Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 3, 2019
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 3, 2019. If there is a body of water youl 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. Note: 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. Geoloical 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
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicie – 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 for lawn or garden use with water from Lake Conway through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 7-3-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is stained and the water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good. Redworms and crickets will work, of course, but also try hair-tie jigs. Anglers report they’re also effective. Crappie are good; use crappie minnows or small jigs. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are great to use, but pretty much anything is getting a reaction, they say – buzzbaits, frogs, bass minnows, etc. Catfishing os good on trotlines with goldfish, stink bait and dough bait.
(updated 7-3-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) reports that bream are good again this week. They’re hitting redworms and crickets. Catfish are good on trotlines and limblines baited with bream or goldfish. No other reports.
Little Red River
(updated 7-3-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with the 12-hour generation continuing. The lake level is 472.7 feet msl, that is over 10 feet above normal. The Corps has informed me that the releases will be the same thru Friday with a possible slight increase starting Saturday. This increase will probably amount to an hour or two of generation. This will increase gradually to an 18-hour release schedule, as the lower rivers will allow, until the lake is at the normal level of 462.04. Since all forecasts are subject to change due to rainfall and lower river levels, one should check the forecasted generation before planning your fishing trip.
The bite has been good on mayfly nymphs and midge pupa.
Please exercise caution and courtesy on the river over the holiday since many persons will be on the water. Watch your wake while passing fishermen anchored or drifting, small craft and occupied docks. Try to pass on the opposite side fishermen are facing. This courtesy causes less disturbance to fish in the area. Also, try not to anchor in the boat lanes in shoals where shallow water only allows boats to cross in certain areas.
Plan your kayaking and canoeing trips on low water sections of the river and exit at your takeout before the high water arrives. If caught in the high water, avoid obstructions and docks since the current will pull you and your craft under. These suggestions are meant to increase your enjoyment and that of others. Have a Happy and safe Fourth of July!
(updated 7-3-2019) 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 and good drift-fishing on all sections. Greers Ferry Lake continues to remain high from the past few months of rain. An increase in generation on the Little Red River is expected to lower the lake to seasonal pool as soon as possible. How much of an increase and duration will depend on rainfall and potential flooding downstream during the time they are lowering the lake. Until that time, Lowell recommends midges, sowbugs, emergers, blue-wing olives and streamers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing use hot pink-colored 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation is 472.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 472.75 feet msl and mostly falling. The level came up a bit after the last rain but overall it is falling with about 12 hours generation going on, and the word is they are going to 24/7 generation at some point. Lake level is 10.21 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. The overall catching is good with the forecast for catching staying good, as everything is healthy and we have a lot of threadfin for them to eat. It looks like we have come off a good shad spawn, which will help the forage level so much. Black bass are shallow to deep and in between, and some are roaming, schooling in open water. The shallow fish are chasing bream around since they have been spawning. Fluke’s, topwater baits, small cranks and spinnerbaits working. Also, dragging something will catch any and all at all depths currently. Crappie are being picked up fishing vertical and trolling around, as well over and down to 30 feet of water on beetle spins, jigs, minnows and crankbaits. Walleye have been acting crazy. All the current we have been experiencing the last several months has played a role in how they want to get set up. Try dragging crawlers on jigheads or a drop-shot in 12-40 feet of water on chunk rock flats. Catfishing is good and will get even better as the water gets lower, as they will be more hemmed up, so to speak. The high water just has the fisherman thrown for a loop other than the fish. All styles and ways of catching them will work now, just get out there. It is a very underutilized resource we have. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating if you can stay with them, as they are roaming a lot. And if you keep beating on other fishermen’s spots, as the old code of ethics still remains in effect , it will drive them off. Find your own shad and spots with them on it and you will be able to catch them there until they start moving again when water cools back off this fall. And you will be able to learn so much more reading your electronics and it will give you confidence in finding and catching on your own. Try spoons, inline spinners and swimbaits, as well as topwater baits, in 25-55 feet.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-3-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the clarity is muddy and the water has warmed to its hottest level of the year, hitting 91-92 degrees on Tuesday. The level is low. The bream bite is good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor. Largemouth bass are good on a variety of baits: spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures and minnows. Catfishing is good on trotlines. Goldfish is the preferred bait this week. A 25-pound catfish was caught this week.
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicie – 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 asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water for lawn or garden use through March 1, 2020. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 6-19-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said black bass are doing well on buzzbaits and black plastic worms and some spinners. Bream are doing well with crickets and worms about 18-24 inches deep; they are on there beds. “We are catching some of the biggest bream I have seen in years,” Johnny says. Crappie are being caught in 12-14 feet of water around 8 feet deep on brushtops with jigs and small minnows. Not catching any limits but are catching some good ones. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines with bream, skip jack and catalpa worms. Water level is almost normal levels and the surface temperature is around 81 degrees. “Come visit us at the bait shop, off Highway 9.”
(update 6-26-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) says fishing is nearly as good as last week, with Tuesday’s results probably rating an 8 or 9 on a 10-point scale. Clarity is clear and the lake is at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 78 degrees. Bream are good. Redworms and crickets are working, and the bream are at 8-10 feet depth. Crappie are being found at 13-18 feet depth and the bite is good. Fish the brush piles. Bass are good. White bass are school and “chasing the shad big-time,” he said, adding that he saw about 200 or more white bass schooling. Fish in the creeks for best success with the bass. Black bass are also good. Catfishing is good on minnows.
(updated 7-3-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in Crystal Hill (501-758-4948) said bream are good on redworms and crickets. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Nothing reported on crappie. Catfishing is good with catalpa worms.
(updated 7-3-2019) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports that water temperature is in the mid-80s. Largemouth bass are slow. Must of them can be found in 16-20 feet of water at dusk and at dawn. They’ll be a variety of lures. Some reports are coming in this week saying the black bass can be found in 8-12 feet of water and also at 16-20 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Even with slow bass activity, Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley managed to catch a stringer totalling 14.5 pounds, including a 5.01-pound Big Bass, to win the Tuesday Night Black Bass Tournament by 5.5 pounds more than second place.
Kentucky bass are as slow as the largemouths. Reports have come in of them being found in 10-15 feet of water outside the grass line both at dusk and at dawn. They can also be found in 18-22 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass are slow. Some can be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats and near brush piles in 8-12 feet. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are fair. They are stacking in and around brush in 15-18 feet of water. Some can still be found scattered and mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are good. They are up shallow, and others ar emoving into their shallow beds around 8 feet or less. Use crickets or worms. Catfishing is slow. Channel cats continue moving into shallow water, though. Use stink bait, crayfish or worms.
(updated 7-3-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers are still catching catfish pretty steady with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, minnows and bait shrimp. Bream have been biting good as well. Redworms, crickets and mealworms are working for redears and bluegills both. Crappie fishing has been good for some. Those that are catching them say it takes No. 6 minnows and patience but they are there to catch. Bass have been hitting early in the mornings and at dark thirty on minnows, topwater baits and soft plastic baits.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-3-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been biting well for a few customers using minnows, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Crappie have been slow but some have reported catching a few on No. 6 and pink minnows. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and worms. Catfish are biting minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-3-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is at a good level right now and fishing is good. Bass are biting minnows, live crawdads, crawdad-colored crankbaits, soft plastics and small spinnerbaits. Catfish are eating goldfish, black salties, brooder minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Crappie are biting in some deep holes and back waters on No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee Shad grubs. A couple of customers have reported recently catching some walleye on No. 12 minnows and black salties. Gar fishing can be a lot of fun on the river this time of year. They’re easy to see and if you put a minnow close to them they’re likely to eat it. Catching them is a challenge and can sometimes be frustrating but the fight they give you when you get a hook in one is worth it. Bream fishing can be a blast on the river, too. If you just want to catch fish all day long, take a trip on the Saline with some light tackle and plenty of crickets or redworms. You’ll catch all sizes of many different sunfish species. See if you can keep an accurate count.
Be safe, have fun, take a young ’un if you can, and please don’t litter.
(updated 7-3-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is as hot as the weather right now. Drop a cricket or redworm close to the bottom around deep structure. If you don’t get a bite pretty quick just move it a little and stop, you’ll find some good ones. Catfish are biting well, too. Goldfish, brooder minnows and black salties have been working on lines at night. Chicken livers and nightcrawlers seem to be better in daylight hours. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows, soft plastics, topwater baits and buzzbaits early in the mornings and at night. Crappie are still biting for a couple of customers that fish hard for them. Most of their catches are on No. 6 minnows or Bobby Garland Baby Shad Swim’r jigs in the live minnow color.
(updated 7-3-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) had no report.
(updated 7-3-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is good using nightcrawlers. No other reports.
(updated 7-3-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that bream continue biting well here on redworms or crickets. Catfishing is good with catalpa worms. Largemouth bass are reported good, too, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms drawing lots of reponse. No crappie reports.
(updated 7-3-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been fair for some Winona regulars using No. 6 and No. 12 minnows and a few different jigs. Bass are hitting the larger minnows, soft plastic baits and topwater baits early in the mornings. Catfish are biting best at dusk and for a while after dark. Chicken livers, night crawlers, minnows, gold fish and black saltys fished on bottom is working for some good cats. Bream are biting crickets and red worms.
(updated 6-26-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) in Crystal Hill said catfishing are good. Anglers are using cut bait, skipjack and large minnows. White bass are good using crankbaits and twister tails.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 7-3-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-3-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 6-26-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says black bass are good in the backwaters off the Maumelle Pool and in the Little Maumelle River. Try black buzzbaits such as an Irritator to get bass reactions. Bream seem to be biting in the area very well now, Tony reports.
(updated 6-19-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that in the area off the Maumelle River leading to the river, bream are good. They are bedding with the full moon. Anglers are using redworms and crickets. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures around brush. Catfishing is good using cut bait, skipjack or nightcrawlers. No reports on crappie. Alex urges anglers to stay off the main river. Also, the Little Maumelle is black with dead fish, he reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-3-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 7-3-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
(updated 7-3-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) has no reports.
(updated 7-3-2019) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) had no report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-3-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie reports are good; use jigs. Black bass are reported poor, while the catfish bite is also poor.
(updated 7-3-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Bream reports were fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair, with anglers trolling/spider-rigging. Largemouth bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. The catfish bite is good using hot dogs, chicken liver “and pretty much anything,” Donna said.
White River (Augusta-Des Arc section)
(updated 7-3-2019) Angler William McCoy says he fished all weekend at the White River at Des Arc and also talked with many anglers at the ramp. The water temperature is 73.8 degrees and the clarity is very muddy. The current is not very strong and the river shows to be pretty steady. Catfish are targeting feeder creekmouths and the shallow banks. The bait to use is small bream and some shad, as the shad are running in the mouth of Des Arc Bayou.
(updated 7-3-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says holiday weekends are busy times on the river; we’ve got a big river and there is room for all who love to fish for trout (or who just love to be on or near the water). Put on an extra layer of patience: there are going to be a few novices out there who need assistance or more space, and remember that the natural resources we are blessed with here in Arkansas belong to us all. Our Game & Fish folks have worked to ensure the White River is adequately stocked and ready for the holiday and summertime traffic. Looks like we have a few more days of low water levels on the White River before big releases from Bull Shoals Lake Catch so we can still turn to the tried and true egg pattern/shrimp combination. The browns never tire of hitting a minnow and the sculpins are plentiful in the river right now so the browns are seeking them out. Enjoy celebrating this Fourth of July, be careful and be thankful!
(updated 7-3-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water has cleared, while the level now is low. There is some generation in the afternoons, but the water id down most of the day, they report. The trout bite for the past week was fair. Anglers are catching a few rainbows and a couple of brown trout. Also, there were six cutthroats caught the past week – none were caught here last year. They were caught on river rigs, PowerBait, Power Worms and shrimp. Also, a 16-inch rainbow was caught on a flyrod – “it jumped 3 feet out of the water,” they tell us.
(updated 7-3-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the previous week they had a quarter-inch of rain, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 2.9 feet to rest at 27.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.47 feet msl. This is 6.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 4 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.8 foot to rest at 8.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had light generation and reliable wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 2.1 feet to rest at 18.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.22 feet msl and 5.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had low generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. We are currently having light generation and wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. We can expect heavy generation in the near future.
The White has fished very well. The hot spot has been Roundhouse Shoals. There have been some good hatches of sulphur mayflies that have created some great topwater action. 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 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down).
John also said, “We are blessed here by a diversity of trout species unequaled in the United States, and possibly in the world. For years the Grand Slam has been the epitome of a great day on the river. A grand slam is when you catch all four species of trout: rainbow, brown cutthroat and brook in one day. I have achieved this goal on several occasions and even did it once with dry flies. One day I did it twice and I have had young clients do it a couple of times on Dry Run Creek. It is a notable achievement.
“For the past few years I have been thinking about how the bar has been raised by the introduction of new trout species. I have recently been discussing this with T.L. Lauerman, the Conservation Chair of the White River Chapter 698 of Trout Unlimited. He has spearheaded the introduction of Bonneville Cutthroat trout to the Norfork and White rivers. Before this program our cutthroat species was the Snake River fine spotted cutthroat.
The introduction of the Bonneville cutthroat is a major program to introduce a cutthroat species that would naturally reproduce in our rivers, like the brown trout. This would give us two wild species. The jury is still out on whether they will successfully spawn, but in the meantime there has been some great fishing for this fine species. The current ultimate catch is a trophy “Bonny.” I have personally caught them up to 23 inches and consider them to be an excellent fighter and first-rate trout. The Bonnevilles have larger spots that are concentrated on the rear of the trout.
“Now, I have learned of the introduction of yet another cutthroat species, the Yellowstone cutthroat. I have fished for them on several occasions in Yellowstone Park and have caught them up to 23 inches. My wife, Lori, bested me by catching a 24-incher on the first day of our trip out there a few years ago. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has planted several thousand Yellowstone Cutthroats in the White and Norfork rivers earlier this year and plan to do it again later in the year. The Yellowstone Cutthroat has large spots and a yellowish tan color and the vivid slash marks on its throat like all other cutthroat.
“These two new species give us a total of six distinct species in the White and Norfork rivers and give us the opportunity to catch a Super Grand Slam. That would be to catch a rainbow, brown, brook, west slope fine spot cutthroat, Bonneville cutthroat and Yellowstone cutthroat in one day. That is quite a challenge and I am ready to take it on. T.L. told me he is going to pursue it.
“If you accomplish it, drop me a line. It would be quite a coup to be the first angler to do it.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 688.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-26-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake level remains way up, and Monday morning it was 27 feet high. The surface water temperature was 79 degrees. The bream bite is poor, but he says the fish are starting to suspend. Crappie, likewise, are poor. Black bass, though, are providing good responses for anglers. Use your topwaters in the morning and come back with jigs for the evening. Also try a swimbait for some action. Catfish are biting fair on the limblines, he says. As for walleye, trolling is doing well for folks. Check out Del’s YouTube channel for his regularly updated video fishing report with various baits and patterns he’s using for the bass, including a new report he put up late last week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 573.74 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the stripers are still inconsistent. One of the main causes is the thermocline, which is usually by now around 32 feet this year – this summer it’s at 25 feet and the bait is staying higher and the stripers are still not in big schools yet. They are feeding on crawdads on the flats but they are hard to find feeding. Tom says he has been doing very well catching stripers off the bluffs in 125-150 feet of water. Some early fish are being caught at the 30-foot level and later in the morning he has seen them in the 60-foot range. “The bites start around 5:45 a.m. and last about one hour where I have been fishing,” he says. “By 7:30 on the southern end of the lake the bite for the most part is over. If you do not have your limit by then you will not get it.” Some fish are being caught using big umbrella rigs, but Tom says he has not seen any fish caught using a spoon. The best bait right now is gizzard shad in the 4- to 10-inch range. “My rod spread is two floats with 2-ounce weights set at 38 feet and 42 feet, and seven down rods set from 30-60 feet; each rod is set at a different depth. I continue to fish the lower end of the lake off the bluffs but some guides are catching them on deep flats early. You need to get out and use your deep finder to find some fishing on the flats; otherwise, find a fish on a bluff and start fishing – if there’s one there will others around.
“I continue to fish the main lake from Thumb Point to Hand Cove and the Dam Area, this pattern will hold true well into September,” he said. Tom adds that the walleye have moved to their summer pattern. They are feeding just below the mudline, which is at 22 feet. You can also catch them in the 28- to 32-foot range. The best bite is usually 8-11 a.m. Go with longline trolling crankbaits and bottom bouncers set just off the bottom or running spinners with nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-3-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideway Resort said, “Happy Fourth of July to all. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday period. Norfork Lake is mainly in its summertime pattern. This means fish are starting to go deep. Most fish species are hanging out in the 20-30 feet range. Norfork Lake has formed a thermocline at about 20-25 feet and the fish are hanging very close to it.”
The best bite on the lake at this time, is for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. At sunrise, you can find some topwater action up close to the shoreline and out on long shallower points. Yesterday my daughter and I had fun throwing Zara Spooks and Whopper Ploppers. The fish are very aggressive. When you see a small swirl in the water cast your bait at the swirl and give it a twitch, the fish will hammer it. As the sun gets over the tree line the fish start to go deeper. Once they go deep start looking just outside of the sunken buck brush on the wind blown points, which will be in about 20 – 25 feet of water. Start throwing a grub or just about any dark plastic, and work it along the bottom. You don’t need to work it fast, but you will need to pay attention as the bite at this time has been very light.
The striped bass have gone deep earlier this year than normal. You will find stripers anywhere from 30 – 70 feet, either suspended or on the bottom. I have been having difficulty in finding large numbers of stripers in any one area. They are scattered throughout the lake. Live bait has been working the best, but you have to work at it. When you find the fish, you can also vertical jig and spoon and you will pick up a few nice fish. Trolling large swimbaits is also picking up some nice fish keeping the bait at about 50 feet deep back in some of the major creeks. The best locations to start looking for this species are from the Robinson area down to the dam and also back to the Big Creek area. They will be up in the 30 feet range early in the morning, then head deeper as the sun comes up.
Norfork Lake has rising to 573.78, but currently is starting to drop with both of the generators running constantly. Both generators running for the entire day will drop the lake about 3 inches per day. The main lake is fairly clear, with the creeks and coves slightly stained. The current surface water temperature is in the mid-80s.
(updated 7-3-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the previous week Norfork Lake rose 2.1 feet to rest at 18.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.22 feet msl and 5.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had low generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. We are currently having light generation and wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. We can expect heavy generation in the near future.
The Norfork has been slow. Navigate this stream with caution 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 out, it will be crowded. There is some work being done at the hatchery that has affected access to the upper areas on the creek. 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-3-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and greatly cleared. 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.93 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is high and starting to warm up into a range that should finally set up a summer pattern. Which also means the wake boats and everyday pleasure boaters will be in force. You need to be out on the lake early or late in the evening to get onto the bite. Fishing has been slow to good for most all species. Stripers will be roaming main lake arms following shad. There still is some topwater early, and as boat traffic picks up, the fish drop back down. Walleye are good on crawler harnesses and snap weight rigs trolling Flicker shad in 25-35 feet of water. Largemouth bass are good; hit the flooded brush/laydowns early or late and you should catch some. Spotted bass and smallmouth are on chunk rock points at the clear end of lake. Crappie are scattered; look for docks and main channels. Trolling cranks at 15-20 feet or spider-rigging minnows or jigs will put a limit in your boat. Fishing for all species is fair to good overall. Go early or late to get on best bite. It’s a holiday week this week so be extra alert to all boat traffic. Be safe.
(updated 7-3-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the river arms are stained but look like they’re trying to clear. The overall lake level is very high for this time of year. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair. Fish the brush piles or around the edges of the lake. Crappie are good, mainly at night under lights. Minnows and jigs will both work. Troll the bridge area during the daytime. Black bass are good, with topwaters working nicely in the mornings. Also, try a spinnerbait or plastic worm, as well as jigs, the rest of the day. Catfishing is fair on worms or chicken livers. Walleye appear to be 25 feet deep and will for a deep-diving crankbait and trolling for any success.
(updated 7-3-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the gates are closed on the dam, the water is high “and the fish are hungry!” Trout are spread out throughout the tailwater; you need to check several areas, but once you are on them, you are on them. The trout have been biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons of various colors have produced nice numbers as well. If you can find an available spot (shore fishing), the area between Parker Bottoms and Spider Creek has been the hot spot this past week. “We are still getting some rain,” Austin says. “Try fishing some darker colors when reaching for the PowerBait. I have not tried for walleye or bass this past week. There is still quite a bit of debris floating around, so be careful if you are in a boat. As for the holiday coming up, if you hit the hot spot area, you should do just fine. I will have more to report after the Fourth. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July. Get out and catch some fish!”
(updated 7-3-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports that the water is mostly clear, though there are areas that are a little murky. The water level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on worms nad jigs. Crappie are biting well. The crappie are reported 6-10 feet deep and are being caught by anglers trolling with crankbaits. Black bass are good. Topwaters are working best. Catfish are good on cut bait.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 6-26-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, said Heather Hula and the park staff report they’ve been fishing regularly this week and the bite is good, but only after the sun goes behind the mountains. Once the sun goes down, the bass are hitting lures that are moving nonstop across the bottom. It seems like that is the only presentation that they are going for right now. Heather and another staffer also spent a few hours fishing for sunfish. It was a bit slow, but once they figured out the right bait (nightcrawlers), they caught quite a few with some little children at our fishing program. Bream reports from anglers are good with the fish in 2-3 feet depth around rocky points. Use worms. Black bass have been reported in 2-6 feet depth and biting plastic worms and jigs. Work the rocky points. Clarity and visibility is 1.5 feet. Surface temperature is 74 degrees.
(updated 7-3-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is stained but the lake is at a normal level. Bream reports were fair, with redworms or crickets working equally. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are good, and they appear to be in the shallows. They’re biting well on crankbaits or topwater lures. Catfishing is good using stink bait or cut bait.
(updated 7-3-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says fishing has been good! Water is high. Best moon times will be July 1-5. Good days are July 13, July 19, and again the bvest days to fish are July 29-Aug. 4. “Stop by and tell us your fishing story,” Shelly asks. She says the surface temperature Sunday morning was 70 degrees. Water clarity is murky. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms; fish around brush or rocky points. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait, stink bait, Catfish Pro blood and chicken liver.
(updated 7-3-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Summer is here and we can tell it is so … ‘hot.’ That hasn’t slowed the fishermen at all. We are keeping all your preferred live bait in stock and other supplies you will need here at Lake Poinsett State Park. I hear about some very nice catfish and bream being caught in the area. It doesn’t matter if they are fishing at private ponds or lakes.” While Lake Poinsett is closed for repairs through early 2020, check out other neighboring lakes such as Lake Charles and Lake Hogue, as well as the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 7-3-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Bream are good on crickets and red wigglers. Black bass are biting well early in the day and late in the evening. Throw a topwater lure. Lots of catfish are being caught now, as the bite is excellent. Use cut bait or shad. Boxhound Marina wanted everyone to know that while e. coli has been reported by the Arkansas Department of Health at another lake in northeast Arkansas, there is none at Crown Lake.
(updated 7-3-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 400 cfs at the Spring and water clarity has been stained with a heavy green tint this week. The river has been looking great. Not as much rain has the river coming down from recent higher flows. The trout have been biting great on olive and brown Woollies on cloudy days, while on the hot sunny days, downsizing the fly to a small nymph can really get the trout hitting hard. Sometimes a small split shot above the fly will help get it down. A black or hot pink Trout Magnet can be hot most days. Once again it’s all about getting just off the bottom of the river for the best bites.
(updated 7-3-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a navigable and greatly cleared. 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 7-3-2019) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 6-26-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that all the ramps on the Arkansas River in this area remain closed.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-26-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said mild weather, with periodic showers and storms, has caused the fish in Cane Creek Lake to fall into a relatively predictable pattern. Bream are still the most prevalent fish biting at the moment. The warm, calm water is making for great fishing in the shallows. Cast away from the boat or shore with a cricket tied below a sinker on a slip bobber. Vary the depth at about 5 foot and drag the cricket through the water just above the lake bed to get some aggressive bites from big bluegill and sunfish. As always, catfish are biting steady. Fish later in the afternoon on into night, using small bream (under 4 inches) as bait. Use a trotline strung across trees in 10 feet or so of water to bring out the big flatheads. Pole fishing is still doing well with fresh chicken liver. Crappie are being reported in some deeper holes toward the middle of the lake on the north end. Fish above structure in water no less than 12 foot deep. Suspend a shiner at about 7 feet for your best chance. Bass are taking advantage of this mild weather and are actually being reported breaking topwater in the shallows. Dragonflies just had a big hatch, so fish will be looking to the top of the water for an easy meal. Fish with light-colored topwater baits mid- to late afternoon, then switch to a dark-colored frog, spinner or buzzbait as the light begins to fade. Now is a good time for fish the shoreline at Cane Creek, which is rare because usually you need a boat to catch anything good. Cane Creek State Park and the park’s public brush piles are now featured on the “fishing spots” app, which you can find for free on the Appstore of your smartphone. For any question, contact Austin Davidson at the park.
(updated 7-3-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says fish are biting and the weather has been pleasant. Some thunderstorms are expected later on this week, but as of now definitely worth finding a chance to get on the lake and do some fishing.
(updated 7-3-2019) Angler Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.43 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, “IT’S HOT and the lake level on Millwood continues falling.” The level Monday was about 5.5 inches above normal conservation pool, at 259.7 feet msl, and the discharge was near 10,225 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The COE has a planned drawdown for Millwood to begin in mid-July. You’re advised to use caution navigating Millwood Lake during the drawdown period, when stumps, timber and debris will be at or near the surface.
The best largemouth bass bite over the past several weeks has been early morning and late afternoon around dusk. Largemouth bass have been very active before dawn to around 9 a.m.; cloud cover mornings have provided the best conditions, and activity levels slow during the heat of the day with the increase of surface temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s range of late. Best baits over the past week or so have been plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth, as well as Jitterbugs, buzzbaits and Baby Torpedoes at daybreak. Best colors for frogs around the new lily pads have been Snot Rocket, black and June Bug. Firecracker and Firetiger buzzbaits are also working at dawn. Slow-rolling chatterbaits near flooded bushes and stumps will draw random strikes, with Firecracker and Hot Mouse being good colors in stained water. StutterSteps, Spit’n Images, Ken Pops, Pop-Rs and Moss Bosses continue to draw random reactions from largemouths around vegetation and new pads. Topwater activity levels have slowed later in the day when it gets hotter. Topwater activity is still very good at dawn.
White bass were found again late last week surface-breaking and schooling on shad and bait in Horseshoe Lake oxbow up Little River. Hammered Cordell Spoons with red/white bucktails, chrome/black or chrome/blue, and Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps, Spin Traps and Bomber Fat Free Guppy cranks were catching these surface schoolers breaking on shad. Crappie have been consistently biting jigs and minnows 4-8 feet deep near cypress trees, and planted brush piles out of river current from 8-12 feet deep. Crappie for the past couple weeks have been transitioning to deeper drops, near standing timber or planted brush piles, but can still be caught early on the base of cypress trees. They have been best vertical-jigging minnows, Arkie Jigs and minnows. The best bite is early from dawn until around 10 a.m., fishing shallow on cypress trees with minnows. Channel cats and blues remain very good in Little River current and flow, up to 7-8 pounds, on trotlines and yo-yos set 8-12 feet deep in the river using spoiled chicken livers, gizzards and hearts. Yo-yos set under cypress trees in Mud Lake, using cut shad and buffalo, and set at 7-9 feet, were catching some decent blues. Mason bream and bluegills were biting very well, from a report we got from Millwood State Park late last week. Catalpa worms, crickets, redworms, nightcrawlers and bread were drawing best reactions for anglers fishing off the bank after dusk.
The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was dropping and at 240 feet msl. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. USE EXTREME CAUTION IN THE UPPER END OF THE BOAT LANE FROM THE HIGH LINE TO THE LITTLE GAS LINE CUTOFF AND WATCH FOR MISSING OR DAMAGED TELEPHONE POLE LANE MARKERS and NUMEROUS RIVER BUOYS are MISSING along Little River from Yarborough to main lake clear-cut. The Corps is working to replacing missing buoy markers in Little River. The main lake and lower sections of Little River continue to improve and are not quite as stained or muddy as the upper regions of Little River and Saline River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 2-4 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity ranged 15-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
(updated 6-26-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few bass and bream are being caught. No reports on catfish or crappie.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
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 546.68 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature Monday was 85 degrees. The lake level is at normal pool. The bream bite fell off to just fair reports this week. The fish at in 2-5 feet of water and are biting worms. Find the fish around the brush piles or stumps. Crappie are good. They are being caught in 20-25 feet depth on minnows or jigs. Fish the brush piles or the rocky points. Black bass are good. Look for bass in 10-15 feet depth and fish with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, a Zara Spook-like bait or plastic worms. Catfish are fair on worms and blood bait. White bass reports are fair.
(updated 6-25-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) says the lake level is almost 2 feet above full pool of 548 feet msl and falling until the rain this week. Water temps have made it the 80s. The bass are in their summer patterns. Bass have moved to the post-spawn and summer patterns and can be caught on Yum Pulse swimbaits and Super Spook Jr’s. Shaky head-rigged Yum finesse worms working OK on main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. Concentrate on main lake points. 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 404.99 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Now is the time to go out and get em. Water temperature is 83 degrees. Water level is up 406.26 feet msl, up over a foot since the big rain we got this weekend. Wow! Water is slightly tinted from Lennox Marcus upriver and the fresh water has slowed down some of the bite until it stabilizes.” Bass are on their summer pattern of soft plastics on the points and early over brush with topwaters and buzzbaits. Hybrids are improving. “We can’t ever seem to get a still day for the surfacing fish do their thing. With the windy weather you have to use your electronics to find them and they are deep. Look for them in the deep pockets and river bends. Spoons do well for casting and vertical-jigging. They are showing up at Arlie Moore north and Caddo Bend.” Crappie have been slow after the rain, but with the lake stabilizing they are picking up again. Fish 12-16 feet deep in the brush piles. They are being caught all over the lake. John adds, “The Fourth of July is coming up, and now is a good time to polish our ‘boat manners.’ Good fishing.”
(updated 6-26-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says white bass and hybrids are schooling and being caught on spoons early in the mornings. Mid-lake is your best bet.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 442.51 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.12 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-3-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, had no report.
(updated 6-26-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said
bass are biting well on topwater lures and spinnerbaits. Nice bream and catfish are being caught. No report on crappie.
(updated 7-3-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the clarity is clear and “looks really good,” while the water level just a little high. Surface water temperature on Tuesday midday was 80 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Anglers still found crappie fair; use minnows and jigs. Black bass are hitting topwater baits and reports are good. Catfish are good on the limblines and trotlines.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-3-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) spoke with Austin Owens of the Lake Catherine State Park Marina, who reported that the clarity is clearing, surface temperature was 82 degrees, and the water level and current are normal. Bream are fair and are being fished in 5-10 feet depth. Use worms and crickets, and focus on the rocky points. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are fair. Baits used with success were spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures. Catfishing is fair with chicken liver. White bass reports were poor.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-3-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that reports that Lake Ouachita has fallen out of flood pool, as 24/7 generation below Carpenter Dam last week was the norm. Entergy has regulated the generation schedules so the Carpenter Dam tailrace can be safely navigated and fished. It is very important to note that in normal rainfall years, the rainbow trout population has either been caught out or migrated away from the dam. Because of the constant flooding and high-water conditions, little trout fishing has taken place and good numbers of quality trout are thriving in the area. 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 bring 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 bass 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, as they 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 703-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is in the 80s. River is still swift and muddy. Some creeks are starting to clear, with others being dingy and off-colored. Fishing has been good. Largemouth bass are hitting small jigs and Bamboozie. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits have been working deep. Flipping crawls has been working around wood. Striped bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits. White bass have been good on small crankbaits. Crappie have been good on jigs and minnows. Bream hare been good on jigs, crickets, worms and grasshoppers. Catfish have been good on worms and cut perch. The buoys in the river channel are off-station and some are diving. Sandbars are popping up everywhere; be extremely careful.
(updated 7-3-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said the area has seen mostly sunshine, heat and humidity the past week. Arkansas summer weather, along with pop-up showers, is forecasted for the next seven days. There is still no visibility; water remains muddy. The surface water temperature is 84 degrees. As of Tuesday (July 2) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has fallen below flood stage at a level of 356.4 feet msl. It is forecast to hold this level at least for the next day or so. Release has dropped since last report, from 235,000 cfs to 155,000 cfs, and is holding steady. There has been no power generation. Water has receded around the islands and bottoms at the Arkansas Highway 109 bridge and near Spadra. Some dikes may still be submerged. Anglers have reported that much of the sandbars and sloughs have changed from the Highway 109 bridge and down to Shoal Bay. Access to Shoal Bay and Dublin from the river channel has been silted in and is difficult to navigate. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park is a little below normal. The Dardanelle tailwater has fallen from 32 feet to 23 feet since last report. Release has fallen from 245,000 cfs to around 155,000 cfs and is holding steady. There has been no power generation.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park hosted Arkansas Bassmasters High School Series on June 23. River conditions and thunderstorms made for tough conditions. A 5.81-pound Big Bass was weighed and a 14.40 pound creel was the heaviest overall. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516 ext. 2.
(updated 6-26-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports that lake levels are up slightly and temperatures are on the rise. Pockets not on the main channel are approaching 90 degrees due to the heat and warm rainwater coming in. Bass have moved out to the main lake to find cooler and more oxygen-rich waters. Main lake points that drop of quickly, bridge pillars and deep docks are the only areas to go to this time of year. Areas in the shade during parts of the day are even better! Most people would call you crazy to throw topwater during the heat of the day in the summer, but it works! Target shade and cover with frogs, prop baits and wacky rigs (because they skip beautifully). On the main points try a drop-shot rig, a crankbait or a spoon. “We have heard very little on the crappie (most likely because the warm water is really driving them deeper). Catfish are outstanding on creek channel drop-offs bridges and dams. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
(updated 6-19-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says white bass are schooling early in the morning hitting small spoons and Rooster Tails. Crappie are still biting on live bait fished 13-16 feet deep. Get on the water by first light and reap the results.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 373.15 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water clarity is clear, but the water is reported being 3 inches above the top of the dam. Surface water temperature Monday afternoon was 86 degrees. Even with the high water, they report good fishing for bream; use redworms or crickets. Crappie also are good. The crappie are at 10-12 feet depth and are favoring purple/chartreuse colors in the jigs. Also throw them minnows. Black bass are good. Carolina rigs are working, as well as jigs. One angler had a five-pound stringer totaling 19 pounds. Catfishing is poor. They report that it appears there is not enough oxygen in the water for the cats.
(updated 7-3-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water clarity remains muddy and water is so high now, it’s going over the dam. They had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.88 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair. Texas-rigged soft plastics and drop-shot rigs fished over points are working at this time. Walleye are good. Three-quarter-ounce CC spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are still good. Most of these fish have moved to the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are 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 20-25 feet of water near brush. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod and reel using live nightcrawlers around brush piles. The water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees. Clarity is clearing. Lake level earlier this week was 577.10 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor fishing 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 412.82 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-3-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin said Blue Mountain is 31.5 feet high. No reports.
(updated 7-3-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says the lake’s clarity is a little dingy, while the lake level is 2 feet high. Bream were fair on redworms. Crappie have “really slowed down,” Ronnie said, adding that in one outing he caught five crappie in two hours. The bite is fair, he says, with best bet being dock-shooting for some response. Largemouth bass, though, are good. He said one angler caught a seven-fish stringer that totaled 23 pounds, 4 ounces. Topwater lures are the way to go; fish them near the lily pads. Catfish reports are poor.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 7-3-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
(updated 7-3-2019) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said fishing will open for the first time of the season at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 6. The water is high and stained but looks great for bass, crappie and bluegill. A recent mayfly hatch indicates that topwater lures will be good for black bass around the cypress trees. Also try jigs and squarebill crankbaits. For bluegill try redworms or crickets 2 feet under a slip cork. Crappie should be biting on jigs and minnows around the cypress trees and in the channel.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile-long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through October, water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility-impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-3-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
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