Nimrod

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 367.33 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water clarity appears to be clearing up while the water level is very high. The Army Corps of Engineers has turned the dam on to stabilize the water. The conditions are not dangerous, however, they report; a lot of people have been swimming of late. Bream fishing is good. They’re biting redworms and crickets, and they’ll also bite Road Runners. Bream are bedding. Crappie are fair. Fish with black/chartreuse jigs and with minnows and target 20 feet depth. Catfish are fair and are in deeper water. Nothing reported on bass.

(updated 5-22-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said conditions for fishing are bad, with muddy clarity and high water. No reports.

Lake Ouachita

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 579.19 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are good. Texas-rigged soft plastics, Flukes and topwaters fished in and around pockets or over points are still working at this time. Walleye are good. Small minnow-colored crankbaits and nightcrawlers have been producing good stringers. Stripers are good. Most of these fish have moved to the central part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hairjigs. Bream are very good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 8-15 feet of water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught with jigs or minnows in 8-12 feet of water near brush. Catfish are very good and anglers are having luck with limblines and trotlines using live bait. Water temperature is ranging 74-78 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake level is 579.2 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 409.92 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl).

(update 5-15-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin said the lake is 23 feet high “and needless to say fishing is about nonexistent.”


Horseshoe Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says the lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 70 degrees. As of Monday, he says, they had been dealing with high winds, but fishing is great. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and hair jigs. Work the lily pads in 7 feet of water. Also, fish the docks and troll with minnows. Black bass are excellent now. They are around their beds. Catfishing is excellent in the shallows; they appear to still be spawning. Follow Ronnie on his Facebook page.

Bear Creek Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says crappie and bream are up and biting. Live bait (mainly crickets) have been bringing them in. Bream are on beds, while crappie are biting in shallow water (4-5 feet). Bass are feeding on worms and artificial jigs.

Storm Creek Lake

(updated 5-22-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), there Storm Creek activity is slow. Some catfish and bass are biting, but water is still muddy and high.

Cook’s Lake

(updated 5-15-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at the Potlatch Education Center at Cook’s Lake, says, “Do I even need to mention the fishing situation at Cook’s Lake? We have been hoping for a drop in the river and received the opposite. However, if you have caught some fish elsewhere and want to learn how to cook them in ways other than fried, join us on May 23 from 6-8 p.m. for a non-fried fish dish class. The class is free, but seating is very limited. Call the center to register. Check back in this space or call the center at 870-241-3373 for any updates on fishing Cook’s Lake. Cook’s Lake, when it reopens, will make fishing available on the 2-mile-long oxbow off the White River to youth under age 16 and to mobility-impaired anglers on the first and third Saturdays of each month, through October. Anglers can be accompanied by a helper who may fish.

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