Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 5, 2019
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 5, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.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. msl= mean sea level. cfs=cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
NOTICE: 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 through March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 6-5-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is a little cloudy and the water level is high. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie have been good, though they warn that with more rain imminent, that may not be the case later this week. Crappie are biting minnows and small jigs, as well as dark color worms. Fish around the cypress trees. Bass are good on white spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers, trotline minnows and goldfish.
Little Red River
(updated 6-5-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with generation from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. running two units (full generation). The lake level is 474.7 feet msl, which is 12.5 feet high, but due to the high water in White and Arkansas rivers, the Army Corps of Engineers is only able to run this amount of water from Greers Ferry. This release rate should remain until the White River can take an increased flow. One should check the daily Southwestern Power Administration (swpa.gov) forecast for time and amount of generation before planning a fishing trip on the river. The forecast is for more rain this week, which, if heavy, will stain the river. This rain is forecasted for Wednesday afternoon through Saturday.
Fishing has been good by staying ahead of the new generation each day. Drift-fishing with mayfly nymphs, sowbugs and midge pupa has produced good rainbows and a few browns. Wading is possible at the dam and Cow Shoals early and Winkley Shoal later in the morning until about 1:30 p.m. (based on 10 a.m. generation).
(updated 6-5-2019) 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 patternis also providing excellent drift-fishing on all sections. Sowbugs, emergers, San Juan worm and streamers are best for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, go with 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 (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 473.49 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 6-5-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 474.70 feet msl, 12.16 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and staying pretty steady. The crappie are scattered from super shallow out to 30 feet eating jigs and minnows. Catfish are eating all over the lake on a variety of baits. Walleye are eating crankbaits and crawlers at various depths out to 30 feet. Bream are getting ready to spawn and eating well all over the lake on crickets, crawlers, small crankbaits and inline spinners. Black bass are scattered as well from on the shoreline out to 30 feet and are being caught on a variety of baits – pretty much however you like to catch them. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating well in certain areas. Find the shad and the fish will be close, from 20-40 feet deep, on points, secondary points, humps and bends. Use spoons, inline spinners and topwater baits.
(updated 6-5-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the lake has average clarity – not clear, but not too murky either. Water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No reports on crappie. Bass are good on plastic worms – watermelon color is best. Catfishing is good on worms or chicken livers.
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 through March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-29-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said bass are doing well around brushtops and structure with topwater baits and plastic worms. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. They are on their beds around grass and buckbrush. Crappie are being caught in 8-14 feet of water fishing about 6 feet deep mainly with jigs. Catfish are slow but should start picking up any day now. The water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Water temperature is around 86 degrees “Come see me, Catfish Banks, at the bait shop, off Highway 9.”
(updated 6-5-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) had no report this week. Last week he reported the water was clear but was 2.5 feet high. Surface water temperature was ranging 75-77 degrees. Bream were excellent. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie were good, but you’ll have to fish 15-18 feet deep to catch them. Black bass were good on the points and shoals. Catfish were excellent on worms or chicken liver.
(updated 6-5-2019) 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 at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some reports have come in this week saying the bass can be found in 8-12 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Keeton Blaylock and Kyle Wise hauled in five bass totaling 19.78 pounds Tuesday night to win the weekly black bass tournament. That total included a 4.42-pounder for Big Bass. Sam and Fred Lowrey were second with an 11.18-pound stringer. Kentucky bass are good. Some reports of them being found in 4-8 feet of water outside the grass line at dusk and at dawn. They can also be found in 12-16 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass are slow. Reports are that the run has slowed 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 fair. Reports of them being found stacking in around 15 feet of water. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are fair. They can be found up shallow. They are moving into their shallow beds around 8 feet or less. Try using crickets and worms. The catfish bite continues to be slow, but there are reports that the channel cats are moving in to shallow water. Try using stink bait, crayfish or worms.
(updated 6-5-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Crappie have been stubborn, but a few small ones have been caught this week around the dock on pink minnows. Bass are hitting live minnows, floating worms and Carolina-rigged lizards and Brush Hogs.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-5-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets and worms. Catfish are biting fair on worms, chicken livers, minnows and bait shrimp. Only a couple of reports of small crappie biting pink minnows and No. 6 minnows. Bass have been biting pretty well on minnows, floating worms and topwater baits at first light and dusk.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-5-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river has been has been at good fishing levels so far this week. Bass have been biting well on minnows, Texas- or Carolina-rigged worms, lizards and Brush Hogs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits – almost any lure you choose to throw might catch a bass on the river right now. Catfish have been biting, too. Minnows, black salties and goldfish are catching some decent flathead, while nightcrawlers, chicken livers and cut shad are catching channels and blues on trotlines and limblines. Crappie have been biting size 6 minnows and a few different jigs around logs and brush in deep spots and in some back waters. There were a few reports of walleye being caught on stick-type baits and black salties. Bream fishing has been fun for folks using crickets and redworms.
(updated 6-5-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the big bream are biting but seem to be scattered a bit more than usual. Customers tell us they’re catching good ones on crickets and redworms but they’re having to fish more beds than usual to get good numbers. Bass fishing has been good as well. Minnows, black salties and crawfish are working as far as live baits. Floating or Carolina-rigged worms and lizards, topwater baits early in the morning and spinnerbaits on windy days are working artificial baits. Crappie are still biting for some using size 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs. Catfish are biting at night on nightcrawlers, minnows and goldfish.
(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.
(updated 5-22-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing is fair. Use chicken liver or chicken hearts.
(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.
(updated 6-5-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow. One customer who generally does well on Winona told us he caught only four Monday trying a combination of baits. The four were all caught on size 6 minnows. Bass have been biting fair on minnows, spinnerbaits and Carolina- and wacky-rigged worms. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Catfish are biting well in the late day until right after dark in shallow waters close to drop-offs. Minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers fished just off the bottom are catching them.
(updated 6-5-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 6-5-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no reports.
(updated 6-5-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the river is fast-moving, too high to be safe for anglers and boaters, and the clarity is muddy.
(updated 6-5-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 6-5-2019) Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) urges all anglers and boaters to continue to stay off the river until the flooding conditions subside. Flow as of Monday afternoon was 505,000 cfs in the Little Rock pool. Clarity is cloudy and the water is extremely high. Poor reports across the board on all species.
(updated 6-5-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says other than catfish climbing the trees (joking), there is nothing to report. The river is fast, high and muddy.
(updated 6-5-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says everyone should stay off the river.
(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 6-5-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water level is high and the clarity is cloudy. But there is a good bream bite going on, with redworms and crickets both working. No reports on crappie, black bass or catfish.
(updated 6-5-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity is a little stained while water level is normal. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and spider-rigging. Black bass started biting big in the past week, and the reports are excellent. No lures were mentioned. Catfishing is excellent using worms, trolling and spider-rigging.
(updated 6-5-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “The No. 1 question on everybody’s mind is, ‘Are you able to fish on the White River?’ Yes! Yes, we are! And we’re catching some superb rainbows and browns.” Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 684 feet msl, 10-plus feet from the top of flood pool. At this time, releases from the dam remain very low, so the White River below Bull Shoals is relatively shallow, wadeable in some spots during morning hours.
“Our friends and fellow Arkansans, especially those along the Arkansas River, and many folks to the west and north of us in Oklahoma and Missouri are experiencing flooding, so the Corps of Engineers is employing the dam to hold back lake water so as not to exasperate the high water situation further south. We anticipate controlled, managed releases from Bull Shoals Lake sometime in the next weeks. When that happens, we will see higher water levels, but we will continue to fish and continue to catch great trout. Trout really love lots of water. This past week was a great time for jigs; most popular colors were tri-olive and orange-and-olive. The browns are hitting on river minnows and sculpins – no surprises there, and the rainbows are showing curiosity toward shiny silver spoons (think Cleos and the hammered blue-silver Thomas Buoyant). Stay tuned!”
(updated 5-29-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Sunday that during the past week they had a three-quarters of an inch of rain, warm temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 6.2 feet to rest at 21.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 11.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool and 13.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 4.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had light generation and some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 14.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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. There is currently 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 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 combination is a size 14 pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 root beer midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down).
Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “As many of you know, my wife, Lori Sloas, is the top fly-casting instructor in the area. Together we have been teaching a basic fly-fishing class at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home twice a year for eight years. We have taught fly-fishing at a variety of other venues for over 17 years. The one constant is that Lori has lead the fly-fishing portion of the class. She has also taught fly-casting at the Sowbug Roundup for the past few years by herself.
“I met Lori 19 years ago, when I was teaching a fly-fishing class with my brother, Dan. She was one of our students and I ended up working with her on stream. It was love at first sight. She was a natural and took to casting like a duck to water. Dan was leading the casting portion and worked with her and thought she had promise. We added her to our faculty and had her assist in teaching casting. We ran into the late fly-casting guru, Lefty Kreh, at a fly-fishing show and he took a lot of time to hone her casting skills. Lori and I moved here and began teaching fly-fishing on our own.
“We have had a lot of requests for Lori to teach a fly-casting clinic. The idea is to have it open to beginners and intermediate fly-casters. The beginners will be taught the basic cast to enable them to go fishing with confidence. For intermediate casters, she will evaluate their cast and provide tips on cleaning it up. In addition, she will provide instruction on shooting line, extending your cast and roll casting. All of this will be tailored to the individual student’s needs. She has a simple approach and is not judgmental. Lori works within her students’ abilities and physical limitations.
“Like our other classes, this is being held through the Community Education Department at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home. It will be held on Saturday June 15, at Cotter Big Spring Park on the banks of the beautiful White River behind the ball field from 9 a.m. until noon. Fly rods and reels will be furnished, or you can bring your own. You can register online at http://www.asumh.edu/services/<wbr></wbr>community-education.html. You can also register in person at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center at ASUMH 1600 College St., Mountain Home, AR 72653, or by telephone at (870) 508-6105. There is a modest fee. I think that this clinic will benefit most fly casters or would be fly casters out there.”
(updated 6-5-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the clarity has cleared. There are -14 generators running and the river level is low. Anglers have been catcing 15-plus-inch rainbows. The overall bite is good. PowerBait is working best. Also, anglers have caught 28-inch, 7-pound brown trout in the past week. Overall, really good fishing is going on, they report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 684.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Monday the lake level is up 25 feet and the clarity overall is cloudy. At last check the surface water temperature was 77 degrees. Best success for anglers is with black bass. He says the bite is good. Use topwater lures like Zara Spooks and fish the shoreline. Catfishing is poor. Bream are poor. Crappie are poor. White bass can be found at 24-32 feet with bottom bouncers. Also, walleye are biting on the shoreline. Check out Del’s YouTube page for his regularly updated video fishing report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 572.37 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 5-29-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the Memorial Day holiday weekend had absolutely gorgeous weather here on Lake Norfork. This holiday brings on the summertime lake lovers. This does not mean that the fishing season is over, it just means the fishing patterns will change. Bring the family and enjoy the quiet early morning fishing experience then during the heat of the day enjoy the lake a different way by swimming, tubing, skiing or whatever type of water sport you enjoy.
“I have mainly been fishing for striped bass the last couple of weeks and the bite has been good once I find the fish. The higher water level has altered the timing of the typical fishing patterns, but during the last week, I found that striped and hybrid bass are starting to do what they normally do this time of year. I am starting to find large schools feeding in the dark and they continue feeding until the sun rises above the tree line. Once the sun gets high in the sky, they head out into deeper water and start to go toward the bottom. This morning I was fishing with a couple of my guests and found a huge school of fish feeding on shad. The fish were suspended from the surface down to 40 feet and we were actually sitting in 100+ feet of water. Live bait was working great. As it started to get light, the bait and fish left this main lake area. I then headed partway back into a couple of different creeks and found some good topwater action for hybrids, and then found stripers lying on the bottom in 50 – 60 feet of water, with a few suspended 30 to 40 feet down. My problem this morning was that I was only geared to live bait fish and did not have any of my topwater rods with me, so pitching live bait worked in a pinch. Trolling with umbrella rigs or large swimbaits will work great as long as you get them down to at least 25 feet if not deeper for the suspended fish. Vertical jigging with a 1 ounce spoon will work for the fish on the bottom.
The largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass bite has also been good. Many of this species are hiding out close to or inside of the sunken buck brush early and late in the day. Worms, spinners and swimbaits are all producing some nice fish coming off the shoreline. Topwater baits are also working well early and late in the day. Once the sun gets high in the sky, fish the outside edge of the brush or at the old normal pool shoreline which would be roughly be at 18 – 20 feet. Creature baits, jig & pigs or other plastics worked slowly on the bottom with pick up some big bass. The bite has been very light so watch your line carefully and if you start to see it swim away set the hook.
Norfork Lake water level is slowly rising and currently sits at 571.40 feet msl. The surface water temperature this morning was in the mid- to upper 70s. Most of the main lake, creeks and coves are clear to just slightly stained.
(updated 5-29-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the shad have yet to do a full spawn in Norfork Lake, but the stripers have decided they could not wait so they have switched their diet to crawdads. They are feeding on crawdads on the flats early then moving to deep water to feed on shad. “We had a cold wet spring with very few days of warm weather and more rain than I care to see again. The lake is now 14.6 feet over the normal summer pool, and we will have that for foreseeable future as all the lakes and rivers are over the banks and they have no place to put the water. The best bite is the first two hours unless we have overcast skies. I have been using gizzard shad ranging from 3-8 inches. Now the water has warmed up. It’s now time to keep your fish, the current water temperature is above 76 degrees and going up with the current weather pattern calling for warm weather. The stripers have gone deep ;we are catching stripers from 31-50 feet on downlines. The stripers are being caught in Crystal Cove, Bidwill Point, the east side of the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and the points on the backside of Henderson marina. We are catching stripers in the Big Creek and Brushy Creek on the channel swings in waters ranging from 40-100 feet.
The walleye bite has slowed down. They will be moving to their summer pattern. They will feeding in the 28-32 feet range. The best bite is usually from 8-11 a.m.. You will catch them using bottom bouncers set on the bottom running spinners and nightcrawlers. The high water will alter the crappie bite. Until the water warms 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 5-29-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Sunday that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 14.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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. There is currently light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect heavy generation in the near future. The Norfork has been slow. 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 (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 (#18) suspended eighteen inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (#14). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With school out, it will be crowded soon. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10) and white mop flies.
(updated 5-29-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. John’s favorite fly here 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 1,127.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is cloudy. The surface temperature is in the low to mid-70s. Water level is high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Work the brush piles, or trolling a crank. Spider-rigging also is good. Fish the deep brush. Night fishing has been good. Black bass have a good bite going on, with spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures working, as well as chatterbaits and buzzbaits. Fish around the shoreline. Catfishing is excellent on worms, chicken liver, shad, goldfish and perch. You can catch some now on rod-and-reel. Walleye are being caught trolling a harness rig at the big end of the lake, they report.
(updated 5-29-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake has remained steady at 1,126.45 feet msl, which is 6.5 feet above normal pool level of 1,120 msl. Water temps throughout lake are mid-70s. Beaver is entering its transition into its summer patterns. Stripers are good scattered in all main lake creek arms. Find the bait and the fish will not be far behind. Look in Big Clifty, Little Clifty, Rambo and Indian Creek. Look early and late. Memorial Day boat traffic did slow the bite by midday. Walleye are set up on flats adjacent to main river channel. Look for them in 25-35 feet of water. They are doing well on crawler harnesses and with snap weights trolling an assortment of crankbaits. Crappie are scattered on boat docks and also suspending at 15 feet of water in main lake areas. Spider-rigging pulling or dragging cranks will work a Bandit 300 is a good starting point. Crappie are good. Bream are on fire and starting to spawn. Bream are a great way to introduce new fisherman to the sport! And they are good-eating fish and provide a lot of action. There is an early-morning/late-afternoon Fluke and spinnerbait bite going on for bass pitch at flooded brush. Spots are setting up on points mixed in withsmallies. Ned rigs and shaky heads working. Catfish are good on any method. Lots of debris, keep your eyes open, be careful if you’re running at night.
(updated 6-5-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been really good this past week. The trout have been very active with all these different weather conditions. Trout have been biting well on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Once again, quarter-ounce spoons have done really well. This week’s hot spot has been the Houseman area, down to the second bend. A few white bass were caught between Houseman and Beaver; X-Raps were the plug of choice for these fish. The bass stayed suspended about 10 feet the entire stretch. A few male walleye were caught again this past week. They are still very spread out, but they are there. Jigging live minnows and fishing soft plastics seemed to work the best. Try looking for them off of points and in structure and weed lines. Austin says he did not get a chance to fish for Kentucky bass or smallmouth this week. “I will have more to report on that later. I sure hope you all find some time, between the rain showers, to get out there and catch some fish. Like always, if you have any additional questions, please reach out to me on me cell or my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). Have fun, be safe and go catch some FISH!”
(updated 6-5-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports the clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Bream anglers are having a big time with excellent results. Redworms and crickets are working. Crappie also are excellent. Go with minnows and jigs. Black bass are excellent on plastic worms and with live bait. Catfish are excellent on worms and chicken livers.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 6-5-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the clarity a little dingy and the lake level is high. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms. Crappie are good with minnows. Largemouth bass are good fishing in the shallows. White Flukes are working well, and baits in chartreuse color are another good way to go. Catfish are good with stink bait and Punch Bait.
(updated 6-5-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says the lake remains murky and the level is still high. Surface temperature early Sunday was 63 degrees. The fish have slowed down this week, but the reports were still good across the board. Shelly has heard a few reports on bream biting well off the shore. Catfish are still strong. Hogging has opened up on Lake Charles June 1 through Oct. 31. Stop by the visitor center for your fishing supplies. Based on moon times, she says, good days to fish are June 14-20. She adds that bass will be good on spinnerbaits, crappie are good and biting minnows or jigs. And worms or crickets are the way to go for good bream success.
(updated 6-5-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “It is hard to predict the weather. I understand the chance of rain is predicted each day the rest of this week. But, fish are being caught. Lake Poinsett State Park is selling lots of crickets, redworms and nightcrawlers. We are also getting many calls for minnows and goldfish. Whether you need live or frozen bait, we have it. We are getting in a greater variety of artificial bait, too.” While Lake Poinsett is closed for repairs through early 2020, check out other neighboring lakes such as Lake Charles or Lake Hogue, as well as the Family and Community Fishing Program pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 6-5-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 80-85 degrees. Water level is high by about 6 inches. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No report on crappie. Bass are good on crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is good with chicken livers and stink bait.
(updated 6-5-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are flowing at 450 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been good the last several days. Heavy rains, it seems like weekly, have kept the river up and at times muddy. Because the river is spring-fed, it clears quickly. At the springriverfliesandguides.com blog page, up-to-date water conditions are posted when the river’s fishing conditions become poor due to high muddy water. It has been changing weekly lately. On average, 2-3 days has been the amount of time for hte river to clear up. Clear skies are ahead, we hope.
The trout have been biting well, but there is a lot of work to get a bite. The use of heavier jigs or a split shot 1 foot above the fly will help a lot when trying to get down to the fish. Olive and brown Woolies have been the hot flies in size 10-8 with a small split shot. An olive or yellow jig can work well, also. On the tough days when a bite is hard to get, downsize to a size 14-16 tungsten bead-head Woolly Bugger or nymph. Orange, black and white Trout Magnets are working well. Just get it down deep! Be safe wading, the river is flowing strong. Wading staffs can be a lifesaver.
(updated 5-29-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is here and the river can be crowded especially on the weekends. 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 6-5-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 5-29-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said all ramps are flooded. Stay off the river until further notice.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 6-5-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said Cane Creek State Park is luckily one of the few bodies of water in Arkansas that isn’t currently affected by flooding. With temperatures steadily warming up the water, Bream are aggressive and plentiful. Fish with a cricket tied loose on the end of your line, below your sinker. Let it bounce across the bottom to attract curious and hungry fish. Crappie are a little harder to find with the warm temperatures. Your best chance is to find a deep hole near the middle of the lake, over structure. Fish with a shiner at anywhere between 6-10 feet. With rain forecasted in the near future, it will once again be time to find confluences were creeks and streams run into the water, creating a feeding frenzy of catfish. Fish shallow, near the bank, where food would be deposited from the recent runoff, with some chicken liver tied on your line. Blue and channel cats won’t be able to resist. Set trotlines on trees near the north end of the beaver pond (dead timber) with fresh bream or shiners to draw in that big flathead. Bass are definitely feeling the summer heat and are retreating to the cooler deep water during the day, and coming near the banks under lily pad beds and structure during the mornings and evening. If fishing during the beginning or ending of the day, fish with a topwater and a soft plastic in earthtones. During the heat of the day, fish suspended in deeper water with a jig or a swimbait to get the big ones to bite.
(updated 6-5-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says lake level is just a bit higher than normal but not bad. Bream are biting very well on crickets. Catfish are also biting well on crickets and worms. Possible thunderstorms moving in later in the week, but at least for the next several days it looks like a great time to be fishing on Lake Chicot.
(updated 6-5-2019) Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake pool continues falling after its rise from thunderstorms over the past several weeks. Lake elevation is approx 7 inches above normal pool and falling. The Army Corps of Engineers made gate changes at the dam Monday and are releasing around 15,000 cfs, which could change again by midweek. The tailwater below the dam is also beginning to fall from the Red River backing up, and with Corps’ gate release at the dam, and is around 246 feet msl. Water temps rose over the past week, and Monday they ranged 77 degrees early to 85 under full sun. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Watch for sudden gate changes and debris, which will increase with current in Little River. Navigation is cautioned again this week, and numerous trees/logs and river debris are still visible this week. Clarity and visibility conditions continue improving away from Little River current with moderate stain and ranging 3-5 inches. Little River is muddy current and visibility ranges 0-5 inches, stained conditions. The oxbow’s clarity is slightly stained up with most recent lake level rising, and stain is obvious in the mouths of the oxbows. Oxbow clarity ranges 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
Mike said they are seeing good reactions from largemouth bass on topwaters at dawn and early morning in the oxbows, away from river current. Lily pads and grass convergences over primary or secondary underwater points and humps are primary ambush points for bass over the past week. They are hitting and slapping buzzbaits, plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads, Spittin’ Images and bone-colored Magnum Pop-R’s. The bite frequency and patterns improved again with increased surface temps this week. Anywhere you find fresh lily pads, new grass and stumps will be prime locations, and there have been very good reactions with Bass Assassin Shads and frogs in pads on the flats, and in the creeks between 5-7 feet of depth this week. No reports on white bass this week, “they’re still on the lam,” Mike says. Crappie are beginning to recover and reposition themselves after the recent 2-4 feet muddy rise and high current over 20,000 cfs. Brush piles and standing timber are starting to attract the crappie again, as long as they are out of Little River current and flow. Persistence is the best factor right now, and vertical jigging minnows can get you bit if you are patient, from 9-15 feet of depth away from current. Blue catfish and channel cats continue biting well in Little River current on trotlines. “Several guys we spoke to were having a great morning a few days ago using King’s Punch Bait and homemade bait with spoiled chicken livers and gizzards.”
(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.
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 546.86 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature Sunday was 84 degrees. The level was 1.2 feet below normal pool at 546.80 feet msl. Bream are good, with the fish at 5-7 feet depth and biting worms and jis. Crappie remain excellent. They are in 15-25 feet depth of water and biting minnows. Fish the brush piles. Black bass are good. They are in 10-18 feet depth and are hitting spinnerbaits and plastic worms. They’re best around brush and rocky points. Catfish are good. Use worms, blood bait or stink bait. White bass reports were fair.
(updated 6-5-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) says the lake level is about 1 foot below full pool of 548 feet msl and falling. Water temps have made it the mid- to lower 80s. The bass are in their 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 over main lake points. Concentrate on points with brush in the 10- to 15-foot range. Shaky head rigged Yum finesse worms are working OK on main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.53 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina, said water levels are looking good at 407.37 feet msl with a slight rise. Water temperature is in the mid-80s throughout. Water is clear in the midlake area. Hybrids still are not surfacing much where John has been, he said. You have to use your electronics and look for them in the river channels and deeper water. Locate them and use spoons to jig vertically for the strike, either early or late. Trolling crankbaits after early morning can produce. Use baits like shadrap. White bass are surfacing from Point Cedar to Iron Mountain. Rooster Tail jigs, Tiny Torpedo, Rat-L-Traps, all are good lures in the shad colors. Crappie fishing is looking up. The bigger fish were on the bottom a few days ago but they are moving up in the brush piles. Minnows are producing well. Fish the piles from Point Cedar to Arlie Moore and Brushy area, 10-14 feet deep. No report on black bass or bream, except that bream are in some brush piles. Good fishing, and remember to be courteous. Everyone likes to fish.
(updated 5-29-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says crappie are still on the brush piles 6-14 feet deep. White bass and hybrid bass are schooling randomly.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 438.80 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 530.60 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-5-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(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.
(updated 6-5-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Lucky Landing was closed all last week due to flooding, but the ramp is open. People were starting to fish again on Tuesday of this week, she said Tuesday morning. The lake is almost to normal level and the clarity is “pretty clear.” Catfishing reports are good on the trotlines. She said anglers are catching flathead catfish. One caught four fish that weighed a total of 100 pounds. No other reports with anglers just getting back out.
(updated 6-5-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) said the clarity is clearing and the surface temperature over the weekend was 72.8 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream are good. The fish are at 5-8 feet depth and are biting worms, redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Minnows are your best bet, but know that it’s very slow fishing for crappie. Black bass are good. They are 5-10 feet off the shoreline and are hitting plastic worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and purple Trick Worms. Catfishing is fair. Go with worms, blood bait or chicken liver. No reports on white bass.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(update 6-5-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita has risen slightly back into flood as more rainfall continues to plague our state. Carpenter Dam had been unsafe to navigate for weeks, but Entergy has scheduled time the last week for no generation until noon for the public to fish. This move has made it possible for anglers to safely and effectively target a virtually untouched trout population These fish are being caught in good numbers. 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 months of May and June brings huge numbers of shad toward the dam to spawn. Trout will feed heavily on these baitfish and will strike artificial lures that imitate live minnows. 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 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.
(updated 5-29-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said they have experienced mostly sunshine and breezy winds. A strong storm system was forecasted to arrive on Tuesday night and Wednesday before sunshine returns for the weekend. There is no visibility in the lake. Surface temperature is 78 degrees. Jason urges, “STAY OFF THE WATER. Boating and swimming on ANY part of the river are bad decisions. Do not risk the lives of rescuers. The Arkansas River is at historic levels and still rising. Boat ramps inside Lake Dardanelle State Park are closed until further notice. As of Tuesday the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 is forecast to crest at 377 feet elevation on Thursday (May 30). The lock and dam went “open river” for the first time ever on Sunday, May 26. Currently, the tailwater elevation is 374 feet and rising which is 19 feet above flood stage (357 feet). Release at Ozark L&D 12 has been swiftly increasing and is currently 547,000 cfs.Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has risen some. The river here is at 43 feet, which is 11 feet above flood stage (32 feet). The forecasted crest is at 45.5 feet on Friday, May 31st (This is not an elevation level like Ozark). The river flow is very dangerous. Release is currently 520,000 cfs and rising. If you fish, Jason says, FISH FROM THE BANK ONLY. Tournaments at Lake Dardanelle State Park have been cancelled or rescheduled due to dangerous river conditions. No fishing report.
(updated 6-5-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 6-5-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels stable throughout and water temps in the mid-70s. Water is a bit of color but fishable. Go-to baits for all species of bass are the Carolina- and Texas-rigged worms in dark colors like black and large in size. Another good option for the shallower fish would be Whopper Ploppers in bone colors or buzzbaits in chartreuse and white. Most fish have taken up positions on the main lake points, but also be mindful that with the influx of rain that is expected, feeder creeks and ditches will be good areas to target as food will be coming down. No crappie report, but catfish are doing well on drop-offs at creek channels. Good luck and Go Greeson!
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 368.81 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said fishing was “really good” over the past weekend. The lake is clear to murky, and the water temperature is about 82 degrees. Water level is high. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, especially black/chartreuse jigs. Bream are poor. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits, topwater lures and frogs. Catfishing are excellent on chicken liver and shrimp.
(updated 6-5-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is dingy and high. State Highway 77 is blocked off because of flooding, and they are getting no anglers.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 578.31 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-5-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still good. Texas-rigged soft plastics, drop-shot rigs and topwaters fished over points are working at this time. Walleye are very good. Small minnow-colored crankbaits and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are still good. Most of these fish have moved to the central part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are very good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 8-15 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair and being caught with jigs or minnows in 12-20 feet of water near brush. Catfish are still very good and anglers are having luck with limb lines and trot lines using live bait. Water temperature is ranging 76-80 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake level earlier this week was 578.24 feet msl, a quarter-inch over normal pool. 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 406.82 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl).
(update 6-5-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin said Blue Mountain is still high, but the crappie are still biting. Many anglers are limiting. Bream and cats are fair. More to come as water recedes.
(updated 6-5-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says lake clarity is clear and the water level is a couple of feet high. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are excellent. He and his anglers are catching 14-inch crappie and catching limits. Minnows and jigs are working. Ronnie suggest working the piers or the lily pads. Bass reports are fair. Catfishing is fair.
(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.
(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.
(updated 6-5-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at Potlatch Conservation Education Center on Cook’s Lake (870-241-3373) says, “Once again, we are still dealing with flooding at Cook’s Lake. However, there is still good fishing to be found in the the region. Look for lakes that are not severely affected by river runoff, or attend one of several youth fishing derbies being held around the state June 8, grab some crickets or worms, and go make memories. Don’t forget that this weekend, from noon Friday to midnight Sunday, is Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas.” 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.
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
Nov. 30, 2023
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!