Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 7, 2022
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Reports are updated weekly, although some reports may be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for current news for the lake or stream you plan to fish.
TOP AND LEFT: Guide Mike Winkler reports that the cooling water of the Little Red River feels great in this heat wave and the fish have been biting “even when the weatherman says it’s going to feel like it’s a 110-degree index.” Mike’s customer, Doug Lillibridge who recently relocated along with his wife to Heber Springs from Fresno, California, shows off his first Arkansas brown trout catch, which he caught on a pheasant tail nymph while fly-fishing on the Little Red.
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
(updated 7-7-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake has its normal stain and as of Thursday morning was back at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream have been biting well for a while, and that continues on redworms, crickets and Dynamax jigs. Crappie fishing remains poor in these hot temps. Small minnows and small jigs are suggested now. Black bass are good. Spinnerbaits predominantly are favored, though also try a 6.5- to 10-inch curly tail worm, creature baits, frogs, swimbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish are good on stink bait, chicken liver, dough bait, trotline minnows, nightcrawlers, shad and skipjack.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 6,135 cfs (turbine) as of 2 p.m. Thursday, July 7, the first hour of what appeared to be a 7-hour generation at about 6,300 cfs. Greers Ferry Lake is just below normal conservation pool. The tailwater at was steady at 276.15 feet msl with the generation. Check with the Corps website for real-time release data or by calling (501) 362-5150). Also check the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecast generation schedule.
(updated 7-7-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said for the past few days the Southwestern Power Administration has been running two units of generation starting at 1 p.m. and running till 7 p.m. “With high temperatures in the 90s and heat indexes in the triple digits, I’d look for the SWPA to continue this generation schedule. We had a few days with very minimal generation on hot days and water temps at Dripping Springs access were 69 degrees, from lack of generation. Let’s hope the SWPA continue to run water while it’s hot.”
Always check the USACE Little Rock app before heading out. Also check the water quality feature on the app on days when the Corps of Engineers is not running much water. High water temps are stressful this time of year on fish. Quickly return them to the water and try not to overplay them.
The best bite has been early in the morning. The current generation schedule has opened up opportunities to wade fish the entire river. Nymphing the falling water from the boat has been great. Pheasant tails, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear and sowbug patterns have been producing.
Try fishing the deep holes and oxygenated riffles.
(updated 7-7-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the water is clear. Trout are good in the mornings on Trout Magnets in pink or white colors and on Maribou Jigs in one-eighth or one-sixteenth sizes in an olive color.
(updated 6-30-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said they have gone from basically 24 hours of generation each day the last couple of weeks to receiving very little generation from the Greers Ferry Dam, creating low water conditions in the tailwater and downstream. Unless there is a change in the generation pattern, we are looking at one-two hours of generation daily. This pattern is creating good wading opportunities on all sections of the Little Red River. Small pheasant tails, hare’s ear, sowbugs and midges are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use pink and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. 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 the generation schedule forecast.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-7-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.60 feet msl this morning, almost 1 foot below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. Bass catching is good all around lake and rivers, shallow to deep – meaning on the shore out to 60 feet. Lots of baits are working. Crappie continue to come in and bite, even in this hot weather, at 10-40 feet on jigs and minnows. Walleye are fair on points, humps and big flats, in 28-50 feet on crawlers fished different ways, and on crankbaits. Catfish are eating well; seems as though hot dogs are best bait right now. Bream are doing their thing shallow out to 25 feet; lots of baits working. Hybrid and white bass are eating more regular – now on, then off, then on – all day. Use spoons, inline spinners, hair jigs, etc.
(updated 6-30-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that black bass are good on a drop-shot. Ned rigs are also working in deep water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-7-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said Thursday morning the water has cleared and the level is low. Bream continue to show a good bite on redworms and crickets. There was no report from crappie. Black bass are fair, but no baits were suggested. Catfish are good at night, getting hooked on the trotlines baited with chicken liver or goldfish.
(updated 7-8-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said bream “are still biting like crazy.” Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are biting on minnows. Catfish are being caught in the very early morning with cut bait or nightcrawlers. Between 6-7 p.m., bass are biting on almost anything.
(update 6-30-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says the conditions and the fish response are the same as a week ago. The lake is murky and is still high by about 1 foot. Bream are good on redworms. Fish around the brushpiles. Crappie are good at sunrise, sunset and late at night. Try using size 6 minnows or jigs. Black bass are best in the evenings with good catches noted. Bass are shallow. Use a white spinnerbait for the best chances. Catfish are good. Look for them on the bottom and they are being caught noodling with goldfish.
Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve bait shop.
(updated 7-1-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said the largemouth bass are biting fair. Bass are being found shallow along the grass lines, while some are being caught in deep water. Use Carolina-rigged lizards, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps or a drop-shot. Spotted bass (or Kentucky bass) are also fair, with some being caught near drop-offs at around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other reports have them in among the brushpiles, some of those near rocky points. A Texas rig will work on brush, or throw a jig, crankbait or Rat-L-Trap. While last week’s Tuesday night black bass tournament saw a 22-pound, 5-bass stringer win, this week’s results fell back a bit, with Robert and Tracey White taking the top spot with 12.66 pounds and 5 bass. Josh Jeffers and Josh Baker hauled in 10.88 pounds. Jack Whitbeck landed the Big Bass of 5.13 pounds.
There have been no reports of white bass schooling yet. Crappie are fair, with reports this week of crappie found at 20 feet depth and deeper. Use jigs or minnows. Bream fishing is good; anglers are catching a bunch of small ones. Most of the catches were between 10-15 feet depth, biting crickets, worms and jigs. Catfish are on the bite now with good results. “Most of the guys out here are doing good on trotlines,” they report. Try using chicken liver, worms and crayfish.
(updated 6-30-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good on watermelon red wacky worms or spinnerbaits anywhere there is wind.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 49,339 cfs. The stage was up 1.5 feet in 24 hours to 12.26 Thursday. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 48,711 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-7-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the river remains clear and at a normal level. He heard no reports this week on bream. However, crappie are good and seem to have found a consistent depth, 6 feet. Use the usual minnow or jig. Black bass are good, with anglers using cranks or a soft plastic worm. Catfish went unreported this week.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 51,247 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 17,973 cfs, and the stream gauge stage was steady at 7.66 feet. The tailwater is at 231.66 feet msl. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 36,446 cfs.
(updated 7-7-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says the river water is dirty and the flow is about normal. Black bass have been good on crankbaits, black/blue jigs on jetties, and on 10-inch Texas-rigged worms fished in 5-15 feet of water. In the early morning use white or black buzzbaits and topwater baits.
(updated 7-7-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said reports they were hearing were similar to last week. Bream are good on redworms and crickets in 4-5 feet of water around the riprap below the Murray Lock and Dam. Catfish are excellent below both Terry and Murray dams using cut shad. Bass are good early in the morning on topwater baits and Bandit Crankbaits.
(updated 6-30-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says fishing has been about the same in the Little Rock pool now that the river has dropped and slowed down where anglers can negotiate all of it. Crappie are good. They’re being caught in about 8 feet deep in the pockets off the river. Use minnows and jigs. Bream are good anywhere and everywhere on redworms and crickets. “The river is leveling off so the fishing is about to get better there,” they report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-7-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Thursday morning that the lake lives up to its name in clarity, and the level is normal. Bream have been good for a while now on redworms and crickets. Catfish are fair using skipjack. Still no reports on crappie or black bass of late. Clear Lake is a private lake but has a for-pay public boat launch just off Highway 161.
(updated 7-7-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “It’s July, it’s hot … but the river is cold, brisk, refreshing and inviting. When the early morning mist is on the river, it’s a perfect time to lay a line on the water and wait for that first tug by a trout. Visit the White River in Arkansas Ozark country and take some time to slow down and enjoy summertime again like a kid.”
Bull Shoals Dam is continuing heavy releases from the lake; five or more generators – 15,000 to 16,000 cfs – has been the daily norm with the lake level currently at 679.00 feet msl and dropping quickly now.
Keep your bait closer to the bottom and expect the bite nearer the bank. This week the rainbows have been turning to lemon-lime-colored baits. Chartreuse might be close enough. That’s the entomology for both fly- and spin-fishers. The old faithful baits – the red-gold Thomas Buoyant Spoon and orange-bellied jerkbaits (Smithwick 4½-inch blue or black backs) – were causing a splash this past week. Redworms have rewarded lots of anglers in the afternoon when the flow from the dam increases.
“Keep cool, stay hydrated, and keep on fishin’. See you on the river.”
(updated 7-7-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had no rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.6 feet to rest at 18.5 feet above power pool of 661.37 feet msl. This is 15.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below power pool and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 5.4 feet above power pool or 3.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 10.7 feet above power pool of 556.12 feet msl and 13.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The tailwater had no wadable water during the day.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water all summer. The prediction for the lakes to reach normal conservation pool is Sept 5.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. “We have had much heavier flows and some sulphur hatches. The hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan worms, gold ribbed hare’s ears and sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a cerise San Juan worm with a girdle bug.
John also said, “About two years ago I wrote about hearing from several of my fellow guides about fishing the girdle bug fly (which represents a stone fly, a large aquatic insect) on high water. I went to the fly shop and purchased one. I studied it and began to tie them. Over time I have changed the way that I tied them. This is the thing that I love about tying my own flies. By tying them myself I can easily modify them to better suit my needs. I think that I can usually tie a better fly than I can buy.
“The girdle bug that I bought had two strands of rubber sticking out of the copper bead head that imitated antennae. I found these difficult to deal with. It increased my tie time and I did not think that they increased my catch. My brother, Dan, taught me to tie flies and his principle rule of fly-tying was you have to tie them faster than you can lose them. The antennae at the hook eye also made it more difficult to tie the fly on to a tippet when rigging my rod. Therefore I eliminated the antennae. I do not miss them.
“Another problem that I had with girdle bugs is that they are large and heavy. While this is good for fishing high water, they have a tendency to hang up on the bottom. I needed to modify them to make them drift with the hook point up. I looked for a big jig hook but did not find any that appealed to me.
“My old fishing buddy, Bill Barksdale, came to the rescue. He is a talented fly-tyer and had previously solved the problem on his own. He essentially made his own jig hooks. He took a long shank streamer hook and bent it near the eye at about 45 degrees. This allowed for a hook point up drift when a big bead was attached to the hook near the eye. He gave me a few of them to study.
“I bought some streamer hooks and bent them with a pair of needle nose pliers. Yes, I broke a few but the technique worked and I was able to create a jig hook that suited my needs. Thank you, Bill!
“With these two modifications, I was able to begin tying girdle bugs in earnest. Yesterday I fished the Norfork with two beginners. We had high water. I tried several flies but settled on the Girdle bug. It performed flawlessly. It produced trout on high water and only grabbed the bottom twice and we were able to retrieve them.
“I was able to modify a fly with the help of a friend to make it better and produce more trout. Life is good!”
(updated 7-7-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the water in Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake is dropping but still almost 20 feet above the normal conservation pool. Expect the high water of 8-10 feet to last into late August or early September. Fishing continues to be good while drift-fishing using inline spinners with bright-colored Power Eggs and small pieces of shrimp. With the fast current, adding an extra sinker will ensure the bait is down where the fish are. Artificial lures have worked well for brown trout. Cast toward the shoreline where the brown trout tend to hang out looking for an easy meal from something washing off the bank. Both the brown trout and bigger rainbows will move into the shallower shoals looking for sculpins and crawdads. Throwing gold-colored spoons or bright-colored Rapala Countdowns can result in landing a nice fish.
“This week we had two trout stockings for a total of 1,400 trout stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp. The weather is going to stay hot; make sure to drink plenty of water, keep a cooling towel handy, and use sunscreen.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 678.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.50 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at 2 p.m. Thursday was a heavy 21,332 cfs, and releases have been constant for the past couple of weeks. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.58 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 8,969 cfs.
(updated 6-30-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that the lake has dropped down to 682 feet msl (23 feet above normal pool) and limited parking can still be an issue there so plan ahead. “The lake is really clear towards the main part; the back of bigger creeks have stain,” he said. Surface temperature is about 85 degrees.
He says its best to get up early and go for the topwater bite. Target windy main lake secondary points, especially when the Corps of Engineers is generating water at the dam. Shad is now way out on the points. Fish around those spots with a topwater, an LC Gunfish, or wake baits. Then the topwater slows, and it’s time for a half-ounce flutter spoon or drop-shot the fish. In 20-40 feet depth over 50-70 feet, and in the channel swings around bluffs and ledges, use suspenders around many of those spots.
The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. The topwater bite will end when the sun starts getting high. Del is then hopping a Jewel Special Ops and football jig in green pumpkin orange, a Ned rig in green pumpkin variations. Keep the boat out around 30 feet. A lot of fish are on the old shoreline. Also around the channel swings, standing timber, ledges and laydowns, try a Beaver/a big worm/an Ole Monster in green pumpkin, red, red shad or plum. And, as always, fish the conditions.
Del has a new YouTube video up. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 565.84 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at 2 p.m. Thursday was 5,954 cfs, releases over the past 36 hours have ranged from 2,936 to 5,954 cfs.
(updated 7-7-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday morning the lake level is 566.23 feet msl and has dropped 3½ inches in the last 24 hours and a total of 7 feet from the high of 573 feet msl on June 6. “We received a quarter-inch of rain earlier this week and it was the first rain since June 6. They have been in a pattern of running both generators for about half the time and one generator the other half. The White River at Newport is being held stable at around 14 feet or a little less. The surface water temperature is 90 degrees with the very hot weather and this does not usually happen until early August. The water is cloudy with the holiday boat traffic churning it up especially on the clay banks.
“The best bite by far is the early morning temperate bass and walleye on the 1 ounce jigging spoon. They start off early about 5 a.m. in 35-50 feet of water near the bottom until about 8 a.m. and then go deeper to 60-80 feet and are with larger shad about 4 inches long. The best bite for bass is now after dark with a black light and fluorescent line and a salt craw. Other Kentucky bass are in the warm water in the evening in about 12-16 feet of water in the buckbrush. Crappie and bluegill are under docks in the shade with a few crappie still on wood in the backs of the creeks in 25 feet near the bottom. There can be a few fish coming up early but are mostly small bass.”
The lake is in excellent condition for swimming, boating and fishing. Fishing is about over at about 9 a.m. for the day and starts again in the late evening except for dock fishing.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 7-7-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 10.7 feet above power pool of 556.12 feet msl and 13.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water all summer. The prediction for the lakes to reach normal conservation pool is Sept 5.
There has been no wadable water on the Norfork tailwater and it fished poorly. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). 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). The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished moderately. School is out and the creek is busy. Weekends can get a quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-7-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low. With hot temperatures, the smallmouths are less active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,126.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The Corps released about 3,788 cfs between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday and began similar releases at 10 a.m. Thursday with the flow hitting 3,703 at 11 a.m.
(updated 7-7-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is still dropping slowly. The lake is still above normal levels. The heat wave has pushed the water into upper 80s, downright hot. Summer patterns are in full force. Stripers are pushing toward the dam. Fishing for striper has been great one day and a bust the next. Look off main lake points in 40-60 feet range over tops of trees in 90-150 feet of water. Shad, if you can get them, are bait of choice with brooders and bream right behind. Troll at or under 1 mph to get your fish. Also, be there real early because the bite shuts down a couple hours after sunrise.
Crappie have been good trolling crankbaits. Look for main lake flats in 35 feet of water and fish will be suspended in or around 15 feet in most areas. Again, this is an early/late proposition. Catfish are good. All methods are working. Bream are good on various baits.
“It’s hot, so stay hydrated and be safe. Good luck!” Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-7-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said Beaver Lake is clear and remains high. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Crappie will bite under the lights at night. Results have been fair. Mostly, though, crappie are in deeper water now. Try trolling crankbaits.
Black bass are fair, with the best action coming in late evenings and further into the night. They seem to be deep around brush. Use a soft plastic worm or jig. Catfishing this week was poor.
(updated 7-7-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said this week has been good on the tailwater. The Army Corps of Engineers still has been generating pretty much starting at 10 a.m., but that has not stopped the bite. In fact, it increases the bite in most cases.
“Most of our fish were caught using light terminal tackle, and Pautzke Fire Bait. When the sun moved higher in the sky, we would switch it over to quarter-ounce spoons and coat the spoons using Pautzke Fire Gel. Try letting the spoon sink a bit before retrieving due to the water still being a little deep. The water levels are returning to normal for the most part. If we can get some overcast or rainy days, the bite should pick up a lot!”
This week’s hot spot for trout has been above Spider Creek. Try hitting the deeper holes and looking for slack water during generation. The white bass and walleye are still up toward Holiday Island, but you need to look for them. Jigging live minnows off of points and humps have done the trick. There are still quite a few males in the river, so get after them.
“Remember, for additional tips, visit my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). Hope you all are able to get out and catch some fish!”
(updated 7-7-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Thursday that the lake is murky and the water level is normal. No surface temperature was reported. Bream continue to display an excellent bite. The usual redworms or a cricket will do the trick. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits, plastic worms and frogs. Catfish are good. Try glow worms.
(updated 7-7-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Thursday that the clarity remains stained but the lake has fallen off again and is now at a low level. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair with minnows or jigs, as well as trolling. Black bass are good both early in the day and late in the evening, but they are pretty selective on what they’ll eat. Try a soft plastic worm, or throw a topwater before it’s really hot. Catfishing is good; chicken liver, nightcrawlers and prepared catfish bait are working best.
(updated 7-7-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said that fishing for bream and catfish at Lake Charles continues to be good. Bream are biting on worms and jigs. Catfish are good on worms, blood bait, chicken liver and hot dogs, especially around the Fourth of July weekend, of course. She had no reports, though, on crappie or bass. The lake is murky and at a normal level. Surface temperature on Monday was 82 degrees.
(updated 7-7-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says the bream are biting well. Catfish have started hitting on worms and some livers. Bass, while catch-and-release, are biting on topwater early in the morning and late evening. They are biting on swimbaits sporadically otherwise. Crappie have been more docile at this time.
(updated 7-7-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported Thursday morning that the water is clear and is low by a couple of feet. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie have gone into hiding; no reports. Black bass are good on topwater lures and on size 12 minnows. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-30-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 470 cfs (350 average), and water clarity is clear. “The last few weeks have been hot and dry, we could use some rain. The river has dropped to good wading levels in most areas. Last week with the heat the bite was hot. This week with a cold front moving through, the fish are not taking as well. Tuesday there was a very hot period where Hopper Dropper with a bead head pheasant tail got hot. Also have done well with brown Woollies most days and crawfish patterns. Lots of bugs hatching daily. Nymphs and emerges are usually hot earlier in the day, and on the sunny hot days, minnow patterns or Y2Ks work!”
The smallmouth bass are hitting well on Clousers and crayfish patterns. Not much popper action; the bass seem to be on bottom and a quick-dropping fly does the trick. “We have been tying large dumbbell eyes on our smallie patterns or even jighead flies. Weight forward fly line with long leaders work with 6-weight rods. Larger flies with sink tips on 7- or 8-weight rods work but can make for a long day of casting.
“The moss is thick in places this year on the Spring. When fishing heavy moss areas, always look for the clear runs and get that fly right at the edge of that moss. There could be a big trout hiding in the shade!
“Plenty of floaters on the river on Saturdays. It’s a good idea to fish very early, then take the day off on those days. Through the week and on Sundays the river is quiet and great time to fish. The river is very refreshing this time of year but be safe wading in the river with the rocks. Good wading shoes are a must.”
Check out Mark’s blog (springriverfliesandguides.com/blog) for the latest river conditions.
(updated 7-7-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is in full swing and the boats and rafts are here. 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, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was steady at 10.33 feet, less than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was steady 13.82 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 25.53 feet, which is about a half-foot below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-7-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said the river remains high and muddy, and they had no recent fishing reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff was 23,921 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.46 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upriver at the C.D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 31,326 cfs.
(updated 7-7-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-7-2022) Jeff Shell, the superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said had no new reports from Cane Creek Lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.52 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 1,084 cfs, an amount being steadily released this week.
(updated 7-7-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake is 4 inches above normal conservation pool, at 259.5 feet msl and stable. Clarity improved this week along Little River and the oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 1,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake with discharge rates and fluctuations in flow conditions in Little River, and any time high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging in 88-93 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Lots of Little River buoy markers along the main lake channel have been replaced, yet may have moved with recent gate changes at the Millwood Dam and high wind. Use caution in navigation.
Current along Little River has normal stain levels this week with reduced discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is normal stain, visibility is about 20-30 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Mike offered these latest reports on fishing specifics, adding that he and the Millwood Guide Service team are only fishing half-days until the heat wave subsides:
* Largemouth bass have slowed over the past few weeks with all the dog day summer heat, and are fair and best at early mornings and late evenings, with best activity in oxbows up Little River early in the morning and late in the day. Bass have been moving horizontally out to deeper water drops and vertical structures during heat of the afternoons; they are finding them shallow to stumps, vegetation, lily pads and cypress knees at dawn, early and late. Bass have been very good on topwater lures for the past couple of weeks around emerging new lily pad stands and vegetation at daylight. Chunky 2- to 3-pound bass have been striking various topwater lures on shallow flats near stumps and laydowns early for the past few weeks. Good bass will randomly bust a buzzbait, Bass Assassin Shad or topwater plastic frogs in the pads early. Big, 7- to 10-inch bulky Brush Hogs, as well as Bass Assassin Bang RSB 7.25-inch worms and XX Fat Job Trick Worms, are working, with best colors over the past couple weeks being Candy Bug, Gooseberry, June bug/red or Redbug.
Several schools of juvenile largemouths from 1.5-2.5 pounds each were surface-breaking on shad early at daylight (around 6:30 a.m.) in Mud Lake on the back drop near the long point toward the cypress trees this week. These schooling juveniles ranged in size from 10-14 inches and would jump out of the water to bust a Cordell Crazy Shad, Pop-R or Boy Howdy. Best colors were chrome/black back, Threadfin Shad or Bone.
Late morning after the sun gets up above the tree line (around 10 a.m.), largemouths are gravitating toward creek channels, deeper ditches, and drops of vertical structure where flats drop into 12-15 feet zones. The oxbows over the past couple weeks have had the best water clarity and will produce best topwater reactions. Slow deflections off stumps with a Bill Lewis SB57 or Echo 1.75 square-bill crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Minnow and Bluegill colors will draw random reactions on the flats near drops into deeper creek bends. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover, Millwood Mayhem Bream and Hot Mouse are working for nice 2- to 3-pounders near stumps in 3-6 feet deep.
Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice bass and best colors for the past few weeks include Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and pumpkinseed/chartreuse shad colors. Work these in and around same areas as the topwater frogs, near new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush.
* The white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few random white bass have been found up Little River. Areas behind points where a little bit of current in Little River remains are holding a few broken schools that Mike and crew found hitting on hammered Cordell Spoons with a white/chartreuse bucktail, along with a few Kentucky bass, where washouts, ditches or creek dumps exist from 12-16 feet of depth with stumps. White Cliffs campground area and points with drains into Little River gave up a few more whites. Entrance to Snake Creek, Jack’s Isle and Hurricane Creek had a few white bass in random action. Reactions were fair on Cordell Hammered Spoons with a white bucktail one day, red bucktail the next day. Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fat Free Fingerlings and Model A Crankbaits in Citrus Shad and Tennessee Shad, or Flat A’s in Silver Flash or Pearl Shad, were working late last week, but cranks did not perform as well as the vertical-dropped spoons into the white bass schools as of late.
* Nothing consistent this week with the crappie. They’ve been hit or miss over the past couple of weeks, biting good one day, random and few the next. Crappie have been suspended in and over planted brush piles in 13-17 feet depth in the oxbows and along Little River over the past several weeks. Not much changed over the past week – very random, with the best bite from daylight to around 9 a.m. Best colors working over the past couple weeks on the Southern Pro Crappie Stingers and Lit’l Hustlers have been black/chartreuse, Money, blue/silk/chartreuse swirl and black/orange.
* With the reduction in release at the dam, and much less current along Little River, not much catfish activity has been seen. “We did not see many catfishermen out on the river over the past few days in this heat. Prior and over last several weeks the blues, flatheads and channels were fair on trotlines, yo-yos and tight lines as long as there was a good bit of current along the Little River. Spoiled chicken livers and gizzards, cut buffalo and shad, homemade cheese dough baits and King’s Punch Bait were working over the past several weeks. Alligators have been noted being hung up and dragging noodles around after eating the catfish or bait attached for several weeks.
* No report on bream.
(updated 7-7-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) is on vacation and has no reports. They had reported that catfish for several weeks have been good to excellent. Erling has all three species of cats. Bream fishing was good during June, so try a redworm or cricket and see if they are still active, especially with the full moon next week. Look for bass in the shadows around the coves.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 546.47 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.14 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-7-2022) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Hello, heat wave! Wow, take my breath away.
“The water surface temperatures are in the 90s! Water level is 405.23 feet msl, and very little trash on the surface.
“For crappie fishing, it’s the same story. Fish brushpiles just above the thermocline. This applies from Iron Mountain to Point Cedar to Brushy. Fish slow and close on piles. Drop-shot is good when fish near the bottom. Sniping is also a technique that produces. Many crappie have moved to the vertical timber. Sniping works best there.
“As for bream, the full moon in on July 13. Use your side scan (or LiveScope perspective mode) to locate beds. Drop a waypoint or marker buoy and stand off and cast to the beds. Worms or crickets work. Drop-shot or slip bobbers work fine.
“There is some surface bass activity reported mid-lake on calm mornings. Shad-looking topwater baits like Devil Horse or Zara Spook Jr. work when on the surface. You can also pull crankbaits like the ShadRap or Bandits (shad-colored). A-rigs also do well trolling. You need strong pole holders for them.
“It’s HOT!!!! Stay hydrated and look out for others!”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 434.89 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.05 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 6-23-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) said bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfishing is good on the river. The Ouachita River is a little muddy but is coming down.
(updated 6-30-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said conditions and fishing success are fair to good. The lake clarity is clear, while the lake level is low. Bream are good on redworms, nightcrawlers and crickets. The crappie being caught are small in size and fair in numbers. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass also are small in size with fair fishing. Try Carolina rigs and Texas rigs. Donald has heard of good catfishing on the river. Use black salties and goldfish.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-7-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reported that water temperature below the dam is 65 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Rainbow trout fishing remains strong as good numbers of fish are present and feeding consistently from the bridge to the dam. Normally, rainbow trout fishing is over by July, but earlier flooding has kept large numbers of fish in the area that are healthy and thriving in the nutrient-rich waters of Lake Catherine. Live bait presentations such as waxworms and mealworms or redworms fished just off the bottom are working best during times of generation. Little success has been seen using artificial lures as thousands of threadfin shad are in the tailrace finishing up their yearly spawning run.
White bass have also completed the spawn and are in and out of the tailrace feeding on shad. Small gray or white jigs in one-eighth-ounce sizes have accounted for good catches in the past week while the generators are running. No striper activity has been observed or fish caught to report.
Generation periods are daily but fluctuating in times because of power needs and lack of rainfall. The public can view the flow schedules by going to the Entergy Hydro-Operations website and searching for real-time lake levels. Anyone visiting Carpenter Dam is advised to follow all park rules and regulations and always wear a life jacket when on the water.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 48,711 cfs. Elevation was 337.92 feet msl, with the tailwater at 289.86 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage has dropped significantly from figures last month and now is at 9.36 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 6-16-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports water levels are normal with good water clarity. Lake surface temps hover around 83 degrees in most areas with the exception of the river channel, which runs 60 degrees or less. Pleasure boat traffic is very high at all times on Lake Hamilton during the warm months so plan your fishing at night or early morning if possible. Bass have been good to very good lately during the twilight hours and even well into the night throwing buzzbaits, buzz toads and Whopper Ploppers in dark or black color presentations. Fish shallow areas near some type of current for the best results. Stone walls, rocks and behind or under wooden docks produce the best results. Bass can also be caught deep or suspended on hair jigs in white, like white flutter spoons. Fish that are in or right on current should be approached with the seedless watermelon worm or fluke on a drop-shot rig.
Bream are good everywhere! Crickets and worms fished on a slip cork on deep docks can fill up a 5-gallon bucket in a hurry! No crappie or catfish to report. “Wear your kill switches and life jackets while running on Hamilton, always. It can be as rough as the ocean out here some days. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 344.70 feet msl (normal pool: 344.51 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-7-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday morning that water clarity is clear and the water is at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, with the fish still relating to the brushpiles. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits. No reports came in this week on catfish. They had been good the previous week on trotlines, limblines and yo-yos.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 575.51 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-7-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still fair. Big Texas-rigged worms fished in or near structure are best for these fish. Walleye are slow to fair. A three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon vertically jigged near structure should produce some of these fish and a nightcrawler fished on a drop-shot will work, too. Stripers are good. Live bait and trolling hair jigs are working best at this time on the eastern part of the lake. Bream are very good on crickets or worms 15-25 feet deep on structure. Crappie are still very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 10-20 feet deep. Catfish are good on rod and reel, jugs or trotlines with cut bait, shad or nightcrawlers.
Water temperature is ranging 87-91 degrees. The lake level is 575.54 feet msl and the clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 6-23-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the number of crappie in the brushpiles are thinning out. Those that remain are deep inside. Brushpiles are loaded with bream of all sizes.
“Lately, we’ve been transitioning to catfish and walleye. We’re finding them near existing brushpiles on shallow water (18-24 feet of water depth) flats. The same depths can target walleye on rocky points and humps. I’ll be checking that as soon as next week.
“A little surface active on bass can be seen very early in the mornings. Trolling crankbaits or A-rigs is the ticket.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.61 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
No reports. Water is down significantly from the middle of last month, however, and about at normal pool now.
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is falling at 21.75 feet, or about 4 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-7-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) reports that the White River level at Clarendon has finally dropped enough to access Cooks Lake. Therefore, the lake has been reopened for youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The lake is getting closer to normal pool, creating desirable fishing conditions. Very few anglers have taken advantage of this opportunity but the ones who have, have had good results, including a 9.6-pound largemouth bass caught and released this past weekend. The anglers have been tight-lipped; however, a green pumpkin jig or black and red flake tube should produce many bass bites. The bluegill action is hot near laydowns on crickets, and crappie have been found in the channels fishing with minnows.
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 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. Please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 870-241-3373.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
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