Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 18, 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: Eddie Peña caught his personal best black bass, a fish weighing 7.71 pounds, while fishing Monday evening at the lake at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville. He was walking his dog, Kuzco, and just happened to bring a rod along with him for a walk around the lake. After about eight casts at their turnaround point, he had landed this whopper. Eddie says he was using a spinning rod with 15-pound braid and a 9-inch ribbon tail worm.
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 8-11-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that the lake has the normal stain and is slightly low. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good in the deeper end of the lake on minnows and small jigs. Black bass reports are still good. Buzzbaits, curly tail worms, frogs and spinnerbaits have all been good. Catfish are good on trotline minnows, goldfish, skipjack, shad, dough bait, stink bait, cut bait, nightcrawlers and chicken liver.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18. Generation on Wednesday started up at 4 p.m. and was at 6,174 cfs between 5-7 p.m. Greers Ferry Lake is 4.4 feet below normal conservation pool. 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 8-18-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said the Southwestern Power Administration (www.swpa.org) has been running a consistent generation schedule for the past month. Always check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app before heading out; it’s subject to change.
With the daytime temperatures through Tuesday being in the 90s and a heat index somewhere in the 100s, the SWPA was running two units of water usually starting at 2 p.m. and running until 7 p.m.
On the weekends the dam has had a similar generation schedule but with some reduced flows.
“I’d expect the same generation schedule to continue until the temperatures start to come down a bit. As of Wednesday the temperatures came down and the generation schedule changed along with rain in the forecast. At 2 p.m., SWPA started running two units of water for two hours. Let’s see if this continues as the temperatures start to drop a little,” Mike said.
The best bite has been early morning before it gets hot, Mike reported. Try fishing the deep holes and oxygenated riffles and alongside the moss beds.
As the water has been falling it has been fishing well. Pheasant tails, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear and midges have been producing while fishing an indicator rig. Small streamer patterns on a sink line have been productive fishing the falling water from the boat.
(updated 8-18-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said that with cooler temperatures, he is seeing a decrease in generation compared to the past few weeks. As of this writing (Wednesday), Greers Ferry Dam is generating two hours late afternoon. This pattern will provide wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and down on the lower river in the afternoons. Lowell suggests small pheasant tails, hare’s ear, Frenchie or midges for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, hot pink-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads are recommended.
(updated 8-18-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said that trout are good when the water is generating; use olive Maribou Jigs in the grass and one-eighth-ounce white Rooster Tails in deeper areas.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.11 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 8-18-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 4.42 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl and falling, and the water temperature is hot, but the fish still have to eat. Crappie are good day or night all over lake and rivers at various depths. Some are shallow, some are at 50 feet. Try jigs, minnows and live bait. Catfish are good as well day or night on jugs, trotlines, and rods and reels. A lot of different baits are working. For black bass, drag something. Topwater baits or a moving bait will work. Some bass are super shallow out to 60 feet of water.
No reports on walleye. But bream are chewing and guarding fry as well. They are very active. Crawlers, crickets and small moving baits will work shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrid and white bass are between 25-60 feet chewing at will all over lake and rivers. Try inline spinners, swimbaits, spoons and live bait.
(updated 8-4-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood checked out Greers Ferry Lake again and found crappie biting well in 35-45 feet of water on one-eighth-ounce jigs in white-and-chartreuse or monkey milk colors.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-18-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said Tuesday afternoon that the water is low and still muddy, but improved from the very muddy a week ago. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bream are good on crickets and redworms. Black bass are good, but no baits were revealed by the anglers asked. Catfishing are good fishing around the shoreline. Hot dogs have been working lately.
(updated 8-4-2022) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water is about one and a half feet low; clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 90 degrees. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappie are still being caught in 12 to 14 feet of water using jigs tipped with minnows. Catfish are doing well at night on limb lines and jugs baited with nightcrawlers and large minnows. Bream are slow, but they should pick up on the next full moon. Johnny says, “Come see us for all of your fishing needs, we have perch again.”
(update 8-18-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) says bream are good on redworms and crickets around brushpiles. Crappie are biting in 4-6 feet deep over the underwater brushpiles on crappie minnows. Bass are good on size 12 bass minnows. Catfish are good on goldfish. Water is normal and slightly stained.
(updated 8-18-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) reports that bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good in the evenings on Super Worms.
(updated 8-18-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that bass are good in 3-6 feet of water in the grassy areas on Texas-rigged Senkos or black spinnerbaits, mainly at night.
(updated 8-11-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the water temperature is in the mid to low 80s. Largemouth bass have been fair and are being found shallow along the grass lines. Some of them are chasing shad. Some are reporting that they are in deeper water. They are biting best at dawn and dusk. Try using Carolina-rigged lizards, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Trap or drop-shots. Kentucky bass (spotted bass) have also been fair. Some reports have them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks. They are also being found around brushpiles and rocky points. Try using a Texas rig on brush or use jigs, crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. White bass have been slow. Try swimbaits and spoons if you find them schooling. Crappie are also slow and being found 20-23 feet deep, making it a tough bite. Try using jigs or minnows. Bream are fair; anglers are catching many small in size. Most are caught 10-15 feet deep on crickets, worms and jigs. Catfish are good mostly on trotlines with chicken liver, worms and crayfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 3,078 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.57 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam there was no flow.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 8-18-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water is normal and clear. Fishing is really good now. Bass and crappie are good. Crappie are being found in 6 feet depth and biting minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 2,904 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 1,623 cfs. The elevation is 249.24 feet msl and the tailwater is at 230.92 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.40 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 1,293 cfs.
(updated 8-18-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says black bass are good in 5-10 feet of water on medium-diving crankbaits. Solid black Bandit 200s are working best.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-18-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Wednesday that catfish are good on skipjack and shad. Other species have been pretty slow.
(update 8-18-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-626-6899) said the lake level is low and now she is seeing quite a few stumps showing. Catfishing is good on usual catfish baits. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. No other reports came in that mentioned bass or bream.
(updated 8-18-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said school is back in session this week locally and beginning next week in nearby communities. Be extra careful, watching for kids of all sizes going to and from, and when following school buses – they carry the most important things in life.
Bull Shoals Lake is nearing seasonal power pool at 663.75 feet msl, moving toward 661 feet. “That usually means less releases from the dam, causing lower river levels – at least in the early morning hours. We continue to see a fair amount of fluctuation in releases from Bull Shoals Dam in the afternoon and evening hours as the Southwestern Power Administration continues to lower the lake. The fishing has been very good to exceptional!
“The daytime temperatures have been a little cooler than those we suffered during the last weeks of July. While the threat of rain kept some folks away from the river for a couple of days, those that braved the (mostly) misty skies saw a steady stream of catches.”
Small spinners with a Colorado blade were popular this week. Keep your spoons and Blue Foxes handy and don’t be afraid to try different baits and different colors; use a wide selection. Lemon-lime egg patterns worked well upstream from Cotter all the way to the state park. Peach and olive jigs played during the morning hours on the lower water caused a lot of action. As always, drifting red wiggler worms during high water is the ticket, with worm imitators (red, natural or bubblegum pink) just as successful. Cast toward the bank as you drift downstream and the rainbows and an occasional brown will snap them up. Mimic the menu provided by Mother Nature and you’ll most always catch a bunch.
“There is a lot of early morning mist and fog, so be careful on the river, take it slow and easy until the mist burns off. Come out and spend some time in The Natural State – you’ll be glad you did.”
(updated 8-18-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday that during the past week they have had less than a quarter of an inch of rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.3 feet to rest at 3.6 feet above power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 30.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 3.8 feet below power pool and 17.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below power pool or 8.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 2 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
Most of the lakes in the White River system are now below or near power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water for a few weeks. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to next Wednesday, Aug. 24.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. “We have had lower flows in the morning,” John said. 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 pheasant tail nymph.
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.
(updated 8-18-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said fishing conditions at Calico Rock have been great this last week. “We continue to see water levels crest at approximately 9 feet in the mornings and drop throughout the day to as low as 5 feet by the evening.” Silver in-line spinners with sunrise Power Eggs and a piece of shrimp continues to work the best. As the water got lower, brass-colored inline spinners were also effective. Additionally, during the lower water periods quarter-ounce Colorado spoons (copper and gold), gold-colored Buoyant spoons or gold-colored Rapala Countdowns worked well. Drift-fishing with sculpins resulted in a few 17-inch-plus rainbows and browns. “This week we had one stocking of over 2,300 rainbow trout from the Norfork Hatchery.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 663.47 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 19,655 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 913.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 2,138 cfs.
(updated 8-18-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is at 663 feet, only about 5 feet high, and almost back to normal. The constant generating from Bull Shoals Dam has stopped. Water temperature is about 85 degrees.
Typical summer patterns are working. The cooler nights have the shad starting to move. There are always shallow fish, especially with recent rains. Target channel swings, points and ledges close to deep water. Whooper Plopper, buzzbait and a topwater Lucky Craft Gunfish are working early in the day. When topwater slows, use a half-ounce flutter spoon in a shad pattern and a small swimbait. Then move to a Mooneye Tater Shad or drop-shot a Jewel Spoon. Most of the shad are suspended at 25-35 feet. Almost all species are present. A lot of fish have moved up into the brushpiles and are coming into play with lowering water levels. The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. Topwater will slow down when the sun starts getting high. Move out with a Jewel Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin-orange variations and keep the boat out around 40 feet. Fishing is good around channel swings, standing timber, ledges and laydowns. Use a Beaver/Big Worm Ole Monster in green-pumpkin, red or red shad, or plum as well. Fish the conditions.
Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. 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 557.21 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 noon Thursday was 5,790. Similar generation on Wednesday ran from noon to 11 p.m.
(updated 8-18-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday the lake level is 557.40 feet msl and has dropped 1.5 inches in the last 24 hours with generation from about noon to midnight. “We received 1 inch of rain Tuesday night. The lake is now pretty clear down to the thermocline at 27 feet, cloudy to 30 and then clear again in the cold water. The creeks are still stained. The surface water temperature has dropped to 84 degrees with the cooler weather. There is very little dissolved oxygen at 40 feet and below and there is not much sense fishing below 35 feet unless you are going after the stripers and walleye that are in the oxygen bubble at 90-120 feet.”
Several fish are now in the brush at 27-32 feet, including bass and bluegill, but the new news is that the crappie just joined them Tuesday. “I was finding none on brush until yesterday afternoon. The big schools are not there yet but some nice ones are showing up along with some smallmouth bass. Small spoons and Bobby Garland Baby Shad are working well. Trollers are still catching 5- to 7-pound stripers on shad at 30-35 feet. Fishing is getting better earlier than usual.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 8-18-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 2 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
Most of the lakes in the White River system are now below or near power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water for a few weeks. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to next Wednesday, Aug. 24.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning. 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 eighteen 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 back in session and the creek is not as busy. Weekends can get a quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs, various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-18-2022) 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 1,121.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The Corps released about 3,800 cfs between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 8-18-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is at normal levels. Water temps are in the lower 80s. “Biggest change is the weather! Much cooler (Wednesday) than last few months. I feel there will be an uptick in the fishing because if this.”
Stripers are fair to good again this week with a good number of nice fish caught. Shad and bream have worked in areas closer to the dam. Biggest change on the crappie bite is that fish have moved somewhat to structure this week. They are still suspended in the thermocline also. So trolled cranks and jigs fished in brush are both working.
Catfish remain good all over the lake. Bass are starting to surface early and late chasing bait. Bream are good around docks and brush. Walleye are good on crawler harnesses. Search points and flats in 25 feet of water. “Good luck and stay safe!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 8-18-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said walleye are deep down the lake on minnows, worms and spoons. Black bass fishing is mainly at night with spinnerbaits and jigs around cover. Anglers report drop-shots working in the daytime and some topwaters with schooling fish. Crappie deep diving crankbaits and minnows around cover. Catfish are in typical summer patterns on jugs and rods-and-reels with live bait (goldfish, minnows, and small bream). Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Water is clear and very close to normal level.
(updated 8-18-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that nothing much has really changed from last week except for the weather. 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,” Austin said. “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.”
This week’s hot spot for trout has been above Spider Creek. Try hitting the deeper holes, 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 8-18-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Wednesday that crappie “are OK” on minnows. Bream are “really good” on worms, they said. Bass are picking up on topwater and plastics. Catfish are good on “a little bit of everything – worms and jigs, even.”
(updated 8-18-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said Monday that water temperature has fallen to 78 degrees. Bream and catfish continue to bite well, but crappie and black bass were hiding last week. Bream are good on worms and jigs. Catfishing are good on worms, blood bait, chicken liver and cut bait.
The water level is high and the clarity is the usual murky.
(updated 8-11-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported that bream have been biting well on crickets and worms. Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers and other smelly things. Bass are biting on spinnerbaits, but are still catch and release. Crappie are catch and release as well.
(updated 8-18-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no report.
(updated 8-18-2022) 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. 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, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
(updated 8-18-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) had no recent reports. Visit Mark’s website for any updates at springriverfliesandguides.com; his blog is at springriverfliesandguides.com/blog.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was down Thursday slightly, sitting at 9.14 feet and less than 6 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage on almost a half-foot rise to 12.02 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is up slightly at 23.52 feet, still 2.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-18-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville 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 89 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.22 feet (flood stage is 42 feet).
No new reports in Southeast Arkansas.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.20 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 851 cfs, an amount being steadily released this week and for the past couple of weeks.
(updated 8-18-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Wednesday afternoon that the level is stable and clarity has improved but still stained this week along Little River and oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was ear 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 855 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake. Surface temps are stable this week, ranging in 85-90 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Use caution navigating the main lake river channels where river buoys may be out of channel from recent high wind, or not yet replaced. Current along Little River is improved this week with normal stain levels, and river clarity ranges 10-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows has 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 fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass continue to relate horizontally and were moving out to deeper water drops and vertical structures during heat of the afternoons, while being shallow to stumps, vegetation, lily pads and cypress knees at dawn, early in the morning and late in the day. 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 frog early in the pads.
Big 7- to 10-inch bulky Brush hogs and Bass Assassin Bang RSB 7¼-inch worms and XX Fat Job Trick Worms work working, with best colors over the past couple weeks being the Candy Bug, Gooseberry, Junebug/red or Redbug.
Bass remain very good from 2 to 3 pounds and occasionally a 4-5 pounder blow up, on topwaters early at daybreak near secondary points and dumps into Little River. Bass continue the most aggressive bite at dawn around lily pad stands, stumps, cypress trees and vegetation in Little River near deep drops. Stuttersteps, Chug Bugs, Shad Assassins, Heddon Dying Flutters and Crippled Crazy Crawlers, buzzbaits and Jitterbugs all continue drawing good random reactions on top at daybreak. Best color of buzzbaits over the past couple weeks included black/blue, white/chartreuse or bream colors around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels or in the river. Best Bass Assassin Shad colors have been Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost and Bad to the Bone. Good bites continue on black, pumpkinseed or Junebug-colored soft plastic frogs around pads in clearest water you can find.
Big worms in peanut butter & jelly, black grape, watermelon/red or watermelon candy have been good, and best fishing has been in 5-10 feet depth in Little River around grass mats after the morning topwater bite subsides, and in the same areas where the topwater early bite is aggressive. Continue moving deeper in the creek channels or to the points of Little River where the creek junctions with the river as the sun rises and begins to heat up the flats adjacent to creek channels. The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shad remain good across underwater primary and secondary points in Little River; square-bill crankbaits continue working long old river channel cut-overs, ditches and deep creek outer swings where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into Little River. Rat-L-Trap/Echo 1.75 and MR-6 square bills continue working in Millwood Magic and Ghost colors around deeper drops across points extending into Little River from White Cliffs Campgrounds to Cemetery Slough. Nice-sized bass also continue biting on 4-inch salty tubes with smoky/black/red flake, purple smoke/purple fleck, and black/blue tail colors working over the past week. Chatterbaits continuing to get bit using Spot Remover or Firecracker colors with white or chartreuse trailers, next to cypress trees and knees in the oxbows once the sun gets up, across deeper flats from 7-9 feet of depth. Shad- and bream-colored square bills continue working around hydrilla and stumps from 4-7 feet deep near cypress trees along creeks and parallel to vegetation lines/mats dumping into the oxbows.
* White bass and hybrid bass continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on vertical-jigging spoons along Little River. Rat-L-Traps, Fat Free Shad crankbaits, Little Georges, beetle spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads fished about 7-12 feet deep were catching whites randomly in the oxbows. Schooling whites have been noted in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows off Little River early at daybreak on flats adjacent to deeper drops in 5-10 feet depth at random intervals over the past week. Most of the white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few have been found up Little River.
Creek channel mouths and flats along Little River that drain and dump into Little River, where little bit of river current remains, are holding a few broken schools of whites that Mike and crew found hitting on hammered Cordell Spoons with a white/chartreuse bucktail. This was along with a few Kentucky bass, where washouts/ditches/creek dumps exist from 12-16 feet of depth with stumps.
White Cliffs Campground Area and points with drains into Little River are holding white bass. Entrance to White Cliffs Creek, Brown’s Slough and Cemetery Slough had a few whites 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, 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.
* Crappie continued improving over the past week in Little River, out of any remaining current, and continue relating to cover and planted brushpiles by vertical-jigging tubes and jigs from 10-15 feet of depth, out of any remaining river current. Best colors were white/chartreuse, chartreuse/blue and black/chartreuse combinations. Jig’n Spins, Chuck’n Spins and Blakemore Road Runners were also vertically jigging up a few decent sized (2-pound) crappie late last week. Crappie have been suspended in and over planted brushpiles in 12-15 feet of depth in the oxbows and along Little River over the past several weeks. The bite has been very random, best from daylight to around 9 a.m. Best colors working over the past couple weeks for tube jigs have been Monkey Milk and Smokey Shad Gray or on the Southern Pro Crappie Stingers and Lit’l Hustlers in black/chartreuse, Money, blue/silk/chartreuse swirl and black/orange. Cordell smoke-colored paddle tail grubs caught a few suspended crappie in brush in McGuire Lake over the past weekend.
* Trotlines and yo-yos set along outer bends of the river in stump rows of old river timber from 12-17 feet deep have been catching catfish. Chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, cut buffalo and blood bait were working late over the weekend; best bites were at night.
For several weeks, alligators have been noted hung up and dragging noodles around after eating the catfish or bait attached
* No reports on bream.
(updated 8-18-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that crappie are beginning to get on the trees in around 16-18 feet of water and biting well on jigs and silver minnows. Bream are really good on crickets. Catfish are excellent. Anglers are catching a few bass that are schooling, but not very many are schooling. Water is low about 1 foot and water clarity is good.
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 542.66 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.74 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-11-2022) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) reported that bass fishing has picked up significantly with the cooler, partly cloudy weather. Bass have been schooling early in the morning and can be caught on topwater walking baits. When the fish are not schooling on the surface, try throwing Rooster Tails, small jerkbaits or a small lipless crankbait. When the bass go deep, fish vertically over them with a small spoon or a drop-shot rig. White bass and hybrids can be found in the creeks and caught with topwater walking baits as well. Crappie and bream are around brushpiles in 15-25 feet of water. Crappie can be caught on minnows. Bream can be caught on crickets.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 432.44 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 523.88 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 8-18-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) had no reports this week.
(updated 8-18-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says bream are good on redworms. Anglers also are catching a few catfish on chicken liver, and some reported catching a few small bass.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-28-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reported water temperature below the dam is 64 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 in July, but earlier flooding has kept large numbers of fish in the area that are healthy. Live bait presentations such as waxworms and mealworms or redworms fished just off the bottom are working best during generation. Little success has been seen using artificial lures as thousands of threadfin shad are in the tailrace. White bass are in and out of the tailrace feeding on shad. Small gray or white ⅛-oz. jigs have accounted for good catches while generators are running. No striper activity has been observed. Flow schedules are available at the Entergy Hydro-Operations website; search for real-time lake levels.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.66 feet msl and the tailwater is at 284.57 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is at 4.29 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 7-28-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs reports Lake Hamilton lake levels are normal. Water clarity is more than 5 feet everywhere and surface temperatures remain in the high 80s. All species have slowed due to heat and lower water oxygen levels. Bass are fair in the early mornings and at night. Topwater presentations are the best opportunity during the morning, with many fish “breaking” off main lake points and shaded deeper areas near current. It is very important to find current in these dog days of summer. Water current provides oxygen, cooler temperatures and food. Target breaking fish with small Zara Spooks in pearl, silver or clear colors. At night the buzzbait is still king. Black and blue buzzbaits fished in the shallows near current are still producing good fish, but not in the numbers we saw last month.
The real targets of late for sport fisherman have got to be the walleye and striped bass. Whether jigging a spoon vertically or trolling a spoon, look to the deeper areas on the southern end of the lake. “We have put walleye in the boat at deeper than 70 feet and striped bass at depths of 40-50. Both of these species tend to move around all the time, and it’s important to find the baitfish before locating the sport fish. Bream are good everywhere in 10-12 feet of water and preferably in the shade. Use crickets or worms.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 343.60 feet msl (normal pool: 344.51 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-4-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday morning that the lake level is a little low, but the water has good clarity. The surface temperature was 89 degrees. Crappie are good 7-15 feet deep on spider rigs or trolled Bandit crankbaits. Catfish are good on noodles, black salties and small perch. Bass are biting with reports from several people. Bream are good on redworms and crickets.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 571.48 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-18-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still fair. A drop-shot pattern with a finesse worm is working for spots (Kentucky bass). Walleye are very good. 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 very good. Live bait and trolling hair jigs are working best at this time on the eastern part of the lake; try between Brady and the dam. Bream are still good on crickets or worms 15-25 feet deep on structure. Crappie are fair on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 20-30 feet deep. Catfish are still fair on rod-and-reel with hot dogs or nightcrawlers. Water temperature has fallen, ranging 82-86 as of Wednesday. Water clarity is stained. Lake level is 571.49 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.52 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is steady at 21.74 feet, more than 4 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-18-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) says he had nothing new to report from Cook’s Lake, other than the lake being on the rise while the bite has fallen off. “Hopefully this cooler weather will get some more anglers out and about!” The lake has been on a rise and the bite has fallen off. Hopefully this cooler weather will get some more anglers out and about!
Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). 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. 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. The lake continues to rise after recent rains and the action is slowing down. Bass anglers are having the most luck flipping green pumpkin or black-and-blue jigs to cypress trees. Some bass are being caught in deeper water using forward-facing sonar. A few have been reported to be taken on white spinnerbaits in running water. The bream bite has slowed a bit, but some are still being caught in about 2 feet of water on crickets and redworms. The bite should pick up this week with the peak full moon. Crappie are being caught here and there while bass fishing.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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