Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 5, 2017
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 5, 2017. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 7-5-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday morning the water is stained and after the early week’s rainfall the level ranges from normal to high. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Bass reports were good both early in the morning and late in the day. Anglers were using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. The catfish bite ranged fair to good the past week.
Little Red River
(updated 7-5-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue to receive 12 hours of daily generation on the Little Red River, with generation beginning around mid-day. This generation schedule is providing excellent wading conditions on the upper sections of the river in the 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 generation schedule is also providing excellent drift-fishing on all sections. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends sowbugs, midges, emergers and streamers. Bison- and hot pink-colored Trout Magnet bodies on chartreuse heads are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 7-5-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the bite remains good on the Little Red with rainbows and browns being caught on midge pupas and mayfly nymphs. Midges are hatching in the mornings and blue wing olives are hatching in the afternoons. Fish are not rising much, so subsurface flies seem to be the best choice. Greg says they had a heavy rainstorm Tuesday afternoon but the river seemed to remain in good shape due to the generation Tuesday evening. The generation schedule has remained about the same with the generation beginning about 9 a.m. the last couple of days.
(updated 6-28-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing on the Little Red has been excellent! The generation schedule has been a steady 12 hours on, 12 hours off, with water releases starting at 10-11 a.m. and running until 10-11 p.m. Fishing in the lower water has been best. The hot flies have been egg patterns and sowbugs fished underneath an indicator.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 466.56 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 7-5-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level is on a slow rise after the rains we have had, and with the way they are generating, it will keep it staying about where it is for the next few days, or maybe a slow fall. It is 3.97 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet. The dissolved oxygen is high and all species of fish are feeling good, and the threadfin population is high and they are eating well all over the lake. The black bass fishing is good for all three species all over the lake, with good catching going on day and night, and that will continue until it gets super cold in January. Use Texas rigs, C-rigs and football heads for the deeper fish as well as spoons, hair jigs and crankbaits. The shallow fish can be caught with small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jighead worms and small jigs. The deeper bottom fish are out to 45 feet with some being suspended in 65 feet, and the shallow fish are from 0-45 feet. The crappie are eating throughout the day on minnows and jigs fished 15-40 feet vertical, as most are suspended in pole timber and in, over and around brush piles. Some of the schools are out in the middle of nowhere in guts of pockets just roaming. The catfishing is good all over the lake with all species being caught with a lot of different baits and techniques in different depths of water. The walleye bite is better with the more stable water level getting back to normal, with them getting in places that are easier to catch them, out on gravel flats next to deeper water in 18-28 feet. The bream will be bedding again with the moon coming back up. They can be caught shallow with small crankbaits, in-line spinners, crickets and crawlers, and the deeper fish out to 26 feet can be caught with crawlers and crickets as well. The hybrid and white bass are eating off and on around the clock on in-line spinners, spoons, swimbaits and hair jigs in 25-70 feet of water. Find the bait on your electronics and the fish will be close by. Dome schooling is going on all over the lake and that will continue to get better.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-28-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is stained and is at a normal level. Bream were good. But other than that, the week was very slow for anglers. No reports on crappie, bass or catfish.
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are in deep water and the bite is good on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone/chartreuse, Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Largemouth bass are biting on buzzbaits and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hogs, Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 6-21-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said bass are still doing well around brush and are chasing shad like crazy. Bream are starting to pick up around the shoreline and grass, but still are not being able to find them on beds yet. Catfish are doing fair on jugs and trotlines, mostly blues and channels. Johnny had a 34-pound blue and several eight- to 12-pound channels last week. Crappie are doing fair, some in deeper water and some in 5 feet of water. Nothing over nine keepers 11 to 15 inches long, but a lot 9.5 inches to 9.75 inches long.
(updated 6-28-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) had no report. In his previous report a week ago, Larry said water is normal and clear. Bream continued to have a good bite. Anglers were using worms and crickets. Crappie were good and biting minnows. Bass were good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing was good on blood bait and chicken livers.
(updated 6-28-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are very good. The largemouths are biting on crankbaits, wacky rig worms, flukes and spinnerbaits. Blacks are about 10-15 feet off the weeds in about 10 feet depth. With the temperature going up and down, the black bass are doing a lot of moving from shallow to deep; you will need to do a lot of head shaking. Jim Briggs and Melvin Veasey landed a 3.8-pound fish for Big Bass in the Tuesday night tournament. Winning hauls have been over 9 pounds in recent night fishing tournaments, with Bill Dennis and Rick Easter catching 9.9 pounds on Tuesday night. Kentucky bass fishing is excellent. Kentuckies are being caught on jigs and minnows. They can be found mixed in with the black bass in the shallow water. White bass are excellent, and fish are still be seen schooling at the east end. Fish the whites with Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. Whites are staying up longer. The crappie bite remains good. They are being caught on minnows and jigs, the best bait being the chartreuse and white jig with a very light line. Look for good-size crappie in 22-25 feet of water. Bream are still excellent. The bream have moved off of the bed and are about 10-14 feet deep. Use crickets or live worms. Catfish reports have been excellent. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water, but some have been shallower. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are fair. Anglers are having the best success trolling crankbaits or minnows. The crappie are in 14-16 feet depth of water. Bass are fair around the main lake points on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and tube jigs.
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting in deep water on Baby Shad and Slab Slanger, as well as minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 7-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and minnows. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair early in the mornings on minnows and Carolina rigged plastics. Crappie fishing has been slow and customers report the few they are catching on pink minnows have been small.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting well on cricket and redworms. Fish them under a cork or on a tight line and cover different areas of the ponds. Catfish are biting fair for some customers using chicken livers, bait shrimp, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows and red or purple Carolina rigged plastics. Crappie have been slow to bite anything this week but a customer did report catching a couple on size 6 minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass are biting well on minnows, small Texas rigged lizards, crawdad-colored crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Fish right below shoals and in the current. Let your bait float downstream, keeping it just off the bottom. Catfish are biting goldfish, black salties and minnows at night. Trotlines and limblines will work, but if you have a place and the time to prop up a pole and wait it’ll be a lot of fun. Crappie have been biting fair for a few using No. 6 minnows. Fish them on light line under a small cork and float them beside logs that lay parallel with the bank. Adjust your depth according to the depth of the log you’re fishing. Where you find one, there will likely be a few more. Bream are quick to bite a cricket or redworm on a small hook and light line. You can almost just pick your spot if you’re just looking for fun and not a bunch of whoppers. If you really want to have fun with a rod and reel on the Saline, now is the time to take some No. 12 minnows and catch some gar. If you can. They are a challenge and they are fighters, so be sure your line is strong and your hooks are sharp. Any way you present a minnow to a gar will probably get the bite. The rest is up to you.
(updated 7-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are still biting crickets and redworms. Fish around docks and walls and get out in the deep water for some big ones. Bass fishing has been fair at night and not as good during the day. Minnows, black plastic worms and lizards or black topwater baits are working at night. Watermelon seed, green pumpkin and purple plastics during the day. Catfish are biting well at night on lines baited with minnows, black salties and goldfish. Crappie fishing has been slow, but if you can find that one deep cove where a few are being caught you might get a couple of good ones on No. 6 minnows.
(updated 7-5-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting fair on No. 6 minnows and are coming from anywhere from 4-24 feet deep. Bass fishing has been fair as well. Minnows, Carolina rigged plastics, floating worms and topwater baits early in the morning seem to be what’s working best. Catfish are biting well in the evenings and at night on minnows, chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. If you know where some bream beds are, fish close by for catfish at night. Bream have been biting well on crickets and worms. Use small hooks and light line and get your bait close to the bottom in some brushy coves.
Tommy Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfish are excellent just off the lake on cut shad and nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing has been fair using chicken livers, nightcrawlers and hot dogs.
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass are fair and are in good numbers around grass points. Use jigs or topwater frogs. Catfish are fair and are best around the piers at night. Try worms or minnows.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 7-5-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said fishing is really good. Charley has heard people who were regulars coming back after the high waters for three years going out and catching loads of bass, catfish, bream and whites. Catfish are strong on catalpa worms on the jetty tips and on the backside in 10-15 of water. Bream are good on crickets on the grass, riprap and jetties about 3-10 feet deep. Kentucky bass and black bass that are 1 to 2 years old that the AGFC have stocked over the last few years are active. Fish the tops of sunken jetties with a Fat Rap. Pull down till you hit rock, ease off and let the lure work itself up. Then crank back and hit the tops. Results have been good. White bass are chasing shad schools. When the whites and shad are on top, throw shad or pearl Rat-L Traps. When they go down, use a deep to mid-billed crankbait in shad colors. A few stripers are being caught below the dams on wobble spoons.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
(updated 6-28-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282),) said that the fishing on the river is great right now. Good flows and a finally consistent water level has the majority of fish biting pretty well. The bass are finally fully recovered from the spring spawn and are definitely eating. This is the time of year that you want to look to the current and main river areas to fill the boat. Make your way to areas where the current is broken up by rock jetties, poles, turns, etc. Try tossing squarebill crankbaits, spinnerbaits or buzzbaits. If no takers, switch to something slower moving, like a worm or jig. Plenty of catfish can be caught right now, but the larger ones have been a little slow. Channel cats are plentiful on stink bait behind the jetties in deeper holes. As for bream, if you want to take the kids to have a ton of fun, now is the time! Put a cricket under a slip cork and toss around grass and wood in the slackwater areas behind the rock jetties. Lots of good-sized fish to be caught up shallow right now!
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-5-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water clarity was fair and level was normal. Bass reports have been excellent. Bass are biting early in the morning and late in the day. Anglers are using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater lures such as Zara Spooks. Catfish are good on worms or blood bait. Crappie are fair and responding to minnows. The fish are in 4-5 feet of water. Bream are good on worms or crickets.
(updated 6-28-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass are fair and are biting crankbaits and black buzzbaits. Catfish are fair on skipjack and shad.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 7-5-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing remains excellent around the Murray Lock and Dam via snagging and with skipjack.
(updated 7-5-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the water is stained and the level is running heavy to normal. Bream can be found in 4-5 feet of water and the bite is good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are most active early in the day and late in the evening. Pull out the buzzbait or a topwater for best results. Catfish reports were good using cut bait.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-28-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said clarity is muddy but the water appears to be clearing up. The flows are at 30,000 cfs. Reports on bass fishing have been excellent. Bass can be found around the main river jetties and are hitting crankbaits. Catfishing is good on stink bait. No reports on bream. No reports on crappie. On a 1-5 scale for the week, Vince called the fishing fair, a 3.
(updated 7-5-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake on Wednesday was indeed clear and the water was at a normal level. Bream reports were good with worms and crickets working. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish reports were fair. The water is muddy and murky near Terry Lock and Dam; however, the fish bite overall is good. McSwain heard that bream were biting well on worms and crickets, crappie were good on minnows and jigs, bass were biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits, and catfishing around here was good.
(updated 7-5-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water was stained. The water level has ranged from normal to high the past week. Bream are biting well. The fish are about 4-5 feet deep and are hitting crickets. Crappie reports were fair, with jigs working best. Bass are good both early in the day and late. Use spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Catfish are good below the Murray Dam on cut bait. At the south end at David Terry Dam, the water remains stained and with level ranging high to normal. Bream reports mirrored the rest of the pool, with fish in about 4-5 feet of water and biting worms as well as crickets. Crappie can be found off the jetties and the bite is good. Try pink minnows for best results, though jigs and regular minnows are working. Bass are good early and late here, with spinnerbaits and topwaters the best call. For catfish, good results can be had by using shad or cut bait.
(updated 7-5-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing remains excellent around the Murray Lock and Dam. No reports from the Terry end of the pool.
(updated 7-5-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water clarity is clear and the water is at a normal level. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good; no report on bait used.
(updated 7-5-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Welcome back; we hope all were able to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends, especially if you were able to be on the river or one of Arkansas’ beautiful lakes.” The river saw much less traffic than usual for a holiday weekend due to daylong showers on the 4th. Good news: The steady inflow of fresh water from the dam will help clear out any debris or dinginess from the rain in a short time. If you’re fishing the river in dingy conditions, find the mud line and cast you bait right there, mid- to lower depths, bright colors. Try a white, fluorescent yellow or chartreuse body with a gold blade if using Rooster Tails, or same-colored eggs or egg patterns. A soft peach-colored egg will earn a few bites, too. The Headhunter lures continue to astound us, best luck coming with the orange belly gold 4.5-inch lure in overcast skies. A nice brown took the bait from the bank next to the access area in Cotter yesterday. Tie on redworms or nightcrawlers in the afternoon when generation flow increases. Don’t rush; take your time; enjoy the whole gamut of your fishing experience in our great Natural State of Arkansas.
(updated 7-5-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said it was a very good week. Anglers reported lots of rainbows, brown trout, walleye and bream. The water clarity was fair and the river level was high, with 4-6 generators running.
(updated 7-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) that during the past week they have had several rain events (combined for a bit over 4 inches in Cotter), warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 0.2 feet to rest at 27.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.5 feet msl. This is 6.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool and 10 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.4 feet to rest at 6.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with moderate generation.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a cerise San Juan worm with a size 14 bead head pheasant tail nymph suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.
John also said, “Last Saturday I had a guide trip with Marilyn Allen. She lives at Red Bud Shoals and had originally hired me to take her and her cousin (he was scheduled to visit) fishing. At the last minute her cousin canceled. She still wanted to go fishing and called to let me know about the change. While she was on the phone, she asked if my wife, Lori, wanted to join her. Both of them are dog people. As you know, Lori shows our English Labrador Retrievers, Tilley and Ghillie. Marilyn has two West Highland Terriers with which she competed in agility. Agility is where you direct your dog through an obstacle course that includes jumps, weave poles, tunnels and a teeter totter all at full speed. It is the most exciting canine competition to watch.
“Lori quickly agreed with the caveat that she would come a bit later, in her own car, so that she could care, for our dogs. She also wanted to break around lunch, so that she could check, on them. Marilyn requested that I motor her to her house on the river around lunch so that she could check on her dogs. This still left plenty of time for fishing.
“It was a beautiful day to be on the river. We went to Rim Shoals; which is just downstream from Marilyn’s home. The Corps of Engineers were running around 9,000 cfs, the rough equivalent of three generators. It was a cool start at 68 degrees but was forecast to reach 90 before the day was over. The sky was clear and the winds were light and variable.
“I already had the rods rigged for the day. I had Marilyn rigged with a bead-head pheasant tail nymph below a pink worm. I used an AAA split shot and a Thingamabobber (I love that name) strike indicator set 8½ feet above the pheasant tail. I rigged Lori with a hare and copper nymph below a Y2K and the same weight and strike indicator set at the same depth. I like to start my clients with different flies to see what is working. If I find a trend, I will change to the same rig to maximize success.
“Marilyn had not fished in a few years and felt like she would be a bit rusty. There is nothing further from the truth. I noted that she was an accomplished caster, a competent line handler and was not afraid to set the hook. She picked a nice rainbow on the first drift. As we motored upstream to begin our next drift, we saw Lori on the ramp waiting for us. She hopped in the boat and we began fishing in earnest.
“At the beginning of the day, Marilyn was out-fishing Lori two or three to one. We analyzed the situation and decided to switch Lori’s rod over to a bead-head pheasant tail nymph. That did the trick and Lori was able equal Marilyn’s success. I have not met a lot of fly-fishers, male or female, that could keep up with Lori. They were both pretty competitive and finished the day pretty much even. We broke for lunch and Lori drove home to let out our dogs. I boated upriver to Marilyn’s house so she could let out her dogs. After lunch, we returned to the river. We hit a slow patch for a few minutes but soon enough the bite picked up. We ended the day with 40-plus trout. For Lori, it had been a great day because she had a relaxed easy guide trip and a day away, from an overactive lab puppy and a chance to spend a day with another dog person. For Marilyn, it was great to be back on the river to fish some great water near her home after an absence. For me, it was great to be on the river with two women that could catch fish. I spent the day netting trout. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 688.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-5-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Thursday that at 688 feet msl the lake is still high but is dropping slowly. Del said he doesn’t know how long it’s going to take for the water to go down. Water temperature is about 82 degrees starting out, 88 by the end of the day depending on location. Fishing is in the summer pattern, and a couple of different things are working. For Del, bluffs, points, saddles. And, he said, because of where the water is at, 29 feet above normal, those fish that are normally deep (the drop-shot fish, the spoon fish) are still in the bushes. You can pick up a few on the bluff walls. When you come off the bluff walls, try drop-shotting, either using worm or shad-style bait. Del also says that you want to have a topwater tied on at all times and ready to go. They’ve had it where the fish are just blowing up anytime of the day. All those little shad balls, there are “wolf packs” going through. You’ll see the shad popping and if you can get that bait in there, you’ll do all right. Del suggests a Whopper Plopper; he says he’s excited about the new 110, it’s catching some fish. Buzzbaits are catching the fish. Zara Spoon, whatever topwater you’re comfortable with. Natural shad pattern seems to be the key. It’s summertime, you want to be out toward the main lake. The long points that go way out to the lake, those points are holding lots of fish. You can drag a jig off the points. Del says he is still not dragging it, he’s swimming it or stroking it off the tops of bushes. The fish in there are just going to hammer it. If he’s covering water, Del says, the Keitech is catching a few – quarter-ounce head, shad pattern, whatever color you like, depending on the day. And spinnerbait – if you have plenty of wind you can still catch fish on a spinnerbait. A lot of these fish he’s catching are still shallow, 20 feet or less. Walleyes, lot of guys are asking about them, Dell says he’s catching a few fairly shallow on a jig, 15 feet. “I know that’s messed up for the walleye guys. Usually this time of year you can bottom bounce one but the ones I’m catching on the jig are in the 10-15 feet range. All that bait is up there so the fish are up there eating and they don’t have any need to go deep. They have cover and they’ve got food. I don’t know if the deep bite is going to turn on. A lot of those fish are suspended too. The suspended fish can be tougher to target,” he said.
(updated 7-5-2017) K Dock Marina said they have been preoccupied with the devastating flood that hit there at the end of April and apologize that it’s been so long to post a report, but they have been very busy trying to straighten the marina out. However, things are looking up! The lake is still very high (688.7 feet msl, or 29 feet above normal) but in perfect fishing and boating conditions this week. Water temperature is ranging 83-86 degrees and the water is clear to stained. Here is what they have been hearing from the anglers the past two weeks. Black bass (Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass) are Good on big 10-inch plum-colored plastic worms off of flooded roadbeds. Also good on ½-ounce jigs in 10-20 feet off of flooded flats and points. Crankbaits are also good off of points and rocky bluffs. Topwater bite is good to fair in flooded brush. Try a weedless frog. Walleye are good to fair on nightcrawlers on flooded flats. Medium-size crankbaits are also working being trolled along the points and bluffs. Many are being caught still shallow in 6-15 feet. But look for suspended walleye in 20-30 feet on your graph. Drop a white or silver ½-ounce spoon if you get on top of them. Crappie are slow due to high water. Swimming minnows or live minnows around flooded trees work best. White bass are slow due to high water. Catfish are good to fair on trotlines. Also nightcrawlers in the entrance to coves. Bluegill are very good on crickets about anywhere. Also it’s a great time to rig the kids up with a worm and a bobber in any cove.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 573.36 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-28-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says striper fishing continues to be very good right now. The stripers continue to feed on crawdads very close to the bottom. If you have a 2D depth finder, you will miss most of the fish. Structure Scan will show you the stripers that you would otherwise think was not there. The only way, Tom says, they get them to hit is by putting the bait at the bottom then bringing the weight up a foot and let the shad swim right off the bottom. The stripers have been very aggressive when they take the bait. Most often Tom and his groups have a hit on one pole and then another pole will get hit. The best places to fish are still around the dam area off the main points and flats. Tom says he has caught stripers from the mouth of Big Creek to the dam. This action should continue well into August, so now is the time to get on the lake.
Tom also says, “I received a call from Kathy who was staying at Mockingbird Bay Resort. Kathy and Iris wanted to try striper fishing. The ladies were from south Arkansas and were up here to spend a weekend on Norfork Lake. It was their first time out on the lake and they could not get over how beautiful the lake was and the clear water. We left the dock at 6 a.m. and headed to my first spot. It did not take long and we had our first striper. Kathy took the pole and was having the time of her life. You could have heard halfway across the lake. The action was very fast at times with two and three poles having stripers on the line. Within two hours we had our limit and were heading back to the dock for pictures. Both Kathy and Iris were already planning their return trip with friends and spouses.”
(updated 6-28-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said striped bass fishing on Norfork Lake has been outstanding for the last couple of weeks. This year the stripers are in the summer pattern a little earlier than normal. You can find the striped bass in 40-55 feet of water close to the bottom. Early morning, after sunrise, Lou has been finding large schools of fish feeding heavily on shad. As the morning wears on, the stripers are staying at this same depth but will be hugging the bottom. Small live bait is working the best for Lou, he said, either threadfin shad or shiners. For his live bait poles he is using a 2-ounce weight with a swivel on both ends, then he ties on a 4-5-foot leader with a No. 6 hook. Yes, this is a very small hook, but Lou tries to match the hook to the bait so the bait can still swim around. Lou will drop the bait to the bottom, then give two cranks of the reel to lift the weight off of the bottom. Best places to fish are from point 2 back to the Sand Island area. Start looking for the stripers on the points and both sides of the points and when you find them, hold on!|
Lou added that the largemouth bass bite is also very good. They can be found all over the lake. The best areas to start fishing is part way to all the way back into the creeks and coves. The largemouth are up in the sunken brush early and late in the day and move out to 20-30 feet of water during the sunny part of the day. Swimbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are all working well at times for the largemouth bass. The largemouth will also come up for a topwater bait early in the morning. Crappie, bluegills and walleye are all feeding inside of the sunken brush early and late in the day. The crappie and bluegill stay inside of or on the edge of the brush during the day. The walleye are starting to move out onto the flats into 20-40 feet of water. Live bait is a great choice for all these species. The lake as of Tuesday was falling slowly with sporadic power generation; it is dropping 1-2 inches per day. The majority of the lake is clear with the creeks and coves partially stained. The lake surface water temperature was 81-82 degrees Tuesday morning.
(updated 7-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that in the past week Norfork Lake rose 0.7 feet to rest at 17.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556 feet msl and 6.5 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had a bit more wadable water, and the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper john or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With school out it can get a bit crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are higher. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-5-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said there was a slight stain in the water, and the level remains higher than normal conservation pool, with a 1128 feet msl reading. Fishing in the past week was good overall, they say. Bream were good on worms or crickets. Crappie were fair, with the best success coming trolling during the day. Use minnows or jigs. Bass ranged from fair to good, with the most fish being caught either early in the day or late in the evening. Spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms were working. Catfishing was good on trotlines, limblines and with jugs.
(updated 7-5-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said stripers are on the feed with some Beaver Lake Striper using gravel bars, points, humps, tree tops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing weighted down lines will definitely get you some fish. Target 20-25 feet early morning and at night; then stripers will be found deeper during daylight hours and midday. Night fishing with lights has also been productive in these areas. Fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad fished on downlines from 20 down to about 50 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse. Also try using plugs like Rapala No. 14 Husky Jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on down riggers. Get some depth and stagger your presentation using stackers. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow; current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website linked above. Live bait as always on Beaver Lake when fishing for Trophy Stripers is the often preferred approach but you can use a variety of methods to stalk your prey. Water surface temperatures are in the low 80s in the mid- and lower sections of the lake; check out these hot spots: Dam (Hybrid Cove has fish in it), Indian Creek (keep your eyes out for surfacing fish), Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, and Rambo Creek Arm. Horseshoe Bend has white bass surfacing, while walleye are being caught in numbers as well. Walleye are making their way back to the main lake in numbers in late spring/summer migration mode and can be found scattered throughout the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B’s, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also give slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse a try. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye. Please help stop the spread of invasive species by sourcing bait locally and supporting the AGFC in its endeavor to protect state lakes.
(updated 6-28-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said water is going down and the bite is increasing in the tailwaters. Trout are biting well on light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. Trout are also hitting spoons well, too. The water is still a little high but low enough to the point where it could be very dangerous for anyone operating a boat at a high rate of speed and not knowing where the underwater obstructions are. Please boat with caution and care while in the tailwaters. Water temperatures are between 70 degrees toward Houseman Access and mid 50s toward Spider Creek. Walleye have been caught this past week out by Butler Creek fishing jigs on bottom and Flicker Shad. Even though these fish are still pretty spread out, with some persistence you can boat a couple. Smallmouths are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island with soft plastics and Rapalas. Be safe and have fun.
(updated 7-5-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported before last weekend that water was still too high to wade. Conventional fishermen are catching their limits of trout from the bank and boat alike. Fly-fisherman are out of luck again this week as the water levels remain too high to wade and who knows when the water will receed enough for fly fisherman to wade again – maybe by the end of July! Nightcrawlers and waxworms are working well for catching trout. PowerBait in dough or balls are also working well. Fish the Bertrand area and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw quarter-ounce spoons. Flicker Shad are also doing the job. Good lures in this area are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails; midges in blue dun, olive; hare’s ear; tungsten copper johns; WD40s; Trout Magnets; and San Juan worms.
War Eagle Creek
(updated 7-5-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass are hitting according to current flow up and down. In murky water use dark-colored soft plastics and spinnerbaits. If water goes clear the same day use watermelon-colored soft plastics, crawdad-colored crank baits, spoons, light-colored spinnerbaits, live crawdads and minnows from creek. Rapids are hot spots between AGFC’s Clifty Access to War Eagle Mills area. Reminder that the length limit on smallmouth is 14 inches. Largemouth bass are biting well in the last stretches of War Eagle into Beaver Lake. Anglers are fishing in flooded water around bushes, trees and grass with topwater lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Where murky water meets clear water lines are the hot spots to fish. A reminder that the black bass combined limit is two. Goggle eye are hitting Rooster Tails, small jigs and live worms. When you catch one, there are more likely many more fish in same area. Catfishing is best with liver, stink bait and live bait. Good spots are at each bluff hole and the War Eagle stretch going into Beaver Lake.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) has closed his shop and retired.
(updated 7-5-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water is murky and at a normal level. Bream fishing remains excellent on worms or crickets. Crappie, however, were poor the past week. Jigs were anglers’ best bet. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish reports were good, with everything thrown at them getting a response.
(updated 7-5-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water was dingy and at a normal level. Surface water temperature Monday was 78 degrees. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie was fair with minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good on shad and chicken livers.
(updated 7-5-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the slow drain of Lake Poinsett will begin next Monday. Then, for approximately four months, as the lake gets lower, you can still fish in this lake. You can keep all you catch. The bait shop keeps plenty of bait and fishing supplies for your convenience.
Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is dingy and is about 6 inches higher than normal. Bream are biting fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass reports were fair, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits working. Catfishing is excellent on stink bait and chicken livers.
(updated 7-7-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 427 cfs and water clarity has been mostly clear. The river has been looking great and the trout have been easy to catch. Bead-head Woollies in olive, brown and black have been working great. Use Y2Ks for the days the bite is slow. Hot pink Trout Magnets have been catching trout, smallmouth bass and bream. Hot for spin fishers and works great on a fly rod. Great catch and release tool.
(updated 7-5-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is on and there are many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 6-28-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports of any catches of any species, but did say that nightcrawlers were selling well.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-5-2017) Jennifer Albertson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said bream are excellent, mostly biting on crickets. Folks are filling their freezers with bream! Crappie are picking up a bit, mostly caught out of the deep spots like the standing timber. When you can find them, crappie are biting on shiners. Bass are fair, and biting on topwater baits. Catfish have not been heard from in Cane Creek Lake, but the catfish are biting on punch baits in our area right now, so come and try for catfish here. The water level is high and is a bit muddy right now.
(updated 6-21-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said due to the higher temperatures, the best fishing at Lake Chicot has been at night and early in the morning. Catfish are the main thing biting. People are having better luck overnight with yo-yo’s and stink bait. The best daytime catch was a group of guys that were “hogging” or “noodling,” meaning catching the fish by feeling around for them and pulling them out of the water by hand.
(updated 7-5-2017) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello said the water was at a normal level, but the clarity was “not good.” Surface water temperature is mid-80s. Bass are fair. The fish are in about 10-15 feet of water. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfishing was fair using worms and chicken livers. White bass catches were fair.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-5-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday was about 6 inches above normal conservation pool and steady. There was reduced current in Little River with the gates releasing around 400 cfs. The main lake stained from recent high wind and thunderstorms. Largemouth bass are very good early, moving deeper into creek channels and Little River later in the day. White Bass remain are deep Little River and oxbows. Crappie have improved up river, out of any remaining current. Surface temperature Monday ranged 80 degrees early to 91. As of Monday the tailwater level was near 226 feet msl. The wake zone with new buoys at White Cliffs Boat Ramp and extending from the north end of the park to the south end, about 1 mile, continues to be strictly enforced by the AGFC. No tolerance for wake boaters or barges. Clarity and visibility continues improving depending on location. Little River continues to settle out and clear up, as does main lake, with the reduced inflow and current. The oxbows clarity continues to improve. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranged 5-6 inches. Little River’s visibility ranged 5-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbows clarity ranged 15-20 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. To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and Army Corps of Engineers park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office. To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engineers toll-free Millwood Project information line at 888-697-9830 or the Corps’ main number at 877-444-6777 to verify another COE project is open.
Mike also offered these details: There’s been little change in overall largemouth bass activity over the past week or so. Bass continue feeding very well early on topwaters. With the summer patterns definitely the norm, the best topwater activity is from dawn and early morning up to around 10 a.m. The topwater activity continues to be excellent on buzzbaits, topwater frogs, Ken Pops, Pop-R Magnums, Spit’n Images, Bass Assassins and Chug Bugs working around lily pad, stumps on flats and vegetation from 2-7 feet of depth. As the sun rises, switch to chatterbaits, War Eagle spinnerbaits and shallow-depth squarebill crankbaits to get a reaction from the bass in the creek channels, in the same areas as the early topwater bite. Big bulky Magnum tubes, 8-inch lizards and 10-inch worms near cypress trees, knees and vegetation close to deep drops in creek channels and Little River will hold these mid- to late morning fish. Larger bass are holding near points and deep creeks, allowing them quick access to deeper water in Little River or deeper creek sections with stumps during the day as the sun gets up. Best color over the past week or so for buzzbaits have been firecracker, white/chartreuse or bream. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt and Pepper Phantom, Houdini, Violet Moon and Molting colors have been working around lily pads and vegetation over the past week with the better water clarity. Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits continue to get good reactions, with the best colors over the past week being Gizzard Shad, Ghost Minnow and Millwood Magic. Medium-running Bomber Fat Free Shad crankbaits in Citruse or Citrus Shad are catching a few largemouths in the oxbows and clearer water color in 8-12 feet depths near cypress trees and creek channel swings. Rat-L-Trap Stuttersteps are getting good reactions at the surface on flats and over creek channels early in the morning low-light hours upriver in the oxbows, with best colors being Ayu, Pro Blue and Ghost Shad.
Mike said the best reaction bites over the past week from whites or hybrids were in the McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows. Bomber Fat Free Shad medium-diving cranks were tagging a few good whites, as were jigging spoons. Crappie continue to improve in planted brush between 9-14 feet of depth on jigs or Blakemore Road Runners, and minnows depending on water clarity and current of Little River. Blues and Channel cats continue biting on trotlines using cut baits, chicken livers, gizzards and blood meal baits.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.63 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
Lake Greeson Tailwater (Little Missouri River)
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
Cossatot River State Park had no report this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.82 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-5-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said the Fourth is over, and water will be calming down soon. Hope everyone had a great and safe holiday. The lake has water temperatures of mid-80s depending on your exact location. Water level is 405.64 feet msl (as of Tuesday). Bream fishing is still stead. Fish near the bottom in 6-10 feet of water. Brush piles are your best bet with bedding zone. Ozane, Lennox Marcus and Arlie Moore are good areas. Don’t overlook Alpine Ridge, either. Hybrids, white bass and black bass are surfacing if you can find calm water. They are coming up from 2 Up to Arlie Moore. Use topwaters (Tiny Torpedo, Zara Spook, Devil Horse) shad-colored. Spoons can pick them up below the surface, or deep divers like Shad Rap will get you down deeper. Black bass are hitting topwaters on the backside of points early and late. Same summer patterns of black spinnerbaits and topwater after dark. Crappie are slowing down. They are getting deeper and closer to the cover. Brush piles in Brushy area up to Shouse Ford are your best bet. Try 15 feet minimum depth to start.
(updated 6-28-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. The key to catching fish in the summer when the water temp hits 80 degrees is to be on the water early, even before sunup. Bass fishing is fair with a pretty decent early morning bite with fish feeding in the shad schools. When “breaking” fish are spotted, throw a surface lure as close to the “break” as possible. Most any topwater plug will work, with Zara Spooks, Pop-R’s, and Rapala Minnows being some of the better ones. Also try flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. Natural shad works best in the clear water. When the topwater action slows, try medium running crankbaits fished across main lake points. Some larger fish are showing in the coves with standing timber. Work a double spinnerbait close to the timber. Best areas have been mid-lake to Shouse Ford. Crappie fishing is good, but once again, the action slows considerably once the sun gets well above the horizon. Look for brush attractors on the main lake in 20-25 feet of water. Drop a 2-inch Kalin’s grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead in Tennessee Shad to the top of the brush at about 15 feet. Move around the cover while slowly jigging the lure. Remember, the bite is very subtle, so pay attention to any difference in line tension (that is, the line goes slack when the lure is dropped, that is a “lift” bite, set the hook). Look for cover between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Also try the big creeks such as Brushy, Big Hill and Yancey. Hybrid fishing is fair with the fish scattered all over the lake, from Alpine Ridge to DeRoche Ridge. Look for topwater action in the upper end and throw topwater lures or spoons. Also, lots of white bass are mixed in with the hybrids. In the lower end, the fish are suspended 35-45 feet down in 100-plus feet of water. Use the sonar to locate the fish and drop a heavy jigging spoon or 3-inch grub to just above the fish. White is a good color for both the spoon and grub. Once again, early morning is by far the best time. Lots of bream showing in the coves and humps in 5-15 feet of water. Also some big fish are being caught from the crappie attractors. Drop a cricket or redworm. Look for fish at mid-lake between Edgewood and Caddo Drive.
(updated 6-28-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the white bass and hybrids are biting well on spoons early in the morning. The crappie are still good on jigs or minnows fished 8-12 feet deep on brush piles.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.73 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-28-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s in Hot Springs reported on US97 that a recent 5-fish stringer of largemouth bass totaling more than 25 pounds was pulled out of the lake to win a high school fishing tournament. Big bass were here, as well as in nearby Gillham and Dierks lakes, he said.
(updated 6-21-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bream are still biting well, They are selling a lot of crickets. Bass are hitting topwater baits and spinnerbaits. Got a good report on crappie being caught on the lower river. No report on catfish. Heard they were going to lower Felsenthal by 1 foot, down to 64 feet starting July 5.
(updated 6-21-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few bream being caught. Bass are slow. No report on crappie or catfish.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
Moro Bay State Park, at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay, had no report this week.
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-5-2017) White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.
(updated 6-21-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water was clear and a little above normal level. Bream fishing is good, as anglers in boats are finding them off the shoreline and in open water. They are using worms and crickets. Crappie have slowed down a bit, rating just fair. Use minnows or jigs. Bass fishing is good, and anglers are mainly using plastic worms. Catfish are good on yo-yo’s. No report on white bass.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported that catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 7-5-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam has risen to 64 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy scheduling 8 hour generation periods each day to help maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is at its highest peak. Fast currents and open flood gates are dangerous and keeping the proper distance from the area is vital for safety. Life jackets should be worn at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is winding down, which is the norm for this time of year. Numbers of fish caught are much lower than earlier in the season, but size is the main attraction at present. Four- and 5-pound rainbows have been caught and released in recent weeks by area guides. The bite is very slow and patience is key regardless of the techniques used. Live bait presentations are best presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms or mealworms are an excellent choice along with live minnows and crickets. Artificial lures are nonproductive as hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the area to spawn. June trout fishing requires stealth and patience as the fish are extremely wary and the bite lasts for only a few hours. White bass are in the tailrace and are being caught on live minnows tight-lined over deep water below the bridge. In periods of current flow, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern has worked well over rock structure and sand bars. These fish are spawning and should be present from the bridge to the dam until late July. Stripers have migrated into the tailrace to feed on the shad migration that occurs every May and June. Fish in the 20-pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the flood gates are open. Feeding on small shad, anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now than earlier in the spring. Casting weightless soft plastics perfectly match the injured shad drawn through the open gate flow. Strong lines and rods are highly recommended as many of these large predator fish are in excess of 20-pounds and are ferocious fighters when hooked. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules and always follow all park and lake regulations.
(updated 6-28-2017) Greesons Marine, the hometown dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs, reports that the lake is stained and the water temperature is in the low to mid-80s. Fish in depth of 1-3 feet near or in grass cover. Use topwater baits, specifically Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits with the occasional frog. Fishing conditions are slow. The fish are slowing down due to the hot water temperatures. It’s time to start throwing those big dark-colored plastics down deeper and much slower. Warm up the electronics and start looking for submerged structure in the 12-20 feet range.
(updated 7-5-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the mid-80s and there is sporadic flow on the river. Clarity is good. Bass fishing has been excellent with many fish moving to their summer. Use crankbaits, spinnerbaits spinner, jigs and topwater lures. Stripers and white bass have been excellent. Tru crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater poppers. Crappie has been fair; the fish are 10-12 feet deep. Use minnows and white jigs. Bream have been excellent on crickets and worms around grass and around fallen trees with green leaves. Catfish have been good around mouth of creeks and main river point. Use cut bait, worms and stink bait.
(updated 7-5-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 that the topwater bite is incredible. The cloud cover last week was topwater heaven. Talked with a guy who, at 8:30 a.m., had a limit of bass. That’s amazing that great stringers are being caught now. The Tuesday night tournament last week, the winners caught 13 pounds and change on the Texas rigged worm and spinnerbait in brush. That’s the way you want to go here.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.53 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-5-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported there was a slight stain and variable clarity to the water. Surface temperature was 82-83 degrees. The water is at a normal level. Anglers enjoyed a great week of fishing on the lake, they report. Bream were fair but the fish brought in were nice-sized ones. They’re hitting worms and crickets. Crappie are good and can be found in 4 feet of depth. Use minnows or jigs. Bass are good. Crankbaits were working best along with crawdads. Catfishing is good with trotlines and yo-yo’s baited with minnows. White bass reports were fair.
(updated 7-5-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said there had been too much rain and there were no reports.
(updated 6-21-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Glimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, crystal, bone, Penny Back Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows, worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets, worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.98 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-28-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still fair to good and being caught with Texas rigged plastics and crankbaits fished late evening and night. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are still very good and being caught on small crankbaits and spoons on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are still good on Alabama rigs and live bait. The central and eastern parts of the lake are the best areas for these fish. Bream are still excellent in water 10-15 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are still good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are still very good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 10-20 feet. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees and the water is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 6-28-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that the cold front that passed through last Thursday led to good conditions where they had four or five mornings where the temperatures in the morning were a little cooler and the clouds blocked the sun off the water. The fish are biting topwater better than they normally do. Trader Bill’s has been selling all different kinds of Whopper Ploppers, chuggers, Zara Spooks. Kastner said he wasn’t sure it mattered what kind of topwater bait used, it was just using them, going and throwing them. This includes Lake Hamilton, where he also heard good reports like from Ouachita. And, he added, he wasn’t talking about schoolers, breaking fish, but calling these fish up, going down the bank. If you’re on Ouachita, it’s not hard to keep your eye on flooded timber, and on Hamilton you need to parallel boat docks. It’s not that difficult to do, Kastner said, but also it’s the same kind of fishing.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.68 feet msl (flood pool: 384.00 feet msl).
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 7-5-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said Bear Creek Lake has been having moderate bream activity on live bait, reported around the shoreline from the day-use peninsula. Bass seem to be biting on jigs over habitat, back in the coves to the far side of the park campground Lone Pine. No specific time of day on those.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-5-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said Storm Creek Lake has seen little increase in activity. Fishermen have been trying to coax bream out to bite, but no luck so far. Pretty scarce all the way around.
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